Saturday, July 23, 2005

B-16 and HP 6...

Well folks, word has been out for over a week now that the "Pope opposes Harry Potter novels" and the "Pope criticizes Harry Potter". Some of my friends -- non-Catholic themselves -- seem to be concerned I might be disobeying Pope Benedict's "commands" by reading the newest Harry Potter book. I appreciate their concern.

However, I think we can all agree that the media don't always get the story straight. In fact, even Catholic media outlets can sometimes get news stories on their own Church wrong!

At the most, it could be argued that Cardinal Ratzinger was writing about the need to be cautious with the Harry Potter books. Nothing in his 2 letters gives any sense that he is condemning the books, labeling them as inherently evil, or even outright opposing them entirely. When you read the letter, all you can be certain of is that Ratzinger expressed some caution and concern about Harry Potter because the stories can be subtle seductions that could lead the soul astray before it has properly grown to a certain level of maturity.

And honestly, I agree with this! A child not developed enough and/or not receiving guidance from his parents on the issue could possibly be led away from his/her faith into witchcraft somewhere down the line. But many other things could lead people astray as well, alcohol for example. Yet this doesn't necessarily mean that the thing is inherently evil, but rather simply that it needs a proper balance (in the case of Potter, an understanding that it is fantasy; in the case of beer, a sense of moderation). It's true that fantasy novels may have fair influence on future Wiccans, especially those involving wizards and/or witches (for example, a study showed the majority of American Wiccans cite LOTR as their favorite childhood book), but for every Wiccan there are probably 20 times as many (or more) other people who turned out non-Wiccan.

Getting back to Ratzinger's letters then, probably the most important fact is that these letters were written 2 years before the man even became Pope, which means they carry no papal authority whatsoever!

Here's some further and more in-depth clarification for you guys, and anyone else who's interested and open-minded...

Pre-16 On Hary Potter (Jimmy Akin)

Vatican Radio On Pre-16 Potter Brouhaha (Jimmy Akin)

By the way, I've started Harry Potter 6 and I'm loving it!


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