You might think that writing about the Harry Potter books or Halloween ‘Trick or Treating’ is a rather odd place to start when discussing ‘Satanist Ritual Abuse’ (SRA) but I think it will help in what is an extremely complex issue and not trivialise it.
Both Harry Potter and Halloween have been described by the Catholic Church, and others, as ‘Satanic’ and ‘occultist’
He [Gerhard Wagner] first attracted international attention in 2001 when he described JK Rowling’s best-selling Harry Potter novels as “satanism” and warned against the magical spells and formulas used in thenovels.
But in an article entitled The Dangerous Messages of Halloween, the Vatican’s official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano quoted liturgical expert Joan Maria Canals as saying: ‘Halloween has an undercurrent of occultism and is absolutely anti-Christian.’
But really, are they ?
I suspect that the overwhelming majority of people would say that it was absurd to suggest that they are but a majority is not necessarily correct just because they have numbers on their side. So, how can we decide whether the Harry Potter books or Trick or Treating are ‘Satanist’ and ‘Occultist’ or not ?
Plainly two groups have differing views based on their own religious, or non-religious, perspective. The only fair test I can see is to form a view based on ‘intention’. Was it J K Rowling’s intention to promote occultism or indoctrinate readers into Satanism ? Very few would argue that and I’m certain the answer is ‘No’. Is it the intention of parents to promote occultism or indoctrinate their children into Satanism when they dress them up as witches and warlocks on Halloween ? Again, I’m sure the answer is ‘No’.
Now, the issue of Satanist Ritual Abuse (SRA) is not as clear cut simply because the general public understand very little about it. The overwhelming majority of people will have no direct experience of it and what little understanding of it they have is based on very occasional media reports, often sensationalised.
Satanist Ritual Abuse is the sexual abuse of mostly children during Satanist rituals. Some people argue that is does exist while others maintain that it does not. So, who is right ?
Religious, or non-religious, perspective will often but not always, inform a persons viewpoint on SRA as much as direct or indirect experience does. What can be said with absolute certainty is that children are sexually abused by adults in rituals and I think the argument about whether this is ‘Satanist’ abuse or not means that that fact is lost. To a degree I think some like to focus on the ‘Satanist’ issue to muddy the water so that the evidenced issue of ritual sexual abuse is never taken seriously and it has a way of undermining all child sexual abuse in the public consciousness.
Ultimately, the two perspectives of the opposing sides on this issue do not inform us about whether the ritual sexual abuse is ‘Satanist’ or not. Those who believe that God, and therefore Satan, exists are more likely to believe that SRA is real while those that have a humanist/atheistic belief system are less likely to believe that SRA is real. The danger is that an issue that the media often like to sensationalise becomes a religious battleground over which the existence of God and Satan is fought and the issue of the ritualised sexual abuse of children is forgotten.
In the end the only fair way of deciding whether ritual abuse is ‘Satanist’ is to try and divine the ‘intentions’ of the abuser/s, whether they believe in Satan and whether the rituals are ‘Satanist’.
By this criteria, in my view, some ritual abuse is ‘Satanist’ while some is not. I believe all ritual abuse, like all child abuse, is evil but for me ‘evil’ is not synonymous with Satan, whereas for the religious it might be. As these are my ‘final thoughts’ on this issue, I’ll just say that the argument on this over the last 30 years has not helped victims of ritual child sexual abuse or child sexual abuse in general.
I’ll leave you with two different news stories regarding ritualistic sexual abuse of children. You’ll notice that in both the ritual nature of the abuse is not in doubt. Whether you believe the abuse is Satanist or not will depend on your religious perspective or whether you believe that the intentions of the abuser/s were Satanist.
A sex cult leader who brainwashed and abused children has been jailed and warned he may never be released.
Colin Batley, 48, was found guilty of 35 offences at Swansea Crown Court on Wednesday. Three women, including his estranged wife, were also imprisoned.
He moved from London to the small town of Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, where the cult operated in a cul-de-sac.
He was given a public protection sentence with an 11-year minimum recommendation.
“That means, of course, you may never be released,” said Judge Paul Thomas QC.
Jacqueline Marling, 42, described as “Batley’s right-hand woman”, was jailed for 12 years, while Batley’s wife Elaine, 47, was jailed for eight years.
Shelly Millar, 35, described during the trial as Batley’s “sex slave”, was jailed for five years.
Two members of a Cornish white witch coven have been convicted of carrying out ritualistic sex abuse on young girls.
Peter Petrauske, 72, who claimed to be a high priest, and Jack Kemp, 69, donned robes and carried pagan artefacts when they attended ceremonies during which children were forced to strip and then abused. Police believe children as young as three may have been involved.
The abuse only emerged after Kemp was arrested on an unrelated charge, prompting victims of past offences to come forward.
The pair showed little emotion as they were led from the dock at Truro crown court on Friday. Petrauske, who described himself as the high priest of a white witches’ coven in St Ives, was convicted of one count of rape, one count of aiding and abetting an attempt to rape and one count of indecent assault.