Catholic Church to Kid: "Drop dead"!
February 2, 2001 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Catholic Church to Kid: "Drop dead"! She wanted to take Holy Communion, but had a disease where she couldn't eat the bread. When she asked for a substitute, the Catholic church refused.
posted by owillis (21 comments total)
From the article, it seems they did offer her an alternative:

...they were told by their parish priest, the Rev. Dan Twomey, that Jenny could take communion in the form of wine instead of bread. They declined.

Apparently, the Catholic church has dealt with this issue in the past, and this is how they resolved it.

Religious law isn't bound to logic.

posted by idiolect at 1:43 PM on February 2, 2001


On behalf of all Catholics in California, c'mon over kid. I am sure we could scrounge up something that will do.

Out here we don't always pay heed to the pruny dudes in Rome. Which wafer you eat is not even the half of things that they are out of touch about.
posted by jasonshellen at 1:44 PM on February 2, 2001

She might as well take communion in the form of a platter of Enchiladas Rancheras for all it's going to do's all snake oil anyway.

On behalf of atheists everywhere, c'mon over kid. About 70% of the atheists I've met are recovering catholics.

posted by ritualdevice at 2:03 PM on February 2, 2001

That's the funniest thing I've heard or read all day.
posted by velvett at 3:25 PM on February 2, 2001

"She feels different wherever she goes but shouldn't be made to feel different in church,'' her mother says.

The poor girl has to cope daily with America's overwhelming prejiduce against non-bread-eaters. Tragic.

posted by JimmyTones at 4:47 PM on February 2, 2001

Flippantly as we may want to respond, it's really a sad tale -- the organisation that proclaims itself to be the one route to salvation denies this child the most important of its sacraments because of a recipe, as if God himself wrote somewhere that wheat flour must be used in eucharist wafers. The church's response to this little girl -- no, sorry, you can't partake of the body of the Saviour with all the "normal" Catholics, you defective -- is callous and repugnant. For all their touting of inclusion and outreach and embracing everyone of faith, no matter their differences or disabilities, a story like this reveals all of it as empty lip service. Utter hypocrisy, as well.
posted by Dreama at 10:53 AM on February 3, 2001

Do Catholics really believe that the bread and wine is the "transubstantiated body of Christ" as the article suggests? Not that I'd be surprised.

All of this communion discussion reminds me of a story my wife relates about a church that some of her family went to who passed around a communal communion cup that everyone drank from (as Catholics do, but unlike many Baptist-style churches, who drink from little individual cups). Some members of the church were concerned about spreading disease and whatnot and reasonably suggested that they start using the little cups instead. This caused a big stir and most of the church elders and the pastor were against it because the tradition is based on the Last Supper in which Jesus passed around his cup to all the disciples, so everyone drinking from the same cup was an important part of the tradition. That might have been a fine enough argument if the church hadn't always passed around two communal cups, one for each side of the sanctuary.

That always gives me a chuckle.
posted by daveadams at 12:08 AM on February 4, 2001

Orthodox catholics believe the bread in actuality becomes the body of christ and the wine becomes his blood.
Also, if I remember right, you must take communion at easter and christmas, if not the rest of the time.
I really can't believe this. It's god. He's gonna force this kid to sin becoz of her congenital condition?
I really don't understand traditions. The whole concept seems alien.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:53 PM on February 4, 2001

Kinda makes me embarrassed to be Catholic. But then, the Church did offer an alternative. And from what I understand you are permitted to skip communion if you are sick. So what's the real problem here?

Its nice to want your girl to feel normal, but lets face it, she can't eat bread. She is not normal. Neither am I, no one really is normal. Its something everyone should realize at some point in their life. I guess you could say its normal to be abnormal. LOL...

Ah nuts, sorry if I offended anyone, I just have a problem taking some compaints seriously. Everyone just has to accept the hand thats dealt to them...
posted by tallman at 6:29 AM on February 5, 2001

Do Catholics really believe that the bread and wine is the "transubstantiated body of Christ" as the article suggests? Not that I'd be surprised.

Umm... yeah. Isn't that a silly question? I mean, they believe there's a God, a Divine Being that works miracles, and they believe that their god had a son who came to Earth and saved everyone by sacrificing himself and that to share in that salvation you share in His body, His Divine Being.

I don't understand why that's in any way suprising. It's religion, it's all about miracles and faith.
posted by cCranium at 7:18 AM on February 5, 2001

well, cCranium, most protestants do not believe in transubstantiation. so it's not that silly of a question.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:25 AM on February 5, 2001

dagnyscott, alright, point taken. I'll also accept the fact that there's a good chance most Catholics don't believe that, but it is a fundamental aspect of the religion.

I guess the silly aspect of it is asking whether or not a religion actually describes a miracle as part of the faith.
posted by cCranium at 8:55 AM on February 5, 2001

I guess the silly aspect of it is asking whether or not a religion actually describes a miracle as part of the faith.

Well, I apologize for asking the question. I didn't know Catholics believed that a miracle happened every time communion was taken. I said that it wouldn't surprise me because there's a lot of mysticism and everyday-miracle-type thing that members of the Catholic church accept as part of their faith.

I was raised in a protestant church (okay, a quite conservative Baptist church (affiliated with the American Baptist Association in Texarkana if that means anything to you guys (Southern Baptists SUCK! Just kidding. ;) ))) that took what seems to me to be a more common sense approach to Christianity--that miracles don't happen everyday, that generally God does not get involved in our lives through direct interference, but rather we as individuals are charged with keeping the faith and doing the works that God would wish, which we can discover through dedicated study of the Bible, not through the commands of the church or through visions or voices or anything mystical like that. But I've been brainwashed. :)

Anyway, sorry cCranium, if I offended you with my question, but I think it was a legitimate one, just perhaps not worded in the best way.
posted by daveadams at 10:28 AM on February 5, 2001

I didn't hear cC's comment as offended. His question makes sense. I mean, if you already accept something as fundamentally unreasonable as religion, why is it so much of a stretch to believe in transubstantiation? (And don't take that as an anti-religion comment, by the way—I'm aware of the role of faith as opposed to reason here. As Tertullian said, credo quia absurdum—"I believe because it is absurd.")
posted by rodii at 12:03 PM on February 5, 2001

One of the points of the sacrament is that everyone is eating the same bread. What this girl is asking is kind of nonsensical, like she'd asked to sit at the same table as everyone else but simultaneously wanted to have her own special table just for herself.

For a long period of time, Christians only ate the bread and thought themselves fully participating in communion, so it's would be perfectly fine for this girl to just drink the wine. She'd still be recieving communion.
posted by straight at 12:15 PM on February 5, 2001

rodii - You may think what Catholics beleive to be absurd, but its no more abusrd than your assumption that religion is unreasonable.

Just because many aspects of Christian belief can't be scientifically proven doesn't mean they are unreasonable. Afterall, you can't scientifically disprove them either.
posted by schlyer at 1:00 PM on February 5, 2001

Nor can we scientifically disprove murderous subterranean midget clowns that control our thoughts with psyclo-waves. Bow down! Worship the dirt-clowns!
posted by Skot at 1:13 PM on February 5, 2001

if you already accept something as fundamentally unreasonable as religion, why is it so much of a stretch to believe in transubstantiation?

It's not from the point of view of religion vs. atheism/agnosticism, but my question was based on the fact that the Catholic church is a Christian church, based on the New Testament. Catholics do have a different point of view on Christianity than Protestants do. From my Protestant point of view, literal transubstantiation seems a bit far out (i.e., Jesus may have said "This is my body... this is my blood," but he didn't mean it literally, and even if he did, he was the one doing it, not some priest--at least that's what they tell me). I didn't realize that Catholics believed in that. That's all I was asking.

I have no doubt that many uber-conservative Protestants would only find the transubstatiation bit to be more proof that the Catholic church is in league with Satan.

Of course, I don't agree with that, but I just found it interesting and surprising, that's all. I suppose I should have known all the evils of the Catholic church growing up in a Baptist church, but they didn't spend a lot of time on that. ;)
posted by daveadams at 2:31 PM on February 5, 2001

daveadams: you certainly did not offend, I was actually afraid I had. rodii's interpretation of my intent is pretty bang on, though I probably wouldn't have used the phrasing "fundamentally unreasonable" :-)

I actually feel that religion is fundamentally reasonable. As humans, we like thinking that there's someone out there looking out for us, that death isn't the end of everything. Religion, or spirituality if you prefer, is in fact one of the most fundamental aspects of humanity. We have conciousness, and we want that conciousness to continue.

Reasonable is not rational is the distinction here I think.

"We," for clarification, is used in a very general sense.

more for daveadams: A very important aspect of Catholicism is that God (in all three forms) continues to be very active to this day. Granted, it's usually through His representatives on Earth, such as the clergy, but miracles happen thousands of times a day. One such miracle is birth, for instance. A human (according to Catholicism a fertilized egg is a human being, expressly because of the direct Hand of God) is conceived because God Willed it to be so.

It's not that miracles are taken lightly. I'm not sure if it's actual fact, but I've often heard of rankings of miracles. Some kind of grading system or somesuch. Of course, it may have been one too many episodes of Father Ted.
posted by cCranium at 5:07 PM on February 5, 2001

schlyer, I don't know who you're arguing with, but it's not me. I didn't mention scientific proof, I didn't say that Christianity is wrong, and I'm certainly not the first person to suggest that faith isn't founded on reason.

I obviously didn't make my point very clearly--but neither did Tertullian, apparently, and he's a Father of the Church. Tertullian's point, and mine, is that it takes no leap of faith to believe in something that is obviously true. It's the non-obviousness of miracles, and of religion in general--their "absurdity," in fact--that makes them a matter of faith. I could tell you I passionately believed in the existence of cars or eggs, but so what? Faith--belief in the invisible, the absurd--is a different order of belief, and miracles a different order of surprise.

Dave: I think it's a really interesting question, seriously. I mean, I could easily imagine someone saying "well, why not?" to the whole transubstantiation question, as if that kind of studd just happens all the time. It's a kind of childlike mindset, seeing the whole world as imbued with symbolic and spirtual significance, miracles and portents and signatures everywhere. Then there's a "modern" mindset, in which bread is simply bread. What's interesting to me is what happens when those two collide and people have to try to encompass the contradictions. Everyone knows bread doesn't turn into people, while still, somehow, remaining bread too. That's what makes believing in it so interesting. That's what makes it a miracle.

I asked the same question a few weeks ago, only it was about some of the more outre things that Mormons believed. I don't think it's offensive at all.
posted by rodii at 5:26 PM on February 5, 2001

Uh, make that "that kind of *stuff,*" not "studd". Phew.
(Ignore all other typos too, please. Also all infelicities of phrasing, errors of fact, and logic problems. I blame the Dixie Chicks.)
posted by rodii at 5:46 PM on February 5, 2001

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