A group of Polish Priests have become the center of international attention after holding a book-burning to destroy works of literature they claimed promoted magi and sorcery, including books from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series and Stephenie Meyers's Twilight.
The book burning took place in the Polish city of Gdansk. Books were collected from the Mother of Church parish, who brought in whatever items they believed were connected to the occult at the urging of their priests.
Photos of the event were posted online by the SMS from Heaven Foundation (Fundacja SMS Z NIEBA), who captioned many of the images with Bible verses that prohibit witchcraft.
The posts also made reference to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Polish Catholic bishops' conference confirmed to the press that the book burning did, in fact, take place, but declined to comment any further on the matter.
Along with the books, "a wooden mask, elephant figurines and a pink Hello Kitty umbrella were also burned."
Many people online pointed out that burning books was a classic behavior of the Nazi regime in Germany. Rev. Wojciech Parafianowicz, a spokesman for the Koszalin diocese, said there were several different levels to look at the incident, condemning book burning in general, but understanding where the priests were coming from:
"The first is the very form of smoking books. In my opinion, it is debatable and inappropriate. I would not do something like that and would advise against such actions. I do not like this form of priest's activity and I think it is simply inappropriate. The second thing is the very fact of existence of reality that affects human life badly - that is, magic, occultism, esotericism and divination."
Twitter users were outraged at the antiquated event:
This is sadly not an april fools joke. They also burned some African Masks, Twilight books and Hello Kitty umbrella… https://t.co/YwcZAK1Rs5— Monika Urbańczak (@Monika Urbańczak) 1554129859.0
@BBCWorld Embarrassing... All I can say 😳— Angelika P (@Angelika P) 1554124652.0
@BBCWorld Wait until they find out about the movies— James Nemec (@James Nemec) 1554126225.0
@BBCWorld @BBCNews Can someone remind them it's a work of fiction— Ken Bowie (@Ken Bowie) 1554125085.0
"[H]e who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye." - John Milton,… https://t.co/ESWKGkQzTi— Rev. Zachary Kyle Chandler (@Rev. Zachary Kyle Chandler) 1554225062.0
@CBCAlerts Living, as a priest today, is challenging enough. These sort of decisions to burn these books can only b… https://t.co/nW57VdXz3w— FP (@FP) 1554182645.0
@CBCAlerts @TarekFatah Can't believe we're living in 2019 and people are burning books over "magic" threat— जी.के.पी. (@जी.के.पी.) 1554164405.0
@CBCAlerts They are quite backward— Jon C (@Jon C) 1554164190.0
87% of adults in Poland identify as Catholic, showing the strong influence of the Catholic Church in the area. Hopefully, with slightly stronger denouncement from diocese officials, this could be the last book burning seen in the modern age.