Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Prejudice That's Still OK

Picture this: a young man goes into a synagogue and attempts to walk out with the scrolls of the Torah in the middle of the service; a controversy ensues, an spokeswoman for the rabbis decry the hate crime; then a Methodist minister pops up to say that's ridiculous, he knows hate crime and these silly Jews don't know what they're are talking about.

Didn't read about it anywhere? Of course not. There would be outrage everywhere.

The real story is that a University of Central Florida student at a campus Mass went up to receive communion then took the consecrated host home. He was asked to ingest it, but he put it in his mouth, then spit it out so he could take it home. The local diocesan spokeswoman called the event a "hate crime" and the local bishop asked for the host back.

That's not all.

Then came a "cool" Methodist preacher, one Rev. Jeremy Smith, who blogged all about it to say that it's not a hate crime. He completely dismissed the Catholics' complaints. So I pointed out that he really missed the sensibilities of Catholics and the history of host stealing because of his Protestant biases. Yet, so far, the guy has attempted to completely brush it off.

That's what 500 years of anti-Catholic propaganda in the English-speaking world will do. Even "cool," techie, hip ministers feel free to take a swipe when Catholics -- whose theological point of view I do not share -- feel something they regard as sacred has been disrespected, intentionally so.

But, hey, after all, they're just silly Catholics. You know: fish-eaters, wafer-chewers, minions to the head of the whore of Rome, inquisitors, crusaders, horrible deluded people -- not enlightened Protestants. It seems that Methodist ministers can still publicly vent prejudices about Catholics in the United States without social consequences.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. It’s right-on and was certainly in need of being said. Rev. Jeremy Smith got exactly what he needed whether he does anything with it or not.

Hendaque said...

I was pretty cool on this until you made the comparison of taking the Torah out of the synagogue (and I am not Jewish). I can see your point. Even if you don't beleive, why offend your neighbors.

But what about the comment on the minster's blog that, if this is truly the body of Christ, "wouldn't that be cannibalism". Don't mean to offend, but I am truly interested in what is said about that.

Cecilieaux said...

Hendaque: I'm confused. It was cool, then the Torah changed it, but you see my point. Huh?

As to cannibalism, that a whole treatise. I would just like to note that, prior to Luther, there was never any argument that you started out with bread and wine and ended up with the Body and Blood.

That's the declaration in the New Testament: "This is my body" not "This is a bit of bread that I am calling my body."

How is one to read such a statement other than as what it means plainly: that in some way, unexplained to the listeners yet morally and physiologically acceptable to consume, the bread has become his body?

Geneviève said...

"This is my body": transubstantiation (Catholics)

"This is a bit of bread that I am calling my body.":consubstantiation
(Protestants of Luther)

Cecilieaux said...

To clarify G's distinction further ...

Transubstantiation is a philosophic theory adopted, from among 21 candidates by the Fourth Lateran Council. The doctrine teaches how consecration works, not what the end product, so to speak, is. In 1214 there was no debate as to whether at consecration the priest confected the body.

The teaching that the bread become the body is the doctrine of the real presence of Christ in the eucharist. Luther himself did not deny the real presence.

Many Protestants later did and some devised the notions of consubstantiation, memorialism and the Lutheran "sacramental union."

Geneviève said...

Pardon me Sir, I beg to disagree, (although this is of no interest at all for me, just for the fun): I have been taught that yes, it is about the end product and not only the process to attain the result.


trans -> bread = body only
cons -> bread = bread + body

Cecilieaux said...

I didn't disagree very strongly before, but now I do. The formulas are wrong.

transubstantiation = how (not whether) the bread becomes the real presence

consubstantiation = how and whether the bread becomes the body: it just shares the presence at the moment of reception (Lutheran and Anglican, but Calvinist)

One is about process only, the other is about process and result.

Hendaque said...

Pardon me if I use another Hebraic metaphor, but it sounds like you all are arguing about how many angels dance on the head of a pin. Cecileaux. I do see your point about my not giving as much importance to the host as I had given to the Torah; however, please excuse my slowness, but did you answer my question about cannibalism? And please, no more sarcasm. That does not encourage dialog. Just speak slowly and maybe I will get it.

Hendaque said...

Let me backtrack. I re-read comment on my first comment. I guess your comment on my first post was not being sarcastic. You were confused because you didn't read it carefully. I said "I was cool on" which means that the point was OK, but I was not that moved.

Cecilieaux said...

Oh, now I get what you were saying.

As to cannibalism, I don't see where the minister made that point, but if he did, another strike against him for not understanding the idea of the real presence or transubtantiation. He can't very well criticize what he doesn't understand.

The short answer is that the form of the consecrated eucharist is not meat and blood in the everyday sense, but the real being of the risen Christ.

Here's a link to a whole set of questions on the eucharist, including cannibalism (you'll have to scroll down or search -- Ctrl-F).