Pope Benedict Opposes Harry Potter Novels


#1

Pope Benedict Opposes Harry Potter Novels

RIMSTING, Germany, June 27, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As the sixth issue of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - is about to be released, the news that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prior to his elevation to the Pontificate, had denounced the wildly popular series has resurfaced. In 2003, a month after the English press throughout the world falsely proclaimed that Pope John Paul II approved of Harry Potter, the man who was to become his successor sent a letter to a Catholic German critic of Harry Potter outlining his agreement with her opposition to Rowling’s offerings.

As Amazon books touted over a million pre-orders for the newest in the Potter series, Spiritdaily.com, a Catholic news website with the flair of the DrudgeReport, recalled a German magazine article speaking of a letter from Cardinal Ratzinger to German Potter critic Gabriele Kuby.

That letter came to Kuby on March 7, 2003. A month before papers around the world were littered with false headlines such as “Pope Approves Potter” (Toronto Star), “Pope Sticks Up for Potter Books” (BBC), “Harry Potter Is Ok With The Pontiff” (Chicago Sun Times) and “Vatican: Harry Potter’s OK with us” (CNN Asia). The stories were based on an off-hand comment in favour of the Potter books by a Vatican spokesman at a press conference on the release of a Vatican document on the New Age. (See the LifeSiteNews.com coverage: [lifesite.net/ldn/2003/feb/03020703.html](“http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jun/<a%20href=http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2003/feb/03020703.html>http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2003/feb/03020703.html”) )

A 1993 German-language interview with Kuby, the author of “Harry Potter - gut oder böse” (Harry Potter- good or evil?), by Zenit news summarizes Kuby’s objections to Potter neatly as its theme being “My Will be done’ opposed to 'Thy Will be done”. In that interview Kuby readily admits that many people, Catholics included, do not see the dangers she sees in the Potter series. “I have no desire to see and depict devils where there are none, but when I see with my own eyes, when my intelligence and heart inform me, that there is a devil painted on a wall even though most everyone else sees on this same wall one flowery wallpaper design, then I feel obliged to give witness to the truth , whether convenient or unwelcome. There is such a thing as public deception - we Germans know about that,” she says. (See the German Zenit interview [zenit.org/german/visualizza.phtml?sid=4…](“http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jun/<a%20href=http://www.zenit.org/german/visualizza.phtml?sid=45441>http://www.zenit.org/german/visualizza.phtml?sid=4…”) )

The main thrust of Kuby’s objection to Potter is that the books corrupt the hearts of the young, preventing them from developing a properly ordered sense of good and evil, thus harming their relationship with God while that relationship is still in its infancy.

In the Zenit interview, Kuby quotes from the letter she received from Cardinal Ratzinger. In the letter, then-Cardinal Ratzinger specifically pointed to the fact that the danger in the Potter books is hidden was greatly concerning. “It is good that you shed light and inform us on the Harry Potter matter, for these are subtle seductions that are barely noticeable and precisely because of that deeply affect (children) and corrupt the Christian faith in souls even before it (the Faith) could properly grow and mature,” said Cardinal Ratzinger.

Kuby’s Potter criticism also received recognition in Germany from the city of Munich’s office of Youth affairs, which at the time made headlines for indicating that the Potter books were not fit for children.

Regarding the harm to children from the Potter books, Kuby again quotes Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter saying, “That they (children) are being cut off from God, the source of Love and Hope , so that they in sorrowful life conditions are without a foundation that supports them -that they lose the spirit of discernment between good and evil and that they will not have the necessary strength and knowledge to withstand the temptations to evil.”

To be continued…


#2

The most prominent Potter critic in North America, Catholic novelist and painter Michael O’Brien commented to LifeSiteNews.com on the comments of now-Pope Benedict saying, “This discernment on the part of Benedict XVI reveals the Holy Father’s depth and wide ranging gifts of spiritual discernment.” O’Brien, author of a book dealing with fantasy literature for children added, “it’s consistent with many of the statements he’s been making since his election to the Chair of Peter, indeed for the past 20 years - a probing accurate read of the massing spiritual warfare that is moving to a new level of struggle in western civilization. He is a man in whom a prodigious intellect is integrated with great spiritual gifts, as the father of the universal church we would do well to listen to him.”

See O’Brien’s essay analyzing the Potter series:
[lifesite.net/features/harrypotter/obrie…](“http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jun/<a%20href=http://www.lifesite.net/features/harrypotter/obrienpotter.html>http://www.lifesite.net/features/harrypotter/obrie…”)

See the LifeSiteNews.com Harry Potter controversy page:
[lifesite.net/features/harrypotter](“http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jun/<a%20href=http://www.lifesite.net/features/harrypotter>http://www.lifesite.net/features/harrypotter”)

See Gabriele Kuby’s, Michael O’Brien and Spiritdaily’s websites:
[gabriele-kuby.de/](“http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jun/<a%20href=http://www.gabriele-kuby.de/>http://www.gabriele-kuby.de/”)
[studiobrien.com](“http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jun/<a%20href=http://www.studiobrien.com/>http://www.studiobrien.com/”)
[Source : spiritdaily.comlifesite.net/ldn/2005/jun/05062709.html](“http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jun/<a%20href=http://www.spiritdaily.com/>http://www.spiritdaily.com/”)


#3

[size=2]

The main thrust of Kuby’s objection to Potter is that the books corrupt the hearts of the young, preventing them from developing a properly ordered sense of good and evil, thus harming their relationship with God while that relationship is still in its infancy.

IMHO, this sums it up. I would add movies like “Alice in Wonderland” (and other movies that resemble drug induced realities), “Wizard of Oz”, and “Star Wars” to the list of movies that can “corrupt the hearts of the young, preventing them from developing a properly ordered sense of good and evil, thus harming their relationship with God while that relationship is still in its infancy”.

The Harry Potter movies/books are especially bad because not only can they accomplish all of the above… they focus on wizardry and sorcery and involve the “adventures of children”, making it attractive to kids.

Imagine what all these movies would do to Therese of Lisieux, Elizabeth of the Trinity, Teresa of the Andes, and many other saints if they watched them when they were kids? I would hope they would have an natural aversion to them. Children are very impressionable, exposing them to too many false-reality worlds can do significant harm to their spiritual and mental development/wellness.

This is one of the reasons why Sir Alec Guinness, a devout Catholic, distanced himself from the Star Wars movies. He saw the harm it was doing to many kids. There is a telling story about Alec Guinness. I forget the whole story, but it went something like this: Alec Guinness was approached by a Star Wars fan for an autograph. The kid confessed that he saw the movies dozens and dozens of times, thinking nothing wrong with it. Alec Guinness was appalled and told the mother not to allow the boy to watch them again. And under those circumstances, he would give the child an autograph.[/size]


#4

Here’s what Matthew Bunson said on 02-09-03.
“The press conference to which you are referring to took place on Febraury 3rd in Rome and involved various officials of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the other offices of the Roman Curia. The occassion was to announce the publication of a new 93 page handbook, a Vatican reflection on the new age movement. The document contrasts the new age expectation of the so-called age of Aquarius with the faith of the Christians in Christ. Aside from a very useful explanation of New Age terms, the reflection also details the ways that the movement has influenced such trends as the growing mistrust and opposition to institutional religion, with self realization against salvation, denial of the existence of God, and the decline in reverence for the Judaeo-Christian tradition.
It was only during the press conference that the question of Harry Potter came up. Both Fr. Fleetwood, who helped draft the document while an official during the Council and Teresa Osorio Gonclaves, of the Pontifical Council for Religious dialogue, expressed the opinion that there were no problems with the Harry Potter books. As often occurs, the unofficial and offhand comments overshadowed the important document and its valuable contents for Catholics confronted by the many forms of the New Age Movement in modern culture.
In reference to the Harry Potter books, it is worth noting that the Vatican- as far as I am aware- has never condemned the books, and the last year has seen the publication of various books arguing for more favorable interpretation of them. From the little that I know of the matter, Rowling has stated on several occasions that she is a Christian.”

With that said, I will say that the Vatican has never approved the books. Its up the parent, but suffice to say, its better to teach the kids lives of the saints.


#5

Furthermore, I’ve read the books myself and I have never even come close to practicing witchcraft. I laughed pretty hard the movie series and was immune to it.


#6

Thank you for both sides of the story.

:blessyou:


#7

[quote=bones_IV]With that said, I will say that the Vatican has never approved the books. Its up the parent, but suffice to say, its better to teach the kids lives of the saints.

[/quote]

On the topic of what books are good for children… this is the best advise out there. :yup:


#8

[quote=bones_IV]Furthermore, I’ve read the books myself and I have never even come close to practicing witchcraft. I laughed pretty hard the movie series and was immune to it.
[/quote]

I’ve watched the first two movies when they aired on ABC. Since I am already grounded in my Catholic faith, I don’t see any real harm for me. That is not to say they cannot be harmful to impressionable young children. However, I can say that about most things coming out of Hollywood and pop culture.

It all depends on what you “bring with you” when you watch a movie like this.


#9

I didn’t think it was possible to love Benedict XVI even more before reading this. I stand corrected.


#10

[quote=Hildebrand]IMHO, this sums it up. I would add movies like “Alice in Wonderland” (and other movies that resemble drug induced realities), “Wizard of Oz”, and “Star Wars” to the list of movies that can “corrupt the hearts of the young, preventing them from developing a properly ordered sense of good and evil, thus harming their relationship with God while that relationship is still in its infancy”.

The Harry Potter movies/books are especially bad because not only can they accomplish all of the above… they focus on wizardry and sorcery and involve the “adventures of children”, making it attractive to kids.

[/quote]

It’s nice to find myself in friendly company for once.

I’ve tried explaining elsewhere that Star Wars’ “The Force” is an attractive lure into New Age practice. After all, what kid in serious trouble wouldn’t want to be able to cloud someone’s mind with the wave of a hand? “These aren’t the kids you’re looking for, Mr. Policeman. They can go about their business.” … “You can do it too, Mikey. Relax and let go. Feel The Force flow through you.”

Harry Potter’s study of incantational and invocational magic encourages kids to seek a power greater than themselves that is both not God and is without the restrictions that a moral authority (parents and church) imposes upon them. Granted, many kids will not follow through completely with this, but how many others will?

And how many parents, thrilled to have their kids reading anything, even know that the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “All practices of magic or sorcery … are gravely contrary … are to be condemned …” Emphasis on ALL. Too many parents endorse these books without also solidly grounding their children in the teachings of the church. Let’s just raise another generation of “liberal” Catholics, shall we?

Finally, Harry Potter nominally recognizes the forms of Christianity, with none of the substance. Harry Potter and friends give and get gifts, but no one remembers why. Imagine Christmas with no Christ, no sacrifice, no message; just one big goodie grabfest. Sounds like a real good deal, doesn’t it?


#11

It’s funny then that the USCCB doesn’t rate the movies as morally offensive. They are rated for A-II - Adults and Adolescents.


#12

[quote=mjdonnelly]It’s funny then that the USCCB doesn’t rate the movies as morally offensive. They are rated for A-II - Adults and Adolescents.
[/quote]

Not funny at all. They don’t find the Potter movies morally offensive. BTW, the USCCB does have an O rating for films deemed to be Morally Offensive.


#13

I think the headline for this thread is somewhat misleading. The Pope thanked this lady for her discernment in pointing out what she sees as problems with the novels. The Holy Father himself doesn’t come out with categorical opposition to the novels.

While I agree that there are some troubling elements in the novels, these seem no more serious to me than what we find in many fairy tales and newer stories. Dr. Dolittle talks to animals, the Wizard of Oz features the “good witch Glinda”, Cinderella has a fairy godmother, the Arthurian legends feature the wizard Merlin. I could go on and on and on. Since when has the Church suppressed all flights of fancy and fairy tales?


#14

[quote=StJeanneDArc]I think the headline for this thread is somewhat misleading. The Pope thanked this lady for her discernment in pointing out what she sees as problems with the novels. The Holy Father himself doesn’t come out with categorical opposition to the novels.

While I agree that there are some troubling elements in the novels, these seem no more serious to me than what we find in many fairy tales and newer stories. Dr. Dolittle talks to animals, the Wizard of Oz features the “good witch Glinda”, Cinderella has a fairy godmother, the Arthurian legends feature the wizard Merlin. I could go on and on and on. Since when has the Church suppressed all flights of fancy and fairy tales?
[/quote]

I agree with everything you said. I would add there are varying degrees and number of “troubling elements” in novels and movies. I would rate Cinderella and the King Arthur tales very, very low in both the degree and number of “troubling elements” and relatively high in character building elements (more so with King Arthur). With all the junk that is out there, the two can do more good than harm to children.


#15

[quote=Nan S]I’ve tried explaining elsewhere that Star Wars’ “The Force” is an attractive lure into New Age practice. After all, what kid in serious trouble wouldn’t want to be able to cloud someone’s mind with the wave of a hand? “These aren’t the kids you’re looking for, Mr. Policeman. They can go about their business.” … “You can do it too, Mikey. Relax and let go. Feel The Force flow through you.”

Harry Potter’s study of incantational and invocational magic encourages kids to seek a power greater than themselves that is both not God and is without the restrictions that a moral authority (parents and church) imposes upon them. Granted, many kids will not follow through completely with this, but how many others will?

And how many parents, thrilled to have their kids reading anything, even know that the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “All practices of magic or sorcery … are gravely contrary … are to be condemned …” Emphasis on ALL. Too many parents endorse these books without also solidly grounding their children in the teachings of the church. Let’s just raise another generation of “liberal” Catholics, shall we?

Finally, Harry Potter nominally recognizes the forms of Christianity, with none of the substance. Harry Potter and friends give and get gifts, but no one remembers why. Imagine Christmas with no Christ, no sacrifice, no message; just one big goodie grabfest. Sounds like a real good deal, doesn’t it?
[/quote]

Bravo. :clapping:


#16

[quote=Sarah Jane]Pope Benedict Opposes Harry Potter Novels
[/quote]

What a relief!!! I have been hoping for news like this since I read the first publication of this series. Believe me…I would not have read it if wasn’t required to in a children’s lit. class I took.

When the main character of the book was horsing around during Christmas school break instead of celebrating the Birth of Christ like the rest of the children I knew the book was ****.


#17

[quote=mjdonnelly]It’s funny then that the USCCB doesn’t rate the movies as morally offensive. They are rated for A-II - Adults and Adolescents.
[/quote]

The same guys that brought us the sex scandal.


#18

[quote=bigdawg]The same guys that brought us the sex scandal.
[/quote]

Explain this or retract it.


#19

This comparison comes out often. All of your examples involve something other than a gleeful self-indulgence in magic.

The magic in Harry Potter is of a different quality, wouldn’t you say? And is it not also reasonable to say that it teaches children to value a supernatural power that is not necessarily God-centered?

Peace.
John


#20

[quote=Shiann]Explain this or retract it.
[/quote]

When were you sworn into the PC Police?


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