Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Hansel and Gretel?

The Guide to Paganism is a guidebook that the Pagan Federation supplied to British prison governors. It outlines religious possessions, discusses the services of pagan chaplains, and describes rites and chants, all in the effort to help pagan British inmates practice their religious freedom while incarcerated. Brother Paul Stein, a brother with the Legionaries of Christ, isn't happy with the Guide to Paganism. Not happy at all. In fact, he goes so far as to say it should have a warning label affixed to its cover. A warning label that states:
“Your son and daughter might be the next Hansel and Gretel.”
Isn't that a lovely sentiment? Seems that Brother Stein has some rather strong feelings on the subject. And he feels strongly enough about it to post his thoughts at the Catholic Exchange under the cute title, The Witch Next Door. And you can read some interesting -- although not much better informed -- feedback at Free Republic. While Brother Stein is not entirely incorrect in regards to his historical summation of Wicca (Quote: "Neither is Wicca a historical expression of paganism. It was started by Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardner sometime after 1900"), he falls far short in his descriptions of Wicca having empty rites that are devoid of spiritual meaning. If this were the case, why would people cite a greater sense of spiritual fulfillment as a reason for leaving the church? (Reference: PopOcculture - Wicca and Christianity). And although there may be ample evidence of Wicca practioners who are ... well ... OK, let's face facts ... maybe some of them can be described as being a little out there (look here, here, and here for examples; oh, Hel, just look at the blog post where I found them all), but one can hardly rate the whole of the movement on these individuals. That would be like (gasp!) evaluating the whole of Christianity by the actions of, say, just a few, extreme examples. Oh, and if I may address you directly, Brother Stein ... before you go and complain about the "inner contradictions" in Wicca (or any other belief system you personally find lacking), you should probably do something to resolve all of the contradictions (another list) and logical gaps in your own dogma.

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