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Does the Pope dislike Harry Potter?

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Does the Pope dislike Harry Potter?

Pope Benedict XVI allegedly disapproves of Harry Potter. In March, 2003 the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote to Gabriele Kuby: “It is good that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because these are subtle seductions which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly…”

Kuby had sent him a copy of her book Harry Potter &#8211 gut oder böse? [Good Or Evil]. The above quote was part of his response. (More of his response might be at her website at www.Gabriele-Kuby.de. I’m not sure, since it is all in German.)

However, Msgr. Peter Fleetwood suggested, as quoted on Vatican Radio, that the statement attributed to Ratzinger was made by an assistant.

He goes on to say that: “I remain firmly convinced that the Harry Potter novels are very well written. They are written on the classical plot of good versus evil in the standard way that the old myths were written. . . I can’t see that that’s a bad thing for children.”

He also advises parents: “If you’re in doubt, read the books yourselves, the first one, that’s the shortest one, and see what you think. Don’t simply rely on somebody else’s opinion, not even on my opinion.”

See more of Fleetwood’s comments at Catholic Insider. You can also subscribe to a podcast from father Roderick Vonhögen.

I had to post this because Fleetwood’s alternative Catholic view does not seem to be getting the publicity that the Pope’s two-year-old comments have.

It is also ironic that among the news sites that link to amazon, all of them link to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but none of them seem to link to Harry Potter &#8211 gut oder böse?. (It turns out to be a difficult book to find.)
Edited: PC

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About Damon

  • Kuby’s book is very hard to find if you’re looking for it in English – the title is actually Harry Potter &#8211 gut oder böse?.

  • The title has been corrected in the post, and the Amazon link within the post to HP6 has been removed.

  • I saw an English copy in a Christian bookstore once. I don’t know if it was the same one, but it was the same kind of message: Harry Potter is evil and so on.

  • sal m

    “…because these are subtle seductions which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly…”

    The Pope should be more concerned with the un-subtle seductions such as pedophelia in the rank and file of the priest-hood, instead of wasting his time worrying about the influence of a fictional character on the youngest members of his flock.

  • Shark

    Once again, the fanatical Christoids have taken a hot ‘news’ item and turned it into a marketing plan for their “cultural war.”

    But this opportunistic move can only backfire: it shows the millions of kids the Christian Right’s credibility gap when it comes to pointing out “moral dangers”.

    For millions of young kids (who will one day grow up to be VOTERS) this means that EVERYTHING the Christian Right says is SUSPECT.

    PS: Of all the corrupt and dangerous shit in our culture, Harry Potter has got to be on the same level as… say… broccoli.

  • Nancy

    Or Bertie’s Every-flavored beans.


    The Pope should be more concerned with the un-subtle seductions such as pedophelia in the rank and file of the priest-hood, instead of wasting his time worrying about the influence of a fictional character on the youngest members of his flock.

    The youngest of the popes flock, if are left un-supervised in what they see and are allowed to hear and be a part of ,grow up to take part of this pedophelia because of there thinking, and viewing of such things as this.
    This is not realistic stuff.
    If left to go unchecked by mainly the parents first, and those who these young ones are left in the care of, then we can’t blame the children for the mess this world is in today. it’s such stuff as this that is getting worse and worse all the time.Kids have a tendency to believe what they see. So are we saying it’s ok for all these young vulnerable children to decide for themselves what is real and what isn’t. It isn’t just this it’s the video games as well. It’s all gotten totally out of control and we are the ones to blame not the children. We have gotten to the point we don’t even want to listen to the advise of the pope, a man called by God to try to get us to see, and to guide us down the right path, because we know it all and we will compromise the word of God at the drop of a hat in order to get to do what “we” think is ok. I’m sorry, but if the Bible speaks against witch craft then that’s all I need to know as a grandmother to keep this junk away from the ears and the eyes of my innocent grandbabies, who don’t know any better. Shame on the adult generation, and God have mercy on your souls.

  • The notion that the Harry Potter books are somehow anti-catholic or anti-christian is ludicrous.

    First of all, Harry Potter is just one more children/adolescent/adult series that relies on fantasy to tell a very basic story- one of good vs. evil. And its told in a way that makes it interesting and fun for children.

    If Harry Potter is evil, is the Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Wizard of Oz, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Star Wars, etc. evil? Of course not.

    What we have here is the usual Right Wing view that unless it openly comes out and proclaims “Christianity is the true way and Jesus is Lord”, then its somehow at odds with Christianity and is therefore suspect. To that, I say “lighten up.”

    The notion that simply because the book contains witches, wizards and magic does not make it evil or unchristian (never mind that it can be different things to different people). The Pope is a very smart, educated man- he must realize that some of us arent as dumb as dirt and that even children can see a distinction between fantasy and reality. He must be able to see that the use of witches and magic is merely a vehicle for telling a fantasy story and that it will not result in millions of the world’s children running off to go buy wands and try to put hexes on their neighbors and denounce Jesus.

    The Pope is, sadly, not alone in his denunciation of these books. In fact, many Right Wing Evangelicals have denounced the book as evil for some of the most superficial, petty reasons (snakes play a prominent role in the books and we all know snakes are evil!).

    There is nothing wrong with disliking these books but to claim that they are evil or somehow damage children and society is ludicrous. Perhaps the Pope should be more concerned with the damage that 50+ years of rampant child sexual assault and the resulting cover up, by the Church’s Priests.

    I am sorry, but the Pope (or his assistant or whatever) is merely distracting us from more important issues and making himself and the Church look petty and opportunistic in the process.

  • I am a Christion kid and Harry Potter had nothing wrong with it that I can see. If people are going to put down the Harry Potter books than the sould proubly at least try to read them. Harry Potter has actully strenthed my realashionship with God.

  • Steve

    Well, according to a Catholic Professor I know who is a huge Harry Potter fan, apparently, this report about the Pope is a distortion of the facts. You can check out the site –
    to find out more.

    I think the problem with the Christian opposition to HP is that those that haven’t read the books think that the ‘witchcraft’ of the books and real life wicca are one and the same thing. Of course, anyone who has read them and knows something about Wicca would realise HP’s view of witchcraft is a totally stereotypical one (flying broomsticks, etc.) which was common in the Middle Ages but has little to do with present day Wiccan dogma.

  • I don’t know why people are so surprised that Pope Benedict XVI, the busy man at the hub of everybod else’s life, should have time to read Harry Potter. Every child should read it. Indeed, if the Pope had any children of his own — whcih he doesn’t — one could only advise him to get them a copy. But then, if he had kids of his own, he might not need such advices: he would know better.

    But why does he condemn Harry Potter?

    That’s easy! The Pope condems Harry Potter for the same reason as he condemns Dan Brown and his Da Vinci and Charles Darwin, and, by the same token, does not condemn Jeffry Archer and the Gospel According to Judas. He does so because they compete so well with the Bible.

    The trick of it is, when you walk on water, don’t get your feet wet!

    Seamus Breathnach

  • According to Canon Law the Pope is not allowed to love anyone,but may hate everyone with or without cause shown. The exception to those he might hate are God in Heaven but not Mary Magdalen on Earth, a cat but not a dog, Henry Kissenger but not Ho Chi Minh, Rupert Murdoch but not the editor of Jyland’s Posten, Bono but not Bob Dylon, Mozart but not the Rolling Stones, Jeffrey Archer but not Judas, Jurgen Habermas but not Karl Marx, the Ecumenical millions but not Hans King, Sister Theresa but not women in general, George Bush but not Tony Blair (anymore).

    What would a little black chap born in a stable fifteen hundred years ago and crucified on a cross by a gang of Roman soldiers’ thing of all this? He might think : Isn’t history marvellous? There actually has been change after all. My sacrifice was worth it. Imay have been born in a stable ,but my ‘successor’ now gets to live where the gang of soldiers who crucified me lived? And his children will never starve?

    Isn’t that what history is about!

    Seamus Breathnach

  • harry potter isnt evil at all!!

  • The Wiccan Pope dislikes Harry Potter, because all of the films are false religiously. For one there is no talk of God or His Goddess Wisdom/Alchemy/Christ, or casting a circle. It is all nonsense. Feeding into the Nazi Pope’s hate for true Witches. To learn more google Wiccan Pope

  • I tell you what, I saw part one of Deathly Hollows, and loved it! About time it gets good. I still HATE the false stereotypes of Wicca, but the action was great, and I loved the more grown up feel to the film. Can’t wait to see the second part.
    I am the monotheist Wiccan Pope. I worship One God and One Goddess. Wisdom of Proverbs 8 is the Goddess. Her Consort is Jehovah the Lord Hunter God. Their Son is Yeshua Christ. Find out how at WiccanPope.com
    and visit Wiccan Pope Links to see all the sites supporting the Goddess Wisdom a.k.a. Sophia (Alchemy)