Oh my. Five days ago, I asked why a certain article made claims about the Catholic Church’s opposition to Harry Potter when I, a reporter who has covered this beat for several years, had never heard of any such opposition. Apparently I spoke too soon.
The front page of today’s Vancouver Sun features a story on a couple of letters that were written by Pope Benedict XVI two years ago, when he was known as Cardinal Ratzinger, in which he thanks a German author, Gabriele Kuby, for “enlighten[ing] us on the Harry Potter matter, for these are subtle, barely perceptible seductions, and precisely because of that they have a profound effect and can corrupt the Christian faith in souls even before it [faith] is able to properly grow.” Copies of these letters may now be downloaded from the Canadian website LifeSiteNews.com.
As it is, I happen to be reading a review copy of A Parent’s Guide to Harry Potter right now; the author, Gina Burkart, seems to be Catholic, and the publishing firm, InterVarsity, is evangelical; and one of the interesting things about this book is that Burkart apparently doesn’t feel the need to waste all that much time defending the Harry Potter books — instead, after some pro forma comments acknowledging that there has been a controversy, she plunges right into what she thinks is good about the books.
I had thought that this was indicative of how the controversy had finally run out of steam and been laid to rest. But perhaps not. I just hope it turns out that the Pope’s position is a bit more nuanced than these muggles have made it out to be.
UPDATE: Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin has already eviscerated LifeSiteNews.com for the “special kind of hypocrisy” they have shown in condemning the media’s carelessness while simultaneously exploiting it. Curiously, his post is dated July 14, although — based on the time stamp on the e-mail through which an e-pal referred me to this post — it apparently went up at a time when it was still July 13 in all North American time zones.
JUL 22 UPDATE: And now Orthodox Harry Potter expert John Granger weighs in, with a detailed timeline.