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No communion for you!
August 13, 2004 7:28 AM   Subscribe

Catholic church invalidates girl's first communion because she used a gluten free wafer. Haley Waldman has celiac disease which prevents her from eating wheat. It will also prevent her from receiving one of the most important sacraments of her church. Apparently, this has happened before. According to church canons wafers must be made only from wheat. Despite the Catholic Church's apparent inflexibility, an extremely low gluten wafer has been approved, but still may not be safe for some celiac sufferers.
posted by caddis (112 comments total)

 
but the nise man sed it wos made of jesus
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:30 AM on August 13, 2004


But if she eats the wheat wafer and dies, she'll have a clean soul and go straight to heaven, right? So what's the big deal?
posted by emptybowl at 7:35 AM on August 13, 2004


If it starts out as wheat and is then transformed so that "it wos made of jesus", what does the church care if it starts out as rice, or oats or feckin' potato!

Sheesh, these superstitious fundementalists are real powerfreaks, pissing off a credulous teenager of their own tradition.

Mind you, thats kinda stating the obvious...
posted by dash_slot- at 7:35 AM on August 13, 2004


I love the idea that you can be genetically prevented from being Catholic. That's Evolution Baby!

Although of course, it will mean she produces fewer offspring...
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:37 AM on August 13, 2004


Like so many things Jesus could have prevented if he'd just been clearer. Like if he'd walked his disciples down the snack aisle at 7-11, pointing: "this is my body, this isn't.. this isn't... is... isn't... is... is... isn't...."
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:38 AM on August 13, 2004


The mother was offered two other dietarily acceptable alternatives and turned them down. It looks to me like she wants to make a big deal out of this, and get attention. Apparently it's working.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:38 AM on August 13, 2004


Those wacky cults and their superstitions....
posted by jeblis at 7:41 AM on August 13, 2004


I'd like to point out that this isn't a problem at all for us nontransubstantiatory Baptists, and our arms are open to gluten-intolerant Catholics at all times.

Just don't complain when you find out the holy "wine" we serve is just grape juice.
posted by brownpau at 7:42 AM on August 13, 2004


You know, the Catholic church doesn't want uppity women like Haley anyway.
posted by etc. at 7:43 AM on August 13, 2004


Let's see. Church canon says it the host has to be wheat, the wine has to be fruit of the vine. Church says, okay, you can't have wheat, so either drink the wine or abstain entirely, either will be okay. Instead of taking either of these options, the mother chooses to complain.

Lady, if you don't like the Church, leave it. Don't complain when they're doing their best to accomodate you within their regulations.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:44 AM on August 13, 2004


"I struggled with telling her that the sacrament did not happen," said Pelly-Waldman. "She lives in a world of rules. She says `Mommy, do we want to break a rule? Are we breaking a rule?"'

Spirituality-by-numbers ain't really spirituality, if y'ask me [I know you didn't, but there ya go].

jacquilynne: where does it say that? - "Ms. Waldman did not accept on the grounds that any traces of gluten in her daughter's system could be toxic." Is that acceptable - to practice one's religion means a health risk?

WWJD?
posted by dash_slot- at 7:45 AM on August 13, 2004


WWJD?

"There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him."

The point is that it doesn't matter what's in the bread; what matters is what's in the receiver's heart. I left Catholicism precisely because of legalism such as this whole gluten-bread issue. It's not wheat bread and grape wine that count; it's the state of the communican's spirit. One could conduct a communion out of potato chips and V-8 on this principle.
posted by brownpau at 7:53 AM on August 13, 2004


jacquilynne... it's much more likely the mother's position is that she shouldn't have to sacrifice the health of her child for such a trivial ceremony. Although the low-gluten wafer may be approved, why should she have to take a chance (however minute) with her daughter’s health and safety? That’s ridiculous.

I should further mention, the ceremony is ridiculous, it's supposed to be a metaphor for the body and blood of Christ. Are Catholics still of the position that it literally IS the body and blood of Christ?
posted by banished at 7:55 AM on August 13, 2004


ALL CATHOLICS ARE EVIL! ALL RELIGION IS EVIL!
/sarcasm

what uncleozzy said. she was given plenty of alternatives. [low-gluten wafer, wine and mustum]

on preview: banished yes, we still believe in transubstantiation.
posted by sciurus at 7:57 AM on August 13, 2004


dash_slot, and others: uncleozzy and jacquilynne pointed it out, but here's the relevant text:

The Diocese of Trenton has told Waldman's mother that the girl can receive a low-gluten host, drink wine at communion or abstain entirely, but that any host without gluten does not qualify as Holy Communion.


Which is a completely reasonable stance.

I'm not Catholic, but I am disgusted by the Catholic-bashing that goes on here. It's as if there's a rabid group of MeFites who sees a post related to Catholicism and immediately looks for a way to disparage the faith. In fact, I'd say Catholicism draws more fire than Islamism around here.

Sad, really.
posted by trharlan at 7:59 AM on August 13, 2004


The mother doesn't feel it's appropriate for her daughter to take communion wine, so it seems that her issues with the Catholic communion ceremony that run deeper than just the matter of gluten-free wafers.
posted by deanc at 8:01 AM on August 13, 2004


banished: Oh yes.
posted by dash_slot- at 8:01 AM on August 13, 2004


Are Catholics still of the position that it literally IS the body and blood of Christ?

Indeed they are. The rationale behind transubstantiatory Catholic Communion is that the sacrifice is being mystically, physically re-offered with every Mass. Another reason I left: most Protestants interpret the sacrifice as having been made just once, after which it is good for all time. There's a lot of discord between denominations as to exactly how much "Presence" there is in the ceremony of communion, and whether it is a necessary source of salvific grace: ranging from Catholics' full "fleshly presence," to Lutherans' consubstantiatory "spiritual presence," to the Baptist' mere "symbolic memorial presence" (my shaky stand). It's a deliciously lively debate.
posted by brownpau at 8:03 AM on August 13, 2004


WWDD

Eat the wafer, get sick, then sue.
posted by angry modem at 8:05 AM on August 13, 2004


Its their church and they make the rules. There are lots of variations out there if you don't like Roman Catholicism. We could have this same discussion about circumcision (hemopheliacs) or prostrated prayer (It would be hard for someone with arthritic knees to properly address Allah.) Most religions require some sort of physical ritual in order to be properly considered a member, and for just about every physical system in the body there is a malady that can plague it. This sucks, but it looks like the church was trying to work with her, and find a way that she could remain faithful without requiring her pastor to break the dogma. Compromise is the crutch upon which society somehow manages to hobble along.

On Preview:
such a trivial ceremony

Eh? Far from being trivial, the communion one of, if no the, most important ceremony in the catholic tradition!

Are Catholics still of the position that it literally IS the body and blood of Christ?

Yes. Part of the ritual involves transubstantiation, in which the priest transforms the wine and bread into blood and flesh. Only an ordained catholic minister is believed to have this ability, which is why communion can only be taken from a catholic pastor. While it has always been an important part of the faith (taking Christ into ones body physically as one takes him into the heart spiritually) it has only increased in importance as the catholic church has become increasing insular. Though it would be agianst Catholic morals [yeah, yeah] to physically throw people out of the sanctuary of the church building, they can certainly deny them the communion, and in so doing demonstrate the person's unfitness for church membership.
posted by ChasFile at 8:05 AM on August 13, 2004


trharlan, sciurus, uncleozzy et al: 'the girl can receive a low-gluten host, drink wine at communion or abstain entirely, but that any host without gluten does not qualify as Holy Communion'. - 'Which bit of 'coeliacs are made ill by gluten' do you not understand?

WWJD?
posted by dash_slot- at 8:05 AM on August 13, 2004


This low carb fad has gone entirely too far.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:06 AM on August 13, 2004


trharlan: I dare say that's because there are a lot more apostate catholics than apostate muslims here. Remember, its only prejudice if we prejudge. Deciding the catholic church is a bunch of arse based on experience is perfectly legitimate.
posted by biffa at 8:06 AM on August 13, 2004


Setting: Heaven
Time: Judgement Day

God: I’m sorry, my hands are tied. If you’d eaten the right wafer, you’d be in, baby. But since you didn’t, it’s an eternity in Hell for you. I wish I could do something, but those are the rules, and I’m powerless to change them. I know, I know, you’ve heard all about omnipotence and stuff, but there are limits to my power. Again, sorry. Bye!

That’s the logic, right?
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:07 AM on August 13, 2004


dash_slot: Which part of "drink wine at communion or abstain entirely" do you not understand?
posted by uncleozzy at 8:10 AM on August 13, 2004


Well, on one hand we have "These are the rules. Here are the limited ways we can bend the rules, but otherwise follow the rules or else." On the other hand we have "What part of ANY gluten could kill her do you not understand?"

Irresistible force, have you met immovable object?
posted by ilsa at 8:10 AM on August 13, 2004


I've never taken communion, so someone correct me if I'm wrong...

You kneel at a bar and someone walks over with a tray of biscuits wafers. You eat one. Then someone approaches with a mug of blood some kind of vine product.

These are two seperate acts - the body of Christ and the blood of Christ. I can understand why she might be a tad pissed off if the church's answer to it is to suggest that she doesn't eat the wafer. That's a pretty important part of the whole concept.

Why not change the waffers to a gluten free variety to make life easier for all?

Maybe they'll lose the wonderbread account...
posted by twine42 at 8:11 AM on August 13, 2004


I'd like to point out that the last time this issue hit the news, the family decided to just go Methodist. Hah.
posted by brownpau at 8:15 AM on August 13, 2004


I'm with uncleozzy. If you accept a talking snake, people living to be 900 years old and a man who was more unkillable than the star of a horror film franchise, you'd better fucking accept that you have to eat wheat crackers. By comparison, that's pretty tame.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:15 AM on August 13, 2004


the priest transforms the wine and bread into blood and flesh. Only an ordained catholic minister is believed to have this ability

Eat his your heart out, David Blaine!

So she should be denied her First, and every subsequent, Communion? Even tho' a neighbouring priest was willing to flex the so-called dogma? What about all the others who had been leniently treated by that priest (or was that a first?) Have they been under misapprehension all this time? If they had died, would their destiny have been heaven, or hell?

WWJD?

Listen: as far as I am concerned the church - any church - is a fit subject for mockery. Why don't we all agree that, cos we won't agree about contransubstantiation. I mean, it's just a waffer thin mint, right?
posted by dash_slot- at 8:17 AM on August 13, 2004


These are two separate acts - the body of Christ and the blood of Christ. I can understand why she might be a tad pissed off if the church's answer to it is to suggest that she doesn't eat the wafer. That's a pretty important part of the whole concept.

If she really believed then it wouldn't be wafer she was eating, it would be human flesh! Is she allergic to that also?

IIRC my local priest got a dispensation form the pope to use grape juice instead of wine at mass as he was a recovering alcoholic.
posted by biffa at 8:20 AM on August 13, 2004


Where in the last link is there any indication that the low-gluten host "may not be safe" for celiac sufferers? The only reference to safety there I can find is a statement that .01% gluten content is, "Safe enough, according to Fasano and other medical experts, for consumption by almost all celiac suffers."

I can understand the mother's paranoia about the low-gluten wafer, but her stubborn refusal to go the wine-only route seems obstinate.

Another question is why caddis didn't mention the fact that the mother was presented with alternatives that she refused?
posted by deanc at 8:23 AM on August 13, 2004


Are Catholics still of the position that it literally IS the body and blood of Christ?

lame.
I mean, most other non-Catholic Christians still have to believe that their religion is based on

a) the son of God and of a Virgin impregnated by a ray of light,

b) said son of God raised people from the dead and walked on water

c) He came back from the dead after 3 days and then flew up to Heaven, Superman-like, with his resurrected body

so to make fun of Catholics for the wafer thing seems frankly disingenious. all those Middle Eastern monotheist cults are very very wacky if you stick to rational thought. Judaism, Christianity, Islam -- they all require a lot of Faith. or suspension of disbelief

on preview, what the Mayor so eloquently said
posted by matteo at 8:23 AM on August 13, 2004


the church - any church - is a fit subject for mockery...I mean, it's just a waffer thin mint, right?

Oh, you've just been teasing then. 'Tis so hard to tell sometimes. Everything is a fit subject for mockery. and don't skimp on the paté.
posted by sciurus at 8:24 AM on August 13, 2004


biffa: I dare say that's because there are a lot more apostate catholics than apostate muslims here. Remember, its only prejudice if we prejudge. Deciding the catholic church is a bunch of arse based on experience is perfectly legitimate.

Ahmen to that biffa. Every year for lent I give up thinking of other people.

It is much harder than you think.

And it takes a while to readjust after too.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 8:25 AM on August 13, 2004


< !-- i've decided to stop discussing this rationally and instead join the mefi crowd in its wonderfully enlightened dawkinesque antitheism -->WOW RELIGION BASHING!!!!! UR ALL SO INTELECTUL!!!11 I WANT 2 BE ATHEIST 2 SO I CN B SMRT LYK U ENLIGHTENED METEFELTERITES!!!!
posted by brownpau at 8:30 AM on August 13, 2004


Twine42 - I was raise catholic. I've never even seen a rail, but they may still be in use somewhere. Catholics don't believe that the bread is the flesh and the wine is the blood. Catholics believe that the bread is the flesh and blood, and that the wine is the flesh and blood. Just eating the bread, or just drinking the wine, you still get both. It's a miracle, after all.
posted by sohcahtoa at 8:31 AM on August 13, 2004


Matteo - I agree with you, they're all laughably stuck in the pre-scientific, pre-Age of Reason mystical/ superstitious sublimated moongod/sungod paradigm.

I'm making up all this bollocks, but then that just puts me on a par with SS. Paul & Augustine, Mohammed and Moses and all the other lucky self-promoters who gathered such amazing power to themselves in the murky mists of time.

Oh, and the reason there are fewer apostate muslims around is that fatwas are issued against them: they tend to go underground (6ft. underground, sometimes...)

sciurus: If you think I'm teasing you, well, ok, just remember: many a true word is said in jest.

brownpau: what mefi crowd? we're a broad church here! (",)
posted by dash_slot- at 8:33 AM on August 13, 2004


"And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."

matthew 18:5-6

oops ...
posted by pyramid termite at 8:34 AM on August 13, 2004


So, damnation is genetic condition. Finally, a definitive end to the nature/nurture debate.

"Safe enough, according to Fasano and other medical experts, for consumption by almost all celiac suffers.”
You just breezed right by that “almost” didn’t you, deanc?
posted by Zetetics at 8:36 AM on August 13, 2004


dash_slot - others have already pointed this out, but my point was not related to the low gluten wafer. It was related to her being offered the chance to drink either a low alcohol wine:

the diocese offered to register Haley's communion if she would take a sip of low-alcohol wine

Or an even lower alcohol not quite wine:

Bishop Smith explained that lay members of the Catholic Church who cannot receive either the low-gluten host or wine in the form of the Precious Blood may receive mustum — grape juice that has been partially fermented but does not contain the same alcohol content as most table wines.

Ms. Waldman explained she does not feel it is appropriate for her 8-year-old daughter to drink any amount of alcohol “and it's the principal.”

So, the daughter can't take the glutenous host for health reasons, this is something I can understand and sympathize with. But she was offered two other alternatives, neither of which would cause problems for her as a celiac sufferer, and her mother declined them on the basis of principle, not health. She's making a fuss about this as if the Catholic Church is against celiacs, when in reality it appears the Catholic Church is merely against uptight, inflexible, attention seeking twits.

And the irony in that is palpable, let me tell you.

Personally, I'm an atheist and I think all organized religions and the Catholic Church especially are whacky. Even in the underlying issues surrounding this, I think the Catholic Church is nuts (body and blood of the Christ, uh huh, yeah). But this particular woman is even more nuts than the church itself. The presence of unleavened bread, as in the Last Supper, is considered an important element of Transubstantiation. It's like she believes in the process, but thinks they should go ahead and tweak the recipe a little, like substituting bananas for zuchini in a zuchini load recipe, because, hey, you like banana bread better.

It's probably also worth noting that based on some reading, celiac sufferers don't react to wheat like people with peanut allergies. A tiny, tiny amount of wheat isn't going to send them into anaphalactic shock and kill them immediately. It's a disorder that has cumulative effect over time. So, yeah, injesting a normal communion wafer every week might be bad. Taking one low-gluten communion wafer once would be insignificant. It's worth noting that part of the process for diagnosing celiac disease involves putting the person on, and then taking them off, a gluten free diet. If it was all that deadly for them to be eating wheat at all, the doctors wouldn't be running that kind of risk.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:36 AM on August 13, 2004


sohcahtoa: I was raised catholic too and they were still using rails in my local church up to 1989 (when I last went).
posted by biffa at 8:38 AM on August 13, 2004


luckily my local catholic god-shack tends to be a bit more progressive, none of that fire and brimstone stuff.
posted by johnnyboy at 8:39 AM on August 13, 2004


deanc, you answered your own question: "The only reference to safety there I can find is a statement that .01% gluten content is, "Safe enough, according to Fasano and other medical experts, for consumption by almost all celiac suffers."'

Admittedly, that's "almost all", but if you've got something as nasty as celiac disease, you're not gonna take the risk. Especially when, in the last link from above, there was this:

"The church has long said that celiac sufferers may fully receive the Eucharist in the form of wine, but even the small bit of host a celebrant drops into the wine can be harmful to many. In addition, Dennis McManus, associate director of the U.S. Bishops' Secretariat on Liturgy, noted that some people with celiac disease also suffer from a cross-allergy to wine."

So I can see why the mother doesn't want to have to choose drinking the wine, because there's the likelyhood that it'll make her daughter sick as well, and I can also see why she doesn't want to abstain, because it was her daughter's First Communion, and if you have trouble believing that it's important, go to the local greeting card shop and count all the cards you can buy for First Communions, but I'm not quite sure exactly why there has to be gluten in the wafers. I mean, the articles say that the Vatican has stated that there must be gluten in the wafers, but does anyone know why? What's the theological argument behind that?
posted by Katemonkey at 8:40 AM on August 13, 2004


This is another case where I have to roll my eyes at a lot of the Catholic bashing here. One of the big problems I see among my fellow non-believers is their tendency to charge against puppet straw men of religious practice.

Believe it or not, there are some not easily dismissed arguments for orthodoxy that should be carefully examined before rejection rather than just dismissing this as a case where the church is making rules for the sake of rules.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:45 AM on August 13, 2004


Kate: One of the articles mentioned that there must be unleavened wheat in the waifers, as in the Last Supper. Wheat has gluten. So it's not gluten, per se, as they couldn't subsitute some other gluten-bearing, non-wheat grain.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:46 AM on August 13, 2004


What do Catholics do in places where wheat isn't grown? What did missionaries do? Import the wafers? What about during famines or wartime?
posted by amberglow at 8:48 AM on August 13, 2004


Apparently, Jesus said:
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him" (John 6:53–56).
No Corrections
Notice that Jesus made no attempt to soften what he said, no attempt to correct "misunderstandings," for there were none. Our Lord’s listeners understood him perfectly well. They no longer thought he was speaking metaphorically. If they had, if they mistook what he said, why no correction? [source]

Whatever - it seems to me that those words dictate that one must eat and drink the bread and wine. Catholic.com deliberately and pointedly leaves no room for interpreting the alleged words of the alleged son of god. So, the little girl must do both - not accept only the wine that she is otherwise underage to imbibe.

WWJD? He'd send her to hell, clearly. She refused to take what he offered, and turned her back on the salvation he offered.

Mind you, she'll be in good company: all those unbaptised stillborn infants, muslims, buddhists, hindus, animists, atheists and jews will be there to welcome her; all her pre-christian ancestors, too. Not top mention all the non-Catholic christian believers too!

Hell's gonna be hella busy, what?
posted by dash_slot- at 8:49 AM on August 13, 2004


deanc, near the end of the article it says: "Fasano called the sisters' accomplishment "very wonderful news," but added that celiac sufferers should still consult with their doctors before consuming the new hosts. In rare cases even .01 percent is still too much."
posted by caddis at 8:49 AM on August 13, 2004


Yes, the quote says, "almost all," but there is no discussion of who is poorly affected. I took "almost all" to mean, "totally safe, but I want to cover myself." If they offered an example of someone who couldn't handle the ultra-low gluten content wafer, I'd say ok, but the last link does not in any way offer any indication that the low-gluten wafer is unsafe.

So I can see why the mother doesn't want to have to choose drinking the wine, because there's the likelyhood that it'll make her daughter sick as well

It's possible, but the mother did not say that this was the case. She said it was the "principal [sic]" of the matter that the "wine-only" option was unacceptable (and she felt that young children should not have any wine).

I stand by my assertion that the FPP was deceptive by making a few key omissions and distorted the contents of the last link.
posted by deanc at 8:50 AM on August 13, 2004


Ah, I missed the "in rare cases," sentence at the end of the last link. Though there's no indication that the daughter is in the "rare case" category.
posted by deanc at 8:53 AM on August 13, 2004


I mean, the articles say that the Vatican has stated that there must be gluten in the wafers, but does anyone know why? What's the theological argument behind that?
Perhaps, Katemonkey, because most of the tasty rice crackers on the market today are made by Quakers.
Zing!
posted by lowlife at 8:56 AM on August 13, 2004


What do Catholics do in places where wheat isn't grown? What did missionaries do? Import the wafers? What about during famines or wartime?

I'm pretty sure in these instances, they either import it [if possible], scrounge up some wine, or go without the Eucharist.

on preview - HAHA lowlife!
posted by sciurus at 8:57 AM on August 13, 2004


I can understand why she might be a tad pissed off if the church's answer to it is to suggest that she doesn't eat the wafer. That's a pretty important part of the whole concept.

The substance of the bread is important because the Last Supper, which communion is a re-enactment of, was a passover supper, and the bread at a passover supper is of specific consistency according to Jewish law.

Also, for most of the history of the Catholic church communion was of one kind (ie, wine ornly or bread only); communion of both kinds was a product of the reformation.
posted by hob at 8:59 AM on August 13, 2004


The final score than is:

Catholics: crazy
The mom: crazy

Thanks for playing!
posted by Outlawyr at 9:01 AM on August 13, 2004


deanc, I do not know why they refused the low gluten wafers. It could be that they did not know about the Benedictine Sisters wafers with only 0.01 % gluten. I did email the Celiac Sprue Association with details about these wafers in case they were not aware of their existence and approval and in hopes they could get the information to Haley and her parents. Perhaps even these wafers are not safe for Haley. On the other hand, it may very well be that her mother is being as inflexible as the Catholic Church.

What I still can not understand is how the Catholic Church came to the conclusion that only wheat will do. The Bible does not seem to discuss what the bread was made from. Even if historically it would have been wheat, this does not seem to justify that only wheat bread would suffice for communion. Their propogation of detailed rules has long been a weakness in the Catholic Church. Martin Luther attacked them with great success over their nit picking rules and especially over the trading of indulgences.
posted by caddis at 9:06 AM on August 13, 2004


This is why you should all become Jewish. Because you can have grape juice OR wine, challah OR ak-mak (or even gluten-free crackers is fine, too).
posted by luriete at 9:09 AM on August 13, 2004


I'm not Catholic, but I am disgusted by the Catholic-bashing that goes on here.
I don't believe there's any more Catholic bashing on Metafilter than there is in general with one caveat: there's an unusual number of people here who have no affiliation with a religion. Additionally, it's a little short sighted to not expect some backlash, whether it's factually deserved or not, given the past few years of news of sexual abuse allegations. If you've ever taken part in the pedophile threads on Metafilter, you'll notice that most members have trouble being objective and logical when it comes to adults sexualizing little boys and little girls.

Lastly, I'd like to point out that that Catholic church strikes many Americans, including many practicing Catholics, as being out of touch. The basic tenets may not be so strange, offensive or dated, but I'd be hard pressed to identify a single Catholic who is in full compliance or even agreement with the entire Catholic doctrine. This isn't a criticism that is unique to the Catholic church, nor is it a hard and fast rule, just an observation.

What would Jesus do? He's portrayed as being compassionate and understanding, even of his own enemies. If Jesus had encountered those allergic to his own body, I don't think he'd blame Satan or even insist that his body was the only true means of getting into heaven. If I understand the fundamentals well enough, I believe accpeting Jesus as the son of God is the minimum requirement for getting into heaven. Certainly he didn't believe that those he met and cared for during his life would not enter into the kingdom of heaven simply because they refused to eat him. While some may believe baptism is important, I don't believe being baptised at a few weeks old and later in life consciously rejecting Christ is enough to get you a membership in the Pearly Gates Club.

Personally, I find it disgusting that the Catholic church would revoke a child's communion for eating the wrong wafer. I don't care if only a wheat based wafer is the only kind of wafer that can be magically transformed into the body of Christ - it still remains a risk to her. As outside observers, we don't have the right to value that risk or even trivialize it. It's a personal decision that only the parents and the child can make. (We, of course, can have our opinions. What is the value in questioning the mother's motives? Why is there interest in discrediting her? She took a stand, it's not illogical or even particularly newsworthy.)

Anyhow, it appears she abstained from the wine and ate an unacceptable wafer. Isn't that still, in essence, abstention? What do they want? A mulligan? She's supposed to go through the entire ceremony again, which is admittedly not such an effort, and just sit there? What is the benefit for the church or the girl in question? Mountains, molehills and such.
posted by sequential at 9:09 AM on August 13, 2004


Mm, using the Last Supper, an event which was the celebration of a holy day belonging to a people that the Catholic Church condemns to hell to this day (and had nothing but earthly condemnation toward for more than an eon) as justification for a flimsy point of dogma which places a significant impediment upon the full participation of disease-sufferers in the Church. Yeah, that's righteous, that's just, that's merciful. This whole situation just screams of Christ-likeness.
posted by Dreama at 9:09 AM on August 13, 2004


hob: Jesus came to fulfil the law and the prophecies, right? So how does your reference to jewish law apply to a christian 2000 years later?

My problem I guess is that it just doesnt make sense. Inasmuch as none of it makes sense, one needs to buy the whole package, I s'pose, otherwise like me, many more would leave the church when they were old enough to think.

However, an organisation which quite recently got into hot water for the way it collectively failed to protect children ought to be a lot more sensitive to the health needs of it's adherents. No?
posted by dash_slot- at 9:10 AM on August 13, 2004


What do Catholics do in places where wheat isn't grown? What did missionaries do? Import the wafers? What about during famines or wartime?

Just wine or mustum, as above. But I'm not sure what the directive is when there's no wine or wheat available. Forego the sacrement entirely for the duration of the lack? There must be a precedent somewhere...
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:12 AM on August 13, 2004


If you're a celiac sufferer ... even the slightest bit of accidentally ingested wheat, if it doesn't kill you, can cause you to spend about a day curled up in front of the toilet in rather dramatic pain. I have a close friend who has celiac disease. It's a good thing she's so tiny, because about all you can do is hold her in your lap until it clears out of her system.

For a mother who's probably seen her daughter experience that at least once, I wouldn't be wanting to take the risk either. Especially not on a weekly basis.
posted by SpecialK at 9:15 AM on August 13, 2004


It's as if there's a rabid group of MeFites who sees a post related to Catholicism and immediately looks for a way to disparage the faith.

It's also as if there's a thin-skinned group of religious MeFites who can't handle criticism and immediately pull the "oh, poor persecuted member of the biggest religion in the world" face anytime someone starts pointing out (often from personal experience) some of the more ridiculous aspects of their faith.
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:17 AM on August 13, 2004


He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him" (John 6:53–56).


yeah, but there are many Historical Jesus scholars, among them John Dominic Crossan, who think that the Eucharist is simply summarizing "principles or practices, themes or emphases, of the historical Jesus, stem not from him but from the liturgical creativity of the early communities" [Historical Jesus, 360].
posted by matteo at 9:17 AM on August 13, 2004


This is hysterical:
The Catholic Church has been a little down on its luck recently... That's why I think they should found What Would Atkins Do, Incorporated.

Here's how it works. The church opens a series of bakeries across the nation, selling all varieties of grain products: bread, muffins, pasta, you name it. Each outlet also employs a deacon, who sanctifies everything before its shipped to locals stores. It would be sort of like the kosher food deal, but, you know, Christier.

And voila: moneymaker! The 96% of the American population currently on the Atkins diet could enjoy all those baked goods they've had to forego, without having to worry about meddlesome carbs. Thanks to the (literal!) miracle of transubstantiation, those WWAD cinnamon rolls and bagels will turn into the (literal!) body of Christ after consumption, thereby converting a carbohydrate-laden doughnut into a the relatively carb-free hunk of Messiah. Dieters get to eat bread again and stave off eternal damnation, all at the same time -- it's win-win!

posted by tippiedog at 9:18 AM on August 13, 2004


perhaps the little girl should accompany the preist to the rectory each sunday for contemplation of the Holy and Most Secret Gluten-Free Communion Loaf? et cum spiri, tu tuo!
posted by quonsar at 9:19 AM on August 13, 2004


What I still can not understand is how the Catholic Church came to the conclusion that only wheat will do.

You've got me there. :) I don't know. Part of the issue may be that the Catholic Church insists on unleavened wafers as communion. What defines "bread" except a baked grain that is made with rising dough? Once you eliminate the yeast, then your "bread" could be made out of literally anything. Presumably they decided to set a standard limiting the wafers to something containing gluten in order to keep up the connection with the Jewish passover meal. Otherwise, any edible wafer would do.

If you're using leavened bread (which the Orthodox Church does, for theological reasons I won't delve into, right now), then presumably one could claim that whatever the grain you were using was, it was still "bread." Really, I don't know how my church's canon law handles the issue, so that's the limit of speculation I'm willing to make, right now.
posted by deanc at 9:19 AM on August 13, 2004


Actually, the Vatican has stated that there must be gluten in the wafers simply because there was never divine revelation on how to properly transubstantiate non-wheat wafers. (",)
posted by DBAPaul at 9:25 AM on August 13, 2004


I was late to the party for this one...

I'd just like to point out that it could it have been worse. I have, along with a disinclination toward catholicism, this wheat allergy thingy. When I was a kid and my mother was trying out new religions (that's another story), I took communion as a new member. I was fairly young, around ten years old, but cognizent of what consitutes a host. I told the priest that I couldn't eat this. His response was to just "eat a little bit" and to maybe "spit it out". The priest looked and acted like an authority figure, so I complied.

This could have been very damaging to sensitive celiacs. At least they're aware of the issues now, which I think is indicitve of society as whole rather than the Catholic church. Oh, and just to clear things up, this disease isn't like that peanut thing, and you don't start flopping around or anything. And I seem to get away with things that my sister doesn't (like eating Hoison sauce) so there's varying degrees of harm that can come from this.

Aside: I have a vested interest in the whole thing and my opinion is suspect, but I bet if the host was made of peanuts something would have been done by now.
posted by sleslie at 9:27 AM on August 13, 2004


dash_slot-: are you arguing about the article at hand or are you trying to argue about the whole wafer ritual in general?


However, an organisation which quite recently got into hot water for the way it collectively failed to protect children ought to be a lot more sensitive to the health needs of it's adherents. No?


and they did. she doesn't have to eat the wafer or even drink the wine. she'll be fine if she abstains (i abstained during my first communion). are you just dense or can you not read (or believe) what other people have mentioned in this thread?
posted by Stynxno at 9:31 AM on August 13, 2004


matteo: you're saying that the early christians basically made it all up, and christ never really said those words?

Stynxno: which of my words are confusing you? I'm trying to figure out why, if the eucharist is optional for coeliacs, does it remain compulsory for omnivores?
posted by dash_slot- at 9:34 AM on August 13, 2004


Because religion and Christianity are evil and must be stopped because they are the single source of all the world's woes. This communion problem is just a symptom of the greater problem that believing in God causes severe mental retardation. There will be no peace until everyone has denounced the Church for being stupid.
posted by brownpau at 9:52 AM on August 13, 2004


Ive read these comments and seem some ppl whine about catholic bashing, the particularly non-literate screaming of brownpau. Well ya know what, the decision that was made in this story is asinine, and the reason it was made is asinine, and the rule itself is asinine. So ya know what? Asinine things deserve to be bashed folded spindled and mutilated, so suck it up.
posted by MrLint at 10:02 AM on August 13, 2004


If she really believed then it wouldn't be wafer she was eating, it would be human flesh! Is she allergic to that also?

lololol Well played!

Why do we care what these whackos think again?
posted by rushmc at 10:11 AM on August 13, 2004


Why do we care what these whackos think again?
Because they're easy targets. Especially easier when we can strafe all of religion using Catholics as a jumping point. Isn't it great being atheist?
posted by brownpau at 10:15 AM on August 13, 2004


This low-gluten wafer needs a brand name.

How about "I Can't Believe It's Not Jesus!"
posted by dglynn at 10:22 AM on August 13, 2004


brownpau: you are choosing to be defensive, obviously that's up to you. It looks odd tho' - the outbursts of straw men argument, the bold type and exclamations which supposedly parody the atheist position ends up as self-parody.

I still like your other comments, but in this thread you appear to have lost it.

dglynn: that's a good one! For heathens like me, it'd be for all of the wafers, saying 'I can't believe it IS Jesus!'
posted by dash_slot- at 10:26 AM on August 13, 2004


Celiac Disease (Gluten Enteropathy)

And a religion or philosophy that fears and rejects criticism (and whose adherents, in the face of criticism, merely run and cry "catholic bashing" or "bush-bashing" or "whatever bashing"), instead of welcoming challenges to its ideas and practices, will always diminish.

Asinine things deserve to be bashed folded spindled and mutilated, so suck it up.

Amen, Brother.

/adds more verbs to name.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:28 AM on August 13, 2004


I still like your other comments, but in this thread you appear to have lost it.

Yeah, I was on a rather bad caffeine high. Sorry for being so lame; I'll stop.

Anyway, I'll reiterate what I've said before: just go Protestant. There's a lot more lively diversity of theological opinion among different Protestant denominations, and most of us won't consign each other to hell for minor doctrinal differences like communion-bread ingredients.
posted by brownpau at 10:32 AM on August 13, 2004


Isn't it great being atheist?

Ah, I see. Because we don't believe in your invisible imaginary friend, we must not believe in anything.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:33 AM on August 13, 2004


I'm trying to figure out why, if the eucharist is optional for coeliacs, does it remain compulsory for omnivores?

I'm not a coeliac and when I was catholic I was never "forced" to take it. I never knew (and was never told by my priest) that it was compulsory.
posted by Stynxno at 10:37 AM on August 13, 2004


in the good old days, she'd have eaten the damn wafer and fallen convulsing to the floor, OBVIOUSLY possessed by a demon, and they would have had a grand old whipping and burning at the stake. stoopit science, ruining everything.
posted by quonsar at 10:43 AM on August 13, 2004


Regarding transubstatiation: as ChasFile and others mentioned, Catholics believe that the wine and wafer literally are transformed into the blood and body of Christ. Hopefully someone in the know can help me with something that has puzzled me: When does this actually happen? Is it transformed during the ceremony by a priest, and then handed out to the congregation? or does it become Christ's body and blood during consumption? or after?
posted by brism at 10:46 AM on August 13, 2004


Civil_Disobedient: brownpau is not an atheist, if that's what you're implying. I'd rather we all were secular atheists (cos it seems to have more reality in it as a set of guiding principles than any religion I've come across). But that's just me.. it's all very optional.

I never knew (and was never told by my priest) that it was compulsory.
Because of the gravity of Jesus’ teaching on receiving the Eucharist, the Church encourages Catholics to receive frequent Communion, even daily Communion if possible, and mandates reception of the Eucharist at least once a year during the Easter season. Before going to Communion, however, there are several things one needs to know.
That makes it compulsory at least once a year. But read here first.

brism: it doesn't.
posted by dash_slot- at 10:48 AM on August 13, 2004


...and whose adherents, in the face of criticism, merely run and cry "catholic bashing" or "bush-bashing" or "whatever bashing"...

I agree that without criticism nothing can improve, but comments like this or this, aren't criticism and don't particularly add anything but bile to the debate.

on preview: brism IIRC, its occurs when the priest says "We ask you to make them holy by the power of your Spirit, that they may become the body and blood of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at whose command we celebrate this eucharist." And makes the sign of the cross over the gifts.
posted by sciurus at 10:56 AM on August 13, 2004


I can't believe Catholicism doesn't have an exemption for health reasons--they should have used ours (you don't have to fast on Yom Kippur if you're sick, or do anything that would endanger your health or life, and it's ok, with us and with God) The tradition has long held that if and when one's health is endangered, then one is obliged to take in whatever food or drink is necessary. Life comes before fasting. Life should also come before taking communion.
posted by amberglow at 11:00 AM on August 13, 2004


Great thread!

Hell, quit calling this practice "Catholic Communion" and use the correct phrase: Holy Eucharist.

I've done communion with potato chips, cheese puffs and Mountain Dew.
Its all good regardless of what a bunch of legalistic fundies say.
Recognize the difference between religiosity (following man-made dogma) and christianity (following Christ) and the rest comes easy.
posted by nofundy at 11:19 AM on August 13, 2004


When I was Catholic, there was some holdover pre-Vatican II rule which said you had to fast for an hour before the Eucharist or else you couldn't take the host. My parents held us to that rule. If for some reason or another my family happened to forget and have a meal right before Mass, my little Catholic prayer booklet had a prayer called "An Act of Spiritual Communion" for people physically unable to partake of the Eucharist.

Of course in the case of coeliac-stricken First Communicants, it would suck big time to have to sit down and mutter the Act of Spiritual Communion to oneself while everyone else got to chew on the bread.

>Ah, I see. Because we don't believe in your invisible imaginary friend, we must not believe in anything.
Let me rephrase, then: isn't it great to be able to dismiss Christianity as "imaginary friend" superstition rather than face the fact that the faith has provided insight into humanity, joy, and hope for centuries?

On preview: you go, nofundy.
posted by brownpau at 11:26 AM on August 13, 2004


I don't believe there's any more Catholic bashing on Metafilter than there is in general with one caveat: there's an unusual number of people here who have no affiliation with a religion.

Is the implication that "people who have no affiliation with a religion" are necessarily people who love to bash religion and religious people? Because that's not true. I personally have no affiliation with a religion, yet I respect the religious and their beliefs, which have produced many remarkable works of art and acts of heroism over the centuries (as well as being turned to evil ends, like all things human). I completely fail to understand why intelligent people like dash_slot feel compelled to make comment after comment in every single religion thread, reiterating over and over how stupid it all is. No one will be convinced or change their minds in any way; it's pure masturbation. But by all means keep it up if it rocks your world. Me, when I see threads about things I don't care about or believe in, I move on.

Why, then, am I commenting here? Because every once in a while I have to take a whack at the unpleasant smugness of my fellow non-believers. Life is short, friends; can't you think of any better way to spend your time than poking believers with sharp sticks?
posted by languagehat at 11:32 AM on August 13, 2004


Cannabalistic death cult. 'struth, plain and simple.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:37 AM on August 13, 2004


dash_slot: ahh. i didn't know. but the again...

First, you must be in a state of grace. "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup" (1 Cor. 11:27–28). This is an absolute requirement which can never be dispensed. To receive the Eucharist without sanctifying grace in your soul profanes the Eucharist in the most grievous manner.

I missed this part of the requirement too :\
posted by Stynxno at 11:43 AM on August 13, 2004


brownpau: Who knows what greater 'insight into humanity, joy, and hope' might have developed, had we not been distracted by pogroms, crusades and inter-communal violence these last 2000 years?

languagehat: I do not participate in every single religious thread - nor, for example, does skallas (who is also accused of same: he isn't here for example).
I take part because religion, religiosity and the religious fascinate me. I kinda want to be convinced (which is the hallmark of an honest debater), and kinda want to convince. But never do I abuse the other side. And I have never called it stupid, that's a meaningless word. I point out the inconsistencies - wouldn't you?
BTW, if it's masturbatory to have these debates, that by the same token applies to the christian side, as well as the non-christian. I do not dispute it (",)
I'd actually love to know what you think of the subject of the post: gluten, or no?

derail:
I do admit that the reformation which later spawned the enlightenment happened in christian europe: I'm not sure that the christianity was the crucial part, tho'. If it was, what is the meaning for an unreformed islam, for example? If the nature of western religion led to the scientific, humanitarian and political growth of the west, is islam condemned to a pre-reformation rigidity forever?

/derail
posted by dash_slot- at 11:51 AM on August 13, 2004


Is the implication that "people who have no affiliation with a religion" are necessarily people who love to bash religion and religious people?
Not at all, but I see your point. As a non-believer I enjoy those who believe. I do my best to respect their beliefs. It's never failed to be engaging to talk with people about their convictions, though I admit sometimes it's engaging in the same way a horror movie or an automobile accident is.
Life is short, friends; can't you think of any better way to spend your time than poking believers with sharp sticks?
Amen.
posted by sequential at 11:56 AM on August 13, 2004


I do admit that the reformation which later spawned the enlightenment happened in christian europe: I'm not sure that the christianity was the crucial part, tho'. If it was, what is the meaning for an unreformed islam, for example? If the nature of western religion led to the scientific, humanitarian and political growth of the west, is islam condemned to a pre-reformation rigidity forever?

Simply, no.

There are secular movments starting in Islamic states(Turkey is a good example) but these movments are rather new. Remember, it took Europe quite awhile for secular governments and "science" to flourish and for secular humantism to become popular.

Also, science actually flourishes in stable Islamic societies because Muhammad is quoted as saying (paraphrased) "one should seek knowledge even if one has to go to China". There is a belief that the more you learn about science and the world, the more it will prove that Allah exists, is great, etc. The collapse of Islamic scientific institutions is tied to nomadic invasions, political instability, and the fact that the islamic states couldn't fight off the imperial europeans of the 17th - 20th centuries.
posted by Stynxno at 12:14 PM on August 13, 2004


For whomever asked about when transubstantiation takes place, IANAPriest, but I believe it happens in a special ceremony sometime before services begin.

> Hell, quit calling this practice "Catholic Communion" and use the correct phrase: Holy Eucharist.

This is something of a specious distinction. First, I was using the term "Catholic Communion" to differentiate it from the communion ceremonies of other denominations, and also because I thought many would be unfamiliar with the term Eucharist. Second, the Catholic Communion is the holy Eucharist in the same way that the Christ is Jesus. Though once upon a time there may have been a choice in Christs or communions, and the distinction was nescessary, nowadays the terms are analogous for practicing Catholics.


> Its all good regardless of what a bunch of legalistic fundies say.

Not for Catholics, who believe that those legalistic fundies are God's personal messengers here on earth, and their law is His law.

As to the thrust of this thread: for those who point out that often time organized religions are absurd, contradictory, and millenia out of date, kudos. It is very easy to look down your nose at the base "superstitions" of religious people and sneer at them. They believe something thats thousands of years old, the fools. It is very easy to laud pure reason and empiricism, to only believe what you see. That philosophy is itself hundreds of years old, however. What Kant began, and what has been the intellectual project of many of the best thinkers in the world for the past century or so, is to debunk that self-indulgent enlightenment premise.

Many (Hegel, et. al.) procaimed an end of history with the rise of enlightment and a society based around secularism and science. I, for one, think this has happened many times before (at the appearance of Christ the messiah, as a contextually relevant example) and each time human thought, understanding, and society has marched along undaunted. I don't see much of an end in sight here, either. If you really believe that during the enlightenment we stumbled upon the most superior form of thought, and the ultimate (that is, last) ideology - science, empiricism, secularism, nation-state-ism, whatever you call it based upon your discipline - well, I have a feeling you're going to be surprised when human thought and society reaches its next evolutionary phase

But beyond a purely intellectual, level, none of that really matters. What matters is that religion instills in people a powerful sense of community and spirituality. For those of you who have no spiritual lives, I pity you, I really do. You are missing out on perhaps the most beautiful and wonderous part of the human experience. Personally, I'd sooner go blind.

And anyway, arguing about religion is like arguing about music. Your not going to change anyone's mind, so why even bother? Your favorite diety sucks.
posted by ChasFile at 12:38 PM on August 13, 2004


So god can't transform a non-wheat cracker into flesh?

Huh.

So I guess the whole making-a-rock-so-big-he-couldn't-lift-it thing is right out too.

cannibalistic death cults make the baby jesus cry
posted by bshort at 12:39 PM on August 13, 2004


Chas - Not before the service; transubstantiation supposedly occurs during the segment of the Mass called "Consecration," which comes right after Homily and Offertory. That's the part where the priest rereads the Last Supper account and raises the bread and then the wine, while the little bell rings and everyone bows their heads. After that, the bread and wine are referred to as a sacrifice, having been made body and blood for the salvation of souls who receive it.

[/jesuit-school-trained]
posted by brownpau at 12:57 PM on August 13, 2004


I'd say Catholicism draws more fire than Islamism around here.

Which just goes to show that without Blacks, Jews, and Mexicans - people will improvise!

/Jimmie_walker (commenting on Ireland)
posted by petebest at 1:16 PM on August 13, 2004


I stand corrected. I was never a Catholic, and even when dragged to Sunday school as a kid I wasn't much of an Episcopalian, etiher.
posted by ChasFile at 1:17 PM on August 13, 2004


dash_slot: Okay, consider me disarmed, so much so that I'll answer your question -- it seems to me the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, having accomodated itself to so many changes over the centuries, could manage to finagle this in order to accommodate the legitimate health concerns of believers. (As Aquinas says, it is only through God's bestowal of a substantial essence upon some portion of prime matter that a real material thing comes into existence, hence the substantial essence of the transfigured substance does not depend on the nature of the wheat, &c &c...) Unfortunately, it's in an extremely conservative mood these days, unwilling to countenance any change whatsoever. But the Pope ain't looking so good, and I expect his successor to be more flexible. (It's either that or risk a massive exodus to the lively evangelical Protestant churches that are doing so well in the religion sweepstakes these days.)
posted by languagehat at 1:23 PM on August 13, 2004


What bothers me about this story is that the church accomodated the mother and offered to make an exception, but the mother objected that they didn't allow the particular exception that she wanted.

I'm neither Catholic nor Protestant, so from my standpoint, the complaint about both of those groups is that the Catholics obsess about every single individual rule and the Protestants are so scared of having "standards" that they're willing to disregard all of them because some rule might not work for someone, somewhere. In both cases, it's a fear that "making an isolated exception" would ruin the foundation of their faiths.
posted by deanc at 1:38 PM on August 13, 2004


Why doesn't the Pope like rice cakes. W H Y ?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:57 PM on August 13, 2004


its occurs when the priest says "We ask you to make them holy by the power of your Spirit, that they may become the body and blood of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at whose command we celebrate this eucharist." And makes the sign of the cross over the gifts.

Easy enough to test. Or are you going to claim next that God is so sneaky as to change it back to bread and wine when he sees you testing it rather than consuming it?

Life is short, friends; can't you think of any better way to spend your time than poking believers with sharp sticks?

Not many.
In like manner, if I let myself believe anything on insufficient evidence, there may be no great harm done by the mere belief; it may be true after all, or I may never have occasion to exhibit it in outward acts. But I cannot help doing this great wrong towards Man, that I make myself credulous. The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery. —W.K. Clifford, The Ethics of Belief
posted by rushmc at 1:58 PM on August 13, 2004


It's either that or risk a massive exodus to the lively evangelical Protestant churches that are doing so well in the religion sweepstakes these days.

and trade the Sistine Chapel, St Augustine, Aquinas and Brunelleschi for... 1-800-GIMMEYOUR$$$ TV preachers?

no way, caro amico. maybe disgruntled liberal Catholics will go Buddhist or something. but Conservatives will just stay there and bitch and hope for a new Pius XII. no need to join Lutheran cults
;)
posted by matteo at 2:12 PM on August 13, 2004


Styxno: it is true that Turkey (an ex-imperial power itself, being to a certain extent the successor country to the Ottoman Empire/Caliphate) is very attached to a secular state: it now has a government formed from islamic parties, and is the only islamic country I can think of with a secular movement. It's armed forces would revolt before it allowed an Islamic, sharia type legal system or gov't to put down roots. As a european with a certain wariness of religious gov'ts (we tend to avoid the mash up of church and state in practice, tho' like to retain the odd Bishop in the Upper House), I'm watching this reasonably closely.

ChasFile: I have a feeling you're going to be surprised when human thought and society reaches its next evolutionary phase.
Well, I hope so! Probabaly most of us will, but some how I doubt the return to skygods, bishops and relics which predominated before the Enlightenment.

For those of you who have no spiritual lives, I pity you, I really do. You are missing out on perhaps the most beautiful and wonderous part of the human experience. Personally, I'd sooner go blind.

Now who is being arrogant! That atheist's and humanist's experience is less than spiritual and communitarian is not accurate: I am constantly moved by music, film and poetry, for example. That reaffirms to me my humanity, and is the equal of any religious/spiritual experience. Besides, Buddhism - not strictly speaking a religion - brings spiritual insight & experience to millions around the world.
Part of why I am atheist is because I feel more for my fellow man (whom I can see) than for impotent ( and invisible) creators. I do respect, in real life, the religious people I meet. Having attended (the marvellously ecumenical) Quaker meeting in Oxford for a number of years, I've met a number of believers of different stripes, and love to talk with them about their belief. What you detect as sneering in me I would be mortified to be accused of if we met. I would never fail to point out the weirdnesses, but the experience of faith is very interesting to me, so I respect that deeply.

ChasFile: kudos = respect, then you knock it down. Colour me confused.
Your favorite diety sucks.
An almost perfect typo!

LH: I doubt that the concerns of a little coeliac girl impinges much on the mind of this pious pope - and the next one isn't gonna swiftly reconsider the dietary restrictions which have applied for millenia. They just don't care that much.

rushmc: great quote, thanks!
posted by dash_slot- at 2:26 PM on August 13, 2004


I agree that without criticism nothing can improve, but comments like this or this, aren't criticism and don't particularly add anything but bile to the debate.

See, I thought they were hilarious. Of course I'm on the recovered-Catholic side, so I enjoyed reading this thread, but I thought it would've been pretty good from anyone's standpoint.
Regardless of what you think about religion, some things are absurd, obviously absurd*, and deserve to be laughed at. I don't think it's healthy for people to take it so personally.

*-depending on who you are what is obviously absurd may change, but I think for the whole reaction of the Church and the strict adherence to extreme minutia can be seen as absurd by most people.
posted by nath at 2:30 PM on August 13, 2004


This thread has not imploded into a train wreck yet, even after all this time. Quite amazing, given the nature of the subject. That's why Metafilter is so good. Now I understand why it's a privelige to be a member.

Metafilter, I salute you, and I shall henceforth strive to be a better Mefite.
posted by chrid at 2:37 PM on August 13, 2004


What bshort said. What this story tells me is that this woman is able to see the body of christ in a non-wheat wafer, but according to the Catholic church, God can't. It therefore follows that the Catholic church has a pretty low opinion of God. Not to mention placing a pretty low value on faith.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:46 PM on August 13, 2004


Absurd.
posted by Ynoxas at 5:41 PM on August 13, 2004


One things quite likely to come of all this: the Roman Catholic church will lose another few members.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:22 PM on August 13, 2004


"My work here is done...."
posted by dash_slot- at 6:42 PM on August 13, 2004


Metafilter: My work here is done. amen. ; >
posted by amberglow at 6:44 PM on August 13, 2004


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