Harry Potter Books Burned By Catholic Priests In Demonstration Against 'Magic'
An evangelical Catholic group based in Northern Poland have burned books, including the Harry Potter series, in a demonstration against magical themes and spirituality they consider to be sacrilegious.
The Catholic organisation, known as the SMS From Heaven Foundation, are based in the city of Gdansk and send religious messages via text to their members.
The group published photos of their book burning to Facebook, with captions such as "We obey the word" to explain their destruction of these texts.
The Facebook posts also included Biblical quotes condemning magic such as as a passage from Acts, stating "many of those who had practised magic collected their books and burned them in front of everyone. So they calculated their value and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver".
As well as the Harry Potter series, the Twilight series was also burnt (visible as "Zmierzch", the Polish word for dusk, in the group's photos), along with books on Eastern philosophy and spirituality texts.
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest religious organisation in Poland and exerts significant political and social influence.
While Polish law guarantees its citizens freedom of expression, the charge of blasphemy has allowed the Catholic clergy to maintain substantial power, with "offending religious feelings through public defamation" liable to fines and even a two-year prison sentence.
Last month, the Polish Catholic Church released a document detailing the sexual abuse of 625 children over a 28-year period by members of the Catholic clergy.
Many of the comments on the Facebook posts from the SMS From Heaven Foundation are critical of the Catholic Church, with one user commenting: "I dream of a time in which God-fearing priests will condemn their paedophile fellows with the same enthusiasm with which they hunt down readers of Harry Potter".