A Catholic priest recently apologized to the public after burning J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, along with other items that were “linked to occult and magic.” The said incident happened in Gdansk, a city in Poland, where he presided over the burning after a mass. He was assisted by other priests.
According to reports, they did the burning in line with Biblical teachings opposing idolatry and witchcraft. Needless to say, the move drew many negative comments from angry netizens.
The Facebook post, shared by the page of Catholic evangelical group “SMS from Heaven”, showed pictures that drew heavy criticism from people.
Father Rafal Jarosiewicz has since issued an apology saying he is “very sorry” about the incident.
“The fact of burning books and other objects was unfortunate. However, it was not irreverent to any social group or religion, nor was it aimed at books as such or culture.”
In addition to the Harry Potter books, other items burned included vampire romance book Twilight, Buddhist figurines, and an African mask.
While the offensive post has since been deleted on the page, Father Jarosiewicz seemed unrepentant about the act as he wrote the next day that he “dreamed of the day” when “the kil ling of unborn babies” would spark as much outrage as burning fictional books.
A report by TIME tells us that Jarosiewicz was later “fined by city guards” and “an anti-smog group also contacted prosecutors about the illegal burning of waste in an open fire.”
Commentator Lukasz Turski pointed out that “participation of children” during the burning is “particularly reprehensible”.
He wrote in an article published by Gazeta Wyborcza:
“In 1821, Heinrich Heine made a prophetic statement in his ‘Almanzor’ drama: ‘When we start to burn books, we finish by burning people.’
“A hundred and some odd years later, in Nazi Germany, Heine and (Thomas) Mann’s books and many other prominent artists were burning in piles in Berlin; a dozen or so years later, crematoria burned… the victims of the ideological madness of the supposedly civilized world.”
Meanwhile, the Polish Episcopate has stayed silent about the act despite public clamor that they condemn it.
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