Catholic School Removes Harry Potter Books From Library For Containing "Real" Spells

A Catholic school in Tennessee has removed J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter book series from its library after a pastor at the school declared the series to contain real spells and "risk conjuring evil spirits" when the books are read.

Reverend Dan Reehil, pastor at the St. Edward School in Nashville sent an email to parents explaining why the beloved and popular seven-book series had been taken out of the school's library, per a report in The Tennessean (via The Independent).

"These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception," the email reads. "The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text. The email further went on to note that the pastor had also consulted with exorcists in both the United States and Rome who had recommended the removal of the books.

Published between 1997 and 2007, the Harry Potter series follows the story of a titular young wizard as well as his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley during their education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as well Harry's struggle with the evil Lord Voldemort, a dark wizard who plans to overthrow the Ministry of Magic and dominate all wizards and non-magical people, Muggles. The wildly popular books are largely seen as being a story of the triumph of goodness and friendship over evil, though other themes -- such as the choice between what is right and what is easy -- are also present in the series.

Despite these themes, Reehil's decision about the books will stand. Superintendent for schools of the Catholic Diocese of Nashville explained that because the Catholic Church does not have an official position on the series, school leaders decide for themselves how to approach the books.

"Each pastor has canonical authority to make such decisions for his parish school," Hammel said. "He's well within his authority to act in that manner."

Even with the books banished from the library, Hammel did state that should parents allow their children to read the Harry Potter series, the hope would be that they helped their children do so "through the lens of our faith."

“Should parents deem that this or any other media to be appropriate we would hope that they would just guide their sons and daughters to understand the content through the lens of our faith,” Hammel said.

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“We really don’t get into censorship in such selections other than making sure that what we put in our school libraries is age appropriate materials for our classrooms.”

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