Signed Letters from Cardinal Ratzinger
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 - Rev. Peter Fleetwood - 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
March 7, 2003
Vatican's Chief Exorcist
Repeats Condemnation of Harry Potter Novels
By John-Henry Westen
ROME, March 1, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Vatican's chief exorcist, Rev.
Gabriele Amorth, is reported to have repeated his condemnations of the Harry Potter novels yesterday. According to press
reports, Fr. Amorth, said of the books, "You start off with Harry Potter, who comes across as a likeable wizard, but
you end up with the Devil. There is no doubt that the signature of the Prince of Darkness is clearly within these books."
"By reading Harry Potter a young child will be drawn into magic and from there it is a simple step to Satanism
and the Devil," he said.
The news will come as no surprise to LifeSiteNews.com readers who recall that Fr.
Amorth made very similar remarks in 2002 which went misreported in the North American media, until LifeSiteNews.com clarified
In a 2002 interview with the Italian ANSA news agency, Rev. Amorth said "Behind Harry Potter
hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil." The exorcist, with his decades of experience in directly
combating evil, explained that J.K. Rowling's books contain innumerable positive references to magic, "the satanic
art". He noted that the books attempt to make a false distinction between black and white magic, when in fact, the distinction
"does not exist, because magic is always a turn to the devil." (coverage: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2002/jan/02010202.html )
At the time, however, North American coverage of Rev. Amorth's warnings about Potter significantly downplayed
the warnings. The New York Times coverage by Melinda Henneberger, which was carried in Canada's National Post, the San
Francisco Chronicle and on Yahoo Daily News left out most of the information in the European coverage, only quoting Rev. Amorth
as saying that "If children can see the movie with their parents, it's not all bad."
most prominent Harry Potter critic, Michael O'Brien, has told LifeSiteNews.com that the movie version has significantly
cleaned up Harry's image, making it far less troublesome than the books.
Another condemnation of Harry Potter
coming from Rome was not widely reported until LifeSiteNews.com's intervention. When in 2003, then-Cardinal Joseph
Ratzinger allowed his comments against the novels to be aired publicly, the news was reported in Europe, but not in America.
However, when in 2005 LifeSiteNews.com published Ratzinger's letter concerning Potter online, the international media
exploded with the news that the new Pope opposed Harry Potter. (coverage: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jul/05071301.html )
Writing to Germany's best known Potter critic Gabriele Kuby, the man who was to become Pope Benedict XVI
wrote, "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."
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Harry Potter expert
criticizes Vatican newspaper’s glowing review of Deathly Hallows 2
VATICAN CITY, July 18, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “The positive review
of the latest Harry Potter film in L’Osservatore Romano is symptomatic of serious problems in the condition of many
modern Catholics,” Michael D. O’Brien, author of “Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture,” told LifeSiteNews last week.
In its review, the Vatican newspaper had called the film an “epic,” a “saga of unequalled planetary
success,” and “another blockbuster.” The review is being reported by other Catholic services such as Catholic News Service and Canada’s Catholic Register, among many others - minus the balance of concerns that have been expressed about the Potter series by Christian critics.
While prior to becoming pope, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
had expressed concern over the Potter books, the unsigned review in the Vatican newspaper says of the new film: “As for the content, evil is never presented as fascinating or attractive in the saga, but the
values of friendship and of sacrifice are highlighted.”
O’Brien argues that the Vatican newspaper’s review springs from a “habit of making
a split between faith and culture, and most strangely by straining to praise fundamentally disordered cultural material.”
The L’Osservatore Romano review,
said O’Brien, begs the questions “Who is behind the editorial policies at the Vatican’s newspaper? Why would
they posit as good a tale about a violent, morally confused sorcerer as a Christ-figure? Why, moreover, have they simply ignored
Pope Benedict’s critical insight into the Potter series?”
In two letters first translated and published online by LifeSiteNews.com, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote to a German writer of a book critically analyzing the Potter series. “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,” he wrote.
However, praise for the latest Potter film also came from the National Catholic Register which characterized it as “something approaching greatness.”
Cardinal Ratzinger’s was not the only Vatican voice to express grave concern
over Potter. The Vatican’s chief exorcist, Rev. Gabriele Amorth, has repeatedly condemned the Harry Potter novels.
In 2006 he said, “You start off with Harry Potter, who comes across as a likeable wizard, but you end up with the Devil
… By reading Harry Potter a young child will be drawn into magic and from there it is a simple step to Satanism and
around the world as an expert on children’s fantasy literature, explained the tendency for confusion. “All too
often, when cultural material arrives in intense pleasure-inducing forms, and contains some positive ‘values’
mixed with highly toxic messages in its role modeling and its anti-values, we are easily seduced. To believe that the Potter
message is about fighting evil is superficial. On practically every page of the series, and in its spin-off films, evil is
presented as ‘bad’, and yet the evil means by which the evil is resisted are presented as good.”
O’Brien warns, “As charming as Harry may be (and
in the films he is much more charming due to the persona of the actor who plays the role), he is a type or metaphor of Antichrist,
mutating Christian symbols and then absorbing them into a more dangerous worldview — moral relativism saturated in the
symbology of evil and various manifestations of the occult.”
“In the novels,” says O’Brien. “Harry is called ‘the Chosen One.’
He chooses to rise from the dead. He defeats evil with the instruments and gnostic powers of sorcery, wielding the ultimate
instrument with which he saves the world because he has become ‘Master over Death.’ At the climax of the seven-volume
Potter epic, having saved the world from evil, the resurrected Harry is treated with reverent awe, various characters pressing
forward to touch him, ‘their leader and symbol, their saviour and their guide.’”
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