I didn’t realize how zealous the Catholic Church was in guarding its crackers. I guess that communion wafers, before they’re blessed, are just crackers, but once they’re blessed all bets are off. (By the way, a judicious bit of Googling reveals that the consecration of the wafers, and their transubstantiation into the body of Jesus, occurs during the mass, when the priest holds up the crackers and says, “Hoc est corpus” [“this is my body’}. One story goes, though it may be aprocryphal, that this is the source of the magician’s phrase, “Hocus pocus.”)
Anyway, according to Thursday’s issue of The Oklahoman, Catholics regard their Jesus-body wafers so highly that when one was taken to be used in a Satanic black mass, the Church filed a lawsuit to get it back (my emphasis):
The Catholic Church on Thursday retrieved a communion wafer that a satanist planned to use in a “black Mass” next month at Civic Center Music Hall.
The wafer was turned over a day after Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley filed a lawsuit seeking its protection and restoration to the Church.
“I am relieved that we have been able to secure the return of the sacred Host, and that we have prevented its desecration as part of a planned satanic ritual,” Coakley said in a statement issued by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.
. . . The leader of an Oklahoma City satanist group, Adam Daniels, plans to stage a black Mass on Sept. 21 in a small basement theater at the Civic Center.
The event is to include live music and the “exorcism” of Christ’s spirit from an individual.
Daniels had said he possessed a consecrated wafer, prompting the archbishop to ask an Oklahoma County judge to issue orders to prevent its use in the ceremony.
Daniels said he turned the wafer over to an attorney in Norman, and the archdiocese said a priest picked it up Thursday afternoon.
Daniels also promised in writing not to use consecrated communion bread in his event. In exchange, the archdiocese agreed to drop the lawsuit.
“We couldn’t be happier,” said Mike Caspino, the lead attorney for the Catholic Church. “This is a victory for decency, a victory for all people of faith.”
That makes me laugh. A victory! (And, of course, some extra dosh for Mike Caspino.) When are we going to start regarding the term “people of faith” as an insult rather than a virtue? After all, “people of faith” is equivalent to “people of superstition.”
Question for readers: although it’s not illegal to steal a wafer once it’s been given away, was taking it for use in a Black Mass a rotten thing to do? I go back and forth on this, but, given that burning an American flag is for many people the equivalent act, and yet is meaningful and protected speech, I can’t criticize the purloined wafer too strongly. After all, one could consider this protected criticism of religion, since Black Masses are parodies of Catholic masses.
h/t: Pinkagendist, Grania