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Australian Media on Paganism

Witches comments draw widespread reaction

6th March, 2000 - ABC Website

There has been widespread reaction locally and nationally to comments about witches, aromatherapy and yoga by Catholic clergy in Wagga Wagga.

Bishop William Brennan recently supported warnings issued in a homily by Father Luke Joseph about witches operating in the area and a need for caution with aromatherapy, yoga and the stars.

The ABC's website and newspaper columns have been inundated with responses, some supportive but mostly critical, with condemnation of the claims about yoga and aromatherapy.

Meanwhile, the national coordinator of the Australian Pagan Alliance, Shell Bardell, says she has received dozens of e-mails on the comments about witches.

Ms Bardell says occasionally there are uprisings like this, usually from fundamentalist Christians fearful of something they know little about.

"The belief and I use the word belief, that witches and pagans are evil and godless, is only because of an attitude - a hallowed tradition in the church, handed down from hundreds and hundreds of years and in more recent years taken over by the media," she said.

"I mean, it's totally based on misconceptions, prejudice, discrimination - bigotry quite frankly."

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