The seven-book series depicting the magical adventures of young wizard Harry Potter and his friends were removed from the library of a Catholic school in Nashville because of their content, the Rev. Dan Reehil, a pastor at the Roman Catholic parish school, wrote in an email to the Tennessean newspaper.
When St. Edward’s opened their new library, the books were removed by Pastor Reehil.
“These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception. 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 states.
[Did you know they were actual spells?]
Father Reehil also said in the email that he consulted several exorcists in the U.S. and Rome who recommended removing the books.
Rebecca Hammel, the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, confirmed Reehil sent an email about removing the books following an inquiry from a parent. He also notified faculty, she said.
Each diocese’s pastor “has canonical authority” to make the decision about what books are put in their libraries in his parish school.
The core books, published between 1997 and 2007, were written by J.K. Rowling and spurred a successful movie franchise and a huge following worldwide. Rowling has created additional books and movies within the Harry Potter universe.
They are controversial in some quarters, including religious ones.
The Catholic Church has no official position on the books and some schools likely have the books on the shelves.
Overall, the superintendent said the Catholic Church sees parents as their children’s primary teachers.
“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.
“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.”
The goal is to promote engaging, quality literature and enjoyment of reading in hopes of building students’ skills and knowledge, she said.