I've been debating over posting about this article from LifeSite.Net the last couple of days, ever since it crossed the desk here at Hebdomeros Central. Mostly because it makes me so damned angry, and I hate being angry at anyone. For those of you not wanting to read the whole article, the main gist is that Cardinal Ratzinger has written letters of support to Gabriele Kuby, a German critic who's been very vocal about the evils of the Harry Potter series. For those of you who missed the recent headlines, Cardinal Ratzinger now holds the seat of Paul at the vatican under the new name Pope Benedict.
Kuby is quoted in an interview saying this:
“I have no desire to see and depict devils where there are none,” she said, “but when I see with my own eyes, when my intelligence and heart inform me, that there is a devil painted on a wall even though most everyone else sees on this same wall only flowery wallpaper design, then I feel obliged to give witness to the truth, whether convenient or unwelcome. There is such a thing as public deception—we Germans know about that.”
From the same interview, Kuby quotes a letter of support she received from then Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict:
""Thank you very much for the instructive book. 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." (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, March 7, 2003)
Personally, I was a little confused at this point. I can understand not being a Harry Potter fan, but what can people have against books that apparently bring joy to so many? So I looked up some of the people referenced in the article. Kuby is German, and despite my semester in Berlin I sadly do not read German very well. But I've taken a pretty good look at the site of author and painter Michael O'Brien, another very vocal critic of the Harry Potter series. According to his site:
Rome’s official exorcist, Fr. Gabriele Amorth, warned parents against the books in an interview with the Italian ANSA news agency. Fr. Amorth, who is also the president of the International Association of Exorcists, said bluntly, “Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil.” He maintained that many of the ideas expressed in the books were from the realm of darkness, that they contain innumerable positive references to magic, “the satanic art”, and attempt to make a false distinction between black and white magic, when in fact the distinction “does not exist, because magic is always a recourse to the devil.”.
Hmm. Black magic. Yeah.
Perhaps I've just missed it, but have any kids been running around hexing each other or flying around playing Quidditch on brooms after reading Ms. Rowling's novels?
Even if I did believe in magic, the series just doesn't have enough information as far as spells that kids could start casting incantations and enchantments themselves (and, btw, most any public library or local bookstore has pretty detailed books on magic spells if kids want the "real" stuff). While I fully expect these kind of thoughts from random crazies and wingnuts scattered around the the world, clergy are well educated and should know better. Particularly those that make it all the way to the Vatican, whatever their respective position might be. With the release of the new Harry Potter book coming in a matter of days, I fully expected to hear from the overwrought crazies who can't handle words contrary to their world view, but hopefully the Vatican will keep quiet. If not, I expect they'll have hordes of angry kids--magically endowed kids, apparently--focusing their normally scatterered anger at them.