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Militant Atheism and the Desecration of a Consecrated Host

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Catholics in the US are now in an uproar. The reason? A professed atheist and professor at one of their universities, desecrated a consecrated host and made a public show of it in his blog. The Confraternity of the Catholic Clergy of the US has issued a call for a day of prayer and reparation for the actions of Paul Myers, a biology professor of the University of Minnesota who even solicited for consecrated hosts through his ScienceBlogs.

The Great Desecration

The Confraternity is quoted as declaring

Lies and hate speech which incite contempt or violence are not protected under the law,” they further asserted, arguing that freedom of religion means “no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership [in] or ascribe allegiance. (CNA)

The Confraternity has set the day of prayer and fasting on the Feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori, August 1, Friday.

Catholic reaction to Myers’ gleeful announcement of the desecration was understandably not irenic. Mark Shea explains Catholic sentiments well in InsideCatholic. He writes

On my wall near my computer is a piece of paper with a crayon drawing on it. It’s a self-portrait of my son Sean with a little heart and a poem in which he informs us he hearts us and we are good parents. Any art dealer in the world would appraise the value of the art at approximately nothing. Any literature scholar would tell you that the poem is very poor poetry. Likewise, the value of the paper is zero.

To me, it’s priceless. And if you send one of your blog readers into my house to take it, I would be quite justified in calling you a thief who has stolen something precious. I would also be quite justified in defending it and my house from your naked act of aggression.

The length of comments on Myers’ blog is an indication of the uproar he caused. And Myers isn’t in any way apologetic.

Rod Dreher, writing in Belief.NET has proposed a charitable approach to the matter:

It’s plain that the raging of Christians only feeds Myers’ hatred. But what would he do if the response to his hideous blasphemy is … love? What would he do if Catholics and other Christians, and even sympathetic members of other faiths, turned up en masse on his campus simply to pray quietly for him? What kind of witness would that be to the wider culture? How might that make straight the path to salvation for P.Z. Myers, and many who now admire him? Wouldn’t that be blessing those who persecute you, as Christ commands us to do?

P.Z. Myers has provided quite a witness for what militant atheism is capable of. Let’s provide a counterwitness for what faithful Christianity is capable of. God may work a miracle in that man’s life yet (consider the example of Saul). Let’s not get in the way of the work of redemption in this lost man’s life. As much as we can, let’s answer hate with love.

The Day of Prayer, Fasting and Reparation that the Confraternity of the Clergy scheduled for August 1 is a start. Although that will already be Saturday, our time (GMT +8), I’ll ask our parishioners to include people like Myers in their first Friday devotion (Thursday, US time).

Originally posted 2008-07-31 03:02:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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