Priests Burn Harry Potter Books

A display of Harry Potter books at the British Library in 2017.							Tim Ireland  AP File

A display of Harry Potter books at the British Library in 2017. Tim Ireland AP File

The foundation said the book burning was meant to alert parishioners to bad influences that it says comes from magic and the occult.

Catholic priests in Poland have burned books that they say promote sorcery, including one of JK Rowling's Harry Potter novels, in a ceremony they photographed and posted on Facebook. Influential in Poland, the Catholic Church objects to Harry Potter books, which are worldwide best-sellers, saying they promote sorcery.

One passage exhorting believers to destroy the enemies of God includes the passage "burn their idols in the fire".

The post, on a page run by the Catholic "SMS from Heaven" evangelical group, stirred controversy and has gone viral.

Images of books and items being burned by Catholic priests at Gdansk's Mother of Church on Sunday - including Harry Potter.

"Aside from the books, there were talismans and amulets".

Parishioners were asked to bring items linked to "negative energy" and superstitious beliefs, including good luck charms, the parishioner added.

Kucharczyk dismissed comparisons to the cultural censorship of totalitarian regimes like Nazi Germany. "I'd even call it evangelical", he told natemat.pl.

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Facebook users reacted with outrage to the freaky public ritual, even comparing the group's actions to the book-burning tendencies of the Nazis. "Seriously? Are people burning fantasy literature in the 21st century in some kind of sick ritual?!"

One wrote: "I'd like to believe this is a joke".

It is not the first occasion in which the hugely popular Harry Potter series has attracted the ire of religious zealots, some of whom believe the books are inspired by evil spirits and could lead children astray.

It has sometimes drawn criticism from religious and conservative circles for what they say is its focus on witchcraft.

The incident comes as the Roman Catholic Church in Poland continues to be hit with clerical child sex abuse allegations akin to those that have emerged around the world in recent years.

A study commissioned by the Episcopal Conference of Poland released last month revealed that as many as 382 minors have been sexually abused by clergy in Polish churches since 1990.

The poll was carried out from March 5 to 11 by Kantor Millward Brown on a random representative sample of 1,500 adult Poles.

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