Pope wrong, Stuckwisch right (again)
For some time now our own Dr. Stuckwisch has been telling us all to read the Harry Potter books, while Cardinal Ratzinger warned in 2003 that the books "distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly." In the Pope's defense, he wrote that in the middle of the series, before he could read it to the end. He was wrong. Rick was right. JK Rowling's series is a shining example of the often repeated truth that There Is Only One Story.
I don't read many novels anymore, which is much to my detriment, I'm sure, but there it is. To tempt me, a book of fiction must be really and truly excellent. I just don't have the patience otherwise. When my wife started reading them to the kids I reluctantly listened in - then was hooked, and by the end truly addicted and excited to see the finish.
This was a great way to read the books, by the way: together as a family. Our oldest is 8 and the books have some more grown up sections dealing with the relations between the sexes that could use some parental editing for that age (probably PG or PG-13). Reading it this way also allowed us to have great discussions about the morality portrayed in the book. It is very realistic, and therefore very ambiguous - again, reading together as a family is a very good idea with these books. [And speaking of the relations between the sexes and being realistic - my goodness does Rowling get it all pitch perfectly, hilariously right! One of the many laugh out loud scenes in the books deals with several of the boy characters agonizing over asking girls to a dance. But then the happy go lucky, ever confident, self-effacing jokester Fred Weasley shouts across the room at the beautiful and talented Angelina Johnson, "Oi! Angelina! Want to come to the ball with me?" Of course she does - that's always how it works out for the Fred Weasleys of the world.]
Since I want you to read them, I don't want to include any spoilers. But again I will say: there is only one story in the whole world worth telling - what C.S. Lewis called the "good dreams" left by God for every tribe and nation and what Eusebius called the Praeparatio Evangelii. Mrs. Rowling, by her own admission, lurks about the outskirts of orthodox Christianity - but she has penned a brilliant, engaging, and entertaining "good dream."