Harry Potter Banned in Wakefield, MA Catholic School

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by Bridget Eileen - Writer in Providence, Rhode Island 

The following post was originally posted on one of Bridget Eileen’s old blogs: In the Pines, Neophyte Poetics, Bridget Eileen’s Commonplace Book, Dreaming Bridge Designs or A Vegetarian Notebook. They aren’t all fancy with photos and subheadings and search descriptions, or even that much content, sometimes. They’re here for posterity, because it’s fun to read the archives!

PREFACE: FBA had all of the Harry Potter books AND last year the head librarian and I dressed up as Harry Potter professors. So, this isn't a Catholic-wide policy. Regardless, below is an article from WCVB, Channel 5 Boston.


Article below. I have highlighted the last line, not Channel 5.

Catholic School Bans Harry Potter
Pastor Orders Books Removed From Library Shelves
POSTED: 9:14 am EDT October 25, 2007
UPDATED: 6:10 pm EDT October 25, 2007
The pastor has banned Potter. Lord Voldemort has found an ally.While Harry Potter may have survived Voldemort’s killing curse, he has been defeated by the head of a Catholic school in a Boston suburb.All of J.K. Rowling’s wildly popular books have been taken off the library shelves at St. Joseph’s school in Wakefield, Mass., by Rev. Ron Barker who believed their themes of sorcery and witchcraft do not belong in a Catholic setting.

"I'm in the business of Jesus and this is the enemy camp," Barker said. "It has sorcery spells and it's not appropriate."

The book banning is the first time Harry Potter has been removed from a school in Massachusetts, according to the American Library Association. Seventeen other states have seen attempts to ban the books, since Rowling published "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in 1998.

"Most of the controversy is centered around the witchcraft and occult themes," Deborah Caldwell, of the association, told The Boston Globe.

The book had been part of the summer reading program for sixth graders at the school.

“Harry Potter was a popular choice,” the school wrote on its Web site.

The removal, according to Barker, spares those students who are vulnerable to cult practices and sees his decision as no different than protecting students who are allergic to peanut butter.

"What I did is start a spiritual peanut butter ban on Harry Potter," he said.

Some parents were supportive. Others were angry.

"I'm upset it was done in the first place, and I'm upset it was done without talking to anyone about it," parent Rick Hudson told the newspaper.

Barker said he had not read any of the Harry Potter books and had no plans to do so.The Catholic church has no formal policy on Rowling’s books.

If you would like to contact Paster Barker, here is the contact info:

School Homepage - http://www.stjosephschoolwakefield.org/

Contacting the school - http://www.stjosephschoolwakefield.org/contact.cfm

Contacting the office - office@stjosephwakefield.org

St. Joseph Church & Rectory
173 Albion Street
Wakefield MA 01880
Phone: 781-245-5770
Fax: 781-246-2423
Fr. Ronald Barker, Pastor
When contacting Fr Barker remember that - according to Dumbledore - LOVE is the MOST IMPORTANT thing.
(Hmmm...who does that remind me of? Someone from another really popular book...Uh...)