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(Editor's note: The Pope, while still a Cardinal, wrote a letter in which he warned of the evils of the Harry Potter books. For those who have not read the books, and we hope your numbers are dwindling, there is a character known as The Sorting Hat, a talking piece of headgear that speaks in poem and rhyme and chooses which students will be placed in which "house" at Hogwarts School of Wizardry. The choices are based on a measure of each student's personality. The Rip Post here offers a fanciful version of what The Sorting Hat might say about The Pope. With apologies to author J.K. Rowling.)

This old chapeau has heard and seen
More than most begin to dream. . .
From before before when days were new
To Hogwarts now and Harry, too.
But ne’er before has’t found such kind
As those who truth and good so chide;
Especially those who wield authority
And influence, lo, the world’s majority.
This hat speaks not of Oprah Winfrey,
Though her smile is hardly sin-free.
Nor does it refer to William Kristol
And those who shun all thought for pistol.
Or if you think that TV’s Leno
Is so potently controlling men, oh,
You are not in tune with this head decor’s
Point, direction, esprit de corps.
There is one, with rule so grand,
he claims to access God’s command!
His very presence incites such awe
That humans swoon and drop the jaw. . .
And happily open, with nary a curse
Every pocket, wallet, and purse.
And he, in the name of urging charity,
Instead just muddles goodness’s clarity.
How else to describe such madman dictum
As procreate, procreate, forget the victim
Of TB, syphilis, AIDS, starvation
Afflicting Asian, African nation?
Well, lest this headwear drone too long,
And soapbox supplant rhyming song,
The person cited is that dope
The Big Catholic Cheese they call a Pope;
As in Papa, father, Old Man, Daddy---
Believers think he’s God’s own caddy.
But the Hat knows that he’s just a guy,
Full of foibles, pride, and lie,
And takes this space to offer verse
In response to Pontiff's curse
Aimed at this character’s very creator:
That English lady who, caveat emptor,
Writes the tales where I exist,
And Hermione, Ron and wizard list
Of Hagrid, Snape, Tonks, and Lupin
And Dumbledore, with beard a-droopin’---
The Pope, it seems, fears Harry Potter!
And the stories’ gifted jotter!
Yes, it’s true, J. K. Rowling
Has the Christian Primate growling!
What kind of church, you’re surely curious
Could think a book so soul-injurious?
How insecure a faith must be
To be threatened by a fantasy!
And for the record, here’s what the Pope said:
That “Harry Potter” might leave your soul dead,
That Potter books are “subtle seductions”
which leave Christ’s teachings in reduction
Before “properly” they can grow
“Potter” might well stunt the soul!
Well, as you know I’m the one to choose
The Hogwarts house where students schmooze:
Gryffindor, for brave of heart
And Hufflepuff, where loyalty starts
Or Ravenclaw, for the clever and quick
And Slytherin, where cunning is thick. . .
To which old house might I assign
This man who claims the word divine,
Yet calls a book or two or seven
Impediments to finding heaven!
But then, what else might one expect from
A Vatican that eschews the condom
In world overrun with orphan, panic
And racist wars fought by fanatics. . .
Where human birth outdoes the rabbits,
And cruelty, killing are ancient habits.
The irony, rub, or crux herein
Is that Harry-lad opposes sin!
He’s moral hero with few of peer
(All he drinks is Butterbeer)
He manifests the best humanity:
Courage, love, and little vanity
Redoubtable as the Phoenix, Fawkes
To evildoing, this boy is pox!
These books are stories thrilling, grave
Of conquering evil and fiends depraved.
And what’s more, they swing a bat at
Authoritarian bureaucrats that
stifle whim and ingenuity;
Who’d trade their muse for fat annuity,
Who fear the rise of individual
While they sue for new residual. . .
Who turn all joy and creativity
To demographical proclivity
And render thought, idea, creation
Pecuniary remuneration!
The only thing these books inspire
Is love of friends, and respect for higher
Notions than “I Got Mine,” materialism;
They’re moral plays, while seen through prism
Of witches, werewolves, goblins, seers,
That coach defeat of darkest fears,
While simultaneously, they explain
This world is hardly free of pain;
Life is glorious, but also fey
Silver linings touched with gray. . .
And thus do younger readers learn
Hardships lurk at every turn---
Yet tragedy, one need not fear it
If self is strong of heart and spirit!
This is the point of these grand tomes,
Which now reside in billion homes.
Perhaps, therefore, it’s not surprising,
The Vatican’s outright demonizing;
It banks on fear of death and pain,
And promise of eternal gain
Of life and bliss when this life’s finished---
Who cares if planet earth’s diminished?
It’s like a deal made with the devil
Forget the now---On High we’ll revel!
This Pope’s literary denunciation
Can only question all relation
‘tween good and church and all great faith
(Hitler was a Christian wraith!)
What next, you cannot help but wonder:
Will Vatican ban night and thunder?
And now the news is filled with sounds of
Christians, Muslims, Jews and mounds of
Corpses, seared and blown apart by
Nutball terrorist Bonapartes, why
What have we here, but war religious;
Whose ideology is more prestigious?
While underlying most everything
is truest lord, the king of kings;
for most who worship, worship greed
Another dollar is their creed
Which brings up fact, and not irrelevant
The Vatican is major government
Where Draco Malfoy might well reside
For all the good that’s done inside
(And his stooges, Crabbe and Goyle
To Il Papa would be loyal)
But to get back to duty, back to work
And keep from going nigh berserk
This Thinking Cap must now advise
The house which fits this Pope in size
Of heart and head and natural bent
In other words, whence is he meant?
Had he been a Hogwarts student
Young, upstartish, and impudent
This headgear would likely take one look
And order him hence to go and book
A room in place of Malfoy’s lot
Where good intentions choke and rot
The house of cunning and idiots blitherin’
By that I mean the House of Slytherin!

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