A Catholic organization is under fire after a Priest led the burning of books – including Harry Potter books – which they considered to be evil in northern Poland this weekend.
According to the Associated Press, Fundacja SMS Z NIEBA (SMS Foundation from Heaven), posted now removed photos to Facebook of persists and altar boys watching as books, wooden masks, elephant figurines and Buddhist figures were set ablaze.
The AP reports that parishioners were encouraged to bring items from home that the Catholic Church would deem as evil and toss them in the pile to be burned. While hugely successful across the globe, the appropriateness of the Harry Potter series has often been questioned by Christian families, many of whom believe the magical foundation of the series goes against biblical teachings about sorcery and witchcraft.
Reportedly, the organization claimed that the book burning was meant to bring to the parishioners’ attention, the bad influences of magic and the occult in their homes.
According to the BBC, the organization supported the book burning with several scripture passages. Reportedly, the organization quoted Acts 19:19 which says, “A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.”
The organization also reportedly quoted Deuteronomy 7:25 which says, “The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the LORD your God.”
Critics of the highly influential Catholic Church in Poland likened the recent book burning to that of actions by the Nazis during World War II.
One person commented on the organization’s Facebook page saying, “Your action is harmful, bad, repulsive, addressing the worst associations of fascism.”
Another person questioned, “Have you burned the pictures with the saints and crosses with the character of Jesus who openly break the first commandment?”
One person called the church Nazi’s directly, writing, “On Tuesdays, we are enjoying nature, and on weekends we are Nazis... how is it possible that in 2019 this cult controls still such masses???”
Yet another person commented a quote by a 19th Century German poet that says, "Where books are burned, in the end, people will also be burned."
Despite being seemingly firm on their position, the organization issued an apology on Tuesday saying that they did not mean to offend anyone by burning the books. They even called the burning of books and other objects “unfortunate,” noting that it was not meant to be “irreverent to any social group or religion” (in polish).
Photo courtesy: Jessica Fadel/Unsplash