Saturday, July 16, 2005

Happy Potter's Day

Just so everyone knows, I haven't waded into this whole Ratzinger v. Harry Potter thing because: 1. I think it's so misinformed and inane and 2. I don't know a damn thing about it. Well, I know about Ratzi....

I am an absolute Harry Potter virgin. Haven't read a page of one of the books or seen more than a minute of any of the movies. Then again, why would one need to immerse himself in a fictional world of wizards when he spends his life watching real-life wizards who make scandals disappear?

So as my contribution, here's a well-informed and balanced take on the brouhaha from one of my RNA favorites, Ann Rodgers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Ann is one of the handful of religion reporters here in the States who goes to mind-blowing lengths to understand the beat and its institutional cultures -- she has a degree in theology and just got back from a six-week stint in Rome, where she took on a courseload of canon law. Her Catholic coverage (which, naturally, hews toward the dioceses of Pittsburgh and Greensburg) is sterling, the best in the country.

It's one thing to reasonably expect a professional and healthy (as opposed to paranoid and appearance-obsessed) approach toward communications policy from our dioceses. But the road goes both ways, and we need to place a renewed priority on what Wilton termed "the importance of the media having expert, knowledgeable, and professional personnel to report on religion."

I'm grateful to Ann and all my colleagues who live this out. And, hell, it's why I'm here, too.



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