In a move straight out of the late 90s, a Catholic School in Tennessee has banned the Harry Potter series of books from its library due to fears that the books contain actual spells and curses.
Rev. Dan Reehil, a pastor at the St. Edward Catholic School in Nashville, Tennessee, wrote an e-mail to parents informing them that the books were to be banned from the campus due to their content, with Rev. Reehil alleging that the book contains magical spells that could be invoked and produce dangerous results. (Related: Harry Potter Scribe J.K. Rowling Faces Backlash After Describing Jude Law’s Dumbledore and Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald Being in an “Intense” Sexual Relationship)
“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.”
Though the books were present in the school’s previous library, they have been removed from a new library which opened in time for the 2019 school year. (Related: Harry Potter Scribe J.K. Rowling Accused of Racism After New Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Trailer)
The removal of these books was confirmed to the news outlet Tennessean by Rebecca Hammel, the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, who stated she was unsure of why the books were removed but stated that Reehil was “well within his authority to act in that manner.”:
“Each pastor has canonical authority to make such decisions for his parish school. He’s well within his authority to act in that manner. I know that in the process they were going through and kind of weeding out some of the content in hopes of sprucing it up and improving the circulation. 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. 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 Harry Potter series is a frequent target of the Catholic church. Pope Benedict XVI once wrote that the books offer “subtle seductions” that “deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly.” (Related: J.K. Rowling Announces 4 New Harry Potter Books)
Earlier this year, a group of Polish priests literally burned copies of Harry Potter as a means of condemning magic. An Austrian priest once favored by Pope Benedict XVI for an appointment to bishop similarly promoted the belief that the series was Satanic and contained real magical spells and curses.