A Catholic school in Nashville, Tennessee banned the Harry Potter books from its library following the advice from an exorcist and said that the books include "actual curses and spells, which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits."
The pastor at St. Edward Catholic school, whose students are children of pre-kindergarten up to 8th grade, sent emails to parents regarding JK Rowling's famous series. He told parents that he spoke with "several" exorcists, who advised the removal of the books from the school's library.
"These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception," Rev Dan Reehil wrote, according to The Guardian. "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."
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The Harry Potter books, published from 1997 to 2007, included the curses and spells "avada kedavra" (the killing curse), "crucio" (the torture curse), and "imperio," a spell that allows wizards to take control of other people's actions.
Reehil sent the email following a parent's inquiry, said Rebecca Hammel, superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville. Hammel explained that the pastor was "well within his authority to act in that manner," since every pastor has canonical authority to decide on such actions for their parish school.
The books were still on the shelves until the end of the last term but were removed from a newly opened library, The Guardian reported, citing the local paper the Tennessean reported.
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"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," Hammel said, adding that they hope parents will guide their children in understanding the content of the books "through the lens of our faith" if they deem the Harry Potter books appropriate.
"We really don’t get into censorship in such selections other than making sure that what we put in our school libraries are age-appropriate materials for our classrooms," the school superintendent added.