Monday, August 15, 2011

Recombinant cannibalism

Perhaps the most disconcerting Catholic doctrine is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament...What is obviously so “hard” about this saying is that it suggests cannibalism.
But while Holy Communion does involve eating human flesh and blood, it is not true that it is cannibalistic. How so?
The Eucharist is life. Cannibals eat what is dead. The Aztecs, the most notorious cannibalistic society in history, ate the beating hearts of victims, but they were still eating something doomed to die, and in the act of eating, it did die. By contrast, Christ, is alive.
The Eucharist is the whole body and blood of Jesus Christ. Cannibals only take a part of their victims. But even the smallest particle of the Eucharist contains the entire body and blood of Christ. The familiar characteristics of space and matter don’t apply.
Therefore, when a Catholic receives the Eucharist, he is receiving not just flesh but glorified flesh, a resurrected and transfigured “super body”…Cannibalistic practices don’t do that.
Some cannibalistic societies eat the flesh or drink the blood of fallen warriors in the hopes of taking on their “life force” or their courage, or of destroying their spirit altogether.

In the 23C century, Jeffrey Dahmer was a mad scientist. Dr. Dahmer perfected the science of cannibalism. Through recombinant DNA, he engineered victims with transmogrified “super-bodies.”

He could eat them alive without killing them in the process. Their organs and body-parts would instantly regenerate after each bite.

Since their “super-bodies” weren’t subject to ordinary spatiotemporal constraints, he could eat his victims whole, from head to foot.

Since their soul or life-force was united to their “super-bodies,” he could consume their soul in the process–then repeat the entire process ad infinitum. 


  1. While I am not sympathetic to Catholic doctrines, I don't know that the "Eucharist = cannibalism" argument gets Protestants very far since non-Lutheran Evangelicals agree that communion/ the Lord's Supper still involves in some way symbolically eating/ drinking Christ's body and blood. If the literal, physical act is disgusting, a symbolic version of the same act is not less disgusting. Baptists wouldn't title altar* servers "temple prostitutes" and then explain that this is okay because they don't literally copulate with the congregants.

    * I'm no expert on US Baptist lingo - as far as I can work out, Baptist churches have "altar calls" but not "altars", so whether they have "altar servers" is a line ball guess.

  2. BTW, cannibals can and do eat (non-vital parts of) people who are still alive. "Kiling humans" and "eating human flesh" are separate - though of course largely overlapping - sets.

  3. Tom:

    It's particularly disgusting because it is taken quasi-literally.


  4. Hmm. Further thinking on this... I suppose Christians do use symbolic terms like, eg, new converts "dying in Christ" or the Church being "the bride of Christ" - terms that would be offensive to Christians if meant physically and literally.

    However, I really don't know that Catholics do mean it "literally". They (and Orthodox, and many Anglicans and Lutherans) do treat the communion bread and wine more... well, not more "seriously" than Calvinists/ Arminians do, but more objectively. To a Protestant, deliberate desecration of eucharistic elements would be sinful because of its intent (eg, for a Black Mass... er, Black Lord's Supper?), but accidental desecration wouldn't be culpable. Whereas, eg, an Orthodox priest who spills communion wine on the floor will kneel down to try to lick up every last drop.

    To a Protestant, spilling communion wafer crumbs is like burning a flag - culpable if you do it with disrespectful motives. To RCs/ EOs/ HAs, it's like spilling radioactive waste - doesn't matter how careful you were, it's happened and now there are consequences.

  5. Tom:

    a) They offer the highest form of their worship to the consecrated host; and

    b) They insist that the actual physical body of Christ is literally there under the accidents of bread and wine.

  6. Tom,

    Keep in mind that I'm simply responding in kind to the way Michael Foley chose to frame the issue and defend the dogma.