Wherein Fr. Z offers kudos to and agreement with…. PHYLLIS ZAGANO!

I find myself in complete agreement with Phyllis Zagano.

[Those sounds you are hearing are jaws hitting desks, mugs of Mystic Monk coffee dropping to the floor with a crash and splash, astonished readers sliding off chairs in a swoon.]

Yes, you read it right.

Dear Phyllis, columnist of the Fishwrap, and I … well… we haven’t always seen eye to eye. I’ve called her out a few times on this blog (and she deserved it) and poked a little fun at her now and then (and she… well… probably deserved that too). Phyllis, with all the tenderness of Inspector Javert, has retaliated by calling all over the country to create difficulties for me and to call my person into question.  Everyone needs a hobby, I guess.  It’s sort of like one of those comedies with someone like Dan Aykroid who has an escalating  feud with a neighbor.

Seriously, as I have written before, I will always give Ms. Zagano props for her solid pro-life stand.  She doesn’t get a pass for her stance on the ordination of women, but her defense of life counts for a lot with me.

And today, I send out sincere Fr. Z kudos to Phyllis for her latest, unexpected bit at Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter).  My emphases and comments.

Blasphemy in Oklahoma City [Blasphemy… that outta make some people scratch their heads at Fishwrap, Amerika and Commonwelt.]

The city manager of Oklahoma City has approved a Sept. 21 “black mass” in its Civic Center Music Hall. Maybe the heat’s got him.

The facts: a Satanist group called Dakhma of Angra Mainyu plunked down $420 to rent the 92-seat CitySpace Theatre for a “black mass.” The Catholic archbishop complained. The city manager cited the First Amendment. The archbishop has asked for prayers. The rest of city government is not talking.

The force behind the event, 35-year-old Adam Brian Daniels, is well-known to the Civic Center folks. He’s been involved in two of the three previous Satanist events there. Last year, nobody came. [Good point.]

Daniels is also a lifetime member of the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registry.

Yet Oklahoma City authorities defend his right to perform a vile attack on what Christians hold sacred. [I wonder if the city authorities would have allow a ritual desecration of a Koran with pig’s fat.] The complete details are too disgusting to repeat, but the event includes stomping on a consecrated host.The action usually takes place between the legs of a naked woman lying on a table with her feet facing east. The actual ritual calls for all manner of strangeness there, but the Satanists say they will not break the law, and the Civic Center promises police attendance. So probably there will be no use of urine, excrement or semen. No nudity or lewdness, either. But they will desecrate the host. [I one story I read that someone had mailed them a host for use at this thing.  You can’t tell by looking if it is consecrated, but… with Communion in the hand… how hard is it to get one?]

No matter. The city manager has a bunch of old Supreme Court cases in his briefcase, all about the freedom of religion and free speech.

The law has always seemed to be rooted in common sense, but this is off the rails. [I think it was Mr. Bumble who is that, if the law holds that, then “the law is an ass”.  But wait! There’s more!  Read on.] Who can think Satanism is a religion? [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] Who thinks a “black mass” is political speech? [Tell it!] Bottom line: The city manager thinks the First Amendment protects blasphemous hate speech. Don’t they know about the 14th Amendment out there in Oklahoma?

[… skipping …]

What is going on in Oklahoma City? Do they not have the gumption to cancel the contract? They say they do not want to risk an expensive lawsuit, so they spend attorney time defending the Satanists’ rights against those of the rest of the community.

So Oklahoma City is enforcing its interpretation of law so that Catholics — their beliefs, practices, and their very selves — are not protected. Why don’t Catholics get “equal protection of the laws”?

Of course, you can argue that both ways, but the bottom line is that my rights not to be offended or harmed can, or at least should, overtake your rights to offend or harm me. That does not mean discussing Obamacare or even burning the flag. That means public desecration of the Eucharist. That means blasphemy.

You think claiming blasphemy is old-fashioned? Yes, it is. And the word does not seem to appear in any of the “black mass” discussion, pro or con. But the “black mass” organizers claim someone mailed them a consecrated host [there it is] and that they intend to stomp on it. That is blasphemy and harassment and the vandalism of religious property. [I don’t know about the property issue, but it is more than blasphemy.  Much more.  It is another old fashioned sin: sacrilege.  More later.]

[This is where it gets good…] Here’s a news flash: Oklahoma has blasphemy laws. [Who knew?] Blasphemy is a misdemeanor. The Oklahoma Statutes state: “Blasphemy consists in wantonly uttering or publishing words, casting contumelious reproach or profane ridicule upon God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, the Holy Scriptures or the Christian or any other religion.” [Still on the books, apparently.]

Also, the Oklahoma City Municipal Code protects against harassment, intimidation, or degradation because of any individual’s religion, and also against vandalism of any religious property.

That sounds pretty 14th Amendment to me. Maybe someone should tell the city manager?

It is a genuine struggle. Who wins?

Does the city of Oklahoma City defend the law by providing public facilities to deride and offend Christians? Or do the Satanists win the day by creating a national hate speech event?

Either way, civility and common sense lose.

Again… good work, Phyllis.

Let’s now make a few distinctions for the benefit of those who may be a little fuzzy about these old fashioned Catholic words.

Blasphemy involves words or gestures, also thoughts, which show contempt for God or dishonor God regardless of whether the person intends that contempt or dishonor or not.  Blasphemy is against the virtue of religion and a mortal sin.  Blasphemy is direct when it is aimed at God.  It is indirect when aimed at Holy Church or the saints or any sacred thing or person or place.  It seems to me that what that priest did, whether he intended it or not, by the mere fact of doing it, was a kind of indirect blasphemy.  He detracted from God’s honor indirectly by debasing the rite and the people.

As an aside: a deadly sort of blasphemy concerns the Holy Spirit (cf. Matthew 12, 31-32).  This  ghastly sin attributes God’s works to the Enemy and which also concerns the denial of the Holy Spirit the power or will to purify and forgive leading to final impenitence and hardness of heart.  That sort of sin cannot be forgiven because the person rejects forgiveness.

Sacrilege, also a sin against the virtue of religion, is the improper or irreverent treatment of something sacred (persons, places, things, etc.).  Sacrilege can take various forms including acts of violence, or vandalism, or purposeful harm, such as using something sacred for a sinful purpose or monetary gain.  There is nothing more sacred that we have than the Blessed Sacrament, which is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord, under the appearance of bread and wine.  To do harm to the Eucharist is sure the highest, or rather, lowest kind of sacrilege.

Keep in mind that some single actions can result in more than one sin.

Pray for those involved with this horrid event.   We must never wish Hell for anyone, but I fear it for those who would do this thing… and those who, knowing that it’s JUST PLAIN WRONG AND SINFUL to allow it, will give in and let it happen anyway.

Pray in solidarity with Archbp. Coakley and the good people of Oklahoma City.

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Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Dogs and Fleas, Fr. Z KUDOS, Our Catholic Identity, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, The Sin That Cries To Heaven For Vengence, You must be joking! and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Wherein Fr. Z offers kudos to and agreement with…. PHYLLIS ZAGANO!

  1. FrAnt says:

    Fr. Z., God has a funny way of fixing things that offend him. Sometimes those ways are in this world, sometimes in the next. We should voice our outrage over this blasphemous event. We could also use a line from Saul Alinsky, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” This could be a great teaching moment for Catholics to better understand the sacrifice, gift, and glory of the Blessed Sacrament.

  2. Charivari Rob says:

    /i”[Those sounds you are hearing are jaws hitting desks, mugs of Mystic Monk coffee dropping to the floor with a crash and splash, astonished readers sliding off chairs in a swoon.]”/

    You forgot clutching pearls.

    Better add a shatter-proof mug to the swag store.

  3. jamie r says:

    Which case was it that created the “common sense” exception to the first and fourteenth amendments? I don’t trust our elected leaders to exercise common sense when it comes to deciding what religious speech to outlaw.

  4. Jeff says:

    I’ve been saying that we need some strong layMEN muscle to go in there and start throwing out the sanctification like St. John Chrysostom would support. Then we have good holy priests like Fr. Z come in to take back Jesus truly present in the Eucharist.

  5. majuscule says:

    And then there are the comments on PZ’s piece.

    This one wasn’t vile like so many others. But it is clueless:

    Correct me if wrong: if a consecrated host is not received (and eaten) in good faith, then it no longer remains sacred.

  6. Gerard Plourde says:

    There may be a possible argument that the Archdiocese could use to prevent this abomination from occurring. Ms. Zagano reports that the Satanists claim that they will break no laws and Fox News quotes Kristy Yager, director of public information for Oklahoma City’s city manager as follows: “If there’s a law broken we will be there” in claiming a police officer will be assigned to the black mass event.

    However, if Oklahoma law is similar to Pennsylvania law, an argument could be made that a Satanist’s obtaining of a consecrated host has to involve a crime.

    The relevant Pennsylvania Law states:
    “A person is guilty of theft if he intentionally obtains or withholds property of another by
    deception. A person deceives if he intentionally:

    (1) creates or reinforces a false impression, including false impressions as to law, value,
    intention or other state of mind;

    I would argue that because distribution of the host contains the implicit assumption that the receiver is going to consume it immediately, the receiver’s taking of the host for desecration would constitute a theft because the receiver by entering the communion line has created the impression that he (or she) intends to consume the host and is deceiving the minister of the sacrament as to his (or her) true intent and that if that intent were known the minister of the sacrament would not give it. There is ample evidence that the Church can use (including citing Canon Law) to show that no priest or extraordinary minister would ever distribute communion for a use other than that the communicant eat it.

    I’ll be praying for the Church in Oklahoma City (and for rest of the Church Militant) in this time of trial.

  7. Gerard Plourde says:

    There may be a possible argument that the Archdiocese could use to prevent this abomination from occurring. Ms. Zagano reports that the Satanists claim that they will break no laws and Fox News quotes Kristy Yager, director of public information for Oklahoma City’s city manager as follows: “If there’s a law broken we will be there” in claiming a police officer will be assigned to the black mass event.

    However, if Oklahoma law is similar to Pennsylvania law, an argument could be made that a Satanist’s obtaining of a consecrated host has to involve a crime.

    The relevant Pennsylvania Law states:
    “A person is guilty of theft if he intentionally obtains or withholds property of another by
    deception. A person deceives if he intentionally:

    (1) creates or reinforces a false impression, including false impressions as to law, value,
    intention or other state of mind;

    I would argue that because distribution of the host contains the implicit assumption that the receiver is going to consume it immediately, the receiver’s taking of the host for desecration would constitute a theft because the receiver by entering the communion line has created the impression that he (or she) intends to consume the host and is deceiving the minister of the sacrament as to his (or her) true intent and that if that intent were known the minister of the sacrament would not give it. There is ample evidence that the Church can use (including citing Canon Law) to show that no priest or extraordinary minister would ever distribute communion for a use other than that the communicant eat it.

    I’ll be praying for the Church in Oklahoma City (and for rest of the Church Militant) in this time of trial.

  8. Gerard Plourde says:

    Sorry for the double post. I accidentally double-clicked.

  9. Matt R says:

    majascule, that’s approaching one Lutheran view of the sacrament…

    Father, I have heard it said that we might not be able to tell if an individual host is consecrated or not, but Satanists can. They only perform their blasphemies and sacrileges if they use the Corpus Domini. Otherwise they assault a mere piece of bread.

  10. benedetta says:

    Respect to Phyllis Zagano!

    And she is SO right…why is this Oklahoma City Manager so very invested in supporting the “entertainment” work of a lifetime sex offender? One would think given the way politicians generally work, that he would have found an opportune and vocal way to shut it down and thereby support victims of such abuse! Here however he is instead interested in animating a form of hate crime.

  11. benedetta says:

    Also agree with FrAnt’s comment above.

  12. It’d be a great time to suppress Communion in the Hand

  13. LeeF says:

    This is a nice surprise from an unexpected source. Perhaps if she would just take the next step from blasphemy and sacrilege to reverence.

    OKC is in the hear of the Bible Belt, not the left coast. But perhaps that explains it partly, i.e. a convergence of anti-Catholic forces, atheists and wing-nut evangelicals united, at least in omission by the latter. Anyone remember Tony Alamo and his anti-Catholic literature dispersed from Nashville before his arrest and imprisonment for . . . that’s right . . . sex crimes against children.

    Of course these looney-tunes are going to bring up the abuse scandal in the Church if it is pointed out that the organizer is a life-time sex offender. But let them. Belatedly or not, imperfectly or not, the Church has addressed the issue and would also protest against one of those clerical offenders doing something publicly contrary to the Faith.

  14. Papabile says:

    Perhaps the absolutely most excellent thing about this article are all the comments DEFENDING the First Amendment rite to have a black Mass. They tell Zagano to “get over it”. They are dismissive.

    They reveal the readership of the NCR.

  15. bookworm says:

    “The force behind the event, 35-year-old Adam Brian Daniels, is well-known to the Civic Center folks. He’s been involved in two of the three previous Satanist events there. Last year, nobody came.”

    Which raises multiple questions: 1) why all the outrage NOW over an event that has apparently been going on for at least 3 years; 2) why do the Civic Center people keep bending over backwards to accommodate this clown — the first year, I suppose, they could plead ignorance of the nature of the event he was planning but they obviously can’t now; 3) since no one came last year, and that is the most optimal outcome (short of the event being cancelled, of course) that we can hope for, what happened last year to achieve this outcome?

  16. Gail F says:

    The civic center is afraid of being sued. It would surely cost them many thousands of dollars to fight this, as well as requiring them to police ever single event people rent the space for — which they obviously don’t do now. I don’t know how that place is funded (public money?) but most such places do not want to waste the money they have on something that takes away from their programming or staff or building improvements, etc. I understand completely — especially if they think of this, not as blasphemy, but as an offensive jerk being an offensive jerk, and no one has really come to his event anyway.

    A lot of people agree. They think the guy is being offensive, or trashing mere possessions — setting fire to a delivery truck from Family Bookstores full of pictures of Jesus, or playing tapes of Christian rock backwards and claiming to find them “satanic,” in some sort of childish bid for attention:”Look how BAD this is!!!!” And a lot of Catholics seem to agree, arguing that he is tiresome and stupid and that opposing him and his ilk just gives them more publicity.

    BUT. Do we believe in the Real Presence or not? Do we believe that the Mass is sacred, or do we believe that it’s really just the same as a church service with Joel Osteen, but with more props? You can’t have a “black tent revival” — even in the most “high” Protestant services that have altars, some kind of communion, etc., there’s nothing to desecrate. To them, the “church” stuff is just a glorified set.

    At one time, when I was still coming back to the Church, I would not have thought this was a big deal. I had, without knowing it, more of a Lutheran or other high Protestant view of Mass — that it was important, but not sacred, and that the consecrated Host was “like” Christ, but it wasn’t “really” Christ. I thought this was the correct and very spiritual way of looking at things, and I thought I had a lot of faith (which I did — in comparison with my younger self). I didn’t know how much I didn’t yet understand and believe. And thinking that way, I would have concluded that this “black mass thing” was just a guy trying to get attention and that we should not give it to him, because he couldn’t really do any harm.

    Of course, he can’t really do any harm to Christ. But that doesn’t mean we can just sit back and say, “Oh, Christ will take care of Himself, I’ll ignore this kook.” The guy himself, in the interview he did with Aleteia, seemed to be clueless about the Host and why anyone was upset about it. But if that is Christ, as we are taught, it seems to me that some sort of major response is called for. I think it says a lot about our culture that so few people of any or no faith recognize this, and that many (perhaps most) Catholics don’t automatically know it either.

    If you think the guy is a jerk, or a fraud, or an attention-seeker who should be ignored, that’s one thing. But if you think the desecration of Christ is no big deal, then whatever you are, you’re not Catholic. If you find yourself wondering why anyone would make a fuss over this, think hard about what you believe about Christ, Communion, and the Mass, because whatever it is, it isn’t what the Church teaches. Either the Church is wrong, or you’re wrong — about CHRIST HIMSELF. And that really is a big deal.

  17. Unwilling says:

    Mother and Father Z should deplore the (will to carry out a) BM. And it’s charity to remind perpetrators they imperil their eternal lives. It would even be legal (apparently) to use Oklahoma law to prevent or punish the blasphemy involved. But I’d be wary of state intervention in this. Obama thinks the Islamic adh?n is “the prettiest sound on earth” — but the prayer it calls for is to eradicate Christian blasphemers. Better a state that leaves to God the punishment of religious crime.

  18. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    I would like to see Zagano take the next step and decry the actions of “women priests” who mimic the Holy Mass and distribute the (not consecrated) Eucharist.

  19. Cathy says:

    Unwilling, the use of a civic building is intervention in accommodating this blasphemy. In addition, the law is against blasphemy specifically against the Christian faith, then regarding other religions. Perhaps, instead of the civic center fearing a law suit by the person renting the space, a law suit could be filed against the state for the failure of not simply upholding state law, but accommodating an activity against state law. What use is this law if not for protection? Part of the great problem with our current federal administration, is the willful looking away from laws instituted to protect our country and its citizens.

  20. Sonshine135 says:

    Is it just me or are these “black masses” happening more frequently? My understanding has been that a lot of Atheists attended such functions as a way of affirming that religion is superstition. I see it as just pure hatred. It is hatred of Christians, first and foremost, who through Jesus Christ hold the key to everlasting life. If you look more deeply though, it is a hatred for anything that their physical minds cannot grasp or understand. To make Catholics, who hold joy and salvation through the Eucharist, they have to desecrate it in hopes of bringing the Catholic into equal misery. These are truly miserable and pitiable people. Their minds are so based on what’s physical that they cannot see beyond themselves.

  21. jamie r says:

    Weren’t you people [? “you people”?] freaking out like a week ago about the IRS monitoring sermons to see if Churches have done anything to lose their tax-exempt status?

    If you think losing your tax-exempt status violates your 1st amendment rights, then you really shouldn’t be taking the positions that (1) blasphemy laws are enforceable and (2) the first / fourteenth amendments prohibit speech if someone finds it offensive.

    Blasphemy laws aren’t enforceable. The first amendment protects speech, even if it’s offensive. The fourteenth amendment does many things; it does not prohibit offensive speech.

  22. Amateur Scholastic says:

    This is disgusting, wicked and damned sacrilege, and will have consequences, especially for those involved. No doubt about it.

    Unfortunately, I can’t see how one can (with logical consistency) call for the event to be cancelled while at the same time claim to believe in freedom of religion. I can’t square the two. Sure, you can say ‘satanism isn’t a religion’, but on what basis do you make that judgement? As a Catholic? But then you’re just imposing your religious views on someone else. As a citizen of the secular state? But a secular state can’t judge between one set of private views and another.

  23. Amateur Scholastic says:

    One more thing…

    “Of course, you can argue that both ways, but the bottom line is that my rights not to be offended or harmed can, or at least should, overtake your rights to offend or harm me. ”

    So should we therefore approve of laws outlawing so-called hate speech?

  24. revueltos67 says:

    Maybe they could get PZ Myers to give the homily.

  25. jeffreyquick says:

    “I wonder if the city authorities would have allow[ed] a ritual desecration of a Koran with pig’s fat.”
    Well, if this Black Mass happens, I think we should find out. Rent the same theater for a presentation by Ann Barnhardt, who has previous experience in desecrating Korans with pig fat. See what the authorities do. And when they do what I suspect they would do, call them out on their hypocrisy.

  26. WaywardSailor says:

    Public venue? Fine. The Archbishop should exercise his right as a citizen of Oklahoma City to book the Civic Center for September 20 and then exercise the “nuclear option” as discussed last week with respect to the former abortuary in Detroit. And if that can’t happen, then a large, well-publicized Eucharistic procession through the streets of the city ending at the cathedral for a Holy Hour of reparation, should be held. Such a procession worked a miracle in Cambridge last spring.

  27. OK_doc says:

    Archbishop Coakley is planning the Holy Hour and Eucharist procession on September 21(although at a church closer to the Civic Center than the cathedral):

    http://archokc.org/put-out-into-the-deep/3603-archbishop-coakley-calls-for-prayer-and-penance-to-avert-planned-sarciledge