The wonderful Anna Arco had an item in the last number of the Catholic Herald, which is worthy of notice:
Atheist professor desecrates stolen Host
By Anna Arco
1 August 2008
Priests at the London Oratory have called for prayers of reparation after a consecrated Host was allegedly stolen during High Mass and desecrated by an atheist professor in America.
Several priests have celebrated Masses of reparation this week responding to a video posted on the internet of a young man taking the Host and later placing it next to a condom, claiming he was holding it "hostage" inside the prophylactic until the Pope changed his policy on contraception in light of Africa’s Aids epidemic.
An evening of reparation with Mass and Adoration with prayers, litanies and silent meditation is planned for next Wednesday. Oratorians have also called on the faithful to make personal acts of reparation this week and next "for all the outrages against the Blessed Sacrament around the world".
"Close observation of the film and of the facts seems to suggest that this is not an elaborate hoax, but depicts something that really occurred," said the e-mail asking people to make acts of reparation. It also asked people to pray for "the conversion of the culprits, that they will answer God’s call to repentance and open their hearts to receive His forgiveness".
The incident took place during the Oratory’s High Mass on July 13 and was posted on the internet soon after. It said: "The Catholic Church forfeits all rights to respect for its ludicrous beliefs, including ‘transubstantiation’, while its anti-condom campaign in Africa results in tens of thousands of deaths."
It further said: "Just because you believe that the cracker has some special significance doesn’t mean that I have to respect that ridiculous belief. I think the moral cost of disrespecting a cracker is a lot less than the moral cost of disrespecting human life; a concept that should be more important to you people."
A follow-up link to the video claimed that the young man had sent the host to Paul Myers, an atheist professor at the University of Minnesota who is thought to have further desecrated the Host by piercing it with a rusty nail and throwing it in the bin. In a post on his blog, dated July 24, Prof Myers wrote: "I thought of a simple, quick thing to do: I pierced it with a rusty nail (I hope Jesus’s tetanus shots are up to date). And then I simply threw it in the trash, followed by the classic, decorative items of trash cans everywhere, old coffee grounds and a banana peel. My apologies to those who hoped for more, but the worst I can do is show my unconcerned contempt."
Prof Myers caused controversy earlier in July when he called a "Eucharist challenge" in which he incited people to steal consecrated Hosts from Catholic churches and send them to him so that he can desecrate them.
He wrote: "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 —s, 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."
His words followed a theft of a Host in Florida earlier this year which had American Catholics up in arms.
As a result of July’s alleged theft and desecration of the Eucharist, priests at the London Oratory are urging worshipers to be vigilant at Mass and to receive Communion on the tongue. Communion plates have started being used at certain Masses again.
First, it occurs to me that more and more incidents of disrespect are being shown by non-believers toward the Catholic Eucharist. Off the top of my head I can think of not only this awful business with the prof at the U of Minn, and also the theft from the Brompton Oratory, but also the theft of the Host in Florida, the reception of Communion by weirdly dressed people in San Francisco, during the Pope’s visit Catholic pro-abortion politicians receiving, and a non-believing journalist receiving at Tim Russert’s funeral Mass.
Who goes forward for Communion is often hard to control
But there is something simple we can control.
No more Communion in the hand.
Not a fool-proof (and never was that term better applied) safeguard, but one that greatly reduces risk of profanation.