7.12.2008

What Not To Do In A Catholic Church

I've already covered What not to do in a Greek temple. Clearly readers took note of that post - as far as I know, no Achaemenids have been crucified for having sex in a Greek temple since May 2006.

In the States there seems to be a rash of people who don't know what to do in a Catholic Church - including religious 'expert' Sally Quinn. And now we have a Florida student who held the Host 'hostage' in a Ziploc bag ....

I'm not quite sure what to make of this story. A student 'received' the Eucharist but seems to have literally taken it away - either: a) to show his friend; or b) to protest the Church. Catholics are not happy about it, as they feel that the host is the body of Christ, and that by taking it he was holding it 'hostage' in effect. Webster Cook is Catholic, and should have known better - nobody is forced to receive Communion, but if they chose to practise a religion they should also treat its key component with respect.

'Body Of Christ' Snatched From Church, Held Hostage By UCF Student - KFTV on July 5th
'Body Of Christ" Returned To Church After Student Receives Email Threats - KFTV on July 9th

Catholics believe that the Host, upon consecration, becomes the body and blood of Christ - a.k.a. Transubstantiation.

There was even a Byzantine miracle relating to this in the eight century at Lanciano in Italy.
The priest was worried about the use on unleavened bread for Communion - he was used to Greek leavened bread (which suggests that he had fled from the East post 726, when the First Iconoclast Period started) - and seems to have had doubts about its potential for Transubstantiation. The unleavened wafer and wine miraculously transformed themselves into flesh and blood, proving to Catholics that the use of unleavened bread was fine. The Orthodox disagreed, and this is one of the many issues which led to the Great Schism (1054).

The relics - see photo - are housed in the church of San Francesco to this day. Tests have shown that the flesh and blood came from the same person, and is AB - also the blood group identified on the Shroud of Turin, which is rare in Italy, but more common in Palestine as the Vatican pointed out. And in South Korea, which for some reason they didn't.

Lanciano was known as Anxanum in the Roman period. The Byzantines re-named it in honor of the Spear of Destiny with which Christ was pierced, because St. Longinus, the centurion who did the piercing, is said to have been a native of Anxanum. Longinus was also said to have been Martyred by Pontius Pilate.


This illustration comes from the Rabula Gospels - it is not only an early depiction of the Crucifixion, but also an early source that names Longinus (in Greek above the figure in red). The manuscript is Syriac, and was produced during the 6th century; we can be precise enough to say that it was completed in AD 586, in the Monastery of St. John of Zagba, but we're still not quite sure where the monastery was.

In 1263 in Bolsena the Host began to bleed onto the linen corporal, forming a profile silhouette - this Eucharistic Miracle is known as the Corporal of Bolsena. It is claimed to have inspired Urban IV to institute the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, better known as the feast of Corpus Christi - except that the Bishop of Liège first ordered its local celebration in 1246, whilst still Urban was his Archdeacon (Jacques Pantaléon); Urban issued a bull ordering its celebration church-wide in 1264. The readings at the Feast pretty much explain the importance of the Eucharist - 1 Corinthians 11:23-29; then John 6:56-59.

Benedict XVI and his new Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, Monsignor Guido Marini, are encouraging putting the Eucharist straight onto the tongue - not 'saving' it for a snack.


Anyway, the bottom line is - if I doubt, don't take Communion. And whatever you do, don't take it home to show your friends.

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