Close  

Polish priest ‘very sorry’ for Harry Potter book burning

/ 07:13 PM April 03, 2019

Warsaw, Poland — A Polish priest apologized Wednesday for burning “magic” Harry Potter books, after his actions sparked a wave of protest and comparisons with totalitarian regimes and the Inquisition.

Last Sunday, after Mass, three priests in a parish at the Baltic port city of Gdansk presided over the burning of items including books they said were “linked to the occult and magic”.

ADVERTISEMENT

They had burned them in line with Biblical exhortations against practicing idolatry, they said.

A post detailing the incident on a Facebook page run by the Catholic “SMS from Heaven” evangelical group went viral, drawing heavy criticism online and headlines around the world.

On Wednesday Father Rafal Jaroszewicz, one of the three priests involved, posted on the same Facebook page that he was “very sorry”.

“The fact of burning books and other objects was unfortunate,” he wrote.

“However, it was not irreverent to any social group or religion, nor was it aimed at books as such or culture,” he added.

The offending post — which included photographs showing two altar boys standing over the fire pit as Jaroszewicz prayed over the “occult” items — had been deleted, he added.

Father Jaroszewicz had appeared unrepentant in a post on Monday.

He “dreamed of the day” when “the killing of unborn babies” would trigger as much outcry as the book burning, he wrote then.

‘Ideological madness’

ADVERTISEMENT

The books burned included some from British author J.K. Rowling’s famed Harry Potter fantasy series; and at least one from the Twilight vampire-themed fantasy romance stories.

But other items included a Hindu religious figurine.

The Polish Episcopate declined comment despite calls for it to condemn the incident.

Respected commentator Lukasz Turski described the “participation of children” in the burning as “particularly reprehensible”.

“In 1821, Heinrich Heine made a prophetic statement in his ‘Almanzor’ drama: ‘When we start to burn books, we finish by burning people’,” he wrote in the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza.

“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,” he also said.

The top-selling Fakt tabloid daily thundered that “nobody expected a Holy Inquisition”, referring to the campaign against heresy led by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, which involved burning books and witch-hunting.

The row blew up as Poland’s influential church is struggling to deal with the fallout of unprecedented revelations about pedophilia among priests.

A Kantor Millward Brown survey published on Monday suggested that 64 percent of Poles want a secular state, with 29 percent opposed and seven percent without an opinion. /kga

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Books, Crime, Culture, Harry Potter, Inquisition, International news, Literature, Magic, news, Poland, Religion, world, world news
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
usa

How Much Did Toy Story 4 Make?

September 20, 2019 08:25 AM

usa

iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Review

September 20, 2019 08:23 AM

usa

Jeff Bezos: Amazon Pledge for the Next 10 Years

September 20, 2019 08:21 AM

newsinfo

DOJ: No rearrest order yet for released convicts

September 20, 2019 07:54 AM



© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.