Pope forgives Harry Potter
The official Vatican newspaper has made a dramatic U-turn on JK Rowling’s boy wizard, giving the latest film a rave review
The official Vatican newspaper has given its stamp of approval to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, which opens in British cinemas today, suggesting that the Pope has finally forgiven Harry Potter and his creator JK Rowling.
Six years ago, Pope Benedict XVI, who was then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and in charge of Vatican doctrine, condemned JK Rowling's boy wizard as anti-religious. The stories, he wrote in a letter to Gabriele Kuby, the German Catholic sociologist and author of Harry Potter - Good or Evil, threatened to corrupt impressionable young children's understanding of the Christian faith.
"This is a subtle seduction, which has deeply unnoticed and direct effects in undermining the soul of Christianity before it can really grow properly," he wrote.
Now L'Osservatore Romano has given Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince a rave review, with the newspaper's critic Gaetano Vallini praising it for making clear the difference between "good and evil".
Vallini applauds the new film's special effects and the development of the lead characters - played by Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint - saying they were "far more credible" than in the five earlier films. "[The film] makes clear that doing good is right and that in some cases this involves hard work and sacrifices."
He concludes: "At the end of the film what remains is not the scenes of magic but those of the values such as friendship, altruism, loyalty and the giving of one's self."
The review marks a dramatic U-turn by L'Osservatore Romano which had taken its lead from the Pontiff, attacking the fantasy series for holding up witchcraft and the occult as positive ideals and calling Harry Potter "the wrong kind of hero". ·
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