Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Pope pulls out of university visit, Vatican newspaper condemns Harry Potter

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The Pope has cancelled his visit to Rome's La Sapienza University following a widely reported protest from academics and students who were unhappy with his views on the 1633 conviction of the astronomer Galileo for heresy. The Vatican announced last night that it had been "considered opportune to postpone" the visit.

Meanwhile, L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's official newspaper, has launched an attack on everyone's favourite boy wizard in an article entitled "The double face of Harry Potter". The article, by Edoardo Rialti, a professor of literature at Florence University, concludes that "Despite the values that we come across in the narration, at the base of this story, witchcraft is proposed as a positive ideal".

It must be noted that, in a stunning commitment to free debate, the newspaper has run a parallel article in favour of Potter, which declares that Harry "carries the reader from the vision of a selfish man towards a vision of a man guided by moral values, the choice of good sacrifice, friendship, love".

The Daily Telegraph reports that "the Vatican line on JK Rowling's teenage wizard has hardened considerably since Pope Benedict XVI ... succeeded Pope John Paul II". Which seems fair enough. After all, the Pope is really the head of a government, and governments need to have "lines" on things. However, we're still waiting for the heads of the major G8 governments to announce their own Potter policies.

It does seem that the Catholic Church has chosen a strange time to attack Harry Potter. Didn't all this happen last year? The next film's not even out for a few months. And anti-Potter policies are a bit old hat anyway. Even the Church of England gave up the whole "it promotes witchcraft" idea and declared Harry to be a good thing, presumably after realising that children prefer him to Jesus et al. Expect the Catholic "line" to soften some time in the next six centuries...


Anonymous said...

Are the faithless those who have no faith or less faith?

The Hogfather said...

The Pope continues to entertain with his astonishing antics. It's all great fun though.