Harry Potter Books Removed from Nashville School Library on the Advice of Exorcists
"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," Rev. Dan Reehi wrote
Harry Potter might have been able to defeat Voldemort, but he was no match for the administrators at St. Edward Catholic School in Nashville.
The Roman Catholic parish school — which educates students in pre-K through 8th grade — has removed all seven volumes of J.K. Rowling‘s popular Harry Potter series from its library, the Nashville Tennessean reports, due to its content.
In an email obtained by the paper, the school’s pastor Rev. Dan Reehil said that he consulted with several exorcists in the United States and in Rome before coming to the decision. All recommended removing the books, he wrote.
“These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception,” Reehil wrote, according to the Nashville Tennessean. “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.”
School representatives did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Rebecca Hammel, the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, told the Nashville Tennessean that Reehil has the ultimate say as to whether the books stay or not.
“Each pastor has canonical authority to make such decisions for his parish school,” Hammel said. “He’s well within his authority to act in that manner.”
Hammel added that other schools in the diocese still house the books, and that parents are 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.”
Rowling’s Harry Potter books — which were published between 1997 and 2007, and spawned a series of successful films — have been banned before.
According to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), the Potter books topped the list of most challenged books in 1999 and 2000, Publisher’s Weekly reported.
Parents and others have slammed the books for their “alleged occult/Satanic and anti-family themes, and violence,” Publisher’s Weekly said.