The Sock Diary

Musings of a part-time Sweaty Sock.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Has the Pope banned Harry Potter?

Short answer: NO.

There seems to be some confusion about this. The Vatican says no, but the media seems to have interpreted a letter from Ratzinger (pre-popedom) as a denunciation of the Harry Potter books.

The Times Online:
"It is good that you enlighten people about Harry Potter because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul before it can grow properly," [Ratzinger] wrote.

However, in an interview on Vatican radio (transcript from, thanks Father Roderick) Monseigneur Peter Fleetwood, apart from backing up J.K. Rowling's creation as pretty good thing, suggests the letter in which Ratzinger allegedly denounced Potter as dangerous, is basically a form letter, tweaked by a sub-ordinate, in answer to a bit of a mad lady (my interpretation of his words) from Germany (maybe the Jesuits have a form letter for answering mad tract senders, they probably get a lot :).

I was asked once in a press-conference in the Vatican whether I thought the witchcraft and magic in Harry Potter was a bad thing, and I said to the people present: 'did anyone in this room grow up without stories about witches and fairies and magic and spells and mystery and so on and so forth?', and everyone seemed to agree that none of us had grown up without those things. And then I said: 'did it make us into enemies of the faith, or enemies of God, or enemies of the Church?' And people seemed to say: 'no, no'. And I said: 'well, I can't see any problem with Harry Potter, because, really, all the stories are about the victory of good over evil'.

I was sent a letter from a lady in Germany who claimed to have written to the then cardinal Ratzinger, saying that she thought Harry Potter was a bad thing.... The letter back, which I suspect was written by an assistant of the then cardinal Ratzinger in his office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, suggested that there was a subtle seduction in the books. What that subtle seduction was, was not specified, which makes me think it was a generic answer.... [The lady] had written a book on these subjects and so the Cardinal's signature was at the bottom of the letter, suggesting she should send me [her] book.

I think it's pretty much a media fabrication that the Pope thinks Harry Potter should be banned, with quotes taken out of context to sell papers and create hype and hysteria where there would be little or none.

Further links:, NZCity, bellaciao

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  • At 3:38 am, Blogger Rick Barnes said…

    Perhaps, much along the lines the Pope can help stop AIDS by banning condoms

  • At 7:22 am, Blogger PartTimeSock said…

    Yeah, that's a lot of teaser. Teaching FUD, they are impregnated with stuff that makes you infertile, there are microscopic holes in them which mean they don't work anyway and specifically allow HIV through. I definately believe the Catholic Church has some serious thinking to do about stuff like that. But on the Harry Potter issue, they're in the clear. Maybe the mass media can move onto something serious now?


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