Msgr. Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC alerted me to his item on the website of the Archdiocese. He fisked a piece in the ultra-liberal UK sheet The Guardian.
Msgr. Pope’s entry is called "Host in the Post".
You’ve gotta know this won’t be good.
The late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus once wrote that the purpose of the Anglican Communion was to make irony redundant.
Oh… the following was written by – I am not making this up – Riazat Butt.
Praise the Lord and post the Host: church’s plan to woo worshippers
In recent years the communion wafer has been made available in a variety of forms – including patterned, wholemeal, crumb-proof and gluten-free – to satisfy the demands of modern life. Soon, altar bread will become even more convenient and accessible with the advent of the "host in the post".
The new service, from the Open Episcopal Church, is aimed at people who either cannot attend Eucharist, through age or ill-health, or those who have drifted away from church. [Just drop it in the mail. I wonder if there is return-to-sender postage for the undeliverable wafers. What about when the mail stacks up when you are on vacation?]
Although the pre-consecrated wafer is free, there will be a charge for postage and packing. Receiving one host costs £2; receiving 500 costs £10. [It’s almost too much to believe. Why didn’t we think of this before? Instead of actually meeting people, just drop a magic cookie in the mail!]
Jonathan Blake, the Open Episcopal Church [not-] bishop who officiated at Jade Goody’s wedding [?] this year, said the initiative was also designed to reverse the way the church presented itself to people. [I think their work is now done!]
"The sense they have to go to places to worship is something their parents did. The churches we work with have got respect for the fact that we’re taking the church to places it hasn’t been before.
"It is a mistake to locate a church as those who gather in a building. There is a large population who have haemorrhaged away from church but regard themselves as committed Christians." [And hosts in the mail will help.]
He said the organisation was taking "care and concern" over appropriate packaging for the wafer, which is no more than a millimetre thick, to ensure it remained intact on arrival, before adding that anyone – including atheists and even satanists – could avail themselves of the service. [Now get this!] "Jesus did not make these distinctions. He gave himself to anyone and everyone. It makes no difference, the body of Christ is redeeming." [Nooo… I think Jesus mentioned something about dogs and about swine, and, no wait, I think Paul said something about this too.]
News of Blake’s latest innovation did not elicit a response from the Church of England, which, as a rule, does not comment on the internal affairs of other churches. [So, they are not part of the Anglican Communion?]
One of his previous projects was a street mass using language more commonly associated with text messages: "JC said: ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever eats this bread will live 4ever.’" [kewl]
I don’t think we need to care too much about this. But, it is a sign of the times.
This is a sign of what is going on with religion today. It is another church, but it is nevertheless a church… treating their sacrament in this manner.