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: 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 http://www.zenit.org/german/visualizza.phtml?sid=45441 )
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."
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
See the LifeSiteNews.com Harry Potter controversy page:
See Gabriele Kuby's, Michael O'Brien and Spiritdaily's websites: