Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sacrilege Down the Road: A Very Serious Post

Morris is a little over an hour west of here, on Minnesota Highway 28. Since I grew up in the Red River Valley of the North, I think of that as "pretty close."

I've got happy memories connected with the town, but the recent news from Morris isn't good.

Sacrilege in Central Minnesota

An associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, Morris, is bragging that he put a rusty nail through a consecrated Host, and did the same to some pages from the Quran and from a book written by atheist Richard Dawkins: and threw the whole mess in the trash. (More at my "Quran, Eucharist, Atheist Book Nailed by Equal-Opportunity Desecrator" Another War-on-Terror Blog (August 4, 2008).)

As a devout Catholic, I'm appalled.

I learned about the incident in yesterday's homily at Our Lady of the Angels, here in Sauk Centre. After the mass, my son asked me why I was "moody" during the homily. Under the circumstances, "moody" was doing pretty well. For me, anyway.

Desecration of the Eucharist by State University Associate Professor

Aside from telling what happened, the parish priest passed along what I'm copying out of TheCatholicSpirit.com, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis (Reprinted as "Diocese 'horrified' by blogger's attack on Eucharist" in The Visitor, St. Cloud Diocese (July 31, 2008)):

"Father Baltes [parish priest at The Assumption Parish, Morris] addressed the issue in his parish's July 20 bulletin. He said that, while the attack on the Eucharist is grievous, it can be a teachable moment.

" 'The scandalous article that was written can become for us a golden opportunity to deepen our fath and love for the Lord in the Eucharist,' he said.

"Father Baltes wrote that Catholics can respond by doing four things:
  • 'Let us be clear about what we believe,' he wrote. 'At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ's body and blood,' he said, citing a passage from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  • 'Let us give evidence to what we believe in the way we approach and receive holy Communion,' he wrote, urging reverence and 'full awareness of whom we receive.'
  • 'Let us pray for this professor and others who may share his opinions,' he wrote. 'Only the power of prayer, spoken out of love, can transform any human heart.'
  • 'Let [the university] know the outrage we feel at such a blatant attack on the Catholic Church's beliefs and what she holds to be most holy.'
" 'We want people to know we find this offensive,' Father Baltes said. 'At the same time we want to react appropriately and give witness with our lives in how we respect the Eucharist and live out what we celebrate in the Eucharist.' "

What to Do?

It seems pretty straightforward:
  1. Pray.
    • For personal understanding of, and appreciation for, the Eucharist
    • That we show reverence for the Eucharist when we receive it
    • For a loving transformation of the hearts of Paul Myers and others who share his opinions
  2. Act
    • Respectfully but firmly, let the university leaders know how we feel about this outrage.
TheCatholicSpirit.com provided contact information for two key people at the University of Minnesota, Morris:
  • Jacqueline Johnson
    University of Minnesota-Morris
    309 Behmler Hall
    600 East 4th St.
    Morris, MN 56267
    (320) 589-6020
  • Robert Bruininks
    University of Minnesota
    202 Morrill Hall
    100 Church St. SE
    Minneapolis, MN 55455
    (612) 626-1616
(In each case, I am not making the email addresses active, out of consideration for whoever handles their email. (An exact, live, email link could be found and exploited by spammers.) To use the addresses, copy them into your email software, and replace the [at] with the usual @.)

How Do I Feel About This?

My son's "moody" is a pretty good start. I'm appalled, horrified, saddened, angry: well, you get the point.

On top of everything else, since I live in the state of Minnesota, I've been helping to pay associate professor Myer's salary. And, will continue to do so.

I have some sympathy for the U. of M., Morris, administrators. They may be torn between their allegiances to tolerance and "academic freedom." On the other hand, as soon as I get a good night's sleep, and calm down a bit more, I'm going to put together a letter, explaining just how much I appreciate being forced to support this sacrilege.
More, at: About the Eucharist:
  • "Article 3 The Sacrament of the Eucharist"
    Catechism of the Catholic Church, at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' website
    (1322-1419: Father Baltes drew attention particularly to 1333 and 1374)


Brigid said...

I still like my idea of sending a note reading "I heard you like to desecrate crackers" attached to a box of saltines.

Brian H. Gill said...


;) Funny, but not useful, I think. The gesture would, I think, infuriate P. Myers: who doesn't need encouragement that way. Sent to the chancellor, it would be misdirected. She has termed Myers' performance art, or whatever it should be called, "reprehensible," and she may be sincere.

In any even, Myers is the person who did the desecration: not another member of the staff or faculty, and not the University of Minnesota, Morris.

Although I think it's possible that the U. of M., Morris, and other academic institutions, may be unintentionally encouraging acts like Myers'. That's a whole different topic, for a different blog.

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