Posted by: Idioma Extra | February 15, 2011

The Weird and the Wonderful

Catholic Church Issues Guide on How to Convert Witches



LONDON — Five hundred years ago, the Catholic Church had a simple way of dealing with witches: It burned them alive. The Vatican still views these broom botherers as a danger, but is now calling on Catholics to eliminate the neo-pagan problem in a more moderate manner.

According to a new booklet from the Catholic Truth Society — the U.K. publishers for the Holy See — the faithful can convert Wiccans by following a few simple steps. The pamphlet, titled “Wicca and Witchcraft: Understanding the Dangers,” suggests that Catholics spark up conversations with these unbelievers about shared concerns such as the environment, The Telegraph reports.

And if you bump into a witch in a bar or coffee shop, the book adds, it’s important to recognize that “Wiccans are on a genuine spiritual quest,” providing “the starting point for dialog that may lead to their conversion.”

The booklet’s author, former Wiccan Elizabeth Dodd, states that nearly 70 percent of people indulging in witchcraft are young women seeking some kind of spirituality, according to the Daily Mail. The source of that statistic isn’t clear, but some 7,000 Brits identified themselves as Wiccans in the 2001 census.

So why does the Vatican once again feel that it needs to confront pagan practitioners? The Daily Mail says that the church is afraid the dark arts are becoming ever more tempting thanks to the success of Harry Potter. Dodd says that any youngster who dabbles in magic risks long-term problems.

“Whether spell work is effective or not,” writes Dodd, according to The Telegraph, “has no bearing on the psychological damage that can be done to a young person who is convinced that they have summoned the dead, or have performed a spell that has hurt or injured another.”

More important, Dodd adds that the simple act of experimenting with spell craft is an insult to the Almighty. “The use of magic, the practice of witchcraft, offends God because it is rooted in our sinful and fallen nature,” she writes. “It attempts to usurp God.”

While many religious and nonreligious folk might regard Dodd’s message as extreme, her point has clearly been heeded by some Catholics. As of this morning, the pamphlet was listed as sold-out on

Word of the Day

sum·mon: \ˈsə-mən\
Origin: Middle English somnen, somonen, from Anglo-French somondre, from Vulgar Latin *summonere, alteration of Latin summonēre to remind secretly, from sub- secretly + monēre to warn — more at sub-, mind
First Known Use: 13th century
1: to issue a call to convene : convoke
2: to command by service of a summons to appear in court
3: to call upon for specified action
4: to bid to come : send for <summon a physician>
5: to call forth : evoke —often used with up

Move Vocabulary

Conversion: n. an experience associated with the definite and decisive adoption of a religion
Dabble: v.
to work or involve oneself superficially or intermittently especially in a secondary activity or interest
Neo-pagan: n. a person who practices a contemporary form of paganism (as Wicca)
Pagan: n.
a person who worships many gods or goddesses or the earth or nature
Quest: n.
a journey made in search of something
Usurp: v.
to take the place of by or as if by force: supplant
Wiccan: n.
a religion influenced by pre-Christian beliefs and practices of western Europe that affirms the existence of supernatural power (as magic) and of both male and female deities who inhere in nature and that emphasizes ritual observance of seasonal and life cycles

Idioms & Expressions

Bump into (someone): to meet someone by chance.

  • Guess who I bumped into downtown today? I ran into Bill Jones yesterday.

Love those Phrasal Verbs

Indulge in: to become involved in (something, especially something that is considered wrong or improper)

  • Both candidates have promised not to indulge in further personal attacks for the remainder of the campaign.


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