A Catholic school in Nashville has hit the headlines after deciding to ban Harry Potter books from its library.
On August 28, the pastor of St. Edward Catholic School, Rev. Dan Reehil, sent an email to staff explaining his reasons for removing the popular fantasy novels.
“These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true,” he 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 texts.”
The books, which have sold a combined 400 million copies worldwide, do contain dark spiritual undertones. Some of the curses contained within the stories include “avada kedavra”, the “killing” curse; “crucio,” known as the “torture curse” and “imperio,” which allows wizards to possess and control others.
Rebecca Hammel, the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, told the Tennessean that Reehil was well within his rights to take the books of the school’s shelves, despite the wider Catholic Church refusing to adopt an official position on the matter.
“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 the Catholic Church encourages parents to be the primary teachers and influencers of their children.
“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,” she explained.
“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.”
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