Catholic priests at the Mother of the Church parish in Gdansk, Poland, burned numerous items viewed as sacrilegious on Sunday, including copies of the "Harry Potter" books written by J. K. Rowling. Fr. Gabriele Amorth, a former chief exorcist in Rome, once said that, "in Harry Potter the Devil acts in a crafty and covert manner, under the guise of extraordinary powers, magic spells and curses."
In Poland, the priests and the organization SMS from Heaven Foundation had enouraged parishioners to bring in any items from their homes that could be linked to the occult, reported the Associated Press. In addition to the Harry Potter books, a wooden mask, animal figurines, small statues, the Twilight Series vampire books, and books on the occult were destroyed.
The materials were placed in an outdoor fire pit and burned at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday. Priests said prayers at the event and young Catholic altar boys attended.
"The foundation said the book burning was intended to alert parishioners to bad influences that it says come from magic and the occult," reported the AP.
Fr. Chad Ripperger, FSSP, a theologian and exorcist in the United States, has said "the spells in the [Harry Potter] books [apparently] are actual spells," and that many of the names in the books reportedly are the names of actual demons expelled during real exorcisms.
"So, I tell people, avoid it" the books, he said. "All the other exorcists I know that are experienced, are very clear, stay away from it."
He further said, "the fact of the matter is, is that when you tell people you shouldn't let your kids read that [Harry Potter], the purely visceral response you get is a result that tells me there is something diabolic about the whole thing."
J.K. Rowling, the wildly successful author of the Harry Potter series, has said that the writer who most influenced her was Jessica Mitford, a longtime Communist Party member and supporter of the genocidal dictator Joseph Stalin.