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Potter Expert Criticizes Positive Review of Film in Vatican Newspaper

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist Michael D. O'Brien, one of the world's foremost experts on Harry Potter, says the positive review of the latest Potter film published in last week's L'Osservatore Romano ignored the Pope's opinion of the series and raises questions about who is behind the editorial policies at the paper. is reporting that O'Brien, author of Harry Potter and the Paganization of the Culture, said the latest review appearing in the Vatican's newspaper, which praised Potter as championing the values of friendship and sacrifice, "is symptomatic of serious problems in the condition of many modern Catholics, he said. This is why, when cultural material that contains a highly toxic message such as Potter is wrapped in some positive "values", the public is so easily seduced into thinking it's good. "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 says. He goes on to warn that although Potter is presented as charming, his character is a metaphor of the Antichrist.  “In the novels, 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.’” The fact that the Vatican newspaper would publish a glowing review of such a film does not seem to have surprised O'Brien, who says the paper has "a habit of making a split between faith and culture, and most strangely by straining to praise fundamentally disordered cultural material.” He also questioned why the article ignored Pope Benedict’s critical insight into the Potter series. In 2003, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger praised a German author named Gabriele Kuby for exposing the hidden evil in the saga. “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,” Ratzinger wrote at the time. Publishing an article that directly contradicts statements from the Pope raises serious questions about who is behind the editorial policies at the Vatican newspaper, O'Brien said. "Why would they posit as good a tale about a violent, morally confused sorcerer as a Christ-figure?" To express concern to the editors of L'Osservatore Romano, contact them at:  Vatican newspaper Editorial office Telephone: + 39 06 698 83461/84442 Fax: + 39 06 698 83675 e-mail: © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace® Click here for a DVD of Michael O'Brien explaining the problems with Harry Potter and the paganization of our culture in an appearance on the Women of Grace show.