The Vatican Gives a Slow, Solemn Nod to "Harry Potter"
The Vatican's newspaper "L'Osservatore Romano has declared "Harry Potter" to be morally unobjectionable, praising the story for showcasing the victory of good over evil and stigmatizing the human search for physical immortality.


When I was growing up Catholic in Houston, we received a free newspaper every week in the mail called "The Catholic Herald." This paper was not fun to read. However, on the very back page were always the movie rankings for the week, as determined by the "United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting."

Movies ranged from:

* A-I (morally unobjectionable for general patronage);
* A-II (morally unobjectionable for adults and adolescents);
* A-III (morally unobjectionable for adults);
* L (limited adult audience â€" films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling);

to the dreaded

* O (morally offensive).

The coveted "A-I, morally unobjectionable for general patronage" ranking was reserved for films like "Braveheart," "The Godfather," and "The Exorcist." Everything else was basically considered "morally offensive," especially anything that a human being would ever want to see.

While I found these ratings instructive, I also found it curious that my madcap religion for readers, mystics, and scholars was only interested in reviewing movies. Was I logically to assume that it was now impossible for a novel to be considered "morally offensive" since there were no book ratings?

Or did Catholicism consider the war against immoral books a quiet victory on account of the widespread death of American literacy?

Was all literature evil? Or none of it? Or just the sort of literature that I liked?

In any case, the Vatican has now smiled benignly on the "Harry Potter" series and has moved on, hands clasped, robes swishing majestically around their ankles, wands carefully tucked away. We were taught in catechism class that all creativity is divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit, and that the objectionable parts come from human perversion, blockages in the creative force that cause the flow to go wild, the way you can spray people with the trickle from a water hose if you stick your thumb over it. It's nice to see that the Vatican has taken a deep enough draught from Rowling's hose to realize that her creation is clear, fresh, and good.

Also, probably nobody has told the Vatican that Dumbledore is gay yet.

Posted by miracle on Tue, 14 Jul 2009 04:46:05 -0400 -- permanent link

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