Friday, July 15, 2005

B16 & HP

Jimmy Akin does a nice job of sorting through the recent headlines screaming that Pope Benedict, while still a cardinal, condemned the Harry Potter books. This demonstrates once again the need to look beyond the headlines.
In any event, the Cardinal--still over two years away from when he would (to his consternation) be elected pope--most certainly did not intend his permission to mean "Should I ever be elected pope, I would be very pleased to have you use what I said in my thank you note to create an international media frenzy that causes many people to believe that the pope has officially condemned Harry Potter."

Yet that's exactly what LifeSite has done. Millions of people will see the headline "Pope Opposes Harry Potter" or "Pope Criticizes Harry Potter" or some variant and never read the story or they will read it but lack the skill at parsing such stories to see how misleadingly the matter is being framed. Millions of people scan the Drudge Report alone every day and read its headlines (like the one on this story) without ever clicking them. Their impression of many of its news stories is formed entirely by the headlines.

Some of the people seeing the LifeSite-inspired headlines on this subject will be non-Catholic fans of Harry Potter, and in their estimation the Catholic Church will have the Church's credibility lowered one more notch.


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