Former Wiccan Elizabeth Dodd has written “Wicca and Witchcraft: Understanding the Dangers.” Or, as AOL News would have it, “Catholic Church Issues Guide on How to Convert Witches.” Clearly Mr. Bates didn’t get out to the CTS webpage, which clearly states, “The Catholic Truth Society is an independent publisher and charity. We help people to understand and practise the Catholic faith.” It’s a common notion among the pagani that the Church is a monolithic, top-down organization…rather like Jack Chick’s notion that Wicca and the New Age movements are top-down organizations. But Bates can be forgiven for this; one of his cited sources makes the same mistake. His other source, Damien Thompson, of course does not, but has way too much snarky fun at the Craft’s expense.
Of course, the usual culprits have the usual views on this, beginning with the claim that “We don’t try to convert them!” This is nonsense. Sure, Gaia’s Witnesses don’t go banging on doors, but neither do Catholics. In both cases, they forthrightly explain what they practice and believe, and invite others to join them. Indeed, the Church has a far more tolerant attitude toward Wiccans than your typical Wiccan has toward the Church; I have never seen a Catholic froth at the mouth about the occult in the way that I have seen way too many Witches rail about Catholicism. One can argue that the fury is justified by history, but we the living Church are supposed to bear responsibility for the Burning Times while neo-pagans (even Roman revivalists) have no responsibility at all for the Coliseum. And Islam does not get that fury turned on it, even though right now it teaches that pagans are to convert or be killed. Those who believe in spiritual warfare can draw their own conclusions.
The booklet seems to be sold out, but the various excerpts published make it sound like a sensible exposition of Wicca and explanation of the differences between it and Christianity… which is more than can be said about many evangelical attempts at the subject. Here’s an equally sensible piece. If the Church has a problem with losing adherents to Wicca, it’s a problem with general catechesis (Catholicism as a cultural identity, instead of people instructed in their faith), and in any case it seems no more a problem than with Christianity as a whole. I hope the booklet will prove useful, and I pray for my Wiccan friends.
UPDATE: a slightly more intelligent version of “neener neener” aimed at the Church,