Thursday, April 28, 2005

Did the former Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) criticize Harry Potter?

There's been a rather alarming rumor spreading that newly-elected Pope Benedict XVI once blasted J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books by claiming that they undermine the soul of Christianity. According to the rumor, the pope said this back when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, while praising an anti-Potter book entitled "Harry Potter: Good or Bad" by Gabriele Kuby. Here's the supposed quote taken from Hollywood.com:

"It is good that you explain the facts of Harry Potter, because this is a subtle seduction, which has deeply unnoticed and direct effects in undermining the soul of Christianity before it can really grow properly."
Hmmm...let's see. If this "report" isn't just another lie to make the new pope look bad, this Google search would show results, wouldn't it?

Isn't it interesting that what such a famous person said supposedly two years ago conveniently appeared just now, just when his critics are looking for ways to discredit him?

Embarrassing Update: It seems that the Pope did write this back when he was cardinal. He wrote it to Kuby in a letter written in German, so that's probably why the above Google search didn't work (try this one). Instead of repeating my mistake of forming conclusions before obtaining all the facts, I'm just gonna let this issue lie in the back of my mind and shut my mouth for now, at least until we hear something Potter-related from the Pope as pope.

Edit: BTW, I still think that this act of fishing up something "bad" from the pope's past is just plain wrong. In any case, a whole bunch of good and wholesome literature can be used to undermine the souls of weak Christians. Many atheists could even use the Bible itself to scandalize people. The former cardinal could have very well been affirming the fact that the Harry Potter books *could* make certain kinds of people spiritually weaker (especially those who are already drawn to rebellion or to the occult). He might have just been conceding the fact that Kuby has point, but that doesn't mean that the former cardinal believed it was the only point, or that Harry Potter ought to be banned by the Church. I mean, he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith! Harry Potter would have been banned faster than one could say "Wingardium Leviosa!" if the former Cardinal Ratzinger wanted to. Making people doubt the fairness of the pope (forgetting that the infallibility doctrine makes it irrelevant) just because he decided to praise a fellow defender of the Faith a few years ago is therefore in my opinion nothing less than malicious.