Skip to comments.Pope Opposes Harry Potter Novels - Signed Letters from Cardinal Ratzinger Now Online
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
Quite typical in the "school story" tradition, one that never became that popular in America (probably because boarding schools aren't that common for the middle class). Of American school stories, I recall only Billie Bradley and Betty Gordon (I never read boys' childrens' books), and even they're pretty old (IIRC, about 1910-1920); I'm not sure there are any current American school stories.
| I've met a couple
of this type of girl who were
out flirty fishing.
I knew what it was,
so I didn't indulge, but
I enjoyed talking
to them, and I've found
women from these kinds of cults
can be really smart
(although that seems strange!).
McGowan herself has had
a good career, and
she sounds buttoned-down
now, regardless of her past.
I'd face the peril!
Good post Jen.
From the human imagination can come creativity and invention, or fear and superstition.
You make an excellent point, which is why I have been slow to condemn Harry Potter, and recommend it be read with parentla guidance, rather than prohibited.
But that is also part of the allure of evil. Did not the Left assert itself in our adult world by first insisting on mere tolerance of evil? "Gee, the liberals are nicer than those conservatives who always seem to want to ban something." How fast does tolerance change to defense, and then to promotion, and then to intolerance?
We should teach our children that love means guarding against evil, not tolerance.
"That can make for a very interesting book, such as Lolita."
Just shows to go ya, what people like is not always good for them.
And that's where the parents become involved.
Look, I've argued this before the last book and the time before that. The parents should always be involved and should be well informed about what they are reading.
But you've got two issues here.
1) The majority of the detractors on this thread are against HP because of the witchcraft. Take that out and most of them wouldn't care ~or wouldn't know~ of Harry's moral dilemmas.
2) As far as children not understanding Harry's morality, I think you underestimate most children who are capable of reading these books.
And, when Harry breaks the rules, for the right or wrong reasons, there are always consequences. What better lesson can we be teaching our children?
If our founding fathers couldn't have accepted the fact that sometimes you break the rules for the right reasons, then we'd all be speaking English today.
Harry doesn't "get away" with anything.
Want kids not to read Harry Potter? Write something better.
Wow, that's the answer. ("Don't like abortion? Become a Supreme Court justice!")
Because we don't have the inspired works of Tolkien and Lewis being produced anew today, we're not allowed to give guidance on things that steer children towards evil?
You found another one of what? And why would the Admin Moderator care?
"Will and Grace" doesn't tell children to become homosexual, either. Would you get your kids the box set for Christmas because it's admittedly laugh-out-loud funny at times?
My mother was hesitant about giving us Harry Potter, so waaaay back when she had me read the books to see what I thought. She's read them all since. My father thinks they're just silly, but considering what he's given me to read he'd have no problem with them. Fer cryin' out loud, they gave me "Dune" to read when I was twelve!
And yet my sibs and I are turning out ok, we're not turning wiccan or anything. Why is that, if Harry Potter is such a powerful lure to the occult? Maybe because they bothered to teach us what's important?
I reiterate again; parents who are teaching their children the way they should go, have nothing to fear. Children who are not being taught so have more to worry about than Harry Potter.
Whatever turns you on, brother. You're an adult, you make your own decisions. Kids don't have the same tools to avoid going down the wrong path and depend on their parents and (to a lesser extent) the expectations of society to form their conscience.
Ummmm...maybe you should try the decaf.
That Neal Boortz story was satire. AFAIK, no one has committed suicide because of the revealed or not revealed endings to the Harry Potter books.
AND, if someone did there's a lot more stuff going on there than just Harry Potter.
Since I don't have kids, I'll think about that in context with my younger brothers. No. First off, it's television and I wouldn't promote the watching of television in most cases. Second, homosexuality is something they could concievably try. If they try the spells in Harry Potter, nothing happens.
In either case, the teaching they've recieved tells them that either is wrong. But homosexuality is a real cultural and moral sin that I wouldn't want them to get used to, and magic is not. I don't consider the silly little rites of sad chicks who can't get dates to be magic. Magic lives only inside the pages of books and most people understand that.
And a good thing too considering the number of times they've tried to use Potter-curses on me.
I agree with this statement 100%. But it's hard to find parents who are teaching their children the way they should go. My wife is an elementary teacher. The kids can do no wrong these days, according to the parents.
That didn't happen. And the Pullman series blatantly states that God is oppressive, Christianity is evil, and teen sex is the way to grow up. And because you're all focused on Harry Potter you don't even know that.
Want kids not to read Harry Potter? Write something better.
Wow, that's the answer. ("Don't like abortion? Become a Supreme Court justice!")
It IS the answer. Lewis and Tolkien once said that since there weren't enough of the books they liked, they'd have to write their own. Maybe you can't write anything better. But it's still the answer. Destroying is never the solution. Building something better is.
Then it's not like Harry Potter's their biggest problem, is it? Real things like drugs and premarital sex are going to hurt them, not books.
Hmm - I was remembering "The Time Machine". Haven't had a book of his in my hand for decades.
Agreed, but that is not the fault of J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter or even Will and Grace.
Surely you don't mean Man commits suicide after learning Harry Potter spoiler by Andy Borowitz?
JWR Contributor Andy Borowitz, the first-ever recipient of the National Press Club's Award for Humor, is a former president of the Harvard Lampoon,and a regular humor columnist for Newsweek.com, The New Yorker, The New York Times and TV Guide. Recognized by Esquire magazine as one of the most powerful producers in television, he was the creator and producer of the hit TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and producer of the Oscar-nominated film Pleasantville.
I admire Tolkien and C.S.Lewis and consider their books uplifting for children and adults not because they have the label "Christian" but because (a) they were actually good writers, especially Tolkien, and (b) their books are not only finely crafted, but lead the reader a little higher in understanding, promote simple virtues, the characters go through internal struggles and become morally strong. I am not against "occultism" in books, it's like money or strength - how it is used is paramount.
Rowling's books, OTOH, are crappily written, the characters are shallow, selfish, cartoonish, there is no good or evil, just two teams. The only reason Harry is "good" is because someone "bad" wants to kill him. There is no character growth, and her use of the occult gives it a glimmer of attraction in a somewhat perverted manner. She actually did a tremendous amount of research to make it very authentic.
She appeals to the desire to have power over others, not power over self.
Yeah I don't think the union lets you call a book fantasy if you have no mythological references. There's some by-law requiring at least one mythic creature or you have to call your book alternate history ;)
I loved the Time Machine, War of the Worlds, etc. growing up.
But you can see some of Wells's beliefs seeping through.
Hmmm - Middle Ages? I like reading about that time period. Lately I have little time for recreational reading, but I'll keep that one in mind, thanks.
No the books don't. The books don't take ANYTHING that exists in the real world. Magic in HP has no resemblance AT ALL to the occult.
Been able to get Ouija Boards at toy stores since before there was a Toys R Us, it has nothing to do with HP. Been able to get Tarot cards at bookstores since before there was a Barnes and Noble too, again it has nothing to do with HP.
In an age when people go off half cockec not knowing what the hell they're talking about the Pope (albeit when he was a Cardinal) doing the same thing is just another part of the problem. There is no occult in HP and everyone who says there is is wrong. It doesn't tempt kids to evil, it doesn't present anything proscribed in the Bible as good, it simply is not a threat.
Strawman. They don't do anything of the sort, much like how they don't present real world occult in any light what so ever. It is just a book, actually it is just 5 books about to be 6 books and probably topping off at 7 books, but regardless of how many HP books there are they're all just books.
Also to contrast with Narnia and Lord of the Rings, two spiritually beneficial stories: In Narnia, the children are forbidden to do magic, except those magics which they are explicitly told to do by Aslan. The point is to obey Aslan's will, whereas in Harry Potter, lying and disobedience with regards to magicare morally necessary; the authorities are sometimes bumbling incompetents. Harry Potter displays extremely mature morality dangerously combined with the use of magic. In Narnia, on the other hand, magic could almost be seen as sacramental: that which is commanded by Aslan/Christ is salvific; that which is otherwise is evil.
The Lord of the Rings' main theme is the rejection of illicit power, represented by the rings, which wards one away from occultism.
The mirror doesn't tell the future, doesn't reveal occult knowledge, and isn't augery. All it does is show a person with the thing they want the most, it doesn't show them how to get it, it doesn't show them why they want it, it doesn't show them other people's great desires (two people looking in the mirror at the same time will each see their own thing and not the others), it just shows a person WITH the thing they desire the most nothing else.
Of course even if it was divinitation the mirror is presented as clearly a BAD thing because of its addictive properties that people shouldn't mess with, even the greatest wizard of the era wants to have nothing to do with the mirror because it's nasty and dangerous. So one way or the other you're wrong, the mirror isn't divination, and if it was divination then it is presenting divination as bad.
I would never say that, because I have personally witnessed how the books of lies presented by the condemning Christians damning that which they don't understand push people away from Christ. Your people are the ones leading people away from Christ, I've seen it happened, hell I LIVED IT. It was people LIKE YOU that drove me away from Christ. So yes I know books can drive people away, but not the books your condemning, the books your using to condemn are the ones that do it.
I disagree with every word you just wrote. Couldn't you have qualified it by stating that this is your not-so-humble opinion?
As an aspiring writer myself, I have learned quite a bit about characterization from Rowling. It's one of her strengths - not so much with the major characters, but the minor ones. Now there's a gift, to have a hundred or so intersting, unique secondary characters running about.
Her "research" was mostly into myth/legend. Like Tolkien's was. Can you give me an example of how her magic glorifies the occult? And don't just say "because it's magic".
And finally, if you don't see a difference between a side that wants to rule the world, subjugating those who are different, and the side that wants to stop them I pity you.
Actually, the occult presented in HP is found on actual rituals, incantations, and so on. Quite well researched. Obviously not all of it, but there's quite a bit of historical accuracy. For instance, when HP and classmates transplant the mandrake roots - mandrake was used in various black magic rituals in the past. That particular scene in the book was rather disgusting, and I thought quite telling. The kids pull the plants up to transplant them, and the roots are actual little babies, living under the dirt.
But there's no allure of evil in the HP books. Nothing that has anything to do with the evils of real world occult is in them. Yes there is evil in the books, in the form of the bad guys certainly that's not alluring.
They simply aren't evil, they don't teach occult, they don't entice to evil, they're just stupid little books that are fun to read for a few hours. No big deal.
Please read the comment I quoted in post 426 comparing HP, LOTR and the Narnia books. HP uses magic in an effort to gain personal power, supposedly "good" - but the his character and the character of the "evil" ones are not really that different.
Power over others as compared to power over self. That is the key.
Have you read LOTR carefully? Have you read childrens' classics carefully? Anyone who has can see the shallowness of HP books. They are written cleverly, but it is not great writing. Her books will be forgotten in a generation.
No it's not. The scene in the book showed how not occult the books are, they didn't look anything like real mandrakes, they didn't discuss the real world properties of mandrake (the poison they produce), and all they did was transplant the damn things. No occult ritual, no incantation, and no so on. And certainly not well researched. The roots weren't actually little babies, they just looked like babies, creepy and wierd but hardly disgusting, and certainly not instructive in the occult.
I have (had, maybe. I don't remember if it's still on my bookshelf) a copy of H.G. Wells' a History of the World. I flipped to a few of the religion sections at one point. I remember him writing that of the main religious teachings, he subscribed most to those of Jesus Christ.
Yeah. I've probably read more classics, children's and otherwise, than most people because I love reading. I didn't say the HP books were good writing, I just said they weren't crap. They have interesting plots, fascinating characters, and a really neat world. (Incidentally they read better in British than American, especially the first two volumes)
I think they're right up there with E. Nesbit or Enid Blyton, or a few other second-tier English children's writers. Not on a level with Lewis, certainly, but who is? And to compare them to "Lord of the Rings" is just wrong since LotR is not for children.
Never heard that. It was definitely part of folklore. John Donne:
Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devils foot;
I recall the footnotes about folklore, nothing about black magic.
You are determined to see them as harmless, as is your right. I see them as making the dark side of occultism, and the personal power it represents, as seductive.
I know that children especially are easily influenced. Books (when they read), TV, movies, pop culture - all influence children. Responsible parents will carefully monitor what their children read, see and hear. If they care about their children.
Those writing books, producing TV and movies, and making what passes for music do not necessarily have childrens' well being in mind.
Mandrakes have bifurcated roots, and folklore holds that when plucked, their screaming will make you made. (Again, John Donne's reference is famous.)
Do a little more research, then.
Hmm - don't know what happened there!
My nine year old reads Harry Potter. She is upstairs reading Fellowship of the Ring right now.
I first read LOTR when I was 12. I found it so entrancing that I re-read them many times.
HP writing is on a scale with Nancy Drew, maybe. Nesbit was a better writer, IMO.
If you wish to pursue the Dark Arts, of course, that's up to you.
That's good. I think I'd rather have my children reading LOTR than Harry Potter, just for the reading practice alone.
No dark arts for me, thanks.
Children are influenced by what they read, see and hear. They immerse themselves in the worlds created in books. Parents need to discern what influences they want their children to have. They should carefully read what their children are going to read, see what movies or TV their kids are watching.
If they don't, they shouldn't be surprised when their kids grow up with beliefs or behaviors they didn't expect or hope for.
I am determined to be TRUTHFUL. How you see them is not the truth, in fact in this case it is quite the opposite. There is no real world occultism in the books.
I have no problem with parents monitoring their children's reading. And they don't even need a good reason, keep your kids from reading whatever books you want for whatever reason you want. What I have a problem with is people saying there's stuff in books that isn't there, and what I have a bigger problem with is the people that say a good Christian wouldn't read these books (or any books, or movies, or music) because of stuff they claim is in them that isn't. That is bad for the faith.
Doesn't matter who does or doesn't have the children's best interest in mind. HP doesn't have real occult in it, HP doesn't entice to occult, HP just plain isn't a problem, best interests or not.
LOL! too funny. You just made this a good day.
Folklore of course being one of the cornerstones of fantasy fiction. Said folklore is probably the reason why occult people are into mandrake roots, but none of that was explained in HP. The roots acted like folklore (which isn't how they are in reality) and they did no ritual.
I am not trying to impress you with my precocity (is that a word?) - you certainly either have a thin skin or are ready to take offense. I just meant that that LOTR are a good read for older children, since you said they weren't children's books.
Thanks for the link. This shouldn't be surprising.
Rowlings wide-ranging familiarity with myth, legend, magic, and odd bits of recondite and esoteric information is the web-stuff from which she spins her magical tale. The books create their own world, whose integrity is an essential for good fantasy. Yet they are also interpretable in or, to use J. R. R. Tolkiens term, applicable to other contexts, such as Theosophy, with which Rowling has some familiarity, as is clear from her reference in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to the fictitious author Cassandra Vablatsky and her equally fictitious book Unfogging the Future. Vablatsky is a metathesis of Blavatsky,Although this was probably a conscious reference to Madame Blavatsky, the founder of the Theosophical Society, I suspect that the inspiration for Rowling's writing has come through "channeling."