Harry Potter is great, says Catholic group

Tuesday, May 16, 2000


Harry Potter, the young wizard-in-training whose adventures top best-seller lists but have been denounced by conservative religious groups, has won a vote of approval from the Roman Catholic Opus Dei association.

The magazine Studi Cattolici (Catholic Studies), closely associated with Opus Dei, praised the three "Harry Potter" books by British writer Joanne K. Rowling for teaching children that good can prevail over evil.

The three books published so far have sold 30 million copies worldwide, and the next book in the series, due in July, is expected to be just as popular. But conservative religious groups in the United States and England have attacked the books for glorifying the occult powers that Harry Potter and his friends are learning to use at a school for wizards.

Reviewer Riccardo Caniato disagreed, saying the books' message is positive and that Harry Potter's adventures teach young readers to face "the challenges of everyday life with a look that reveals faith and passion for all that the good life promises."

In an imaginary interview with Harry Potter, the Rev. Michele Dolz wrote that the basic theme of the books is "the struggle between good and evil," which agrees completely with evangelical ideals.

"You're really great, Harry," the priest wrote.

Opus Dei is an association mainly of Catholic laity who take strict vows to promote holiness and exercise a personal apostolate in their daily lives.

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