The Catholic Church has heaped praise on the latest 'Harry Potter' film after previously accusing the books of promoting witchcraft and the occult.
The Vatican's official newspaper lauded 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' for its "clear" depiction of the eternal battle between good and evil represented by the struggle between Harry and his nemesis, evil sorcerer Lord Voldemort.
'L'Osservatore Romano' said the movie was the best adaptation yet of the JK Rowling books, describing it as "a mixture of supernatural suspense and romance which reaches the right balance".
"There is a clear line of demarcation between good and evil and [the film] makes clear that good is right. One understands as well that sometimes this requires hard work and sacrifice," the paper judged.
The paper also praised the film's clear message that "the search for immortality epitomised by Lord Voldemort "was wrong.
It even approved of the film's treatment of adolescent romance amid the halls and corridors of Hogwart's, saying that it achieved the "correct balance" and made the teenage stars more credible.
The favourable review is an apparent change of heart from the Vatican's previous assessment of the best-selling series.
Last year an article in 'L'Osservatore Romano' condemned the books for encouraging an interest in the occult among children.
The paper wrote: "Despite the values that we come across in the narration, at the base of this story, witchcraft is proposed as a positive ideal.
"The characterisation of common men who do not know magic as 'Muggles' who know nothing other than bad and wicked things, is a truly diabolical attitude."
The paper called the teenage boy wizard "the wrong kind of hero", comparing the books unfavourably with two other British children's classics, 'The Chronicles of Narnia' by CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings'.
The Vatican's attitude to the books has taken a harder line under the papacy of Benedict XVI in comparison with that of his predecessor John Paul II. (© Daily Telegraph, London)