Monday, 26 August 2013

Paulo Coelho

Dear Bishop,

I have recently come across the books of Brasilian bestselling author Paulo Coelho. Although I enjoyed his story of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella, recently an elderly priest has advised me against reading anymore from Coelho, stating he was only outwardly a traditional Catholic and in reality an occultist and a (perhaps even black) magician. Given the fact that Coelho is apparently one of the most successful authors of the present I would very much appreciate your opinion regarding his work. Thank you.


Paulo Coelho was born in Rio in August 1947; "I am 100 per cent Virgo," he says, "stubborn, over-organised, slightly abstracted from the rest of the world." His father was an engineer, and expected his son to follow in his footsteps. His mother was a devout Catholic, and sent her son to a Jesuit school. They took a dim view of his desire to write, and an even dimmer one when he took to declaiming his poetry on the beaches amid Rio's proto-Beats. They sent him to a mental institution where he received electroshock therapy. In the late 1960s, he became a fully-fledged member of the Brazilian underground, growing hippy hair, doing drugs, and devouring the writings of the occultist Aleister Crowley. He met a singer called Raul Seixas and began writing lyrics for him. Seixas became a huge star, and one of his and Coelho's biggest hits was called Sociedade Alternativa; soon, kids all over Brazil were singing its catchy refrain – "Do what you want / Because it's the whole of the law / Long live the Alternative Society / The number 666 is Aleister Crowley."
"I've presided over a few black masses in my time, sure," grins Coelho. "I wouldn't recommend it necessarily, but every young person should allow the flame of rebellion to manifest in some way, because if you don't see the other side of the coin, you are just a sheep. You'll have some risky experiences, but everyone knows his or her limits, I believe." (This train of thought naturally brings him to Amy Winehouse: "I love her," he declares. "She doesn't seem like the happiest person on earth, and I guess she will either die or she will survive, but I believe it will be the latter; she has a talent to nurture.")

You will know them by their fruit. (Matthew 7: 16) 
It really is that simple.

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