'Harry Potter' books removed from school library in Nashville for containing 'real spells and curses'

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint (Credit: Warner Bros)

A Roman Catholic school in Nashville, Tennessee, has removed all Harry Potter books from its library, over concerns that they contain actual spells and curses.

The school's pastor, Reverend Dan Reehill says that he consulted 'exorcists' from both the US and the Vatican before taking the step to remove the books, claiming the spells within could 'conjure evil spirits'.

Local news outlet The Tennessean obtained an email sent by Reehill, explaining: “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.”

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A spokesperson for the school, Rebecca Hammel, the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, confirmed that the email had been sent that Reehill had notified the faculty.

She added: “Each pastor has canonical authority to make such decisions for his parish school. He's well within his authority to act in that manner.

“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.

(Credit: Warner Bros)

“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.”

J.K. Rowling's series about boy wizard Harry Potter comprise seven books in all, from 1997's Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone to Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows in 2007.

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And it's far from the first time they have been banned from circulation.

There have been campaigns by the Orthodox church in Bulgaria and Greece to have the books banned, while schools in the United Arab Emirates banned The Philosopher's Stone in 2002, because they believed the story to be contrary to Islamic values.

Opinion on the series from the Catholic church has vacillated somewhat in the past, however.

In an article in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano in 2008, one professor called Potter 'the wrong kind of hero', saying that the book's foundation lay on witchcraft being positive rather than negative.

However, the same newspaper praise the movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, released a year later in 2009, saying that 'there is a clear line of demarcation between good and evil and [the film] makes clear that good is right'.