The Vatican and Harry Potter

The Vatican and Harry Potter September 30, 2007

While the last Harry Potter novel has now come and gone, for years to come I expect we will hear more and more about the “evils” of Harry Potter by some of its critics. If nothing else, the continuing movie series will encourage this. They will try to tell you that the Pope has condemned the Potter series. Of course, that is because many sources, and especially LifeSite, have worked to suggest this. Indeed, LifeSite has had a campaign against Harry Potter for years, and they had a news story on their site which made it appear that Pope Benedict had made a final declaration against the books.

Nothing can be further from the truth.

I found a long, but important, post by John Granger, which goes into the full story behind the Pope’s so-called condemnation, and goes into details rarely heard. According to the published letters, Cardinal Ratzinger encouraged the author of an anti-Harry Potter book to send her book to Fr. Fleetwood (of the Pontifical Council of Culture). She did. She did not, however, get the response she was expecting or hoping for. Instead, she received a criticism of her book. Read the full story here.

It’s worth your time (if nothing else, to show why one should be cautious when reading stories by LifeSite). 

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  • An interesting debate opened up over whether the last book endorsed a consequentialist muder-suicide plot. I think Zippy took that position. Others (and I think Mark Shea was prominant) disagreed. The really interesting thing about Rowling’s last book is that the great Dumbledore is exposed as a man of weakness, who (like so many in real life) let himself be seduced by evil by consequentialist reasoning. And, despite his repentence, he remained partly a consequentialist until the end, which explains his idea that Snape should kill him and gain control of the Eldar Wand, being the best placed after him to defeat Voldemort. Except that Dumbledore’s plan went awry by consequences he could not forsee. Instead, Harry defeats Dumbldore at the end not through consequentialism, but through grace. And that is a powerful Christian message.