Harry Potter books taken off shelves at Catholic school over risk of 'conjuring evil spirits'

"The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses," a school pastor reportedly wrote in an email explaining the decision.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Ben Kesslen

Students at a Catholic school in Nashville, Tennessee, can no longer check out Harry Potter books from the school library after a pastor there decided that reading the books risks “conjuring evil spirits.”

Father Reehil, a pastor at St. Edward School, made the decision over the summer to remove the books from the library, according to NBC affiliate WSMV in Nashville.

"These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception,” Reehil wrote in an email, according to the 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.”

The Tennessean reports that Reehil said he discussed the issue with exorcists both in Rome and the U.S.

In an email to parents, the superintendent for Catholic schools in the Diocese of Nashville, said the Harry Potter books were never part of the curriculum, and students can still read them at the school if they bring copies from home. The books just won’t be available in the library.

Superintendent Rebecca Hammel also said Reehil decided the books were not appropriate for “a variety of reasons,” and said the decision was made for the “well-being” of students.

The seven-book Harry Potter series that was published starting in 1997 has long been a source of controversy, particularly among some religious institutions.