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The Pope can tell you the trouble with Harry

The Spokesman-Review

IN A LETTER sent two years before becoming pope, Benedict XVI expressed concern that the Harry Potter books “erode Christianity in the soul” of young people.

The comments came in an exchange of letters between then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Gabriele Kuby, a Bavarian-based Roman Catholic sociologist who penned a book criticizing J.K. Rowling‘s Potter series.

“It is good that you are throwing light on Harry Potter, because these are subtle seductions that work imperceptibly, and because of that deeply, and erode Christianity in the soul before it can even grow properly,” Ratzinger wrote.

The Vatican had no comment, noting that the pontiff and his secretary were away on vacation.

Kuby argues in her book, “Harry Potter – Good or Evil,” that the Potter novels blur the boundaries between good and evil for young readers. She also says they glorify the world of witches and magicians at the expense of the human world.

Rowling’s sixth Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” will be released tonight at midnight.

Moore suit bombs in court

A federal judge Thursday threw out a libel suit filed against filmmaker Michael Moore by the brother of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols.

Nichols claimed statements Moore made about him in the 2002 documentary “Bowling for Columbine” could be misinterpreted by viewers to link him to the bombing.

James Nichols’ farm was raided two days after the April 1995 bombing, after his brother and Timothy McVeigh were identified as suspects. He was arrested and held for 32 days, then released for lack of evidence.

He’s just groping at straws

Actor Christian Slater has rejected a plea bargain deal on a charge of allegedly groping a woman.

Slater was charged with forcible touching – a misdemeanor that carries up to one year in jail – after he allegedly grabbed a woman’s buttocks as she was buying a soda in a small grocery store on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in the early morning of May 31.

“We believe this case warrants dismissal,” Slater’s lawyer said in turning down a proposal that he perform three days of community service.

Viral meningitis got him down

Brad Pitt has been released from an L.A. hospital after being diagnosed with a mild case of viral meningitis.

The 41-year-old actor checked himself in Monday night complaining of flu-like symptoms and went home Wednesday afternoon. Most patients recover from viral meningitis in a week.

Pitt’s publicist declined to say whether he contracted the illness while in Ethiopia last week with actress Angelina Jolie to pick up her newly adopted baby girl.

Rah-rah for Zsa Zsa

Zsa Zsa Gabor is back home after suffering a minor stroke and undergoing successful emergency surgery last week to clear a blocked artery.

“This operation was really a miracle,” said her husband, Frederick von Anhalt. “She is now even better than she was before. She’s walking around already.”

Gabor was partially paralyzed in a 2002 car accident, forcing her to use a wheelchair and walker.

The birthday bunch

Actor Alex Karras (“Webster”) is 70. Actor Jan-Michael Vincent is 61. Singer Linda Ronstadt is 59. Actor Terry O’Quinn (“Lost”) is 53. Drummer Marky Ramone (The Ramones) is 49. Actor Willie Aames (“Eight Is Enough,” “Charles in Charge”) is 45. Model Kim Alexis is 45. Actress Lolita Davidovich is 44. Actor-director Forest Whitaker is 44. Actress Brigitte Nielsen is 42. Actor-comedian Eddie Griffin (“Malcolm and Eddie”) is 37. Actor Scott Foley (“Felicity”) is 33. Actor Brian Austin Green is 32.

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