My, how times can change. In 2005, the Pope (then Cardinal) condemned J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, noting the "subtle seductions" that could hurt children. In 2008, the Vatican's official newspaper published another blow at the series, one that said Potter is "the wrong kind of hero."

But now in 2009, we've got Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Guardian reports that it's gotten the Vatican seal of approval via that same paper. What's changed? Well, the latest article states that teenage romance is shown with the "correct balance," and praises the film for the clear message that good must overcome evil, "and that sometimes this requires costs and sacrifice." Color me confused -- I never realized that the line between good and evil was so blurred before!

The fact that the entire movie pretty much revolves around the kids' hormones makes the news quite amusing. I wonder how many kids will run off to empty rooms and dark corners to snog all year long, and when caught, just say that the Church said it was okay! Furthermore, for a group that hated the witchcraft and wizardry in the series, I find it interesting that the Vatican isn't bothered by the spells performed in this installment -- much more dangerous, and sometimes cruel, in this latest film. Wonders never cease!

And in other Potter news, it was just announced that Half-Blood Prince opened with $20 million, giving it the largest midnight gross of all time. Read more at SciFi Squad