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Pope Opposes Harry Potter Novels - Signed Letters from Cardinal Ratzinger Now Online
LifeSiteNews.com ^ | July 13, 2005 | LifeSiteNews.com

Posted on 07/13/2005 12:49:13 AM PDT by dsc

Pope Opposes Harry Potter Novels - Signed Letters from Cardinal Ratzinger Now Online

RIMSTING, Germany, July 13, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - LifeSiteNews.com has obtained and made available online copies of two letters sent by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was recently elected Pope, to a German critic of the Harry Potter novels. In March 2003, a month after the English press throughout the world falsely proclaimed that Pope John Paul II approved of Harry Potter, the man who was to become his successor sent a letter to a Gabriele Kuby outlining his agreement with her opposition to J.K. Rowling's offerings. (See below for links to scanned copies of the letters signed by Cardinal Ratzinger.)

As the sixth issue of Rowling's Harry Potter series - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - is about to be released, the news that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger expressed serious reservations about the novels is now finally being revealed to the English-speaking world still under the impression the Vatican approves the Potter novels.

In a letter dated March 7, 2003 Cardinal Ratzinger thanked Kuby for her "instructive" book Harry Potter - gut oder böse (Harry Potter- good or evil?), in which Kuby says the Potter books corrupt the hearts of the young, preventing them from developing a properly ordered sense of good and evil, thus harming their relationship with God while that relationship is still in its infancy.

"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," wrote Cardinal Ratzinger.

The letter also encouraged Kuby to send her book on Potter to the Vatican prelate who quipped about Potter during a press briefing which led to the false press about the Vatican support of Potter. At a Vatican press conference to present a study document on the New Age in April 2003, one of the presenters - Fr. Peter Fleedwood - made a positive comment on the Harry Potter books in response to a question from a reporter. Headlines such as "Pope Approves Potter" (Toronto Star), "Pope Sticks Up for Potter Books" (BBC), "Harry Potter Is Ok With The Pontiff" (Chicago Sun Times) and "Vatican: Harry Potter's OK with us" (CNN Asia) littered the mainstream media.

In a second letter sent to Kuby on May 27, 2003, Cardinal Ratzinger "gladly" gave his permission to Kuby to make public "my judgement about Harry Potter."

The most prominent Potter critic in North America, Catholic novelist and painter Michael O'Brien commented to LifeSiteNews.com on the "judgement" of now-Pope Benedict saying, "This discernment on the part of Benedict XVI reveals the Holy Father's depth and wide ranging gifts of spiritual discernment." O'Brien, author of a book dealing with fantasy literature for children added, "it is consistent with many of the statements he's been making since his election to the Chair of Peter, indeed for the past 20 years - a probing accurate read of the massing spiritual warfare that is moving to a new level of struggle in western civilization. He is a man in whom a prodigious intellect is integrated with great spiritual gifts. He is the father of the universal church and we would do well to listen to him."

English translations of the two letters by Cardinal Ratzinger follow:

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger Vatican City March 7, 2003

Esteemed and dear Ms. Kuby!

Many thanks for your kind letter of February 20th and the informative book which you sent me in the same mail. 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.

I would like to suggest that you write to Mr. Peter Fleedwood, (Pontifical Council of Culture, Piazza S. Calisto 16, I00153 Rome) directly and to send him your book.

Sincere Greetings and Blessings,

+ Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

=======================

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger Vatican City May 27, 2003

Esteemed and dear Ms. Kuby,

Somehow your letter got buried in the large pile of name-day , birthday and Easter mail. Finally this pile is taken care of, so that I can gladly allow you to refer to my judgment about Harry Potter.

Sincere Greetings and Blessings,

+ Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Links to the scanned copies of the two signed letters by Cardinal Ratzinger (in German) - In PDF format: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005_docs/ratzingerletter.pdf http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005_docs/ratzingerpermission.pdf

jhw


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: cardinalratzinger; harrypotter; jpii; magic; pope; ratzinger
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"subtle seductions, which act unnoticed"
1 posted on 07/13/2005 12:49:21 AM PDT by dsc
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To: dsc

Ah yes, it is those evil books rather than those video games, television programs, magazine advertising, billboards, etc that so drastically affect children...

Yeah right.


2 posted on 07/13/2005 12:57:22 AM PDT by kingu
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To: kingu

Well, that didn't take long.

Of course video games, television programs, magazine advertising, billboards, etc. have an influence. And so do those evil books.

I think I finally have it figured out. The Holy Father referred to "subtle seductions, which act unnoticed."

The key word there is "unnoticed."

I think perhaps some people are just unwilling to face the fact that they *didn't* notice, that they weren't *first* to see it, that they had to have it pointed out to them.

I think perhaps some people would rather die than admit that to themselves, and that's why no amount of reasoned argument avails, why the more it piles up, the angrier they get.


3 posted on 07/13/2005 1:19:06 AM PDT by dsc
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To: kingu

Occultism is an abomination to God - no matter what the form.


4 posted on 07/13/2005 3:15:18 AM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: PetroniusMaximus

For cryin' out loud, they're fantasy novels, get over it.


5 posted on 07/13/2005 3:24:17 AM PDT by DefiantZERO
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To: dsc

Lord of the Rings is better. I've read Harry Potter and it's easy to see why kids these days don't read books like The Hobbit, LOTR and C.S.Lewis.


6 posted on 07/13/2005 3:27:59 AM PDT by cyborg (http://mentalmumblings.blogspot.com/)
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To: DefiantZERO

***For cryin' out loud, they're fantasy novels, get over it.***

Hypothetical: how would you feel is Harry Potter was "fantasy" novel about a pot smoking, young meth dealer and his male prostitute, junkie friends?

Would you bee cool with letting your kids read that?


7 posted on 07/13/2005 3:30:04 AM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: PetroniusMaximus
Twelve Practices God Forbids....

1. Necromancy: Communication with the dead, conjuration of the spirits of the dead, for the purpose of revealing the future or influencing the course of events. Deut 18:11; I Sam 28:1-25; Isa 8:19; I Chron 10:13-14

2. Enchantments: The act of influencing by charms and incantations; the practice of magical arts; use of human voice or music to bring another under psychic control. Lev 19:26; Deut 18:10-12; II Chron 33:6; II Kings 17:17; Isa 47:8-11; Jer 27:8; Dan 1:20

3. Witchcraft: Dealing with evil spirits. Deut 18:10-12; II Chron 33:6; I Sam 15:23; Gal 5:19-21

4. Sorcery: Use of power gained from assistance or control of evil spirits, especially for divining. Jer 27:9; Isa 47:9; Rev 21:8

5. Divination: Fortune-telling. Deut 18:10-14; II Kings 17:17; Jer 27:8-9, 29:8-9; Acts 16:16-24

6. Wizardry: Magic, sorcery. Deut 18:11; II Kings 17:17; Exo 22:18

7. Charm: A spell; to affect by magic. Deut 18:11; Isa 19:3

8. Star Gazing/Astrology: Divination of the supposed influence of the stars upon human affairs and terrestrial events by their position and aspects. Isa 47:12-15; Jer 10:2; Dan 1:18-20, 2:1-49, 4:1-37; 5:7-15

9. Soothsaying: Foretelling events; prophesying by a spirit other than the Holy Spirit. Josh 13:22; Micah 5:12-15; Acts 16:16-18

10. Prognostication: To foretell from signs or symptoms; prophesying without the Holy Spirit; soothsaying. Isa 47:12-15; Josh 13:22; Micah 5:12-15; Acts 16:16-18

11. Observing Times: Astrology. Lev 19:26; Deut 18:10-14; II Kings 21:6; II Chron 33:6

12. Magic: Witchcraft. Deut 18:10-12; II Chron 33:6, I Sam 15:23
8 posted on 07/13/2005 4:06:07 AM PDT by Esther Ruth
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To: Esther Ruth

13. Judging others: "Judge not lest ye be judged...Why seest thou a mote in thy brother's eye, and perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"


9 posted on 07/13/2005 4:24:26 AM PDT by Grut
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To: Grut

God will judge and He has given us His rules that He WILL judge us by. He also gives us a free will obviously, to do as we please if we choose to not follow His rules.


10 posted on 07/13/2005 4:33:01 AM PDT by Esther Ruth (Choose THIS DAY who you WILL Serve for no man can serve two masters.)
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To: Esther Ruth
Which has what to do with your judging others?
11 posted on 07/13/2005 4:38:58 AM PDT by Grut
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To: Grut

Satan, The Devil and ALL his Demons are liars!! There WILL be judgement!

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.


12 posted on 07/13/2005 5:03:15 AM PDT by Esther Ruth (And I saw a new heaven and earth, for the first heaven and earth were passed away..Rev 21:1)
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To: PetroniusMaximus
"Hypothetical: how would you feel is Harry Potter was "fantasy" novel about a pot smoking, young meth dealer and his male prostitute, junkie friends?"

Apples and oranges.
13 posted on 07/13/2005 5:15:08 AM PDT by jdm (The answer to the extra credit question on a Columbia U exam is always choice C: "Bush's Fault.")
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To: jdm

*** Apples and oranges.***

Not an answer...


14 posted on 07/13/2005 5:25:47 AM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: PetroniusMaximus
Hypothetical: how would you feel is Harry Potter was "fantasy" novel about a pot smoking, young meth dealer and his male prostitute, junkie friends?

Would you be cool with letting your kids read that?


No, but it's not about any of that, so the point is moot.

That's like saying that you wouldn't let your kids watch Winnie the Pooh if it was about crack whores, polygamy, and lesbian orgies. What kind of point exactly do you make?
15 posted on 07/13/2005 5:30:24 AM PDT by DefiantZERO
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To: DefiantZERO

*** No, but it's not about any of that, so the point is moot.***

Not so quick.


***What kind of point exactly do you make?***

First off, let me ask you - are you a Christian?


16 posted on 07/13/2005 5:48:54 AM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: PetroniusMaximus

Yes sir, though I fail to see the relevance. Has Christianity become so narrow-minded?

I read and watch Star Trek, which in many cases promotes evolution. But I enjoy it anyway. Am I a sinner?


17 posted on 07/13/2005 5:53:51 AM PDT by DefiantZERO
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To: Esther Ruth
8. Star Gazing/Astrology: Divination of the supposed influence of the stars upon human affairs and terrestrial events by their position and aspects. Isa

I'm not sure how this jives with the Magi. Weren't they suppose to be following a star to find Jesus.

18 posted on 07/13/2005 5:54:58 AM PDT by mware ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche........ "Nope, you are"-- GOD)
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To: Esther Ruth

You seriously need to calm down and learn the difference between practicing an art and reading a fictional story about it..


19 posted on 07/13/2005 5:57:24 AM PDT by DefiantZERO
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To: DefiantZERO
Yes sir, though I fail to see the relevance. Has Christianity become so narrow-minded? I read and watch Star Trek, which in many cases promotes evolution. But I enjoy it anyway. Am I a sinner?

Yes. But if you rub the golden toe of a statue in the Vatican, somehow it may help your cause.

20 posted on 07/13/2005 6:02:22 AM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
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To: Diddle E. Squat

I had no idea. Thank you for saving me from the depths of Hell.


21 posted on 07/13/2005 6:05:02 AM PDT by DefiantZERO
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To: DefiantZERO

No problem. Keep a sharp eye on your oatmeal and freeway overpasses. Although you can no longer buy an indulgence, a VM siting has to be worth something.

Anyway, talk to later after my banning. Because it is quite fine to rail against and poke fun at the weak points in various parts of culture outside a denomination, but dontcha dare note similar in the denomination that originally pointed the finger of criticism.


22 posted on 07/13/2005 6:11:23 AM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
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To: DefiantZERO

***Yes sir, though I fail to see the relevance.***

OK, so here is the point.

By your own admission you don't want your kids to read a book with actions and behaviors you find unacceptable - even if it is FANTASY.

So whether a work is "fantasy" or not is not the issue. The issue is the moral nature of the content. Else wise you would be OK with the druggie/prostitution book as long as it was "fantasy".

There are certain types of content you find morally unacceptable - drug use, homosexual prostitution.

The Bible makes it clear that certain types of behaviors are morally reprehensible to God - in fact He finds them to be an abomination - things like witchcraft, occultism etc. The Potter books are literally packed with this stuff from start to finish.

Problem is, you are allowing your moral sense to be guided by something other than the Bible. You have a standard of acceptable and unacceptable behavior (that even applies to works of "fantasy") but you are using your own code of morality and not deriving your sense of right and wrong from what the Bible reveals God's opinion to be on this issue.


23 posted on 07/13/2005 6:11:30 AM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: Diddle E. Squat

Even better yet, a VM sighting.


24 posted on 07/13/2005 6:11:51 AM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
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To: dsc

Unless he's read the books, I am uninterested in his opinion. Actually, I'm uninterested even if he *has* read them.


25 posted on 07/13/2005 6:15:26 AM PDT by Sloth (History's greatest monsters: Hitler, Stalin, Mao & Durbin)
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To: dsc; kingu; DefiantZERO; cyborg; don-o
I'm not totally convinced on either side, but let me just consider a couple of angles here.

(1) Cardinal Ratzinger's brief comments from two years ago don't justify the headline on this story, "Pope Opposes Harry Potter Novels." I realize that headline-writes have to do something to attract our attention --- and a dollypartonesque lady with a wardrobe malfunction can't really be insinuated with no connection whatsoever --- so we have to have the "Pope" opposing "Harry" as if this were a new development in dogma.

News Flash: It's not.

(2) I've read all the Harry Potter novels thus far, and in my judgment Rowling treats magic as a fantasy "alternative technology." Handy kitchen spoons that make their own cream sauce, and so forth. When things get really occult, as in being obsessed or possessed by a perverted entity (e.g. Voldemort or the Dementors), Rowling successfully communicates that "This is something different, this is truly evil." So that's what I'd want her to say, I'm pretty sure.

(3) Though Card. Ratzinger's 2003 note to Gabriele Kuby is not a doctrinal motu proprio from the Pope, I nevertheless have the highest respect for Ratzinger's moral goodness, knowledge of Catholic teaching, and intellectual sophistication with regard to literature. This gives me a much-higher-than-common respect for his opinion, as well as a curiosity about what Gabriele Kuby had to say.

So, I'm all ears.

26 posted on 07/13/2005 6:20:31 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life.)
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To: PetroniusMaximus

Yes, there are certain themes I believe would be damaging to children, and others that I find overall quite harmless. Letting kids entertain themselves by imagining flying brooms, invisibility blankets, etc. doesn't bother me. It's all harmless fun.

And as far as using my own personal morality code, I believe God gave me a brain for a reason, to think independently and act on what I feel is right. I pity you, never allowing yourself anything in life before checking the Book to see if you have permission.


27 posted on 07/13/2005 6:29:22 AM PDT by DefiantZERO
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To: DefiantZERO
I read and watch Star Trek, which in many cases promotes evolution. But I enjoy it anyway. Am I a sinner?

But of course. I've read some of the Potter books and watched the movies. I think they're enjoyable and except for some parts that may frighten little kids, I have no problem with them. I really don't care what this guy says about them. I would think he would have his hands full dealing with more pressing internal issues within his own organization to be overly concerned about a children's book.

28 posted on 07/13/2005 6:29:26 AM PDT by billbears (Deo Vindice)
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To: billbears

Yes, well, I have my own reservations about the way the religion is practiced anyway.

Quite frankly, I see things this way:

God is such an all-powerful being, with responsibility over the entirety of the universe, which leads me to believe he has a lot bigger things to worry about than whether I sit in Church for 2 hours singing every Sunday, or whether I decide to toss a few burgers down the gullet on Friday. Does he really give a flying f**k? I don't think so.

Perspective, people, perspective. Christianity, with all the good it embodies, is also just like any other religion: both eyes on keeping the sheep herded.


29 posted on 07/13/2005 6:35:30 AM PDT by DefiantZERO
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To: DefiantZERO; Admin Moderator

And if an administrator wants to ban me for that, so be it. In fact, I invite one here myself.


30 posted on 07/13/2005 6:36:17 AM PDT by DefiantZERO
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To: DefiantZERO

***Yes, there are certain themes I believe would be damaging to children, and others that I find overall quite harmless***

Case in point. It's about what "you" find acceptable - not what the Scriptures say.


***I believe God gave me a brain for a reason,***

He also gave you a Bible.



***I pity you, never allowing yourself anything in life before checking the Book to see if you have permission.***

Internet Handbook:
"No argument? Try a personal attack! It's fun and doesn't require nearly the effort of a real argument."



31 posted on 07/13/2005 6:38:33 AM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: dsc

every once in awhile the vatican says, "stop the world, we want to control your lives".

in 1870 pope pius ix issued his "syllabus of errors" in which he claimed for his church the control of science and culture.


32 posted on 07/13/2005 6:42:32 AM PDT by ken21 (it takes a village to brainwash your child + to steal your property! /s)
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To: dsc
One of the greatest plays in English literature is about witches and witchcraft - It's called Macbeth. Perhaps the Pope never heard of it.
33 posted on 07/13/2005 6:45:05 AM PDT by MrsEmmaPeel
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To: dsc

How does the Pope feel about Tolkien?


34 posted on 07/13/2005 6:52:22 AM PDT by P-Marlowe
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To: P-Marlowe

BLASPHEMY! GODLESS SATANISTS!


35 posted on 07/13/2005 7:07:07 AM PDT by DefiantZERO
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To: P-Marlowe

I would be willing to wager Tolkien passes muster.


36 posted on 07/13/2005 7:11:51 AM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: MrsEmmaPeel

LOL - Shakespeare wasn't glamorizing witchcraft in MacBeth and his work wasn't directly marketed to children.

Harry Potter and friends, however, are characters that children may wish to emulate. Creating curiosity about witchcraft draws the impressionable viewer (read: children) away from holiness.

It's disingenuous to support Harry Potter, blast the pope, and then complain that the mass media is indoctrinating our children into accepting homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle. Witchcraft is evil, too, but not in this case? This is aking to saying homosexuality is evil, but not in the case of "Will and Grace" because it's such a well-written show.

Lord of the Rings was written as an allegory for salvation history. Tolkien said as much and was a devout Catholic who had a close friendship with the great theologian, C.S. Lewis. It's not comparable.



37 posted on 07/13/2005 7:13:42 AM PDT by Rutles4Ever
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To: DefiantZERO

***he has a lot bigger things to worry about***

God doesn't "worry" about anything.


***Does he really give a flying f**k? I don't think so. ***

What did Jesus say...

"And the very hairs on your head are all numbered."


***Christianity, with all the good it embodies, is also just like any other religion:***

Are you sure you're a Christian?


38 posted on 07/13/2005 7:16:47 AM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: DefiantZERO
Does he really give a flying f**k? I don't think so.

I believe he does. As a Christian, I love to go to church and the Bible does teach that God loves our worship. However I agree with you in that I don't see anywhere in the Bible that childrens' books are somehow evil

39 posted on 07/13/2005 7:17:00 AM PDT by billbears (Deo Vindice)
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To: DefiantZERO

I don't know why you're so upset by this. You can move your lawn chair and cooler closer to the front door now.


40 posted on 07/13/2005 7:20:43 AM PDT by Rutles4Ever
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To: billbears

***I don't see anywhere in the Bible that childrens' books are somehow evil***

How about "Heather has Two Mommies"?


41 posted on 07/13/2005 7:20:55 AM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: dsc
I wouldn't put too much stock in this article. Sounds like this Kuby lady sent her book to then-Cardinal Ratzinger. Card. Ratzinger or an aide of his wrote something to the effect of "thanks for the book, sometimes things effect kids and we don't notice it."

Then this man Michael O'Brien goes to LifeSite making a huge issue out of it. While I respect LifeSite, I really wouldn't accept any conclusions before reading accounts of this in a few more sources. If Cardinal Ratzinger really believed Harry Potter was harmful, why wouldn't he have addressed it himself, instead of just giving permission for others to pass along his thoughts on the matter?
42 posted on 07/13/2005 7:33:46 AM PDT by Dancing Jane
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To: dsc

I am so glad to see this article!


43 posted on 07/13/2005 7:35:10 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Corin Stormhands; RosieCotton; retrokitten

Deja vu?
Deja vu?

This is the same as that dead thread that got resurrected last night. Silly then, silly now.


44 posted on 07/13/2005 7:36:11 AM PDT by JenB (I solemnly swear I am up to no good.)
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To: DefiantZERO

"Has Christianity become so narrow-minded? "


Yes. Paranoid and fearful too.

Do 'Harry Potter' books also cause priestly pedophilia? Or is the Pope going to continue the legacy of sweeping that little inconvenience under the rug by focusing on other harmless topics, like JK Rowling fantasy literature?


45 posted on 07/13/2005 7:37:01 AM PDT by Blzbba (For a man who does not know to which port he is sailing, no wind is favorable - Seneca)
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To: PetroniusMaximus

Very good question posed there! Thanks.


46 posted on 07/13/2005 7:37:06 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: billbears

"I would think he would have his hands full dealing with more pressing internal issues within his own organization to be overly concerned about a children's book."


One would think.


47 posted on 07/13/2005 7:38:26 AM PDT by Blzbba (For a man who does not know to which port he is sailing, no wind is favorable - Seneca)
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To: JenB

I'd rather chew on Filch's socks than get involved with this thread.


48 posted on 07/13/2005 7:41:49 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (Now that taglines are cool, I refuse to have one.)
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To: Rutles4Ever

"Lord of the Rings was written as an allegory for salvation history. Tolkien said as much and was a devout Catholic who had a close friendship with the great theologian, C.S. Lewis. It's not comparable."

Could you perhaps prove that? Tolkien was a devout Catholic but he also wrote quite emphatically that Lord of the Rings was *not* an allegory for anything though people have tried to connect it to Christianity, WWII, WWI, nuclear weaponry etc etc etc...

"The story is neither allegorical nor topical."~J.R.R. Tolkien


49 posted on 07/13/2005 7:43:19 AM PDT by Wolfram
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To: Tijeras_Slim; JenB
I'd rather chew on Filch's socks than get involved with this thread.

LOL!!! Eeewww....

I think I will pass on pinging the list to this one. Like Jen said, it's deja vu all over again.

50 posted on 07/13/2005 7:43:26 AM PDT by retrokitten (www.retrosrants.blogspot.com)
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