Catholic priests from Gdansk, North of Poland, made a bonfire to burn books considered sacrilege by them. The images were initially published on Facebook by SMS Celestial Foundation, which is dedicated to sending biblical vesicles via SMS.
In addition to the burned books, there were also images of owls and objects from the Twilight series. On the post, the foundation justified the action with biblical passages condemning magic.
Due to the negative repercussion, the foundation removed the images from its social medias. In an official statement the priest Rafał Jarosiewicz apologized for the actions and said he did not want to offend any culture or group of people. He also highlighted that his foundation has already distributed almost 250 thousand books for free.
The priest also regretted the distribution of the images without any context. According to the statement, the books and other objects were voluntarily taken by participants in a spiritual retreat. He further announced that the images would be removed, in order to not cause more adverse reactions.
Bonfires to burn Harry Potter books are not uncommon. In 2001, the author J.K. Rowling answered to one of the bonfires, organized in New Mexico, USA, under the allegation that they would “destroy young people’s lives”, as “they would encourage the youth to learn more about witches, sorcerers and wizards”. On an interview to The Guardian the author said that in her opinion such critics made no sense. “[I] have met thousands of children now, and not even one time has a child come up to me and said, ‘Ms. Rowling, I’m so glad I’ve read these books because now I want to be a witch’”.
In 2017, the author answered once again a Twitter user, who said he would burn books and films of the series after reading an article about J.K. Rowling being against Donald Trump. “Well, the fumes from the DVDs might be toxic and I’ve still got your money, so by all means borrow my lighter”.
Translated into English by Caroline Dorigon
Edited by Aline Michel