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« Deliberately Insulting the Most Deeply Felt Sensibilities of Other Human Beings | Main | P. Z. Myers Carries Out His Threat »

July 19, 2008

Comments

David B.

Why should there be a defense of PZ Myers when no offense was offered by JA.O?

Maybe some things can't (or shouldn't) be defended. Perhaps it would be helpful if those of similar theological persuasion would stand up, in contrast to his disrespect, and offer some condemnation of his stupid actions.

Scandalous behavior by Catholics shouldn't mitigate the proper and reasonable response of other Catholic. Unfortunately, Myers' scandalous behavior has no apparent counter balance.

Sleeping Beastly

The commenter said PZ Myers was making an artistic statement, not a scientific experiment. He's not a bad scientist- just a bad artist.

Ave Maria

"Some crude commends were made about the digestive process to which can be answered that that is far past the point where Jesus is no longer present in that fashion (that he or God is still present in another generalized fashion is problematic for theism in general)."

An atheist once asked me (out of genuine curiosity) what happened to the Real Presence once the host hits your stomach. I told him I was stumped. If I get asked that again, what's a better answer?

Paul F

As upset as this whole PZM thing has made me, the more I think about it, I can't help but think of what Jesus said regarding those people who did the exact same thing to Him at His Crucifixion: "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do." PZM clearly does not know what he does. And we should never forget how hard it is to believe what we believe.

I propose that--while what PZM is doing is awful and has really bugged me since I first read about it--those of us who believe and confirm the Real Presence are capable of far worse offenses against the Holy Eucharist by receiving unworthily, etc. Rather than aiming our emotional responses at PZM, like some obviously passionate but misguided folks have done, perhaps we should allow this to strengthen our resolve to live our lives in a way that reflects the incredible gift of the Eucharist we receive.

I might be wrong, but I'm just trying not to be angry.

Amy P.

I might be wrong, but I'm just trying not to be angry.

I agree we need to revitalize and reaffirm the teachings of the Church with regard to receiving the Eucharist and the Real Presence.

However, I think we have a right to get annoyed and angry. It's not contradictory to our Faith if we decide enough is enough and start defending ourselves and our right to free expression of religion. None of us here is foolish enough to see what's going on in the world and realize Christianity - and especially Catholicism - is under constant attack from a culture that's lost its moral compass.

And it's not enough for those who hate, disagree with, ignore the Church's teachings to go about their merry way and do whatever it is they have the free will to do. No. They have to insult, offend, attack and undermine our right and our faith at every opportunity (which clearly means they think there's *something* to our beliefs if they waste their time attacking it so).

This is to be expected - and I understand that - because Christ Himself said we'd be persecuted and despised for our belief in Him.

However, that doesn't mean we have to roll over and let them walk all over us. Neither is this a call for violence - and it never would be - but a call for us to know our Faith, know our rights, and stand up in the public sphere and say, "I'm Catholic and my Faith is as worthy of respect and dignity as all the other cultures and faith we're told to respect. We deserve it, and we're not going to go quietly."

Bunthorne

An atheist once asked me (out of genuine curiosity) what happened to the Real Presence once the host hits your stomach. I told him I was stumped. If I get asked that again, what's a better answer?

I believe the traditional understanding is that the Real Presence ceases when the appearance of bread ceases, i.e. when it is no longer recognizably bread. Usually this is estimated at around fifteen or so minutes after consumption.

ken

Myers is a sad character and an emblem for a society that is losing all sense of a moral code. He may think the world is a better place without religion, but a society based on the concept of doing whatever you want as long as it doesn't offend yourself; without regard for how those actions affect others, is a society hellbent on destruction.

SDG

Jimmy, great response.

CT: FWIW, I started to write some thoughts in response to your earlier post before Jimmy responded, so I might as well post 'em here.

Since I would probably be the only one to speak in the man's defense, I feel I must do so.

FWIW, I have been known to defend opponents, including atheists, when the circumstances call for it. One's opponent is not always in the wrong, and when he is in the right, he deserves credit for it. I will not defend Myers here because he is most definitely not in the right.

I would like to inquire if when a blog post critical of another individual is made, if that individual is first or opportunely informed so that he is able to defend himself if he so chooses or to write the blogger with a defense.

Myers is a public figure who has courted controversy on a large scale. He neither wants (one may reasonably presume) nor has any reasonable expectation of getting specific notices of every place where he is critiqued.

I do not deny that Myers is not perfect in charity, but neither is anyone here. I don't think it can be said that his charity seems lesser than the charity of those who have written him hatefully.

The first sentence is trivially true, like sentences such as "Neither the Verzasca River nor the Ganges River is perfectly clean." Just because a difference is one of degree rather than kind does not mean it is not a great and meaningful difference, and I have not seen anyone here at JA.o exhibit in these posts anything like the degree of uncharity exhibited by Myers, despite Myers' provocation.

As for the second sentence, it is not enough merely to be no more unreasonable/uncharitable than the most unreasonable/uncharitable of one's opponents. Indefensible responses from Catholics on Myers's blog don't make Myers's indefensible provocations more defensible.

I do not see any evidence that would reliably indicate that Myers purpose is to offend. It seems rather by his statements his purpose is to make an artistic demonstration of the powerlessness of the consecrated bread. He is hoping, it would seem, that this would spur Catholics to realize its powerlessness and in turn to question their belief in transubstantiation.

Here is why I don't find your thesis persuasive. Myers' tirade is not predicated on specific Catholic beliefs regarding the supposed "powers" of the consecrated bread. He doesn't even mention what these "powers" are, and I see no reason to think he has any understanding of Catholic belief in this regard.

FWIW, the power attributed to the bread is this: When received in a worthy state, the consecrated host gives an increase of the spiritual life known as grace. It also unites the believer with Jesus in a special way. How would Myers' "artistic demonstration" in any way interact with this belief? It would not. Therefore, it is not the "power" attributed to the Eucharist that is the target of Myers's ire and the aim of his provocation.

Rather, what ticks Myers off is how Catholic reacted when the Eucharist was threatened with desecration. It is the fact that Catholics were offended and outraged (and in many cases acted much as offended people in this country are wont to act, with all the good and ill that implies), that set him off.

To illustrate this point, I propose a thought experiment. Suppose we try to imagine Catholicism sans the notion of "desecration" as an affront to God. Let us posit a moderately reconfigured Catholic piety in which Catholic dogma regarding the supernatural character of the Eucharist is substantially the same, but there is no particular ethic about "protecting" the elements from accidental spillage or loss, avoiding unworthy reception, or preventing people from removing the Eucharist from church for any purposes whatever -- to keep in a shoebox under your bed, sell on eBay, feed to your goldfish, whatever. Suppose that no Catholic in the world would bat an eye no matter what Myers or anyone else did with a Eucharistic host. No one will pay the slightest attention. No cries of outrage from Shoutin' Bill, no angry letters in Myers' combox, no calls for his termination. The Church shrugs and goes on. Apart from this, however, Catholic belief regarding the "power" of the Eucharist is substantially the same.

At that point, is there any reason to think Myers would feel the slightest "glee" at the thought of pursuing his "artistic demonstration"? I don't think so. If no one is offended, there's no point in doing it.

Now, that in itself is good reason for Catholics to moderate their responses to perceived sacrilege. There is definitely a case to be made that Shoutin' Bill did the world and the Church no favors by blowing aspects of this situation out of proportion. As long as there are people like Myers in the world who despise our beliefs and want to provoke us and hit us where we are most vulnerable, the less we gratify and reward their behavior, the less inclined they will be to do it.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't react at all -- we can't, obviously, and we would fail to attest our faith if we did. But in our defense of the Eucharist we should be shrewd as serpents as well as innocent as doves.

In sum, CT, I don't think your comments represent a plausible approach to understanding Myers' tirade. You can say Myers was reasonably provoked at some of the earlier behavior in the Cook affair, and that this makes his desire to return offense for offense more understandable, but I don't think you can say he doesn't mean to offend. The whole tenor of the last grafs of his blog post could be summed up as "Let's stick it to the f---wits."

More later, perhaps.

LCB

How do we reason with individuals who are themselves inherently unreasonable?

Mary

Bunthorne is right.

At least according to our host. Read all about here.

Mary
I do not see any evidence that would reliably indicate that Myers purpose is to offend. It seems rather by his statements his purpose is to make an artistic demonstration of the powerlessness of the consecrated bread.

And this is important why?

Suppose some one made death threats against Myers, but not to inspire fear -- rather to make an artistic demonstration of Myer's vileness and cowardice.

Would you -- would anyone -- swallow the claim that it made any difference?

"Art" excuses nothing.

Maureen

I would have thought that, by posting an open appeal to all comers for consecrated hosts, the professor had made his posting a public one and declared himself a public person. You don't post stuff on the Internet so that people won't read it. (Duh.)

The very idea of giving public persons some sort of overwhelming protection against free speech, in the name of civility, is misguided in the extreme. Am I supposed to inform Obama and ask for his defense before I make any comments about his actions? No, because that would be stupid and burdensome, both to my free speech and his free time.

If Myers cares to care, he will Google his name, find Jimmy's blog, and either email Jimmy or leave comments in the combox. Or he'll just post on his blog, which is also his right. If he doesn't care, Jimmy's blog is not his concern and nothing said on it hurts him.

DJ

Satan worshipers, among others, do worse and in more quantity than whatever Myers has planned. I think that needs to be kept in mind.

Its curious to ponder what Myers would do next if an Eucharistic miracle were to actually happen.

Currie

Professor Myers has dug in his heels and promises to display his bigotry on Wednesday:

Screw that. If religion is that fragile, I shall take great joy in destroying it this Wednesday, when the crackers get it. Keep that in mind.

Link

Currie

Here is another excellent critique of Myers’ unethical behavior:

But what Myers is actually wanting to do is of a different order. He is going out of his way to procure, by deceit, within the confines of a church’s property, an object that Catholics do not share with nonbelievers. Period. He is, in short, encouraging his readers to interfere with a particular people’s ability to practice their religion without interference within their own property boundaries. And he is indulging a primitive and volatile human passion: iconoclasm (taking from a religious people, against their will, objects sacred to them for desecration or destruction). This is an enormously serious breach of the liberal foundations of our society. We would not, for one moment, condone or tolerate an anti-Semite interfering in a similar fashion with a Jewish synagogue service, and we must not condone or tolerate an atheist attempting to interfere with a Catholic mass.
http://santitafarella.wordpress.com/2008/07/16/pz-myers-is-wrong-about-host-desecration-an-agnostic-urges-other-agnostics-and-atheists-to-shun-pz-myers-until-he-reaffirms-liberal-values/”> LINK
JoAnna

If anyone else can't get to Currie's link, you may have better luck with this one.

Eric

I don't think PZ Myers said he was doing it in the name of science. You seem to have arrived at that conclusion on your own.

CT

I feel I should make a correction. I stated that a woman who worked at 1-800-flowers was fired for making a death threat. It was to be precise not an explicit death threat but a threat of violence which I interpreted as being an implicit death threat. Also, as it turns out it was not that woman who wrote the hateful email to PZ Myers but her husband -- if one assumes that the following comment is accurate, and is indeed the husband's confession:

http://breakingspells.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/employee-of-1800flowerscom-issues-death-threats-to-professor/#comment-274

I hope that the woman is offered her job back.

While I am here, let me just say to SDG that Myers has actually himself stated that he intends to show that it has "no power." So that is at least part of his stated intention.

I should also perhaps note that contrary to my earlier stated expectation, Myers, as he himself states on his blog, is intending to desecrate some Korans as well and is intending to do whatever he does to the Korans, also to the consecrated bread. He says that the Korans he has thus far been sent have been sent to him by Catholics.

I would also like to agree with JA that it is reasonable to believe that Myers intended to offend by the words JA quoted, though the brusqueness of many of his posts on a variety of subjects makes me wonder if what would be reasonably concluded in general can be here. I do not see how an intention to offend in the words describing a proposed act entails with certainty an intention to offend in the proposed act itself, but I see how a reasonable man could reach that certainty. I also do not have any theory as to what kind of moral certainty is necessary in these kinds of cases. In any event, I withdraw any criticism I may have made along these particular lines.

I also withdraw any criticism implicit or perceived in my inquiry about contacting Myers. I personally would have been inclined to, but I can see how the position someone expressed is at least somewhat reasonable.

While I am tempted to substantively interact with one of JA's points, I will leave my thought cloaked cryptically and unfairly within this sentence. Ditto for one of SDG's points.

Let me also clarify that I do not today call myself an atheist, though I do not believe in the existence of a classical God (outside of time, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient, simple, and all that jazz). The reason why I don't use that label myself is that I don't exclude the possibility of other kinds of very powerful beings.

I'd also like to clarify in case I haven't already that I do not support what PZM is intending to do. However, I do support his civil right to do it, provided nothing is stolen. I think that if Catholic churches and the Catholic church as a whole were to have more universal propagation and enforcement of their rules regarding who can receive (including a rule that those intending not to fully consume are not to receive), then a case could be made that some kind of moral theft is involved. However, as those kinds of rules to the extent that they exist are not widely or universally enforced, one could argue that they are not binding. IIRC, in the Catholic legal tradition there is a notion that a purely positive law that is not enforced is not binding since the lack of enforcement is taken as a lack of intention to bind on the part of the lawmaker ... I am sure that Ed Peters would be able to correct any flaws that I have in my understanding here. I also understand that the laws (ecclesiastical, that is) broken here may not be purely positive ones, but I don't think someone who does not agree that they are nothing more than positive laws would be bound by that judgment.

I apologize for making some substantive remarks and not intending to interact with any responses in the immediate future. I will continue my readership of the blog and comments however.

A final word, I'd like to apologize for disparaging the civility of the commenters of this blog insofar as I implied or gave the impression that I was saying it was less civil than other internet forums. I do not have any reason to believe that it is and I apologize for stating or implying that it is.

CT

I made a typo

"who does not agree that they are nothing more than positive laws"

should be

"who does not agree that they are something more than purely positive laws"

The Masked Chicken

I don't have a lot of time, but it seems as if P. Z Myers might benefit from sitting in on a class in basic philosophy. He does not seem to understand the difference between accident and substance, between material and immaterial.

Of course, this is bad science. In fact, no scientist would recognize it as science at all, as he has no controls, no way to collect data - how does he propose, by physical means, to determine if he is "harming" the Eucharist, he has no baselines. He would be denied publication in any academic publication. This is grandstanding, it seems.

If he does understand the diiference between accident and substance, then he is being a bit of a hypocrite, claiming that there will be damage to an immaterial object (Christ), when he knows that there would be none.

So, does he not know about the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist, in which case he should, in humilty conceed that there may be things of which he has no data and cannot measure, or does he know and is being a grandstander and a hypocrite (that may not be the right term, but I hope my description above of his contradictory behavior if this were the case, is enough)

Dave Mueller

I think we should just pray for PZ. He has a lot of followers, and perhaps God would work a miracle of conversion if there was enough prayer.

Dave

Quick, if this is something that is to be done on Wednesday, i have an idea. What if everyone (Catholics not wanting to see this happen) send him unconsecrated hosts. It may create a smokescreen effect.

Is there any problem with this? (I suppose if he already knows where they are coming from it might be pointless).

Eric

He's a fundamentalist atheist. He has that spirit of hatred that all fundamentalist's share. I don't agree with atheism, but does that give me the right to demean or destroy something that they revere? For instance, Buddhists are generally atheists. Remember when the Taliban destroyed that giant, majestic monument of Buddha craved into a mountain? They Taliban destroyed it with explosives. It's that same radical spirit that PZ has. There are fundamental ethical rules that all people generally follow; It is not right to demean that which others hold sacred. It would be like me taking a picture of Pz's deceased mother and burning it in front of him. What an immature person.

The Masked Chicken

I share with Jimmy the question about what is best to do in this situation. I could e-mail him, politely, and explain to him that he is setting up a straw man in expecting something to happen when he desecrates the Eucharist and that he should not complain if setting up such comments about a straw man at his bolg causes the discussion to bursts into flames, at least on the Internet. This is what often happens with straw. I doubt that he would listen. He could be arrogant and insulting or he could treat me with respect. More than likely, he would ignore me.

If he does have anger and arrogance at individuals, the best response to that is with a soft answer (a soft answer turns away wrath). That is what Christians are called to do, even if what he proposes upsets our sensibilities. Should the servants have it easier than the Master?

That having been said, as far as the tone is concerned, I would bet that if we treated him thusly, it would defuse his anger and either allow for a sensible discussion or he would eventually go away as he could no longer get attention.

I am afraid for P. Z Myers and I say that it may be the fault of some of the combox responders on his site if he is harmed. We Catholics might bear some of the responsibility for making incendiary remarks and taking incendiary actions.

You see, he has been sent two Korans and he has said that he will do to them what he said he will do to the Eucharist. From his blog (see middle of page, 1:34 pm):

Category: Kooks

Good grief, but this is tedious. I'm still getting piles of email every day from people 1) begging me not to abuse a cracker because it is so sacred to them, piles of email telling me to 2) abuse a book because it is so sacred to Muslims (I've even been sent two copies of the Koran!), and of course, the 3) bizarre complaint that I'm a coward, afraid to commit sacrilege. You can all stop now. 1) Your personal sense of the sacred in a piece of bread dough is absurd to me and imposes on me no sense of obligation. 2) Since I now own one entirely superfluous copy of the Koran, it will meet the very same fate as the crackers. Thanks to all who have demanded that I treat that silly book with disrespect, I'll have to treat both equally [emphasis. The Chicken]. 3) I have not rushed to be rude to a cracker because, well, it's there, it's ridiculous, and it's not very important. I've been traveling, and I've come home to writing deadlines, and those get first priority. Heck, going into the kitchen right now and fixing myself a sandwich for lunch has higher priority. After I've cleared the deck of my work this week, then I might take a moment to casually demolish a sacred cow.

Now enough. You can all stop dunning me. Be patient, godless ones, and surrender to despair, O Ye Believers. And if this turns into another thousand comment thread, I shall be very, very cranky.

While no one but an insane Catholic would think to respond to him with violence, since killing some one is a mortal sin, I am afraid that some of the people who have responded to his threats may have goaded him into actions which would not necessarily be condemned in Islam and that he may be putting his life in jeopardy by his actions, if he does decide to desecrate the Koran. No time is ever a good time in history to be making bold claims of desecration against any object held holy by a people, but especially not now, given the current climate in the world, today.

I do not know what to do. I hope someone will tell him that he risks far more than just outrage. We have the teaching of turning the other cheek. Some other religions do not.

The Chicken

Tim J.

Anyone join me in fasting on Wednesday? If Myers follows through or if he doesn't, a fast on behalf of him and all unbelievers - or perhaps especially for those hostile to the faith - might have un-looked-for effects.

Myers may end up doing more for the cause of Christ than he could imagine, like Satan when he thought he would rid himself of that nuisance Jesus by having him crucified.

Myers has my pity. He is an unhappy man, a disturbed man.

Mary

I will fast on Wednesday.

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

Obviously, desecrating the Blessed Sacrament is a terrible sacrilege, and Catholics should do whatever is within our power AND within the bounds of Christian morality to prevent it if at all possible. (Death threats are out of the question since vigilantism violates Catholic moral teaching.)

However, if Myers already has a validly consecrated Host in his possession, and is dead-set on desecrating it, then we no longer have the natural power to stop him. The matter is now up to God and, well, frankly, Jesus could very well take care of Himself. For instance, what's to stop His holy Angels from miraculously exchanging the Host with an unconsecrated double without Myers knowing? Then the sacrilege would be in appearance only, not in reality. I don't know whether God usually does this with stolen Hosts, but it might be worthwhile praying that it happen.

By all means, fast and pray. It's pretty much all we have left to do, morally at least. At least we know that our glorified Lord feels no pain when brutish, uncivil individuals decide to desecrate the Sacrament of His Love. We also don't know how God might bring good out of all this.

In Jesu et Maria,

Skygor

[quote]Satan worshipers, among others, do worse and in more quantity than whatever Myers has planned. I think that needs to be kept in mind.[/quote]Satanism like Protestantism, occultism, new age, and the recently (7/8/2008) http://jimmyakin.typepad.com/defensor_fidei/2008/07/against-the-fal.html>Gnosticism is eclectic. To each person and group their own, e.g. Temple of Set, Church of Satan, various neo-pagans that converted while reading/loitering in their local bookstore. The difference is that Satanists wish to ridicule and actually defile "the Hebrew god," while Myers is provoking Catholics in order to draw attention to himself and beliefs.

macbeth

In the end, we are all going to learn much more about PZ than about the Eucharist.

The Masked Chicken

An interesting quote I found while looking for some software:


No one is to be called an enemy, all are your benefactors, and no one does
you harm. You have no enemy except yourselves. ---- St. Francis of Assisi


The Chicken

John

Perhaps My. Myers needs the assitance of a therapist. A sane man, believing something to be just a "cracker" would not go to great lengths to obtain one for the specific purpose of desecrating it. After all, "it's only a cracker."

Which leads us to one of two possible conclusions: the professor is insane, or he believes it to be more than a "cracker" after all.

LJ

Just a thought.

Is there not a chain of custody issue here? How can anyone who cares to witness this "desecration" know that he actually has a consecrated host? Take his word? Is he not taking the word of someone who sends it to him?

I think we can all take a breath and say to Prof. Myers, "prove it." Demonstrate unequivocally that what you have is actually a consecrated host. Otherwise, go away. You are perpetrating a hoax and we will not be sucked in by it.

He would then have to go to the trouble of naming names or providing some video proof of the theft of a consecrated host. Either way, he has to put himself out much more than he professes interest in doing.

The question we can then put mildly to him is this; How deep is your hatred of Catholics, religious people of any kind, and God himself? Ranting on a keyboard is one thing but going actively out of your way to offend those who simply believe something that you despise takes you beyond the boundaries of free speech into active persecution, however minor the effect.

In the meantime, we don't believe you. Your demonstration is meaningless.

Juli

I was an atheist for 25 years (from the age of 15-40). By the time I was 23 or so, I was completely over my anger towards religion, God, etc. It's a shame that an adult still suffers from such hate. Of course, it sounds like he doesn't really like people at all.

Tim J.

That's true. A video of Myers "doing something" to a wafer is no kind of evidence at all. He may claim it's a consecrated host, but there's NO reason - not one - to believe it is.

It's just kabuki.

SDG

How can anyone who cares to witness this "desecration" know that he actually has a consecrated host?

We can't know, of course. But that would be cold comfort, IMHO. The possibility that it is real would be depressing enough.

Fr. Terry Donahue, CC

Here is a post I made a week ago at http://friendlyatheist.com/2008/07/10/wafergate/ which was discussing whether or not PZ Myers should try to desecrate hosts to make his point. Attempting to give an explanation that "friendly atheists" might accept, I responded to the following statement by PZ Myers: "Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers?...":

At a Catholic Mass, the Eucharist is offered to Catholics (and in certain circumstances non-Catholic Christians) as part of an act of worship. As a Catholic priest, one of my responsibilities is to guard against the desecration of the Eucharist. Those who comes forward to receive the Eucharist are expected to consume it before returning to their seat. If someone attempts to take the Eucharist back to their pew or out of the Church, they should be approached and asked to consume the Eucharist or give it back to the minister of Communion.

Knowing this, to encourage others to remove the Eucharist from a Church is to take advantage of the implicit trust in the good intentions of those coming up to receive the Eucharist at a Catholic Mass. This type of trust is foundational to a civil society.

The fact that Mr. Myers is encouraging people to breach this trust is precisely why the whole project is wrong. It shows a lack of respect to the persons involved in distributing the Eucharist.

P.S. I do agree that the Catholics calling desecration of the Eucharist as the worst possible hate crime are going overboard. Jesus is risen and his glorified body cannot be harmed by desecration of his bodily presence in the Eucharist. [i.e. there are worse hate crimes]

LJ

***"-How can anyone who cares to witness this "desecration" know that he actually has a consecrated host?-
We can't know, of course. But that would be cold comfort, IMHO. The possibility that it is real would be depressing enough."***

I understand SDG, but think of it in this light. If Myers is determined to carry out this "desecration" in any case, he will do so, believing he has the real article, the consecrated host. However, if in fact he cares whether it is not just another "cracker", by throwing the burden of proof upon him, we draw him out at his own game, demonstrating that even to him one "cracker" is not the same as another. For his little game to be real, he must insist upon a real consecrated host because that is the substance of his premise. It is not that we don't care whether the host he has is the real article, but by demanding proof and not responding the way he clearly wants us to respond we show that he does care whether it is real, in this case at least. If he is drawn into debating the issue of the authenticity of his "host", he has then lost control of his circus act and is no longer the ringmaster.

Fr. Terry Donahue makes a good point. While it offends us mightily, the desecration of a host by an outsider is not a new or unique event, nor is Catholic baiting for that matter. Perhaps what is more worrisome in the big picture is the lack of respect for, or lack of discernment of, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus in the Eucharist on the part of many baptized Catholics. The possibility that Myers could actually obtain, or at least easily obtain a consecrated host should disturb us more than all of his antics, because we know that someone is aiding and abetting, and quite possibly (but not necessarily) a baptized Catholic. Were the vast majority of baptized Catholics serious about this, and believed the doctrine of the Church, the possibility of someone "scoring" a consecrated host would be greatly reduced, based upon vigilance and social pressure within the Church.

LarryD

TimJ and Mary -

I'll fast too. If I can get to Mass, I'll offer it up for him. We are called to pray for those who persecute us, after all.

The Masked Chicken

Typepad is being persnickety and not letting me post all of the links, so I will break it up into two comments.

Okay, let's put this all in context. How did this actually get started? It started in Florida, when a University of Central Florida student, who apparently was raised Catholic, but is not practicing, alleges that he tried to take the Eucharist that was given him back to this seat to show another fellow student (how he thought he was entitled to receive communion is not clear, as the article implies that he is no longer a practicing Catholic - perhaps he is a practicing, but a very poorly catechized Catholic?). Realizing that he was not consumming the host, one of the ushers tried to force it from him. P. Z. Myers heard about this (I do not know how) and was outraged at what happened to the student. He posted an article on his blog to the effect that "it was only a cracker." Things escalated from there.

Here is the local television account of the incident. Here is a follow-up reporting that the host was returned after the student received death threats. Notice the dates. The original incident occurred on June 29 (sadly, with the inauguration of the holy year for St. Paul).


Here
is P. Z. Myers's response and the post that started the whole thing.

The Masked Chicken

More links:

Here is a link to Myers's blog so that you can get a feel for him.


This
site is written by someone who knows P. Z. Meyers.

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

>>>The possibility that Myers could actually obtain, or at least easily obtain a consecrated host should disturb us more than all of his antics, because we know that someone is aiding and abetting, and quite possibly (but not necessarily) a baptized Catholic.

If Eucharist consecration becomes a national pastime for militant atheists, I think it's time to do away with Communion in the hand. That, along with intinction, would make it even harder to pocket an intact Host in the first place.

In Jesu et Maria,

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

Sorry, I meant desecration. Sheesh, I'm not awake yet.

In Jesu et Maria,

Sleeping Beastly

I just spent about an hour reading comments on Professor Myers' blog, and I had a few thoughts:

1. When I first read of his intention to desecrate the Host, my first thought was Gee, I wish one of these militant atheists would take a poke at Islam for a change. Now that it looks like he's about to do it, I've changed my mind. I hope he thinks better of it.

2. Maybe I've just gotten spoiled by this and similar blogs, but the level of discourse on Pharyngula was pretty sad.

3. I'm glad that some people have been sending him unconsecrated wafers. Still, I wonder what will happen to the consecrated bread he does not desecrate tomorrow. I somehow doubt he will take the trouble to send them all to his local parish so that they may be properly consumed. This is further complicated by some apparent claims that he was sent poisoned wafers.

In any case, I think a day of fasting and prayer of the Divine Mercy Chaplet for Professor Myers will be appropriate tomorrow, for those who can join us.

Dave Mueller

I will join in the fasting and prayer for PZ and his associates.

Sleeping Beastly

Also, in re: Myers' statement, "And if this turns into another thousand comment thread, I shall be very, very cranky."

Hahahahahahahaha! I can just see him standing up in a crowded auditorium and shouting for everyone to stop paying attention to him.

Ben D.

Count me in on praying & fasting tomorrow.

Sleeping Beastly

In any case, take heart, friends- this is the kind of thing God is really good at. He gave himself (and, more than that, his son) up to torture and death at our hands, and we mocked him with a crown of thorns before putting him to death, because of our sin. And because of our sin, and because of his love, he suffered this and in so doing saved us.

Blessed be God, the ultimate in poverty, mourning, meekness, hunger, mercy, purity of heart; blessed be the ultimate peacemaker who is persecuted for the sake of righteousness! Thus does his saving love reconcile us to him! I don't know what he has in store for the professor, but I know how much he loved me even while I sinned against him, and if he loves the professor even half as much, what can he not do to melt his heart? May God heap graces and forgiveness on the head of Professor PZ Myers!

Bobby Bambino

I'm in too.

For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

SDG

FWIW, Myers claims the deed is done (and claims to have disposed of a Koran and a "surprise entry" as well as the host), but hasn't yet posted specifics or evidence.

Keep praying.

BobCatholic

I think there is no way to respond to this Myyers guy in a rational way.

It is like wrestling a pig. We'll just get dirty and he likes it.

BobCatholic

Let me see if I get this straight.

Myers wants natural scientific proof of the existence of the supernatural?

This is illogical. The natural and supernatural are in separate jurisdictions. He might as well ask for the chemical formula of unselfishness, or the mathematical formula of love.

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