Religion in the crosshairs!
As you know, I don't believe in God. As you also know, I have no problem with people who do. However, there is a difference between spirituality and religion, and I have very little time for religion, especially the superstitions masquerading as time-honored rituals in most religions. And how we get this:
The Catholic Church has denied Communion to a 10-year-old boy with autism. Why? Because he cannot swallow the host, and therefore cannot fulfill the provisions of true Communion.
Read the article. It's a bit long, but worthwhile. Unless, of course, you don't enjoy getting angrier and angrier with each paragraph. Then you might want to stay away. Ah, but I'm going to quote from it. Behold!
According to a letter from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, delivered to the Lake Havasu City family on Feb. 12, the boy cannot accept Communion in the Catholic Church until he can "actually receive the Eucharist, actually take and eat."
Olmsted is the Bishop of Phoenix. This is a jurisdictional matter as much as a religious one, because a more liberal bishop might have no problem with it. These people just happened to move to a place where the bishop is living in the eleventh century.
As his father watches, the boy takes the Communion wafer and places it in his mouth. His father, Nick Moran, then removes it and consumes the host himself.
Otherwise, Matthew would spit it out, his father says.
Boy, that sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Too bad "reasonable" is not a word in the Catholic hierarchy's dictionary.
Phoenix Diocese officials contend that Matthew has not been prohibited from Communion, only that the bishop is "not able to approve the present practice," according to his letter. He offered assistance, which has come in the form of various hosts for Matthew to try, educational material and other recommendations for the parents, including respite care, in which trained personnel would look after the children while the parents took time for themselves.
How nice of them.
The church's concern is that the host or wine not be desecrated in any matter. The key rule is that the recipient must "consume" the host before leaving the area of reception.
And if they are physically unable to, well, fuck 'em.
The bishop is the final authority for matters in his diocese, according to theologian William Cavanaugh of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.
The submission required of people worshipping in various fashions is why, as I'll explain below, I can't feel too bad for these people. You don't want democracy, you shall not get democracy.
When he was not allowed to go to Communion on Feb. 26, "it was terrible," said Matthew's mother. "Matt screamed and cried because he did not get his Communion."
Autistic children frequently have difficulty eating certain kinds of food, among other disabilities. Moran says Matthew is extremely sensitive to certain colors and textures, and the boy eats and drinks only specific things.
But it is something that's wrong with the brain, and as we know, can therefore be most likely attributed to demons. That kid just needs a good exorcism! That'll clean him right up!
"How terrible, how difficult for the family," said Denise Resnik, board chairwoman for the Southwest Autism Research Center and the mother of a boy who is dealing with autism. "We often seek comfort in our religion, and it would be nice to think the church would support them to the best degree possible."
One wonders if this woman has any idea of the history of Catholicism.
The Morans responded that Deptula [the priest in their parish] has barred employees of the parish, the only one in town, from speaking to them.
"How does the diocese intend to help us when (parish) employees are threatened with the loss of their jobs for speaking with us?" the parents asked. "Where is the effort and support from this church?"
Again, the history of the Church comes into this.
A document of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, "Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities," says, "Cases of doubt should be resolved in favor of the right of the baptized person to receive the sacrament. The existence of a disability is not considered in and of itself as disqualifying a person from receiving the Eucharist."
Olmsted's peers and superiors disagree with him. But they won't dare overrule him in his little fiefdom.
Roberto Dell'Oro, a theologian at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, says concerns about whether Matthew is consuming the host miss the bigger point.
"I'm sure God knows that (Matthew) is receiving Communion," said Dell'Oro, whose son has autism.
"The Eucharist is a symbol of deep sharing in love. It seems hypocritical to point fingers at these kinds of nuances. If the father is taking care of the host (so it is not thrown away or destroyed), then what is the big deal?"
God's not running things around here, Mr. Dell'Oro. The Catholic Church's will and God's will are often mutually exclusive.
Now, I'm pissed at the Church for this fiasco. I'm also a bit pissed at the parents. Listen, you people: if you want your kid to be raised as a Catholic, you should realize that the Catholic Church cares little about your feelings - they care about ritual and hierarchy. They always have and always will. Why do you think they're hemorrhaging people? In today's modern world, they're an anachronism, not because we are horribly immoral in today's world, but because the Church remains horribly immoral. That's right - the Church is immoral. However, these people are teaching their kid the same exact thing. The fact that he cried when he couldn't eat a stupid wafer just goes to show how good a job they have done. This kid is ten years old and they've turned him into a superstitious child who believes that a personal relationship with God is less important than whether you can eat a tiny piece of bread. That pisses me off. These people should write an open letter to Bishop Olmstead telling him to fuck right off, because he has no idea what an honest, sincere relationship with God is like. Then they should leave the Church and deal with God on their own time. The Catholic Church is dying, and it's a good thing. Maybe if it goes, people can take comfort in a true spiritual discourse with God rather than empty rites and idiotic myths.
Sorry. This shit really pisses me off. Is it any wonder why I don't read the newspaper?