Polish Priests Burn 'Twilight' and 'Harry Potter' Books

Many compared the incident to the murderous Nazi regime.

Priests of Mother of Church parish in Gdansk, a city in northern Poland, drew criticism after books and other objects were burned to cleanse parishioners’ homes of evil forces. All items burned were brought to the church by the congregants themselves. Several images were uploaded to social media by SMS z Nieba (English translation: SMS from Heaven), a Catholic foundation. The list of books burned included J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Also burned were the Twilight series of books written by Stephenie Meyer, and a book about Baghwan Shree Rajneesh, an Indian guru. Other than books, a variety of objects like elephant figurines, wooden masks, and even a pink umbrella bearing the Hello Kitty logo were also put into the fire.

The social media post also had a few accompanying texts saying those who participated obeyed God’s word. The images show the priests and the church altar boys rummaging through a pile of objects containing books near the altar of the church. The things to be burned were taken in a basket and carried to a pit dug outside the church. The incident has been confirmed by the conference of Polish Catholic bishops’ after SMS z Nieba. The latter is an evangelical Catholic group working out of the Koszalin diocese located in the same area. Justifying the act, the social media post cites verses from the Bible which condemn sorcery. The group highlighted the verse Acts 19:19 which describes how the early Christian converts burned their sorcery scrolls from their pagan days. The foundation also cited the relevant lines from Catechism of the Catholic Church that condemn any use of palmistry, charms, any magic and divination, and horoscopes.

The sight of books being burned was criticized by many on social media. They pointed out that the Nazis also burned books during their regime. The Polish church’s reaction to the event could be described as a mild one, with Reverend Wojciech Parafianowicz, a spokesperson for Koszalin diocese, saying although he condemned the book burning action, he also understood the desire of priests to educate their parishioners on Catholic teachings. As per the spokesperson, occult practices “have a bad influence on human life.”

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