Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Delightful Glee of Blasphemy

Via Dean's World, I came across this troubling story of Host desecration.

First, a University of Central Florida student takes an action that appears sacrilegious to other worshipers at Mass. There are claims that no sacrilege was intended, and that physical force was used against the young man in an attempt to pry the Host from his hands.

Cook claims he planned to consume it, but first wanted to show it to a fellow student senator he brought to Mass who was curious about the Catholic faith.
"When I received the Eucharist, my intention was to bring it back to my seat to show him," Cook said. "I took about three steps from the woman distributing the Eucharist and someone grabbed the inside of my elbow and blocked the path in front of me. At that point I put it in my mouth so they'd leave me alone and I went back to my seat and I removed it from my mouth."
A church leader was watching, confronted Cook and tried to recover the sacred bread. Cook said she crossed the line and that's why he brought it home with him.
"She came up behind me, grabbed my wrist with her right hand, with her left hand grabbed my fingers and was trying to pry them open to get the Eucharist out of my hand," Cook said, adding she wouldn't immediately take her hands off him despite several requests.
Diocese of Orlando spokeswoman Carol Brinati said she was not aware of anyone touching Cook. She released a statement Thursday: "... a Catholic Campus Ministry student representative filed a complaint with the Student Union regarding the behavior of the two young men. A Student Government Representative called Catholic Campus Ministry to apologize for this disruption."
Cook filed an official abuse complaint with UCF's student conduct court regarding the alleged physical force.

Next the student receives some email death threats, and returns the Host, with a vow that he'll sue for damages because he was assaulted.


Next Bill Donohue of the Catholic League gets involved, with threats of his own against the University.

For a student to disrupt Mass by taking the Body of Christ hostage—regardless of the alleged nature of his grievance—is beyond hate speech. That is why the UCF administration needs to act swiftly and decisively in seeing that justice is done. All options should be on the table, including expulsion.

Finally, the "progressive" web mob takes over, gleefully egging each other on to even more outrageous blasphemies. I won’t quote this bile.

My Christianity is not about demanding respect for some "us" I identify with, or me. I can certainly understand the very human urge to do this - I went through a phase where I had the attitude: "Boy if only we behaved like those Muslims, they'd never dare disrespect us." But I was as wrong as I could be. It is absolutely true that all the various "hate speech" code proponents could care less when hatred is directed at Christians, but Christ never said that the world owed us fair treatment. Look at what he promised Peter:

I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"

As a Catholic, I believe that the Host is indeed the bodily substance of Jesus Christ. But I also know that Christ has no need for us to protect His person or His honor from others.

In my view, as Christians, we ought to abstain from any temptation to use state power to support or protect the Church, even in the face some of the hatred that is directed at it today. As Christians, we ought to be careful that we are living, as best we can, the truth of the Gospels, and we should not expect this to buy us any favor, respect, credit, or justice from others. I've always been inspired by the simple faith of the Amish, and their willingness to readily forgive even the most heinous crimes against them. To me, that is as good an example of Christianity in practice as there is today.

Sure, I'm troubled that there are lots of people that take a juvenile pleasure in blasphemy. Hatred is nothing new in the world, and it seems every group has received more than its due. But I'm also troubled by Bill Donohue's reaction and the fear that people might view him as a representative of what Catholics are like. As I said before, I don’t like the way he goes about defending Catholicism. When I look at this Catholic blogger, stating the terms of an apology that would be acceptable, I'm troubled too. I can understand the feeling of wanting an apology for what seems like a clear hateful insult, but I have trouble reconciling the setting of terms for an apology with the Gospels as I understand them.

I feel that as Christians we are charged with defending others, not ourselves.

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