Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Catholic Clergy Call for Reparation in Response to Communion Desecration


HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania, July 29 /Christian Newswire/ --



The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (a national association of 600 priests & deacons) respond to the sacrilegious and blasphemous desecration of the Holy Eucharist by asking for public reparation. We ask all Catholics of Minnesota and of the entire nation to join in a day of prayer and fasting that such offenses never happen again. (suggested: one Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament and one whole day of fasting on Friday, August 1st, Feast of St. Alphonsus Ligouri. If this is not convenient or feasible, then we also recommend Thursday, August 21st, the Feast of Pope St. Pius X)

We find the actions of University of Minnesota (Morris) Professor Paul Myers reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional. His flagrant display of irreverence by profaning a consecrated Host from a Catholic church goes beyond the limit of academic freedom and free speech.

The same Bill of Rights which protect freedom of speech also protect freedom of religion. The Founding Fathers did not envision a freedom FROM religion, rather a freedom OF religion. In other words, our nation's constitution protects the rights of ALL religions, not one and not just a few. Attacking the most sacred elements of a religion is not free speech anymore than would be perjury in a court or libel in a newspaper.

Lies and hate speech which incite contempt or violence are not protected under the law. Hence, inscribing Swastikas on Jewish synagogues or publicly burning copies of the Christian Bible or the Muslim Koran, especially by a faculty member of a public university, are just as heinous and just as unconstitutional. Individual freedoms are limited by the boundaries created by the inalienable rights of others. The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.

The Chancellor of the University refused to reprimand or censure the teacher, who ironically is a Biology Professor. One fails to see the relevance of the desecration of a Catholic sacrament to the science of Biology. Were Myers a Professor of Theology, there would have been at least a presumption of competency to express religious opinions in a classroom. Yet, for a scientist to ridicule and show utter contempt for the most sacred and precious article of a major world religion, is inappropriate, unprofessional, unconstitutional and disingenuous.

A biologist has no business 'dissing' any religion, rather, they should be busy teaching the scientific discipline they were hired to teach. Tolerating such behavior by university officials is equally repugnant as it lends credibility to the act of religious hatred. We also pray that Professor Myers contritely repent and apologize.



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7 comments:

MissMeg said...

Amen Amen, Father Trigilio. Thank you for standing up, I will join with the Confraternity and pray and fast on Friday.

It is a privilege to be a Roman Catholic. As a Convert I say that with great joy and conviction. The privilege and honor of receiving Our Lord and Savior, body, blood soul and divinity in the most Blessed Sacrament is worth any cost.

Thank you Father, thank you to all of the Priests and Religious. Thanks be to God.

Meg Jaworowski
Stafford, VA

Anonymous said...

I will mark my calender for August 21.

Anonymous said...

"A biologist has no business 'dissing' any religion, rather, they should be busy teaching the scientific discipline they were hired to teach."

With all due respect...what is it about being a biologist that that disqualifies them from "dissing" religion in their spare time? This is a right that all Americans have. Catholicism is not off limits from criticism any more than is the Democratic Party, the Chicago Bears, the Department of Motor Vehicles or the International House of Pancakes - peace.

Padre Giovanni Trigilio said...

Biologists are entitled to their personal opinion as are artists, philosophers, theologians, politicians and clergymen. The crux of the issue, however, is when is it appropriate and in what appropriate manner should they publicize their opinion? Do you feel it proper for your physician to give you his or her political opinions? Would you want your plumber debating you on your views of patriotism? Then why would we want biologists ridiculing and attacking someone else's religion?

When theologians of the Middle Ages gave their opinions on the debate over the geocentric vs heliocentric solar system, scientists today denounced it. When scientists today give not only opinion but add vitriolic and hateful language to show utter contempt for the most sacred beliefs of a major world religion (over one BILLION members), then they are as guilty as those they chastised in centuries ago for doing the same thing.

It is one thing to give objective scientific data or expert opinion on a scientific matter. It is inappropriate, however, for a scientist to show such disrespect and irreverence for something held sacrosanct by millions of others.

My point is that the very ACT of publicly desecrating a religious artifact is unprofessional at least and repugnant and reprehensible at worst. We used to be a civil nation, showing respect for others even those with whom we disagree. Now, there seems to be a rush to offend and humiliate rather than rationally discuss and debate.

Ray from MN said...

Great comment, Father.

The secularists have whined millions of times about the horrors inflicted upon Galileo. They continue to do so regularly. Galileo's punishment in fact was house arrest in a palace.

And thank you to you and the Congregation for your call for prayers of reparation. I will promote it on my Stella Borealis blog that is read by a lot of clerics in Minnesota and vicinity.

Anonymous said...

>>Do you feel it proper for your physician to give you his or her political opinions? Would you want your plumber debating you on your views of patriotism?
>>
Yes.. yes.. yes.. when I am not in his consulting room or paying for his time, he can and should express his opinion anyway he wants to. This is why we are one of the truly free countries left in the world.

>>My point is that the very ACT of publicly desecrating a religious artifact is unprofessional at least and repugnant and reprehensible at worst. We used to be a civil nation, showing respect for others even those with whom we disagree. Now, there seems to be a rush to offend and humiliate rather than rationally discuss and debate.
>>

No.. I beg to differ. That was not the point you were trying to make. (Besides, we were never ever a civil nation - how can a nation of brutes obsessed with guns and gun ownership ever be considered a civil nation.) The point you were making in the press release was that he's not a Catholic and so he should not be criticizing us. This is what you wrote which is the main theme of your statement – you wrote: "The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance."

With all due respect, you are completely out of line here and it's the stupidest thing I've read on the Internet on this topic since this saga began. I hope you don't really mean it. I am not a Muslim but I have every right to criticize them for their misdeeds and their stupid rituals (circling a dumb rock to get holiness? Prohibiting adherents from owning pet dogs?) So, as a Catholic and an American am I not protected by my First Amendment rights to criticize fundamentalist Evangelical Christians for their childish superstitious obsession with biblical inerrancy and preparation for the coming Rapture? And please don't get me started on the Scientologists.

Padre, I know you meant well, but you really have made it worse and have drawn more unnecessary attention to P Z Myers. He will post or link your statement on his website and will draw many more Catholic-bashers out of the woodworks and from under the rocks to laugh at you (and by association the Catholic clergy), showing how illogical and unsophisticated your attempt at rhetoric was. Sorry, as a Catholic, I am saddened when our dirty laundry of leadership/clergy stupidity and lack of critical thinking ability is hung out for the rest of the world to see and laugh at. You really should have left this incident alone. You were incompetent in your reasoning and your understanding of our country's First Amendment was very flawed.

Padre Giovanni Trigilio said...

I want to clarify my position for everyone. I did NOT mean nor intend to say that the First Ammendment did not allow us to freely criticize anyone or any institution, from the government to the church. I do believe in free speech. HOWEVER, it is never unrestricted free speech. There is no absolute freedom of speech just as there is no absolute freedom of assembly, of the press etc. The Bill of Rights does not designate one freedom as being more important than another and there is no hierarchy of rights EXCEPT the right to LIFE. The other rights, while not given by government but possessed by human nature, are protected insofar as they do not infringe on the rights of others or on other rights.

Therefore, I agree that Professor Myers is entitled to his opinions on religion and on Catholicism. He is entitled to speak them and print them. Where the limit is drawn is where his freedom of speech threatens the freedom of religion. Taking a Catholic Host and desecrating it is not free speech, it is hate inciting. In many places in the U.S. it is illegal (against state and federal law) to speak racial slurs and epithets since they are considered hate-biased and thus are not protected under the First Ammendment. Likewise, provacative language which directly attacks, insults and offends a religion is just as biased and prejudiced.

Criticizing priests, bishops or even the pope is protected free speech. Actions and words of the clergy are open for debate and opposition. What is not proper, though, are words and actions which go beyond a legitimate difference of opinion and now make a hateful, gross and offensive attack. Words and private deeds can hurt just as much as a rock thrown through a window or a slap on the face. Disagreement is protected by the First Ammendment but I do not think verbal assault is. As a Catholic, I have theological disagreements on certain issues espoused by other religions but I RESPECT their right to hold them, teach them and defend them.

My bottom line is that Professor Myers crossed the line between legitimate free speech and verbal assault on the Catholic Christian religion. It was more than expressing a private opinion when you ask others to bring you a consecrated Host, which can only done illegally since they must be stolen or taken by deceit. Then taking this religious item, considered sacrosanct by Catholic Christians, and showing public contempt by desecrating it, the hateful message being conveyed is evident. No non-Catholic has to believe in the Real Presence and they are free to disagree with any of our doctrines. When our entire religion is attacked, however, and our most sacred beliefs are horribly maligned, then that is an ATTACK and not an opinion any longer. Hate speech and actions, even when they do not directly harm another's person or property are nevertheless incendiary. Neither I nor the Confraternity wish any harm whatsoever to befall Professor Myers. We pray for his safety and we condemn any and all acts and words of violence directed toward him. We only ask that he do likewise and refrain from hurling hateful, grossly offensive and repugnant attacks against our religion. I am not a Buddhist but I would never make a public display of smashing an idol of Buddha knowing it would greatly offend the members of that religion. For Catholics, desecrating the Host is more than vandalizing a church or burning a Bible. It is even more vile than desecrating a grave by digging up a coffin and destroying the body. For us, it is BLASPHEMY as well as SACRILEGE. Can we not pray that we can respectfully disagree without resorting to insult or attack?

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