Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dissing the Host

From The Catholic League:

University of Minnesota professor Paul Z. Myers made good on his pledge to desecrate the Eucharist today. According to his statement on the subject, "I pierced it [the Host] with a rusty nail (I hope Jesus’s tetanus shots are up to date). And then I simply threw it in the trash."

Saying he did not want to "single out just the cracker," Myers also tore pages from the Koran along with a few pages from Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion and nailed them to the Host. He then said, "They are just paper. Nothing must be held sacred. (His emphasis.) Question everything. God is not great, Jesus is not your lord, you are not disciples of any charismatic prophet."

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:

"A formal complaint against Myers has already been made. What he did - in both word and deed - constitutes a bias incident, as defined by the University of Minnesota. The policy says that ‘Expressions of disrespectful bias, hate, harassment or hostility against an individual, group or their property because of the individual or group’s actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion…can be forms of discrimination. Expressions vary, and can be in the form of language, words, signs, symbols, threats, or actions that could potentially cause alarm, anger, fear, or resentment in others…even when presented as a joke.’

"The University must now take action and apply the appropriate sanction. We are contacting the president, Board of Regents and the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office at the school, as well as Minnesota’s governor and both houses of the state legislature; the Catholic community in Minnesota is also being contacted. Moreover, we are also contacting Muslim groups nationwide.

"It is important for Catholics to know that the University of Minnesota will not
tolerate the deliberate destruction of the Eucharist by one of its faculty. Just as African Americans would not tolerate the burning of a cross, and Jews would not tolerate the display of swastikas, Catholics will not tolerate the desecration of the Eucharist."

Although I'm not advocating that anyone do this, I can't help wondering what Prof. Myers reaction would be if someone dug up, say, his mother's corpse and used it for a hatstand? The man seems to have a serious problem in understanding basic Catholic theology (and that of many Anglicans) that the host is treated with the same deference one would treat the incarnate Christ, because - once consecrated - it is the incarnate Christ. We might be incorrect in that belief, but to tell us we are not disciples of someone we are clearly disciples of is not merely silly - it is an attempt to require others to toe his party line.

I actually feel sorry for this guy. I just reread C. S. Lewis's That Hideous Strengh; the last time I read it was over 40 years ago. One of the characters, Mark Studock, falls under the sway of a rabidly (and satanically) materialistic group called NICE (National Institute for Cooperative Experimentation). As one of his last steps in becoming "objective," he is required to desecrate a crucifix. He rebels, though himself an unbeliever, because he recognizes the simple dehumanizing wrongness of it. Spitting in other people's faces is selom an act that produces a beneficial result. It is nastiness for its own sake.

Apparently Prof. Myrs has already chosen his side. I doubt that he truly realizes it; I pray that his decision is not irrevocable.