The Archdiocese of Sydney's auxiliary Bishop Julian Porteous has warned that generation Y risks a dangerous fascination with the occult fuelled by the Twilight and Harry Potter series.
"Alternative" relaxation techniques as yoga, reiki massages and tai chi may encourage experimentation with "deep and dark spiritual ideas and traditions", Bishop Porteous was quoted in The Sun-Herald.
The Twilight and Harry Potter books and films "are attractive to adolescents and can be innocent enough.
"However, they can open up a fascination with this mysterious world and invite exploration of various phenomena through the use of occult practices like seances."
Exorcism is no fantasy according to the church, with the Sydney archdiocese last month appointing an as-yet unnamed priest, suitably "endowed with piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life" to conduct exorcisms, as required by Catholic canon law.
The report cites David Tacey, associate professor of English at La Trobe University, who said demonic possession was an archaism long discredited by science, psychology and modern theology. Any suggestion that reiki massage, yoga and tai chi could have evil influence were "expressions of Western ignorance about Eastern practices", he said.
"This is an example of how certain voices in the church have no idea about other cultures and religions," Professor Tacey said.
"To argue that only Christianity can rescue people from these supposed 'demonic' forces is a wonderful evangelical trick. The arrogance and ignorance ... is ... transparent, and anyone can see through it as an attempt to recruit people to the failing mainstream religion."
Do Twilight, Harry Potter open door to the Devil? (Sun-Herald)