Piece of Bread or Kidnapping Ordeal?

I recently read a story about someone who was accused of stealing after he tried keep a piece of bread he was given in a religious ceremony.

Now, I have to say that going to a religious ceremony and acting out is not a correct way to behave. You will agitate those in the ceremony. The best thing to do is to not go. If you are there, and you disagree with it, quietly leave.

However, here was a case where this person made a mistake, and was assaulted for it. He had been given a piece of bread and he tried to leave with it instead of consuming it immediately.

I think that what Cook did was obviously disrespectful. The people in the church had a certain way of doing things. They had a lot of fear that if things were not done a certain way, something bad would happen.

However, I don’t think Cook was particularly disruptive. If you go to a mass, it is much more disruptive to hear a baby crying than to have someone take a host. Furthermore, it is far more disruptive for someone to grab someone and to draw attention to them than it is to let them quietly do what they are doing.

Also, we need to consider the crime. He took a piece of bread that they gave in his hand and tried to take it from the church. That’s it. People are freaking out over a piece of bread. Not only is it just bread, but he didn’t even steal it.

So we have on one side, a slightly disrespectful person. On the other side, we have a whole group of people who are freaking out over a gift they have given him.

This reminds me of the story in the Dubliners by James Joyce called The Sisters. In it, a priest gets paralyzed and dies. In the end, they reveal, he started to do downhill after he dropped a chalice, a holy cup.

I am seeing a pattern here. It seems that the making of things sacred is an avenue for a vast world of suffering. If the people in the church just believed it was bread, they would not have had such distress. I have read one report where they liken the incident to kidnapping.

This goes far beyond the world of making up stories to make us feel better into the realm of the insane. This actually scares me because there are people in this world who actually believe that a piece of bread is more important than a person’s life. Clearly their values have been warped.

It seems that this religion is lacking in compassion when they think that assault was OK just because someone is mildly disrespectful. Kidnapping is a huge crime being an ass should not be equivalent to this. Were they going to spend the same resources they would to go after a human two year old to save this bread?

If I had a holy pencil and I gave it to someone and they tossed it out, and I called the cops, they would be angry at me for wasting their time. To me, this is a non-story. The only real story here is that they have convinced a vast number of people that there are objects that if they are harmed then they will suffer. They will not be compassionate to these people who do not respect these objects. This is a recipe for suffering.


9 Responses to “Piece of Bread or Kidnapping Ordeal?”

  1. Father Joe Says:

    The point of contention is that the Church does not charge Cook with stealing bread. Rather, he committed an act of sacrilege by absconding with the consecrated host: the real presence of the God-Man Jesus Christ. The host is not regarded as an object, but as a personal subject– God come down from heaven. As a lapsed Catholic, he full-well knew this and yet committed an act this is so heinous that many believers would have surrendered their own lives to stop him. The gravity of this matter can only be appreciated within the context of Catholic Eucharistic teaching.

  2. Leroy Glinchy Says:

    I know that, but the point was that this teaching is harmful to teach people to fight over a small piece of bread especially if it was given as a gift.

    To say that a piece of bread is a person is absurd.

    I don’t see how this teaching offers any kind of comfort to people. I do see how it makes them act irrationally and in as you said violent and even suicidal.

    Therefore this teaching causes its believers mental distress. It causes them to act in ways that are harmful to themselves and others. Therefore, this teaching ought to be abandoned.

  3. Father Joe Says:

    Catholics believe it because our Lord said that unless you eat his flesh and drink his blood you can have no life in you. The real presence is explictly mentioned by the Church fathers and has always been the central belief of Catholicism. It may sound absurd, but we believe it because we take Jesus for his word. The Church teaches that it is by means of Christ’s presence in the Mystical Body of the Church, in the Word Proclaimed, and in the Eucharist that he abides with us. God has never abandoned his people and feeds us with himself. We bend the knee to the Eucharist in the monstrance and reserve it in tabernacles. We believe that wafer once consecrated is God. Just as God made himself vulnerable in the incarnation, he does so in his sacrament as well. Once the central premise is accepted on faith, the rest of what we believe about the Eucharist logically falls into place. Thomas Aquinas wrote extensively about it in the most rational of terms, using Aristotelian philosophical categories to help us understand how the mystery might be so. This teaching gives us great consolation and hope. But the Eucharist also warrants great respect and worship.

  4. Leroy Glinchy Says:

    When I read something like above, I get very confused. I have almost a feeling of helplessness because there is this huge gulf of communication that I can never bridge.

    That is OK, if people would just leave one another alone.

    I know that I have resolved never to try to figure out complicated philosophy again because I do not think that it will benefit me. It leads me to agitation and to confusion.

    The main this is that I have no comprehension of why people are so mean to one another. I have no idea why they cling to doctrines that seem so confusing and divisive. I don’t see the point in such complexity. I don’t understand it.

    I’m reading the bible in order to see how it can help me and I am finding a few things:

    1. It is poorly written.

    2. I can’t comprehend anything when I read it because it is not clear. See #1.

    3. It tells people to do some things that I know are wrong.

    When I was Catholic, just believing it caused me a great deal of suffering that I would never wish on anyone else. When I stopped being Catholic, suffering decreased. I have lived as a Catholic for a long time, and nothing bad happened to me. In fact, my life improved.

    I have a clear sense of right and wrong. Hurting others is wrong. Period. I have no idea what all this dogma means. But if it means you can hurt people, that is incorrect.

    I’m not going to debate religion. I think it’s a waste of time. People believe whatever they believe. I just wish that they would put down all their beliefs for a minute and ask if what they believe has a benefit or does it cause pain. Here the answer is obvious.

  5. Father Joe Says:

    There is nothing about Eucharistic teaching that says we should hurt one another. No one in Church authority threatened Cook’s safety or life. The problem is that you have individuals who sometimes say and do hurtful things… both people of religious faith and atheists. Indeed, Jesus told us to love our enemies and to pray and forgive our persecutors. Sometimes believers do not believe in Jesus enough. Peace!

  6. equa yona Says:

    Leroy, brother, if you don’t want to debate religion, why do you write about shit that you KNOW is going to elicit contention? You aren’t stupid, you know the consecrsted host has been used in sayanic stuff for centuries so why act like you are so baffled about this action? If you don’t want to debate it, don’t bring it up.

  7. equa yona Says:

    oops, ‘consecreted’ and ‘satanic’

  8. Leroy Glinchy Says:

    Thanks, Father Joe. Peace to you, also.

    Equa Yona. No matter what I do or say, there will be controversy. I know that. As Buddha said (paraphrased), “All will be disparaged.”

    So, yes, I know that not everyone will be happy with my posts.

    However, I meant to say that I did not want to split hairs on theology because, I’m actually not as smart as you think. Thank-you for the compliment.

    I did not want to say, this is true, that is not true. And have the other person say, no that is not true, this is true. This is an endless debate that does not help anyone get anywhere.

    I did want to hear, I read this book and it said this, and I felt that. All your posts were actually quite helpful in explaining things. I actually did think that the bible was going to help me more than it did. At any rate, someone left it at my desk, and I thought it would be fun to read it as a “found object” and work from there.

    I wanted to know if anyone just picked up the bible and read it, would they learn anything? I am thinking, no. The reason I did this is that I converted myself to Buddhist thinking by reading books, only.

    I feel for Christianity, you need to have the community as well in order to converted or to practice, you need a community. Yes, I am a bit angry and hurt because when I was a Catholic, none of it helped me at all. A few pages on a Buddhist book helped me more. I’m not saying this for everyone, but I feel I should be free to speak my mind about how I feel, honestly, without fear.

    I have taken a lot of classes on religion, but I am still baffled when people do something that is physically harmful just because of an abstract idea. I do no think that this is ever going to go away.

    I did want the Catholics to apologize for their behavior. I have all ready said that Cook did something stupid and offensive. I know that.

    However, I did not think that warranted assault. Also, Father Joe said, assault is not OK. That’s all I wanted to hear.

  9. equa yona Says:

    Gotcha! I am a lot more contentious than you and sometimes really enjoy arguing(discussing?) as long as it is done in a logical and semi-civil manner.
    I certainly agree with you completely about Buddhist thought and teaching. I find it WAAAAAYYYYY more helpful, honest and logical than any Christian writing, including that incredibly contradictory collection of ancient writings worshipped by millions of so-called followers of Jesus.
    My real AHA! book was Still The Mind, by Alan Watts, wonderful book.

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