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October 03, 2008

Comments

David B.

Thanks for taking the time to write this post, SDG. You make helpful points for Catholic frustrated by these acts. Thanks.

Tim J.

Ditto what David B. said. Nice work.

A very balanced and Catholic viewpoint. When one is victimized by others, the temptation is to hit back, to make them sorry, to show them how it feels. We are forbidden these things. Revenge is not ours.

That does not mean, however, that we are required to sit by mute and let people say or do whatever they like without complaint or reproof. It does not mean that we can't take measures to make as certain as we can this sort of victimization won't happen again. We are allowed, and sometimes duty bound, to defend the Truth and defend ourselves.

Sam

If he's not a baptized Catholic, then isn't the whole thing sort of null and void? He shouldn't have been getting communion in the first place. It's a little different when some rainbow sash guy who's been denied communion shares it with an undercover rainbow sasher.

The Masked Chicken

I am also thankful for SDG to take the time to write this post.

There are many reasons why Mary was present at the crucifixion. One such reason might be to give us a model. today, for how to respond to Eucharistic desecrations. She was like us on that day, watching Christ be immolated. That pattern is now being repeated on the Internet (although in an unbloody and insensible form) for all to see. How she responded, so must we. We must be Mary at this Internet Calvary.

How did she respond? St. Ambrose made the comment about Mary, "I read that she stood, but I do not read that she wept."

She did not weep; she did not condemn. She offered up the sacrifice for the salvation of souls. If Christ is, indeed, to be sacrificed again, today, at the hands of poor men, then let us repeat the offering of the sacrifice that they may reap the benefits of the love poured out for them.

The Chicken

The Sheepcat

Well said, SDG. And thanks for pointing out Fr Scalia's essay.

Dan Hunter

Communion on the toungue is the norm in America.

The reception of the Substantial Blessed Sacrament in the hands was brought about by an abuse in several countries and then the Vatican caved in to pressure from the bishops conferences and did what they have done several times,
ie: permit abuses so as not to rock the boat.
This is just an historical fact.

Maybe Christ should have done the same with the sellers in the Temple outer courts, instead of knotting up the cords and performing a purification.

SDG

Thanks all.

Dan Hunter: I almost feel I owe you an apology. I was dimly aware, tucking that parenthetical "can of worms" into a short post about more necessary things, that it might be a distraction to some, possibly you, from the real subject and the more necessary things.

FWIW, though, it was not there but elsewhere that I thought specifically of you while writing, though you might not guess where, or why. In any case, if my parenthesis was the one thing in the post that stood out to you, I am sorry I included it.

Just wondering, did you happen to read the linked article by Fr. Scalia?

Changing subjects yet again, I've recently been reading some on Christ driving out the money changers. It's amazing to me how little understood that pericope is.

CT

SDG,

I would like clarification on your opinion as to whether it can be morally legitimate to engage in physical violence to defend the Eucharist. I applaud you for discouraging such acts based on prudence but I had hoped you would have actually gone further to affirm their moral illegitmacy. But if you for your own reasons of prudence decline to clarify and express so, I would honor that choice.

don't escalate for rhetorical effect

I think this is an important part of your comments which I hope is something people reflect on. In terms of its context, the only aspect I would express on, is that the mere fact that behavior is evil, even together, with the certain knowledge that it is so, does not necessarily make it right to say it is so -- be it respectfully or otherwise. What governs the rightness of saying something is not merely the truth of what one says, the knowledge of that truth, and the respect with which one says it. It is also the wisdom of saying it in the first place, prescinding from all those issues (and then if it has the possibility of being wise, in consideration of all those issues). I think a lack of proper Catholic catechesis and the Internet culture causes some to take the deficient view I just critiqued -- which I am not attributing to you, necessarily. Judging whether wisdom dictates in particular circumstances a particular course of action (or speech) is of course the province of the virtue of prudence, as I am sure you know. Prudence is a virtue whose operation is parasitic* on the judgments of the virtue of wisdom.

On the substance of the matter at hand. In my opinion, places like Youtube should be ruled (or law created to make it so ruled) a public forum analagous to the townhalls of old where free speech (whether by state or federal law) is protected just as some courts have ruled some malls IIRC as analagous to townhalls in ways sufficient for free speech protections to apply in certain ways:

Court Ruling on Protests Curbs Malls in California

“A shopping mall is a public forum in which persons may reasonably exercise their right to free speech,” Justice Carlos R. Moreno wrote in the majority opinion.

Justice Moreno said shopping malls were entitled to enact and enforce “reasonable regulations of the time, place and manner of such free expression,” to avoid a disruption of business.

“But they may not prohibit certain types of speech based upon its content,” he wrote, like speech urging a boycott of stores.

Some history in terms of SCOTUS:

http://www.slate.com/id/2079885/

In any event, prescinding from what I think the law should be, I don't think it "American" to pressure a private company to change its business model in this way. One may reasonably just choose not to patronize Youtube and cause Google, Inc. to lose some advertising dollars and one may reasonably point out how some things may in your view violate Youtube's own internal policies and one may even make a reasonable argument to Youtube for changing their policies. But one shouldn't in American society rawly demand that the policies be changed or worse threaten consequences or boycotts of those who choose to do business with Google (this is the model of pressuring that the Catholic counterpart to PZM follows with his Catholic League).

There is no one who boycotts the lawfirms or insurance companies that do business with the Catholic corporations that constitute the dioceses of the United States in an attempt to say change what they view as an unjust or dangerous condom policy (I am aware of the Youtube issue on this matter, but the person there was protesting not the internal policy but the external imposition of it in terms of the Vatican's attempts to influence programs external to the church).

If it is purely self-interested concerns that hold sway to Catholics, then I would invite you to consider that Youtubes newly crafted policy would likely involve something about videos offending person's religious sensibilities. But then videos critical of Islam would likely be banned. You would be likely creating a rule that restricts your own motivated Catholic activity and would in any case be setting a precedent for Youtube that may cause future restrictions that would (further) restrict your own Catholic activity ... like perhaps a policy against offending the sensibilities of homosexuals. Recall that one of your Catholic priests was recently subjected to a Canadian human rights tribunal for precisely that. Fortunately, the decision was favorable to him, but not still not all is rosy for that priest or other Catholics in Canada.

I hope incidentally that no one engages in deception in any complaint to Youtube. If you think that many or most or perhaps all of these videos do not involve consecrated wafers, then I hope you do give Youtube a contrary impression. I don't know which particular videos SDG has seen but in one video, I think it is clear that it was not a consecrated wafer (or at least whether it was or not was not part of the art of the video or the artistic or political statement of the video). This video I saw involved political satire or parody, where someone was dressed as a terrorist holding captive a wafer and making demands and threatening to do something to the wafer if the demands are not met. The object of the satire or parody is ironically the very kind of thing that SDG seemed to do -- make a comparison between PZM and terrorists. Whether SDG did so or not, some Catholics did and some -- even priests! -- termed him with lesser invectives such as being a kidnapper. I think the satire/parody of this sort is perfectly legitimate and I hope that Youtube, whatever it decides, does not exclude that. I hope also that Catholics do not disingenuously complain about videos that clearly do not involve a consecrated host or where the art of the video does not suggest one (except in the fiction of the art).

*The term "parasitic" is not negative in connotation here. It is a somewhat technical term used in academic discourse, not just in philosophy but in law (the academic field). Surprisingly though, some lawyers are aware of its proper use in discussions of law while others are not.

Dan Hunter

"Changing subjects yet again, I've recently been reading some on Christ driving out the money changers. It's amazing to me how little understood that pericope is."

Did you read perchance what the Magisterium teaches on it?
Or St Jerome?

It was about purifying the Temple, of the profanation taking place in the House God.
There were many devout Jews and converting Gentiles trying to pray to the Lord in their respective courts and the lowing of the oxen, the stench of the animal dung, the cry of the seller all distracted them from their offices and supplications.

It most certainly was not primarily about the changing of the gaurd from the Old Covenant to the Catholic faith, this was more of a type of the institution of the Church.
Christ was pissed off and the Church in Her infinite wisdom has always taught this.

St Jerome tells us that "There was a holy wrath eminating from our Lords eyes."

God bless you.

Sharon

I've recently been reading some on Christ driving out the money changers. It's amazing to me how little understood that pericope is.

SDG if what you have been reading is online could you give us the link? If not, could you tell us the name of the book or magazine?

JoAnna

Wonderful post, SDG. Thank you.

Here is a positive Catholic YouTube video -- my son William's baptism last April. :)

SDG

In reverse order:

JoAnna: Thank you, and thanks for sharing the video!

Sharon: I think the place to begin understanding the story is actually the texts the Lord himself cites, Isaiah 56 and Jeremiah 7.

It is also helpful to read the Gospel story in context, particularly in Mark's Gospel, where it is sandwiched between the two halves of the cursing of the fig tree (actually, the whole chapter helps). A careful reading, in a good modern translation such as the RSV, is very helpful.

Pope Benedict addressed the pericope in a homily earlier this year. Alas, B16's Jesus of Nazareth leaves this pericope for his next book, so I can only wait with bated breath for a fuller treatment.

That said, the kind of history B16 advocates in Jesus of Nazareth is being brilliantly practiced by N.T. Wright in his ongoing series Christian Origins and the Question of God. Jesus' action in the Temple is discussed in vol 2, Jesus and the Victory of God.

Also, Raymond Brown's The Death of the Messiah is a useful reference source, though with some caveats. (Raymond Brown is not practicing the kind of history that B16 advocated and that N.T. Wright does so well, but he is useful anyway.)

Dan Hunter: I really don't want to joust. I know it's not good for my soul and I can't think it's good for yours either. I'm happy to talk about Christ's action in the temple insofar as we can do so without offense to charity. There is one thing necessary.

CT: FWIW, my humble opinion is that defending the Eucharist against desecration with physical violence under any circumstances, even apart from the prudential considerations mentioned here, is probably contrary to the spirit of Christ. However, the issue could easily be complicated by various scenarios that might change the rules somewhat.

Some other thoughts. I hope that, in extremis, I would be willing to die rather than allow myself to be forced to desecrate the Eucharist, which I would regard as tantamount to denying Christ. OTOH, if some anti-Catholic monster threatened to desecrate the Eucharist unless I said "Kill me instead," I don't think I see that it would be incumbent on me to volunteer to die to save the Eucharist from desecration. (I am of course aware that saints have died rather than surrender the Eucharist to desecration, but then saints have also actively courted martyrdom in ways that are neither obligatory nor generally recommended.)

labrialumn

We Evangelical Catholics of the Augsburg Confession do not commune anyone whom the pastor does not recognize. All who wish to commune are required to sign a card with a clear statement of faith in the atonement and in the Real Presence. There can be a pastoral exception if an individual has talked with the pastor first, in detail, about their beliefs about the Sacrament of the Altar.

When the Ark was being transported to Jerusalem and the oxen stumbled, and Uriah instinctively reached out a hand to steady the Ark, God struck him dead. When Aaron's sons brought unconsecrated fire to the altar of sacrifice, God struck them dead.

How much more ought we defend Christ's very body and blood from desecration?

CT

I hope you are not advocating killing in order to stop desecration. I am relieved to hear SDG's tentative opinion and quite disturbed by this other person's opinion.

Dave

Thank you for saying it. I believe you are spot on with this.

SDG

FWIW, I added a new paragraph to make more explicit something I was trying to say above:

[On the contrary, it (public outrage) will only encourage them] — as public outrage in the Webster incident encouraged Myers's desecration, and as outrage over Myers encouraged subsequent (real or simulated) attacks on the Eucharist. Bill Donohue's intervention here was probably more unhelpful than not. Trying to address crises like the Webster incident by throwing weight around and upping the ante rather than by making every effort at a conciliatory resolution is only going to result in more public attacks on the Eucharist. This is not a battle we can win with this particular weapon. We are vulnerable.

Tim J.

Violence? No. Resistance? Perhaps.

SDG

Violence? No. Resistance? Perhaps.

Yes. The example of St. Tarcisius, a young boy and acolyte attacked while carrying the Eucharist to those in prison by a mob of curious pagan playmates, is the paradigmatic example of defending the Eucharist even to death. Again, I wouldn't say it is necessarily obligatory to defend the Eucharist to the death, but Tarcisius certainly gives us an example of heroic virtue in this regard.

Had Tarcisius made some effort to defend himself along with the Eucharist, even striking at the boys attacking him, I wouldn't blame him for that.

Like I said, it's easy to tweak the scenario. Suppose you are an Eastern Christian in Muslim or Hindu territory and a violent mob of Muslims or Hindus is roaming the countryside invading Christian churches, destroying tabernacles and desecrating the Eucharist. Can we, or should we, defend our church against such an invasion with force? Should we, say, seek to block their entrance, and if they attack us with deadly force then respond in kind? Or should we stand aside and allow them to do all they wish? What if the mob sometimes attacks or kills even unresisting worshipers? Should they allow themselves to be martyred, or should they fight back? I don't think I can say that violent defense in such circumstances is never licit.

At the same time, violence is always a defeat. We do not battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our battle are not of flesh. It is crucial to remember that those who oppose and attack us are not our enemies, and that our first duty is to love them, as Christ himself loved them to the point of death.

James M

SDG, you are so right! Our response to desecration should be sorrow for the person desecrating. If desecration shocks us (as it does) that is because the Crucifixion is not at the front of our mind (which, mostly, sadly, it isn't).

Surely our attitude to those who desecrate the Holy Eucharist should be conformed to Christ's attitude to those who crucified Him and mocked Him: forgiveness for those who did not know what they were doing; challenging truths spoken for those who should do better (Pilate); silence for many others--but great activity in His heart.

What is happening in desecration is highly spiritual--so should our response be.

James M

SDG, you are so right! Our response to desecration should be sorrow for the person desecrating. If desecration shocks us (as it does) that is because the Crucifixion is not at the front of our mind (which, mostly, sadly, it isn't).

Surely our attitude to those who desecrate the Holy Eucharist should be conformed to Christ's attitude to those who crucified Him and mocked Him: forgiveness for those who did not know what they were doing; challenging truths spoken for those who should do better (Pilate); silence for many others--but great activity in His heart.

What is happening in desecration is highly spiritual--so should our response be.

Quasar

i think you catholics are miserable people.

SDG

Quasar: If I were any happier, my neighbors would need sunglasses. Cheers.

Catholic Deacon

Quasar: I might look miserable to you, but the joy of knowing that I will spend eternity with my beloved savior is something that can not be expressed with words. If only you could experience what I have experienced, you would believe to...

Adam

I enjoyed the post, and don't mean to focus in on the parenthesis but would simply like to state that I believe receiving the Eucharist in our hands (which are created to be a throne) important. I'm not looking for an argument, and appreciate your views. PAX CHRISTI.

CT

The way to prevent "theft" of the wafer in the course of a service is to simply have everyone who enters the church sign a legally enforceable contract subject to legal remedy in case of breach, promising to consume the wafer upon reception or give it back if one changes one's mind.

Otherwise, it cannot be considered "theft." One could also leave the church with the wafer in mouth and then when outside the church, just take it out.

There was a court case that is the most pertinent I know of to discerning how American courts would look at this issue:

Associated Press, Chigago, Illinois, U.S.A., Feb 24, 2005

CHICAGO (AP) A woman accused of using her lover's sperm to impregnate herself without his knowledge can be held liable for the unwitting father's emotional pain, the Illinois Appellate Court has ruled.

In the ruling released Wednesday, a three-judge panel reinstated part of a lawsuit against Sharon Irons, a doctor from Olympia Fields. The ruling sends the case back to Cook County Circuit Court.

Irons was sued by her former lover, Chicago family physician Richard O. Phillips, who accused her of a "calculated, profound personal betrayal" of him after a brief affair they had six years ago.

Phillips alleges that he and Irons, who practices internal medicine, never had intercourse during their four-month affair, although they did have oral sex three times.

His suit contends that Irons, without his knowledge, kept some of his semen and used it to impregnate herself.

The relationship ended when Phillips learned Irons had lied to him about being recently divorced and was, in fact, still married to another doctor, according to court documents.

Nearly two years later, Irons slapped Phillips with a paternity suit. DNA tests showed Phillips was indeed the father, court papers state.

Phillips was ordered to pay about $800 a month in child support, said Irons' attorney, Enrico Mirabelli.

Phillips then sued Irons, claiming her actions robbed him of sleep and caused him to have trouble eating. He is haunted by "feelings of being trapped in a nightmare," court papers state.

Irons responded that her alleged actions weren't "truly extreme and outrageous" and that Phillips' pain wasn't bad enough to merit a lawsuit. The circuit court agreed and dismissed Phillips' suit in 2003.

But the higher court ruled that, if Phillips' story is true, Irons "deceitfully engaged in sexual acts, which no reasonable person would expect could result in pregnancy, to use plaintiff's sperm in an unorthodox, unanticipated manner yielding extreme consequences."

But the judges agreed with the lower court's decision to dismiss fraud and theft claims against Irons.

They agreed with Irons' lawyers that she didn't steal the sperm.

"She asserts that when plaintiff 'delivered' his sperm, it was a gift -- an absolute and irrevocable transfer of title to property from a donor to a donee," the decision said. "There was no agreement that the original deposit would be returned upon request.".
continued

So I would assume, not having reviewed the opinion, that in that jurisdiction, and with that higher court, any claim of fraud of theft with respect to Communion would also be dismissed or dismissal affirmed. Any claim of spiritual distress and damages for it would seem dubious since it doesn't involve the "yielding of extreme consequences" and Catholics have said in any case that it is an occasion for them to grow spiritually in a favorable way. Whatever the rightness of the decision as to law, I think as a policy matter, the law should forbid things as happened in the above legal dispute. I think even that as suggested by a Star Trek TNG episode where the protaganists killed clones of themselves made against their will or knowledge, that the man in this case should have a right to insist upon an abortion if pregnancy had already taken place, with a court order able to enforce that right of the man. In the case of Communion however, I think the way for society to accomodate the peculiar religious practices of that religion is to just encourage what I proposed above. The Catholic church already uses legally enforceable instruments in other aspects of its religious activity -- such as in agreements between would be members of religious orders and religious orders or in other things that involve relationships of a decidedly religious, even sacred, nature (other examples are in legal agreements between parishes and the corporation sole which is the diocese ... there are many facets). Here's one interesting case that sheds considerable light:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=234&invol=640

It is interested that in that case, the Order of St Benedict, countenanced in secular law that a member would cease being so just by voluntarily leaving the order, even though canon "law" would consider the member still a member unless certain conditions or actions by certain religious authorities were conducted. What is also interesting is their attempt to repossess property. Anyway, some religious orders, I suppose to avoid such legal disputes, make more explicit or real and more easily or clearly enforceable contracts. The same could be done as I noted above to protect Catholic views on Communion.

CW, no longer CT and maybe soon to no longer operate courageous thought

JFYI, I am going to now post comments on this blog as "CW" instead of "CT". The reason is that I intend to move my blog "courageous thought" to a new name and url and perhaps have multiple blogs with different themes. One day I may end up giving up the original blog url, so it may result in confusion by retaining "CT". If someone takes over the url, then please be aware, that some posts I've made on certain blogs using OpenID would of course now associate a blog not controlled by me with my post or comment on other blogs. Also, of course comments, whether anonymous like on this blog, OpenID, or Google Account Blogger profile, which profile I would still retain, may reference a URL as my blog even though it may in the future not be controlled by me. So if in the future that URL becomes, say, host to an adult blog or some offensive blog, know that it has nothing to do with me.

I made the mistake once of attributing nefariousness to someone before realizing his website was no longer in his control and was now controlled by truly nefarious individuals engaged in illegal activity (a malware infecting website) and so I am pre-emptively hoping that I am not the victim of what I caused another to be the victim of. Perhaps I am being too paranoid, but I have seen things like this happen and in this case, that website was a fairly low traffic website.

I hope I explained that clearly.

CW

P.S. If anyone wishes to email me, then let me know. IIRC, SB wanted to do so. I don't have your email any longer SB if you still were interested in doing that.

SDG

The way to prevent "theft" of the wafer in the course of a service is to simply have everyone who enters the church sign a legally enforceable contract subject to legal remedy in case of breach, promising to consume the wafer upon reception or give it back if one changes one's mind. Otherwise, it cannot be considered "theft."

Nonsense. Implicit social contracts can be as meaningful and as binding, both morally and legally, as formal written ones.

You go into a church and sit in the pew. About midway through the service, ushers come forward and begin passing a basket back and forth, and parishioners begin putting money in it. Then the basket comes to you. Someone hands it to you. They have placed it in your hands, given it to you. Why, it is yours to do with as you please! You have signed no written contract saying you will pass the basket to the next person. Therefore you jump up and run out of the church with the money.

Morally and legally, that is theft. Just because the basket was placed in your hands with no explicit or written understanding does not mean it was given to you as a gift to do with as you please. It was given to you with the implicit social understanding that you would do with it what is expected, i.e., optionally add your own offering to the basket and non-optionally pass it to the next person.

Likewise, just because the consecrated host is placed in your hands does not mean it is given to you as a gift to do with as you please. The explicit understanding for receiving communion in Catholic churches -- set forth in writing in missalettes which appear in the vast majority of Catholic churches in the US -- is that the Eucharist is to be received only by Catholics in good standing, in the state of grace, for the purpose of being consumed. To come into the Church either as a non-Catholic (or lapsed Catholic, etc.) and to present oneself for communion without the intent of receiving, to remove the host from the church for any other purpose, is an act of fraud and theft.

It is hard to comment on the bizarre case you cite, since it involves multiple, compounded unnatural and intrinsically disordered acts. It might be argued that, since neither the man nor the woman had any right to do what they did, that the only relevant "rights" are those of the child, who has already been deprived by those illicit acts of his natural right to be conceived as a result of a concrete act of conjugal love, and will further be deprived of the natural good of being raised by both of his biological parents. However, I could see an argument being made either way.

CW

SDG, I think you would be wishfully and in that respect sincerely fooling your own self if you think for example that a person who receives the wafer on the tongue and then walks about of the church (as many Catholics sometimes do without waiting till the end of the service), and then once on public property, because, say he didn't like the flavor (meaning not just taste but also texture) of the wafer, spat it out on a public street would thereby have committed "theft" or some legal violation of contract or other legal violation (besides maybe littering if he doesn't then dispose of it appropriately according to city ordinance). Even if* you have a case for the receiving on the hand element and then just "pickpocketing" it out of the church, I think it is clear that once it is in the mouth, the church has no right, legally -- or even morally IMHO -- to make demands as to the disposition of the wafer (i.e. to demand that consumption be completed or demand that it not be spit out even when any other ordinary form of bread -- be it wafer or cracker or bread slice or croissant or what have you -- can be spat out, at least outside of the property of the person whom gives it as a gift to be consumed)

*which I don't think you do ... the basket analogy involves something not given to anyone that she might choose freely to consume it, but something that is not given at all. When at a bank, the teller pushes a machine through which you can swipe a card in your direction, that is not the teller giving you that machine even if you are able to physically control it for a moment. The machine there is not given to you at all. The wafer clearly is. If it weren't, then it wouldn't be possible to "receive" it. The basket is not received as a gift by anyone and neither is the machine received as a gift by anyone at a bank. If you are claiming that there are strings attached to the gift, then those strings would constitute for the wafer an analog of an EULA for software purchased at a store and would make it such that the wafer is not given at all but rather an analog of a "license" to the use of the wafer is given, and that failure to consume fully or return it would be a violation of the terms of the license and a revocation of the same. But that would be inconsistent with the theological view of the wafer. What would be consistent would be still maintaining its nature as a gift while taking advantage of contract law and legal remedy to ensure protection of that gift.

After all, it is also a violation of the "terms" of the true giver of the gift, God, mediated through the church and priesthood, to while one is consuming communion to decide all of a sudden to commit a mortal sin of impure thought for the purposes of sacrilege -- during the very consuming process. But that does not make that any kind of legal violation -- prescinding from whether it would be enforceable or remedied.

Rigland

The explicit understanding for receiving communion in Catholic churches... is that the Eucharist is to be received only by Catholics in good standing, in the state of grace, for the purpose of being consumed. To come into the Church either as a non-Catholic (or lapsed Catholic, etc.) and to present oneself for communion without the intent of receiving, to remove the host from the church for any other purpose, is an act of fraud and theft.

The described "explicit understanding" is a page of "guidelines" which present the "discipline of the Church". It presents no explicit mention whatsoever that the host is to be eaten/consumed and not removed from the church. It speaks of "receiving" and "sharing", which someone could understand to mean the host may be received in the hand and then the person may walk out of the church to share it with a friend.

It explicitly says non-Catholics (including non-Christians) are "welcome" to the celebration of the Eucharist. It does go on to say they're not "admitted" to Holy Communion, but (1) it's written in a passive tense rather than as a command to non-Catholics, and (2) it does not meaningfully inform them that they're not welcome to receive a wafer, for what is the distinction between "this celebration" and "Holy Communion" such that one is "welcome" to the former but not "admitted" to the latter? Specifically, the Church teaches in CCC#1408, "The Eucharistic celebration always includes: the proclamation of the Word of God; thanksgiving to God the Father for all his benefits, above all the gift of his Son; the consecration of bread and wine; and participation in the liturgical banquet by receiving the Lord's body and blood. These elements constitute one single act of worship." Therefore, how can someone be welcome to the celebration but not permitted to receive the wafer, when the celebration "always includes" receiving the body and blood?

to remove the host from the church for any other purpose is an act of fraud and theft

His "fraud" would be self-deception, and his "theft" of his own thanksgiving.

bill912

SDG got it right, of course. But, hey, I'm only a police sergeant with 19 years experience; what do I know about the penal law?

SDG

bill912: SDG got it right, of course. But, hey, I'm only a police sergeant with 19 years experience; what do I know about the penal law?

Thanks, bill912. FWIW, I have received concurring opinions from lawyers also. In fact, I have yet to encounter a contrary opinion from anyone with particular qualifications in this area. This isn't to say such contrary opinion can't be produced; lawyers make their living arguing contrary points of view. The bottom line, though, is that it is the Church's Mass and the Church's understanding that prevails and governs the rules of participation.

CT/CW: the basket analogy involves something not given to anyone that she might choose freely to consume it, but something that is not given at all.

Plain and simple, you have not understood the implicit social contract. The understanding in regard to the collection basket is different from that in regard to the host, but no more crucial -- far less so in fact, since if you were to ask the bishop (in whose name all of the property in question is held) whether he would prefer you to steal the offering money or the communion wafer, any bishop worth his salt would unhesitatingly answer "The offering money."

Rigland: It presents no explicit mention whatsoever that the host is to be eaten/consumed and not removed from the church.

It doesn't have to. Words mean what they mean in the social context in which they are used. "Reception" means "consumption." Any other reading, however innocently held, would be a misunderstanding.

Rigland: Specifically, the Church teaches in CCC#1408, "The Eucharistic celebration always includes: the proclamation of the Word of God; thanksgiving to God the Father for all his benefits, above all the gift of his Son; the consecration of bread and wine; and participation in the liturgical banquet by receiving the Lord's body and blood. These elements constitute one single act of worship." Therefore, how can someone be welcome to the celebration but not permitted to receive the wafer, when the celebration "always includes" receiving the body and blood?

You've misread the Catechism -- rather obviously, since your reading transparently reduces to absurdity (i.e., that all present should always receive communion).

In fact the "single act of worship" in question is not the individual act of the individual believer; that would not be a "single act of worship," but as many separate acts of worship as there are individual worshipers.

Rather, the "single act of worship" is precisely a single corporate act in which all the worshipers present participate in different ways and to different degrees.

For example, the celebrant participates by offering the eucharistic sacrifice and by receiving and administering communion. If there are other priests present, they may participate by concelebrating. A deacon may participate by reading the Gospel and certain parts of the liturgy, by elevating the chalice at the final doxology, by administering communion, etc. Altar servers participate in their fashion, and in cases of necessity so may extraordinary ministers of holy communion.

The laity too participate in the manner appropriate to their condition, by saying or singing the parts of the liturgy pertaining to them, by uniting their prayers with those of the celebrant, and if they are properly disposed by receiving communion. Those who are not properly disposed are still welcome to participate in the manner that they can, and the single corporate act of worship remains what it is even though they do not receive. This is a limitation on the manner of their participation, not on the unicity of the single corporate act of worship itself.

As long as the priest himself receives communion under both species, the act of worship is complete. At that point, what varies is not the completeness of the act of worship, but only the completeness of the individual worshiper's participation, each according to his condition.

Incidentally, the single act of worship also includes angels and the saints; indeed, it is we who join our voices with theirs, not the other way around. But the angels as incorporeal spirits do not receive communion, and while the saints in heaven (also incorporeal almost to a soul) enjoy a union with God we can't begin to fathom, it is not a sacramental union.

SDG

P.S. It occurs to me, CT/CW, that in another combox you floated the astonishingly malign charge -- a charge of "Big Lie" magnitude, really -- that "technicalities, rules, legalities, and intellectual issues" were somehow a special Catholic preoccupation and that you considered this alleged pattern to be "one of the many things that comprise evidence against Catholicism." You went on to say "It is striking that on this blog there seems to be no posts and no discussion of personal friendship with God."

FWIW, my original post was about fundamental spiritual principles -- about possessing the spirit of Christ amid affronts and attacks, exhibiting patience, humility, self-control and above all charity, about letting the peace of Christ reign in our hearts and drawing near to Christ through the sacraments, through the Bible and the Catechism and the lives of the saints, through love of God and neighbor.

In the combox also I have tried to keep the focus on the spirituality of the cross. It is not hard to review the combox and see where and how "technicalities, rules, legalities, and intellectual issues" have been creeping into the discussion.

CW

SDG,

Whatever, the law would have to say about it, it would seem inconsistent with Catholic theology to countenance or accept such a legal interpretation since Catholic theology does not consider the consecrated host to be the property of anyone -- not the priest, bishop or anyone. There was a case involving an alleged violation of the priest penitent privilege and the confessional seal where IIRC, where a confession was taped in a prison and the prosecuters wanted to use it and for some reason the defense did too (I suppose they thought it more exculpatory in terms of admissible portions or something ... who knows), but the corporation which is the church, the local church or archdiocese of portland, insisted in court that the tape not be handed over to the bishop or any other person, but that it be "destroyed" -- they actually said it "belonged" to God or "Jesus Christ". I don't recall with clarity the full outcome of that case.

On the charge you speak of, that same charge -- if not verbatim in word then "verbatim" in concept -- was made by a Protestant caller to CAL a few years ago and a question was asked regarding it or at least implied (namely the question of "Why is this so or why does this seem to be so?"). Apparently callers have made that "charge" at least a few times on CAL since SB recalled a separate incident which he seemed to find closely identifiable with my own description (the part about evidence against Catholicism was not something the caller as I recollected mentioned nor as far as I know the separate caller that SB recollected mentioned, based on SB's consonant recollection with me of a separate incident). In the incident I recalled from several years ago, JA was the host IIRC ... and incidentally JA did not describe the caller as engaging in a "Big Lie" or make any other kind of negative reaction. He responded to the caller with great graciousness and explained in a reasoned, and as was (and I presume still is) typical of him for his shows, in an intellectual, calm and forthright way (as opposed to using cryptic criticisms, for instance). IIRC, his response consisted of (in no particular order):

1. Explaining how -- these are my own words -- Christian discipleship may involve questions arising and these questions may require intellectual answers and if the questions are related to rules such as canon law or liturgy, involve rules or technical or legal issues in that way.
2. Explaining why these questions or concerns would be legitimate (they were speaking of callers who were Catholic and how Catholics themselves have these questions and concerns raised and responses made accordingly according to the caller's characterization and JA's explanation of the same)
3. One or two other elements that I don't recall at the moment.

I have no clue as to how the host SB referred to responded to a similar question, nor what a more comprehensive response by JA might have been, nor whether his views may have evolved since then.

Whether this constitutes evidence against Catholicism is a separate issue. But characterizing my observation, separate from, the conclusions I draw from it as "Big Lie" is unfair, and indeed not the spirit or means by which JA himself responded to an almost identical observation as I noted above.

CW

It appears, that the host SB referred to did respond in a somewhat different way than JA did. So my remark "I have no clue as to how" should thus be amended:

"BTW, something a Protestant caller once said on the CAL radio show and the response to it, is for me one of the many things that comprise evidence against Catholicism. The Protestant caller remarked how the CAL program seemed to be exclusively about technicalities, rules, legalities, and intellectual issues as opposed to the heart of Christianity."

If that was the one hosted by John Martignoni, then I heard it too. I'm not terribly fond of him. No, it's not just his voice; I think he's unnecessarily antagonistic.

To be fair, though, there's not much to discuss in public about a private personal relationship. It's possible to speak logically about technicalities, rules, legalities, and intellectual issues. Speaking about your personal love for someone... after awhile, there's not a whole lot more you can say.

As for your example about marriage: if I were discussing marriage in the abstract, I would likely never bring up my own marriage or my own feelings for my wife, and if I did, you would no doubt accuse me of trying to use anecdotal evidence to support my claims. I can tell you about my own feelings for God, and my own personal experiences with him, but they won't be terribly meaningful to you, and many of them are... well, personal and intimate.

As I noted, the case I recalled involved a Protestant caller's characterizing of Catholic callers and interaction between hosts and Catholic callers. So in that sense it was about intra-Catholic, Catholic-to-Catholic behavior, that concerned the caller as a Christian.

Since the subject was brought up here (by SDG ...), let me respond to SB here in terms of clarifying something...

I was not suggesting it was better to speak of personal anecdotal experiences to support claims, nor was I not cognizant of the nature of an intellectual blog (after all this blog was nominated for most intellectual Catholic blog or something or other). The thrust, underlying my words, was my greater affection relative to the Christian tradition for say the way theology as an enterprise is understood by some Eastern Orthodox versus Roman Catholics, or most Roman Catholics with persons like Bonaventure being exceptions. Since I would presume Roman Catholics, which seems to be descriptive of all the Catholics here, are likely not familiar with Eastern Orthodox expressions of theology and meta-theology, I would point to Bonaventure's Journey to the Mind of God -- which is both intellectually rich and yet clearly in-formed by a spirit of love. If God is love itself, then talk about God, including intellectual talk about God ought to be of a loving or love-ly or if you will, in a nod to Shakespearen coinage, love-ful nature. The enterprise of theology is not somehow separate from one's devotional life. There is but one life -- your life. And that life is to be an expression of your heart -- which is not about mushy emotions solely, but in the "canonical" understandings, about the center of the human person constituted in his fully human being, the center from which all human activity by that person in its intellectual, emotional, and bodily aspects, finds its focus of both confluent existence in fluidity and genesis.

I want to make sure, also, that you understood my comment about baseball in the other combox. It's not a question of whether moral issues can't arise in baseball. I am contending that baseball qua activity is of an inherently moral dimension presciding from questions of evaluating whether something is morally forbidden, permissible, or obligatory. Maybe a clearer example would be poetry. Poetry is a moral activity -- an activity with a moral dimension. It is a beautiful expression of beautiful things -- and that is what moral activity is. So just as the philosophy of mathematics is criticized by some as too narrow in its focus on foundational mathematics, I would criticize moral theology and ethics as too narrowly focused (at the expense of truth actually) on an enterprise of evaluation, rather than -- as theology also ought to be, an enterprise of contemplation.

(Some Eastern Orthodox see theology as not something separate from prayer, but even as a form of prayer. Defining "prayer" broadly to not necessitate gods, I would agree that not just theology but any other activity, including such things as engineering, cleaning, mathematical research, or particle physics experiments, should all be a form of "prayer")

Tim J.

"Plain and simple, you have not understood the implicit social contract"

They don't want to understand it, SDG. They are looking for any pretext to misunderstand it.

SDG

Whatever, the law would have to say about it, it would seem inconsistent with Catholic theology to countenance or accept such a legal interpretation since Catholic theology does not consider the consecrated host to be the property of anyone -- not the priest, bishop or anyone.

However, the Church as guardian of the sacraments is the sole custodian of the host, and has authority to administer it in accordance with what she understands to be her divinely given mission with such conditions and requirements as she finds necessary and appropriate.

From a secular standpoint, the wafer considered as a wheaten product is the property of the local Church.

In the incident I recalled from several years ago, JA was the host IIRC ... and incidentally JA did not describe the caller as engaging in a "Big Lie" or make any other kind of negative reaction. He responded to the caller with great graciousness

As I believe I can say I would have done, if you were a first-time poster. Were you a regular caller to CAL, with a history on the show comparable to your history on this blog, you might have gotten a different response from Jimmy than a one-time interlocutor would have, as you did from me.

I appreciate the dispassionate and methodical approach of your posts here, and I agree as you noted in another combox that you can and do assume the truth of certain Catholic teachings in participating in certain discussions. I also agree with others that you can be "reflexively contrarian" to a bewildering and exasperating degree, and your tendency to endlessly clarify and footnote lines of thought can be more disruptive than helpful to the discussion.

Indeed, the two tendencies are not opposed, but interrelated; you sometimes assume the truth of Catholic teaching precisely in order to take a contrarian point of view within a Catholic framework, as opposed to offering an outside critique which would be less relevant and more easily dismissed. (FWIW, the style of thinking and writing I've described here seems to me evocative of patterns I have some familiarity with, and to which I could put a name.)

At any rate, you have certainly shown yourself to be too well versed in the minutiae of too many areas of obscure knowledge relating to Catholic history and thought, and furthermore have had too much contact with Catholics who take their spiritual lives seriously, for me to consider that characterization of Catholicism from you in the same light that I would a question from a newbie whose knowledge and experiences I know nothing about.

It is true that conservations are sidetracked in all sorts of directions from all sorts of points of view, and certainly no one who is as verbose as I am in comboxes as well as posts has any business taking issue with the length of another comboxer's posts. That said, I'd like to ask you -- this is a request, not a disciplinary measure -- if you could try to respect the general tenor of a discussion and to consider which rabbit trails need tracking down and which might not.

If God is love itself, then talk about God, including intellectual talk about God ought to be of a loving or love-ly or if you will, in a nod to Shakespearen coinage, love-ful nature. The enterprise of theology is not somehow separate from one's devotional life. There is but one life -- your life. And that life is to be an expression of your heart -- which is not about mushy emotions solely, but in the "canonical" understandings, about the center of the human person constituted in his fully human being, the center from which all human activity by that person in its intellectual, emotional, and bodily aspects, finds its focus of both confluent existence in fluidity and genesis.

I agree. But we also need to make allowances for different dispositions and modes of expression. One person's devotional language is another person's mushy sentimentalism -- or unwholesome morbidity, or whatever it might be.

To take a small example, C.S. Lewis once noted that he capitalized the first letters in "Heaven" and "Hell" in order to emphasize their reality as actual destinations; I tend to decapitalize them as "heaven" and "hell," but also to emphasize their reality, albeit in a different way.

Similarly, although my practice is inconsistent, in general I have tended over time to stop capitalizing pronouns relating to divinity as well as religiously significant words like "crucifixion" and "resurrection," "scripture" and "tradition," "apostles," etc. (but still "Blessed Sacrament," "Church," etc.).

To some, this might suggest a lack of piety or reverence, but to me it has a different resonance and significance that helps me to think about my faith (as well as the Faith) in a realistic and serious way.

At any rate, one need look no further than, say, the life and writings of the present successor to St. Peter (or his immediate predecessor) to note that theology and spirituality continue to be profoundly interdependent and interpenetrated in the Catholic tradition.

Rigland

SDG,

Words mean what they mean in the social context in which they are used. "Reception" means "consumption." Any other reading, however innocently held, would be a misunderstanding.

You claimed it was an "explicit understanding." Now you resort to claiming an understanding of context is required. "Words mean what they mean in the social context in which they are used" only to the extent that both the social context and the words are understood. If a person reads/understands "receive" to mean something other than "consume", then to him it doesn't mean "consume".

You've misread the Catechism -- rather obviously, since your reading transparently reduces to absurdity (i.e., that all present should always receive communion).

No, I haven't misread the Catechism. Rather, I'm pointing out that the USCCB page is not "explicit". It plainly says all are "welcome" to participate in the Eucharistic celebration -- which "always includes... participation in the liturgical banquet by receiving the Lord's body and blood." That the page then goes on to say seemingly the opposite, i.e. that they're not welcome to participate in the liturgical banquet by receiving the Lord's body and blood, is hardly an "explicit understanding." For non-Christians, the two-sentence message is so brief that it defies any reasonable expectation that a non-Christian would understand it at all.

CW,

Catholic theology does not consider the consecrated host to be the property of anyone

If it were a behavioral contract, it would not require that ownership be established.

SDG,

From a secular standpoint, the wafer considered as a wheaten product is the property of the local Church.

From a secular standpoint, it has not been established that it remains the property of the local church once it's been handed over.

SDG

You claimed it was an "explicit understanding." Now you resort to claiming an understanding of context is required.

I'm not "resorting" to anything. Both are true, and there is no contradiction or even tension. The explicitness of the terms is one question; the definition of those terms is another. The terms of the understanding are explicitly set forth. That they are not defined means that they have to be properly understood in the social context in which they are used.

You seem to be fudging between what the guidelines and/or the Catechism say/mean and what someone might take them to mean. I am concerned with the former, not with the latter. Whether or how people might honestly misunderstand the nature of the obligations assumed in presenting themselves for communion goes to their culpability, not to the nature of the guidelines correctly understood.

From a secular standpoint, it has not been established that it remains the property of the local church once it's been handed over.

As you accurately point out in your previous comment to CT/CW, it doesn't need to be.

CW

Tim, one or two Catholics on this blog said it was not theft. Are they also seeking a "pretext"? The issue is not whether there is a social contract in some philosophical sense. The issue is the law. "social contract" in the context SDG used it is not a legal concept but a broader one. BTW, there are also Catholic lawyers who say it is not theft.

There were Catholics who insisted that parishes in the dioceses of Spokane and Portland belonged not to the respective corporations that are the dioceses but instead to parishes as distinct juridic persons. In both of those cases, the courts of jurisdiction ruled that the parishes did belong to the respective corporations that are the dioceses (IIRC, in both cases, these decisions were rendered moot due to settlements that were reached, but the precedents as such remain). I'm guessing that you would have claimed the lawyers and advocates for abuse victims were "looking for any pretext to misunderstand" the law to extract more money. Apparently the courts thought it not a misunderstanding nor pretext. Is this legal">http://writ.news.findlaw.com/hamilton/20060112.html">legal analysis of this law professor also just "pretext" ... are the judges involved which included some Catholic judges also engaging in "pretext":

Another area of law where Catholics have maligned the legal opinion of others as involving "pretext to misunderstand" is in the interpretation of CS which was subject to the pontifical secret under pain of mortal sin and excommunication. Some canon lawyers* have acknowledged the obsessive secrecy it requires and egregious policies it may be indicative of while others have deftly remained silent on whether it could contravene upon civil or criminal cooperation while noting the possibility for conflict; still others have said it is no big deal. I remember that people maligned not only legal opinions of non-Catholics but the journalistic integrity of the media. Yet, the New York Times reported that A Vatican Lawyer Says Bishops Should Not Reveal Abuse Claims "An influential canon lawyer at the Vatican has written an article to be published today in a Vatican-approved Jesuit journal saying that Roman Catholic bishops should not turn over allegations or records of sexual abuse by priests to the civil authorities."

Then there's the Big Example of demonstrable false accusations of "pretext" involving cases that named the Holy See as a defendant, with Catholics (such as Fr T. Reese, the Vatican-ousted former helmsman of America) criticizing its legal merit and some of these criticizing the nobility of the lawyer involved, suggesting he was engaging in a "stunt" much as people characterized McCain's suspension of his campaign as a "stunt" But then came the "historic decision" that "Suit against Vatican can proceed" as well as an earlier "titanic legal victory" in a separate case "Judge Denies Vatican's Motion in Abuse Case" [the year of death should be 1992]

*I've shortened this post and will try to honor SDG's request in the future. Since I already had this written up, I'm going to post this abridged version.

CW

SDG,

This is anecdotal, so you can take it or leave it, but one of my acquaintances, a Christian, who has affection for Catholicism and is open to becoming Catholic, and with experience with both Catholics and Protestants, expressed to me his view that Protestants seemed better in terms of a rightly lived personal relationship with God whereas Catholics seemed better in terms of the extensiveness of their study of God and "the Faith" as you put it. At the time, I was still Catholic, so he probably expressed his opinion to me in a diplomatic way.

In any event, as you probably are likely aware, the notion that Catholics -- amongst themselves -- are significantly more so than evangelicals, "preoccupied" as you put it with intellectual, legalistic, technical, etc. concerns that inhibits a vivifying relationship with God, is one that is very common amongst non-Catholics, including evangelicals. There are many other notions regarding Catholics whose truth you might dispute that are common amongst non-Catholics, some supported by authorities in medicine or science (ex. popular ideas regarding "Catholic guilt"). My point here is that the disagreement as to fact here can be reasonable. Two persons can have access even to the exact same data and come to different conclusions in a reasonable manner ... for instance on global warming. Generally speaking, scientists who are skeptical of global warning or its anthropogenic character do not claim that the majority are engaged in a "Big Lie" ... nor for that matter, vice versa. This kind of thing happens when the subject matter is religious or politica because of the passion those things invoke. I suspect that in the political case, the destructive element of passion is due to the political differences being based on underlying religious differences a la Buchanan's "religious war" RNC speech, even when such differences are unspoken. Truth can be felt in emotion, but it is apprehended in intellection. Someone placed truth in opposition to the personal or the good of a person; but in christian thought, truth itself is personal and is itself person.

If I may make a friendly contribution, I would suggest that along with the article you linked above, that Catholics and all persons, read what the Catholic Anselm of Canterbury understood as to the nature of truth ... he saw the flight of birds as an instance of truth, and in classic Catholic philosophy, everything insofar as it exists, is true. Unfortunately, today, "truth" has been reduced to a language-functional account. There's no criticism of Catholicism in this paragraph, just a friendly suggestion.

BTW, I think it best if discussion focus on the matter at hand. When discussions turn into discussions about discussions about the matter at hand or discussions about discussions about discussions about the matter at hand, it quickly results in rapidly disappearing fruitfulness. I made this point before but I'm not sure I expressed it clearly. I am speaking of for instance having a discussion about whether abortion is right transform itself into a discussion about whether the discussion about whether abortion is right has been, say, sincere, and then transform itself again into a discussion about whether the discussion about whether abortion is right has been, say, productive ... the irony would be that such a meta-meta-discussion would be a point at which increasing meta layers of discussion would quickly lose their productive value. This paragraph of course has been a meta comment on the nature of discussion itself, with a view to making another friendly thought shared to ponder ... no argument is contained here ... and I clarify things "excessively" in this way because when I don't, people here tend to misunderstand me such as in precisely the ways you noted and not doing so pre-emptively leads to them feeling insulted when I say they misunderstood me. clv

Charel

CW

typo/errata

"and then transform itself again into a discussion about whether the discussion about whether abortion is right has been, say, productive"

should read

"and then transform itself again into a discussion about whether the discussion about whether abortion is right has been sincere, has in turn been, say, productive"

CW

Oops. Scratch that last post. This is how it should actually read

"and then transform itself again into a discussion about whether the discussion about whether the discussion on whether abortion is right has been sincere, has in turn been, say, productive"

My typo/errata here is embarassing but it serves to illustrate I think, my point.

Rigland

SDG,

The terms of the understanding are explicitly set forth. That they are not defined means that they have to be properly understood in the social context in which they are used. You seem to be fudging between what the guidelines and/or the Catechism say/mean and what someone might take them to mean. I am concerned with the former, not with the latter.

Explicit means "fully revealed or expressed without vagueness, implication, or ambiguity : leaving no question as to meaning or intent." That the host must be eaten and not removed from the church is not explicitly expressed on the USCCB page you cited. Further, to the extent that social context is itself vague, ripe with social ambiguities, often imposing social expectations upon people which are seemingly contrary to Church teaching, then reliance upon such social context does not promote explicit understanding. For example, unless everyone in the Communion line is properly disposed to receive, then absence of social conflict at such events would demonstrate some degree of social acceptance for people who are not properly disposed to receive Communion. Reading the USCCB page in that social context, it's not explicit that the host is only for those properly disposed. What's more, Catholic Sunday social context is socially understood within the broader social context of everyday life, where it is generally well-accepted that people may receive edible things but not eat them immediately (or often even at all). Neither the USCCB page nor social context is explicit, and putting them together also doesn't offer an explicit understanding.

As you accurately point out in your previous comment to CT/CW, it doesn't need to be.

You claimed it was theft. Ownership would need to be established before accusations of theft could be proven. Even a theft of service would involve a matter of ownership. If it were merely a behavioral contract without issues of ownership, then there could be no theft.

Inocencio

Rigland,

It presents no explicit mention whatsoever that the host is to be eaten/consumed and not removed from the church.

I hope that this is explicit enough for you.

General Instructions of the Roman Missal
160. The priest then takes the paten or ciborium and goes to the communicants, who, as a rule, approach in a procession.

The faithful are not permitted to take the consecrated bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them from one to another.

161. ...As soon as the communicant receives the host, he or she consumes it entirely.

Redemptionis Sacramentum
92. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.

Code of Canon Law
Can. 1367 One who throws away the consecrated species or, for a sacrilegious purpose, takes them away or keeps them, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See

CCC 2120 Sacrilege consists in profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments and other liturgical actions, as well as persons, things, or places consecrated to God. Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Rigland

Inocencio,

You betcha! But none of what you posted is explicitly stated in the link SDG offered, which he describes as "set forth in writing in missalettes which appear in the vast majority of Catholic churches in the US." Instructions to the clergy on distribution of the Eucharist are not to Joe Sixpack sitting in the pews, and ex-communication does not apply to non-Christians, and for those obsessed with secular law, "grave sin" is not a term of secular legal consequence.

Katie

A sensible article, indeed. We almost lost one of our elderly nuns at our parish when the church caught fire and she ran in to save the Lord. We were very glad she lived to tell us about it.

I do want to respond to the "Who feels strongly about Communion in the hand?" That would be me.

With my hands, I have pursued my vocation, first as a married, at home mother to 2 disabled children. These hands scrubbed, cooked, cleaned, hauled bedpans after one child's multiple surgeries, helped put on leg braces, pushed wheelchairs (still do, though he is 29.) Now the same hands write on whiteboards, point to words, pass out markers and cards so kids with learning disabilities can catch up.

So here's the deal: my hands have done more good than my yackety yak tongue has, and I am so very grateful Our Lord graces my hands with His presence. And I consume all my other food with my hands.

Katie

A sensible article, indeed. We almost lost one of our elderly nuns at our parish when the church caught fire and she ran in to save the Lord. We were very glad she lived to tell us about it.

I do want to respond to the "Who feels strongly about Communion in the hand?" That would be me.

With my hands, I have pursued my vocation, first as a married, at home mother to 2 disabled children. These hands scrubbed, cooked, cleaned, hauled bedpans after one child's multiple surgeries, helped put on leg braces, pushed wheelchairs (still do, though he is 29.) Now the same hands write on whiteboards, point to words, pass out markers and cards so kids with learning disabilities can catch up.

So here's the deal: my hands have done more good than my yackety yak tongue has, and I am so very grateful Our Lord graces my hands with His presence. And I consume all my other food with my hands.

Mary Kay

SDG, excellent post. (I haven't read the comments.)

vox borealis

Katie,

"So here's the deal: my hands have done more good than my yackety yak tongue has, and I am so very grateful Our Lord graces my hands with His presence. And I consume all my other food with my hands."

Hmmm...I mostly consume my food with a fork and knife. In any case, since the Eucharist is not the same as "all my other food," I feel strongly that I should consume it differently. I stopped receiving in the hand years ago, and I will never go back.

Anyway, I don't want to sidetrack the comments, so I'll stop here.

CW

vox, some interpret some Church Fathers to be commending communion in the hand; others give the text a different spin. Not being a patrologist, I cannot adjudicate the matter in my own mind, but one of the commenters above seemed to be making an allusion to one of the texts in question (else he may have heard something second hand which has its ultimate origination in someone's interpretation of that text)

BobCatholic

Here's another positive video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0nSjxDKJEo

This one makes me happy.

Sleeping Beastly

SDG,
Thanks for the post. Terrific, as always.

Also, I will try and do my part not to derail combox conversations on this blog. I sometimes let my love of digression get the better of me.

CT/CW (and anyone else who's interested),
Please feel free to email me at sleepingbeastly@gmail.com on any topic any time you feel like it. Please also feel free to comment on my blog (linked below.)

Tony Sidaway

I notice that PZ Myers is still receiving silly threats from hateful ninnies. I am happy that SDG appears to acknowledge that the overreactions and attempts to harm Cook provoked PZ's actions. PZ was successful in bringing worldwide attention to bear (including a letter to UCF's President by English biologist Richard Dawkins) and partially thanks to that, Cook was not ridden out of the university on a rail.

This was not an isolated incident. There have been recent Catholic attempts to interfere with a public art gallery in Northern Italy, though not so successful as Bill Donohue's attack on the Chocolate Jesus artist, and an English woman has started a private prosecution against an art gallery that, 300 miles away from her London home, managed to offend against her feelings as a Christian. The deliberate attempts to cause harm to non-Christians on contrived and ridiculous grounds continue, though with little success.

I also note the attempts by Catholic bishops to impose religious dogma on American politics, and look forward to seeing them receiving the loud raspberry they deserve at the polls in November. The bishops do not speak for Catholics as a whole, and a difference from the 2004 election seems to be that even the conservative Catholics seem more wary of the Republicans and McCain is not in the strong position Bush was in the last election among the Catholic constituency. According to Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, American voters now oppose candidate endorsements by pastors, and among Catholics this amounts to more than 2:1 opposition. This holds true regardless of the self-assessed level of religiosity, and regardless of frequency of church attendance.

Tim J.

"I also note the attempts by Catholic bishops to impose religious dogma on American politics, and look forward to seeing them receiving the loud raspberry they deserve at the polls in November."

Will you retract all this then, when Obama loses?

JoAnna

"I also note the attempts by Catholic bishops to impose religious dogma on American politics, and look forward to seeing them receiving the loud raspberry they deserve at the polls in November."

To what "religious dogmas" do you refer? If you're speaking of abortion, that's not a "religious dogma." It's a secular human rights issue.

If we do become an Obama Nation, I anticipate a great deal of letdown amongst those who see him as the Second Coming. Granted, infanticide will be legal, but otherwise the huddled masses will be sorely disappointed that their Redeemer was none other than a partisan hack -- in other words, all tops and no 'taters; someone who promised change but had no concrete plans to actually implement it. What wailing and gnashing of teeth I forsee.

SDG

Tony Sidaway:

I am happy that SDG appears to acknowledge that the overreactions and attempts to harm Cook provoked PZ's actions.

In order to punish a few people whose overreactions he objected to, PZ Myers kicked in the teeth millions of Catholics who had nothing to do with the situation in question. I'm glad my acknowledgement of the facts makes you happy.

Yes, I would gladly -- gladly -- have volunteered to allow PZ Myers to literally kick me in the teeth to spare the desecration of the Eucharist, and so would countless other Catholics. I don't care whether it makes sense to you or not. The very fact that it doesn't is why we need to find ways of peaceful coexistence without gratuitous "stick it to the f---wits" provocation and antagonism.

All I'm saying here is: Myers and bullies like him have the power to hurt us where it counts to us, and we can't stop them. Humility and gentleness are always winsome and salutary; with bullies about, they are also prudent. You seem to find this line of thought gratifying. I can think of more than one reason why this might be the case -- some more honorable than others.

This was not an isolated incident. There have been recent Catholic attempts to interfere with a public art gallery in Northern Italy, though not so successful as Bill Donohue's attack on the Chocolate Jesus artist, and an English woman has started a private prosecution against an art gallery that, 300 miles away from her London home, managed to offend against her feelings as a Christian. The deliberate attempts to cause harm to non-Christians on contrived and ridiculous grounds continue, though with little success.

I don't know anything about the third incident. As to the first two, while I do find the works of art in question objectionable, for reasons that past experience suggests you are hard-wired to be unable to grasp, that doesn't mean I agree with the way others have expressed their objections.

Tony, since you so highly prize free speech and not muzzling those one disagrees with, I just know you're very concerned about ongoing efforts to silence and punish Christians for expressing or even holding unpopular opinions. Right?

I also note the attempts by Catholic bishops to impose religious dogma on American politics, and look forward to seeing them receiving the loud raspberry they deserve at the polls in November.

This is not a helpful or respectful way of addressing the issue, on several levels. Nothing the bishops have advocated constitutes "religious dogma" in any sense in which not murdering or not stealing are not also religious dogmas. Please try not to be insulting.

The bishops do not speak for Catholics as a whole

Um, actually, yes, that is exactly what bishops do -- speak for Catholics as a whole, i.e., for the Church. They may not speak for Catholics individually, and Catholics individually may or may be aware of Catholic teaching and may or may not be willing to follow it. But speaking for Catholics as a whole is precisely the job description of the bishops.

JFYI, I've closed my Google/Blogger account. So the newer link to an empty blog is no longer my own, nor do I have any other blog. The name under which I published there was a pen name. I do have some material published in my real name in actual publications duplicated online, but other than that there is nothing else; the pen name was just served up for that blog and I will not use it and do not intend to publish anything else so, so, don't attribute authorship to me, FWIW. Unfortunately, my Google account seems to have been the victim of some kind of abuse, probably originating from some reader of this blog. I won't go so far as to say it was probably a Catholic reader, however.

Let me address briefly the issues raised directly by the original posting. I am not a lawyer so I would not be someone to be relied upon for any legal opinion or advice. Having said that, if anyone reading this blog has consulted with a competent legal team and their lawyers have advised them that they face no legal jeopardy in particular courses of action, then of course it would be up to her to decide what to do and insofar as what she decides happens to be in fact legal, I would not be one to be judgmental or morally vindictive. I also, prescinding from this, understand and sympathize with the sentiment behind some who desire to do what is their view legitimate protest of the church's crimes such as a doctrine or canon law imperative of concealing sexual abuse by priests even when that knowledge is obtained outside of the confessional as was acknowledged by the Church"The admission was made outside the confessional ... The bishop – and the Church – argued in court that under canon law, a bishop's relationship with a parish priest was privileged and covered by professional secrecy." However, I urge those contemplating any course of action alluded to in the original posting to first seek professional legal advice.

I know this will be followed by incredulous mocking by a certain individual, but pace Francis, what a man is before his own self, that he is, no more and no less; and pace theism, the judgment of meaning is one's own judgment of one's self for the moral person that is its own motivation. Thus, I bid you peace and wish you luck on the future of your blog. May your rejoicing be truthful and may you read about the Anselmian notion of truth if that preceding clause was non-sequitur-ish or cryptic.

O, and as I intend to carry this intention out with determination, any future post here -- or for that matter anywhere else --, you can safely assume, be it through malicious impersonation or accidental duplication of pen name, is not by me.

Let me leave you with a final thought. To the extent that one supposes the bible corresponds with a mythical order that has some truth, is the extent to which one might wonder whether the mythical power(s) that authored the bible were being biased in their presentation of this mythical order. So for instance, one might wonder whether the "god of gods" was not being fair to say Satan's side of the story. So ISTM, that any argument for the reliability of the bible as to being in correspondence to a real mythical order due to its being authored by someone a member of that order, supposed supreme in that order, would be self-defeating. As for me, the Catholic extra-biblical account that Satan told God "non serviam" seems to be an exercise of heroic virtue, a rejection of the indignity of slavery, an indignity that the present head of the CDF has acknowledged the Church in the past accepted as part of the human condition and culture but has now evolved to reject as an immoral indignity. History is written by the "victors" and if the mythical order is real as opposed to fiction, then the serious believer would give serious consideration to the possibility that the mythical history in the bible is itself written by those in a position of power to so write or inspire it. Power by the bible's own admission is not an indicator of veracity, with respect to the mythical order that the bible posits (cf. Luke and Paul). This consideration would only be silly if the mythical order itself evoked feelings of silliness.

Good bye and good luck, wishing you peace, satisfaction, and gladness in your mind, heart, and body.

Tim J.

This comment, like CW's last on the Voting and Morality thread, needs no refutation and truly serves as the best possible commentary on the nature of all his/her previous posts.

SDG

What Tim J said.

Welcome to the desert of the unreal.

preacher's wifee

While I, as an ordained clergyman's wife, applaud your defense of the sacrament, I also need to remind you that there are other more important avenues that are being desecrated within our church. I understand in theory the idea of consecrated hosts, however I also know of many Catholic priests themselves who don't bother consecrating each and every host used for sacramental purposes - particularly in the hospitals. My husband worked as an overnight chaplain, and I regularly saw the priest in charge pouring boxes of hosts into the two vessels in their office - one "catholic" one "protestant" without any ceremony surrounding it - just dump them in, seal them tight, and close the cabinet door, mentioning that he didn't understand why some people insisted that their wafers be "catholic" as opposed to believing they are simply "Jesus." Jesus is, after all, the more important aspect. Catholicism is a label, a human-affixed title. Is there a catholic heaven? A reformed heaven? A UCC heaven? Is there a separate God and Jesus for each, that we don't dare coincide? While I'm proud to be Lutheran, and understand why we practice the idiosyncrasies we do. That does not, however, make me believe that other sects are wrong in their own beliefs, or not be spiritually fed by their preachers, worship, and sacrament.

I'm not condoning this behavior, by any means, but some childish people do things like this to simply get a rise out of others - and some do it for more sinister reasons. The question is, are we better than they are by throwing a "high holy fit" about it or not. I get outraged at some things I see as unethical behavior desecrating the church, but what did Jesus teach us in Matthew 18? "If anyone sins against you, go to them first. If this doesn't work, take a couple people with you and go back. If they still don't care about your point of view, let God deal with them on the day of judgment" - my personal, modern paraphrase, I apologize to theological scholars that are cringing. ;-) It is now, as per scripture, up to that person and God. You may not agree, but even the most religiously-desecrating among us do have rights as per the first amendment, and youtube isn't exactly the portal of all that is good and righteous in the first place. Consider your source. Fish from the clear stream and you get good fish. Cast your net into the muddy Misissippi and take your chances...

Lastly, I want you to look closely at your own communities. We live in a very church-laden area. You can't go through a small town without seeing at least one church, and most country roads have a few strewn along the way. I know of one such county blacktop byway which runs between 2 towns. One town has a religious college, 3 Lutheran churches, a catholic, methodist, UCC, Episcopal, and I think I'm missing one other church - all in town. There's a church on the road between, 3 more in town #2, and yet 3 more in the 2 mile radius surrounding the town - not to mention the church in the next town along the road, and the 5 churches (and 1 Jewish synagogue) in the last town along said byway. This is all within a 20 mile stretch. Now, my problem comes with a few of these churches. Many are there for purely selfish reasons. The people are self-serving, they see the church as a glorified social club they attend once a week solely to appear religious to others. They have to have the biggest, best, newest, and most well-decorated buildings. They are the current equivalent to Pharisees in my eyes. They don't want a clergy person leading them that will ask them to sacrifice. They don't want a challenge, they don't want to learn. They don't want anything beyond their outward appearance of Christianity. They fired a wonderful young pastor with a family because he tried too hard to treat them like a church - and not so much as a social club. They detested his authority and what it represented. They wanted a puppet, a figurehead they controlled. They now have a lay person leading worship. This man was not trained in how to properly serve the Lord's Supper, was not ever properly trained in interpreting the scriptures. He regularly presides over the sacraments without the authority of the larger church body this congregation belongs to (it happens to be ELCA Lutheran), and repeatedly misinterprets scripture, preaching what people want to hear and changing things when he doesn't agree with what God has said. There are inevitably going to be people coming to this church on occasion that don't know he is not ordained, not sanctioned, not even educated (he has, I think, an associate degree from the community college, and has worked as a Schwan's ice cream driver and janitor before landing this lucrative position others spend ears in school for the ability to attain). These people will look to be spiritually filled, and will either not get filled or unwittingly think they are being filled. There will be people that know nothing of God and Jesus coming to this church and learning inaccurate information to base their "faith" upon. Quite possibly, this person in the youtube videos has been jaded by someone like the wannabe-preacher I speak of, and is taking his anger out on the church as a whole the same way a hurt child lashes out at whoever is closest - regardless of whether that is the person at whom the anger is directed. It's merely the idea of the authority figure, or in this case, the catholic church. Quite possibly this person was subject to an unethical incident regarding a catholic official as a youngster. Did anyone bother to seek out the true reason behind this person's antics and attempt to calm them down? Or did everyone simply buy into the "shoot then ask questions" mentality that reigns supreme on the "anonymous" internet? It's so easy to point fingers and hate people you disagree with, but what does that change? Will that make this person repent, earn forgiveness, and become a potential productive member of society - Christian or otherwise? Are you convincing him that he is right in his angst with Christians - primarily catholics, it seems? Or, as Christ taught you, are you digging deeper and trying to save his soul?

"You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar" is an old saying. It applies here very definitely. I'm not condemning anyone, I'm just trying to be the voice of reason in what has become a very emotionally-charged subject. Remember that the people of the early Christian church were stoned, tortured, and lived in daily fear - all because they preached what people didn't want to hear, the truth. I fear nothing in speaking my mind, for my life is not in peril over what I think is truth. You may not agree, but know that, in the words of Martin Luther, "I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen."

Tim J.

"You may not agree..."

Thank you very much. You are correct. I don't agree.

You said something about being the Voice of Reason, but I think it is patently unreasonable to treat all beliefs as if they are equally valid.

"Quite possibly this person was subject to an unethical incident regarding a catholic official as a youngster. Did anyone bother to seek out the true reason behind this person's antics..."

This kind of rhetorical twist is called "blaming the victim".

Yes, perhaps if the Jews had taken more trouble to find out why Hitler was so upset at them, he might have repented and turned to a path of goodness and niceness...

bill912

"...to go against conscience is neither right or safe."

Only if one has a properly formed conscience. Otherwise, one is making oneself the ultimate authority.

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