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Minnesota Prof Pledges to Descecrate Eucharist

Just saw this on the Catholic League's website:

Paul Zachary Myers, a professor at the University of Minnesota Morris, has pledged to desecrate the Eucharist. He is responding to what happened recently at the University of Central Florida when a student walked out of Mass with the Host, holding it hostage for several days. Myers was angry at the Catholic League for criticizing the student. His post can be accessed from his faculty page on the university’s website.

Here is an excerpt of his July 8 post, “It’s a Frackin’ Cracker!”:

“Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers?” Myers continued by saying, “if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web.”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:

“The Myers blog can be accessed from the university’s website. The university has a policy statement on this issue which says that the ‘Contents of all electronic pages must be consistent with University of Minnesota policies, local, state and federal laws.’ One of the school’s policies, ‘Code of Conduct,’ says that ‘When dealing with others,’ faculty et al. must be ‘respectful, fair and civil.’ Accordingly, we are contacting the President and the Board of Regents to see what they are going to do about this matter. Because the university is a state institution, we are also contacting the Minnesota legislature.

“It is hard to think of anything more vile than to intentionally desecrate the Body of Christ. We look to those who have oversight responsibility to act quickly and decisively.”

Here's Professor Myers' contact info, and his reply to the Catholic League.

(cross-posted)

Comments (45)

Makes me think of the passage in That Hideous Strength where Frost takes Mark Studdock into the Objective Room and tells him to trample a crucifix. Studdock says to him something like, "But we believe this is all nonsense. What's any more objective about trampling on a crucifix than about worshiping it?" And Frost (who is under demonic guidance) will only say that they find it is important in the total process of rendering their initiates more "objective," given that those initiates have grown up in a Christian culture.

Does anybody remember the name of the G.K. Chesterton story where this guy goes around deliberately breaking all sorts of taboos? He has a cracked mirror, and a table set for thirteen, spilled salt on the table, and so forth? It's a good one. Chesterton's point is the unhealthiness of the sort of mind that goes around doing that.

May God have mercy on his soul.

His plan is illegal. He, or someone he knows has to procure the Eucharist under false pretenses, which basically means an act of theft.

Does anybody remember the name of the G.K. Chesterton story where this guy goes around deliberately breaking all sorts of taboos? He has a cracked mirror, and a table set for thirteen, spilled salt on the table, and so forth? It's a good one. Chesterton's point is the unhealthiness of the sort of mind that goes around doing that.

THE TREES OF PRIDE. Also, see Graham Greene's short story, A HINT OF AN EXPLANATION.

Why is this not being treated as a hate crime? As this (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2006/table2.html) FBI list of stats suggests, destruction of property counts as a hate crime--and, when an attack is based on religious bigotry, the value of the property destroyed need not be determined by secular measures. This sort of anti-Catholic attack is becoming common, and we must use whatever resources are available to put a stop to it.

Hate crimes, where there are statutes that apply, are still subject to prosecutorial discretion, and guess what, the victimhood status of the victim, as determined by the standards of leftist political correctness, is more important than what the law seems to require. It would seem virtually impossible for heterosexual, white, males, or Christians in general, to be victims of hate crimes as a result.

This email was sent to the President of the University this afternoon:

I am getting more accustomed to the idea that there apparently exists a nascent consensus in certain academic circles that it is OK to bait Catholics (whilst other faiths- whether of religious or secular pedigree- are either ignored, tolerated, or, in certain privileged instances of natural selection, jammed down our throats by judicial decree).

I simply wish to point out that such a consensus is odious. It is ugly, uncivilized, and perfectly know-nothing.

I hope that you will determine it to be in the best interests of your institution- as it most certainly is in the best interest of limiting further self-humiliation of this ignorant boor Meyers- to advise him to leave his Catholic-bashing to his private time and resources.

Sincerely,

Rick DeLano

Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Mark. Hope all is well with you.

Does anybody find it ironic that Myers has categorized such responses as 'hate mail' and that his advocates are calling Catholics 'intolerant'?

I don't find it ironic at all. In fact, I find it dully predictable. After all you Dark Age fanatics have done to supress reason and rationality, what could you expect but your victims to respond with outright folly!

Dark Age? Some people need to study the history of the university.

What a scary situation. If God, in His omnipotence, makes Himself vulnerable, and certain men decide to play games with Him just to offend other men, just imagine the moment in which they understand their actions.

Drat it, the way the commenters label all Christians as "ignorant," "stupid" and "irrational" makes me want to reveal SAT and GRE scores... or at least correct their spelling. But that just makes it petty and personal; I think prayer is what counts most at this point.

I'm not too worried about it. If God put his own people to "sleep" (I Cor. 11.30) for approaching the Eucharist with impropriety and we know (thanks to Dante) what pleasures await those who go to sleep without faith in Christ, I kind of feel sorry for the "godless liberal."

Not that I'm suggesting anything so Dark Age as a "smiting God." Or that The Divine Comedy is fact-based.

There is something _wrong_ with PZ Myers. His interview in _Expelled_ was exceedingly creepy. And now this. The guy has something exceedingly unhealthy about him. Oh, shoot. I guess that means I have to pray for him.

Ah, sorry, Steve, if I missed the (non)irony...

D. Ox said: "Hate crimes, where there are statutes that apply, are still subject to prosecutorial discretion, and guess what, the victimhood status of the victim, as determined by the standards of leftist political correctness, is more important than what the law seems to require."

True. But Catholics have to pressure prosecutors to pursue these cases, just as activists belonging to other groups do. I know that it's obnoxious and doesn't seem like the Catholic thing to do--we don't like to associate ourselves with whiny victim groups--but it's necessary. Host theft and desecration is getting quite common. Something like this happened at my parish recently:

http://reluctantpenitent.blogspot.com/2008/06/theft-of-consecrated-hosts.html

http://reluctantpenitent.blogspot.com/2008/06/police-puzzled-by-theft-of-communion.html

http://reluctantpenitent.blogspot.com/2008/06/french-ex-satanist-on-stealing.html

Does anybody remember the name of the G.K. Chesterton story where this guy goes around deliberately breaking all sorts of taboos? He has a cracked mirror, and a table set for thirteen, spilled salt on the table, and so forth? It's a good one. Chesterton's point is the unhealthiness of the sort of mind that goes around doing that.

And it comes up again, I am told on good authority, in his "The House Of The Peacock"/THE POET AND THE LUNATICS.

Someone needs to tell Myers that he was not being rude to a cracker. He was being rude to people. Do rational people generally attempt to insult food products? I'm just saying.

Jesus can handle it... He has before.

Can the professor?

Any attempt to victimize God's initiating, self-donating love - like this - merely duplicates the kenotic act of sacrificial love seen perfectly in the Crucifixion. This deluded blasphemer does nothing to injure the honorific love of God; he only shows (again) humanity's fallen, grasping nature. Cf. especially Our Lord's parable of the Tenants of the Vineyard (Mtt 21).

Are there any male Catholics at that Univ?

If I were a student there and I became aware of his plans, I'd visit him and tell him that if he did carry out his plan, I'd personally punch his lights out.

Byronicman, I think that's the one I had in mind, because it was a short story, and I have read _The Poet and the Lunatics_, long ago.

Kurt, you have a good point. What sort of person does that sort of thing? It's a weird obsession, like "artists" who think they are profound for making disgusting objects that involve putting bodily products on religious pictures.

Lydia,

I am inclined to agree with your earlier comment. I think that there is something seriously wrong with Dawkins and Meyers beyond an honest belief that all religions are false. At what point do you not take into account that your behavior is irrational? Why on earth would a respected biologists start all of this nonsense with that irresponsible post? It is immature and silly. Then to turn around and claim victim status and try to rally support under the guise of "inquisition" language is unbalanced. The Catholic response was not unprovoked and his profane screed was designed to provoke exactly the response that he got.

After a while, you cease to look like a rational objector and begin to look like an unbalanced immature idiot. All that I can think of is that he and Dawkins genuinely see themselves as in some great battle to liberate mankind from the evil of institutional religion and so they pursue it with revolutionary and provocative zeal. But anyone who has deceived themselves so thoroughly on that subject would technically have to be a bit unhinged wouldn't they?

A bit unhinged?!?

An obscure prof at an obscure institution looking for a bit of publicity/Warholian 15 minutes. Rather pathetic.

Since by unhinged I meant mentally unbalanced, my qualifier of "a bit" was meant to keep from the hyperbole of calling the man stark raving mad. I have known people who were suffering from very serious cognitive disorders and he is not yet exhibiting their lack of control to that extreme point. (For instance, he has not driven his car through the walls of a restaurant and loaded up the trunk with all of the plants he could grab and then left)

I do think that his behavior is more irrational than a mere publicity seeker, though.

After a while, you cease to look like a rational objector and begin to look like an unbalanced immature idiot.

Meyers doesn't want to look like a rational objector, since he doesn't believe that religion deserves rational attention. His chosen mode of attack, then, is simply (ill-mannered) ridicule. He's a rabble rouser, a Bill Maher with a Ph.D. This is the main tactic of the neo-atheists, Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens, I really think. Harris almost admits as much. Their is a pretended intellectualism at the outset, but it always devolves to open ridicule. The "philosophical and rational discourse" is just the warm-up, to establish credentials as "experts." The meat of their act is propaganda.

But doesn't the caustic objector still have a rational filter? Hitchens and Harris make their bones by polemics and the only difference between a Hitchens rant against religion and his political commentary is the object of his scorn. Meyers is in academia by trade. Maybe he wants to be loosed from that and travel the world ranting about Catholics, but then his attempts to rally support to protect his job seem out of place.

What is left then is a guy with a job that seems to want to include in his job description the utlimate destruction of all forces that reject the totalality of his position even when it does not apply to his field. "I am a biologist, which means my job is to foster hostility with Catholics." That seems to be his position, and given the number of Catholics I have met in my life that were theistic evolutionists it is a nonsense position. Pope John Paul II declared that evolution was not in conflict with the teachings of the church correct? So he hates aspects of Catholicism and religion that are not in conflict with his profession, and feels compelled to attack even though by doing so he jeopodizes his job.

Unless of course his college president loves the publicity and enjoys this type of thing and hates Catholicism as much as Meyers, but my own boss got angry with me when an opinion piece I wrote on my free time and published through an organization unaffiliated with my employer generated some unpleasant feedback. I can not imagine how bad it would have been if I had done it on company time with company resources through company publishing mediums.

It is possible that I do not fully understand the world of academia though. It is not my field.

Jay Watts,

I doubt the admin at The U will do more than raise an eyebrow over this flap, if that. The best you'd get, I think, is "The opinions of Prof. Meyers are his own and do not represent those of the U of M, academic freedom, etc."

Bryonic,

Isn't that stupid, though? We are not talking about opinions any more. He is instigating criminal action in order to and only to offend people with an infantile and insulting attack against an object venerated as holy in the heart felt beliefs of a large number of people in our community. I am not Catholic, but we seem to have ventured away from opinion at this point. Now I know that he could claim satire or say that it has not actually been done, but doesn't a University expect more from its faculty than to get involved in this sort of idiotic and offensive behavior. This is not Ashton Kitcher or Borat, it is a biology professor at an institution that presumably takes its reputation seriously.

I am sure you are right, though.

Jay

but doesn't a University expect more from its faculty than to get involved in this sort of idiotic and offensive behavior. This is not Ashton Kitcher or Borat, it is a biology professor at an institution that presumably takes its reputation seriously.

You'd think so, wouldn't you? But alas, the precedents have long been set, or reset, as the case may be. There was an older idea of the sort of things a gentleman said and didn't say (unless he was prepared to be challenged to a duel), and the way one ought to generally conduct oneself as a gentleman. But that was the older, aristocratic value. The modern democratic value is that, I would think, all men ought to act and speak like the old gentlemen did (or were thought to do), insofar as they are capable. But I fear that the opposite is the more often the case: that men capable of conducting themselves as gentlemen might now rather think that it is being more democratic to adopt the conduct of the vulgar. You know, "gonzo journalism," I guess. Shouting down your opponent by means of the undisciplined screed. Taunting, baiting, the verbal throwing of eggs and pipe bombs. The courage to be iconoclastic. The authenticity of low-brow. Meyers knows plenty biology, but otherwise he's a vulgar person, and he seems like a guy frozen in adolescence--a type all too common these days.

The U isn't worried about it's "reputation" in the sense that you mean here. The U isn't going anywhere, save with the times.

And also, I wonder if the Catholic League doesn't have the tendency to be just a bit shrill, at times. I don't think the action of the student in Florida really deserves national attention, and threatening Meyer's job isn't realistic. And you give the low-lifes like him an opportunity, when lord knows they take plenty already.

"Jesus can handle it... He has before."

Can we? It is our response that is on trial.

This is not the mere desecration of a cherished symbol, the profaning of a sacramental or the blighting of sacred space. The Eucharist is "the source and summit" of a Catholic's life. This is a challenge issued from Hell itself. Turning this over to the courts and the attendant spectacle is not a worthy or efficacious response. In fact such a course reeks of spiritual lethargy. Some demons can only be expelled by fasting and prayer.

I hope the bishop or local Pastor escort the Precious Body and Blood through the streets of Morris, seize on this "teaching moment" and lead their community in the disciplines necessary to repelling this satanic assault against The Real Presence.

Can somebody bring me up to date on what actually happened with the student in Florida? He "held it hostage" and then what? I mean, did he walk back into a Catholic church and say, "Here you go. Bet you didn't know I pocketed this and was holding it hostage"? Or did some priests go to him and ask him to give it back? Or did he finally consume it himself? Or what?

I'm afraid that Byronicman is right, Jay, and that the most we'll get is some extremely modest distancing between the school and Myers. I base my cynicism on some of the so-called "art" that has been perpetrated, with taxpayer funding yet and in supposedly prestigious art museums, over the past fifteen years.

I hope the bishop or local Pastor escort the Precious Body and Blood through the streets of Morris, seize on this "teaching moment" and lead their community in the disciplines necessary to repelling this satanic assault against The Real Presence.

I don't think that would be the best course of action.

If anything, this would more likely give ammunition to our antagonists and all the more fuel their ridicule of the Catholic Faith.

I agree that there should be a "teaching moment" that should be taken advantage of; however, I would more so recommend the ecclesial authorities as well as several of their communities to issue formal public statements concerning The Eucharist and engage in subsequent discussions about the foundation of our beliefs, which is firmly established in the Teachings of Christ as taught by His Apostles, inherited and guarded henceforth by the Fathers of the Church and their Successors.

"If anything, this would more likely give ammunition to our antagonists and all the more fuel their ridicule of the Catholic Faith."

Wear their scorn like a Crown of Thorns! Having attended Corpus Christi processions through midtown Manhattan, all I can say, is the world, starved for nourishment, as it is, is stunned into silent curiosity. We have the Bread of Life, yet keep Him wrapped up in the pantry. Then wonder why the country is stuffing itself with poison and junk.

As for "ecclesial authorities", there is a place for both words and actions. The latter speak louder, and are the necessary prelude to getting anyone to listen to words.

I oppose any kind of "hate crime" or "hate speech" restriction or legislation, but the first priority must be the protection of the Body of Christ. If pushing for a hate crimes investigation will do that, so be it.

Blessings on those who are fighting this monstrosity. It's horrifying and tragic, and I know the professor and his supporters are in the prayers of many Catholics today. As well as his Catholic students and colleagues, who are doubtless being very much tried right now.


I'm afraid hate crime laws will have the perverse effect of further reducing the Eucharist to the level of abstract symbol in a culture already adverse to Incarnate truths.

This is one of those times when non-believers can rightfully wonder; "if they really believe that is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, how come the aren't more moved by this abuse?"

The best way to provide "protection of the Body of Christ" is a more compelling form of witness than simply adding outrages like this to the police blotter. We can't complain about the desacrelization of our culture if we do nothing to introduce others to the Sacred Mysteries. To paraphrase St Francis; only use words if you have too.

I doubt the admin at The U will do more than raise an eyebrow over this flap, if that. The best you'd get, I think, is "The opinions of Prof. Myers are his own and do not represent those of the U of M, academic freedom, etc."
I'm afraid that Byronicman is right, Jay, and that the most we'll get is some extremely modest distancing between the school and Myers.
Dan Wolter, a spokesman for the University of Minnesota system, said of Mr. Myers's site that while "there is no question that those views do not reflect the views of the University of Minnesota, Morris, or the system,... they were made on a personal blog and everyone has a right to free speech."


As I have told my kids before, I have many friends of many faiths (or none), and we have had many discussions of the beliefs we each hold, but NONE have been offensive.

Kevin says: '"This is one of those times when non-believers can rightfully wonder; "if they really believe that is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, how come the aren't more moved by this abuse?"'

That's precisely why I think that it's important to pursue the legal angle as well, whatever that might turn out to be. However, I think you're absolutely right that it would be a mistake to reduce this to a legal matter, though I would be interested to know how one would go about introducing the world of U of Minn-Morris to the sacred mysteries. A Eucharistic Procession? I wonder whether it might not be wise to put together a pamphlet with an appeal to readers that they not participate in such acts, together with a short primer on Catholic eucharistic theology. Chances are that a good number of people would respond positively to such an appeal; and some might be intrigued by what they read about the Eucharist. Such a pamphlet could be made available in a number of public places, including the U of Minn.

Here's a message I sent to the University President, members of the Board of Regents, the State Commissioner for Higher Education, and the Governor of Minnesota:

Dear President Robert Bruininks
University of Minnesota Morris

I am writing because one of your government employee associate professors, Paul Myers, is posting hateful, anti-Catholic messages on the Internet on his blog, Pharyngula.
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/its_a_goddamned_cracker.php
He identifies himself on the blog as an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, Morris. On your website, your institution touts "its commitment to diversity." Does diversity mean for everybody except Catholics? Are professors allowed to post messages denigrating races, women, or Buddhists, Hindus, Moslems, or other religions? If not, why is Professor Myers allowed to post anti-Catholic hate messages on a website where he identifies himself as affiliated with your institution?

You might not appreciate what he's posting about University presidents either:
Would you believe that the mealy-mouthed president of the university, John Hitt, is avoiding defending his student is instead playing up the importance of the Catholic church to the university? Of course you would. That's what university presidents do. Bugger the students, keep the donors and the state reps happy.

On this same blog, he goes on to say

So, what to do. I have an idea. Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? There's no way I can personally get them — my local churches have stakes prepared for me, I'm sure — but if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I'll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won't be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart.

Catholics believe that consecrated hosts are the body of Jesus Christ, and as such they are sacred to us. Threatening to desecrate consecrated hosts is a profound insult to Catholics. Professor Myers shows himself to be a very crass and uncaring person when he threatens to do this. To tell the truth, he sounds like a lunatic and I would have serious problems sending a child of mine to an institution where he was a professor.

Is this the image you want the associate professors at your state institution broadcasting to the world over the Internet? I would seriously urge you to take disciplinary action against Professor Paul Myers, up to and including dismissal from the university, for his bigoted, hateful, anti-Catholic remarks he made on the Internet while identifying himself as a professor at your institution. I am also sending copies of this message to:

Michael Korth, Division Chair, Division of Science and Mathematics
Honorable Patricia S. Simmons Chair Board of Regents, University of Minnesota
Honorable Clyde E. Allen, Jr. Vice Chair, Board of Regents, University of Minnesota
Honorable Anthony R. Baraga, Regent, University of Minnesota
Honorable Dallas Bohnsack, Regent, University of Minnesota
Honorable Maureen Cisneros, Regent, University of Minnesota
Honorable Linda Cohen, Regent, University of Minnesota
Honorable John Frobenius, Regent, University of Minnesota
Honorable Venora Hung, Regent, University of Minnesota
Honorable Steven D. Hunter, Regent, University of Minnesota
Honorable Dean Johnson, Regent, University of Minnesota
Honorable David M. Larson, Regent, University of Minnesota
Honorable David R. Metzen, Regent, University of Minnesota
Susan Heegaard, Commissioner, Minnesota Office of Higher Education
Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota,

but to him it is only a cracker, so whats the difference? surely it only realy IS the body of christ if you believe it is, but if you dont believe it then its not.. is that right. im confused.

"surely it only realy IS the body of christ if you believe it is. im confused."

The objective reality of the Eucharist isn't dependent on one's perception or, belief system. Rather, it is we who are dependent on the Eucharist for providing the vision necessary to penetrate beyond surface appearances. In rejecting the Eucharist, Myers is resigned to living on the flatlands, which is fine, but sheer decency should temper his desire to mock the Real Presence. Surely, he must feel the oppressive weight of Absence from time to time.

There is a double standard at work here. The rules that apply to others do not apply to PZ. This goes right along with his character, and I doubt the U of M Rochester or anywhere else will even bat an eye. The only thing that will ever change this situation is prayer and Jesus; beyond that, we might as well be screaming our lungs out for all the good it'll do us.

Or perhaps education is the answer? If we teach the new students the truth...or maybe teach our children as they grow up what the truth is...Meh. Probably wouldn't work anyway, lol.

Ironic how the Catholic Church has, in just a day or two, provided Myers with what squids and cephalopods couldn’t provide for him in a few decades--recognition.

Ironic how the Catholic Church has, in just a day or two, provided Myers with what squids and cephalopods couldn’t provide for him in a few decades--recognition.


Really?

I wasn't aware of any papal pronouncements concerning Myers. In fact, I doubt that the Pope even knows who this person is.

Personally, I am rather proud that there are actually those with such fervent Christian Faith who would actually stand up for what they believe in rather than succumbing to the wiles of the secular world and all that it entails, what with the ever growing laxism and complacency which it so often regard as 'virtue'.

Indeed, these are those blessed with such Faith, they would even suffer ridicule for Our Lord rather than burn incense to the god of this world.

Matt 5:11-12
11 Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake:
12 Be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.

Believe me aristocies, I'm in complete agreement with you. I've sent more emails this past week than I have in years. What I was thinking when I wrote the post was that, sarcastically speaking, Myers' life work has brought him little to no recognition--no one heard of him before last Friday and, no doubt, few will think of him again by next Friday--the Catholic Church provided this athiest, Myers, with all the attention he'll probably ever get. Christ is untouched by all of this--I doubt Myers can say the same.

There's definitely a double standard here, and that is evidenced by the fact that no one here has condemned those who have issued death threats against Myers, threats to harm his children, and attempted to get him fired from his job. Similar threats of harm were made against Webster Cook. Yet all Myers did was put a rusty nail through a cracker (and pages from the Koran, and pages from Richard Dawkins' _The God Delusion).

I believe there are some beams in some eyes.

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