A private Catholic school in Nashville has removed the Harry Potter books from its library, saying they include “actual curses and spells, which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits”.
Local paper the Tennessean reported that the pastor at St Edward Catholic school, which teaches children of pre-kindergarten age through to 8th grade, had emailed parents about JK Rowling’s series to tell them that he had been in contact with “several” exorcists who had recommended removing the books from the library.
“These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception,” Rev Dan Reehil wrote. “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.”
Curses and spells included in the bestselling books, which were published between 1997 and 2007, include “avada kedavra”, the “killing” curse; “crucio”, the torture curse; and “imperio”, which allows the wizards to control others’ actions.
Rebecca Hammel, superintendent of schools for the Catholic diocese of Nashville, told the Tennessean that Reehil had sent the email after an inquiry from a parent. She added that “he’s well within his authority to act in that manner”, because “each pastor has canonical authority to make such decisions for his parish school”.