Parents of students at St. Edward Catholic School in Nashville will have to pass down their Harry Potter obsession without the help of the school library. The Tennessean reports that Rev. Dan Reehil, a pastor at the parish school, has ordered that the series be removed from the library in response to a parent’s inquiry.
“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,” Reehil wrote in an email to teachers.
Reehil also explained in the email that although the books represent magic as good and evil, that’s just a “clever deception,” and argued that magic is inherently malevolent. He consulted exorcists in the U.S. and Rome, who advised that the books should be removed from the library.
The Catholic Church doesn’t have an official stance on whether Harry Potter is suitable for its members. According to the Guardian, a Vatican spokesperson in 2003 maintained that the content was in line with Christian morals, but the books have frequently been banned by individual institutions over the course of the last couple of decades.
Rebecca Hammel, the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, told the Tennessean that Reehil was “well within his authority” to ban the books, since “each pastor has canonical authority to make such decisions for his parish school.” She added that parents could still introduce the series to their children outside of school.
Do Harry Potter spells actually work, as Reehil suggested? Ask the nearest Potterhead how many times they’ve muttered Expecto patronum, Expelliarmus, or another Latin-based incantation to no avail.