Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Desecrated Host

I commented here on P.Z. Myers' request for a consecrated host so he can desecrate it. Well, he has gone ahead and done it. (Notice that his announcement of his sacrilege is on a "science" blog.) Here is a youtube video of the man stealing the Eucharist at Mass, which he later sent to Myers.

Some more or less disjointed thoughts about this act of desecration:

I am surprised this act is not getting more attention. We are not talking about some backwoods wacko here. Myers is a tenured professor at a mainstream university, a representative of the intellectual class in our society, and a prominent supporter of Darwinism. His act reveals the final bankruptcy of purely secular reason. He has come full circle back to Pontius Pilate, saying Quid est veritas and destroying the Word made Flesh.

Kierkegaard, in Philosophical Fragments, describes atheism as an acoustic illusion. It is an echo.
While therefore the expressions in which offense proclaims itself, of whatever kind they may be, sound as if they came from elsewhere, even from the opposite direction, they are nevertheless echoings from the Paradox [the Paradox is the Paradox of the Eternal Word made flesh in a particular Man -dt.]... the offended consciousness can be taken as an indirect proof of the validity of the Paradox; offense is the mistaken reckoning, the invalid consequence, with which the Paradox repels and thrusts aside. The offended individual does not speak from his own resources, but borrows those of the Paradox; just as one who mimics or parodies another does not invent, but merely copies perversely.
An echo requires resistance to be heard. The Grand Canyon gives an echo only because there is a cliff face to provide resistance to sound and bounce it back. Absent resistance, there is no echo. Atheism is essentially a shouting into the void; absent resistance, it is a shouting into nothing and falls into silence. The atheist needs the resistance of the Catholic Church. Without the resistance of something that is in itself substantial, atheism is revealed for the nothingness that it is. So while the atheist publicly calls for tolerance, he secretly wishes the Church to be intolerant. He must increase his offense until he draws a response of opposition from the Church. In that opposition he can convince himself that he is something substantial. But it is merely an acoustic illusion; it is the Church that is substantial, his own voice but an echo.

The nihilistic freedom of atheism is always just out of sight, over the horizon. In fact there is no freedom in nihilism, but the atheist can avoid facing this fact by rationalizing that some form of opposition prevents him from experiencing it. True freedom is on the other side of opposition and will be experienced when opposition is overcome. Yet when opposition is overcome in fact, atheism remains just as meaningless, boring and slavish as it was before. The advent of freedom should be at hand but it is not. Why is freedom not manifest? The moment this question is asked constitutes a moment in the Kierkegaardian sense: An opportunity for faith or offense with respect to the truth about man and God. If the atheist responds in offense, then he will suppose that freedom is not at hand because some new or overlooked form of opposition is preventing its advent. Freedom, in effect, retreats over the horizon behind this new opposition. The atheist is able to carry on in the hope that freedom will, finally, be found if this latest opposition is overcome. But, of course, nihilistic freedom, like the pot at the end of the rainbow, is always just out of reach.

We should ask ourselves why an atheist finds it necessary to desecrate the Eucharist. The Catholic Church is at a low ebb in its influence, especially in the United States. The United States has been in a "secular moment" since the 1960's. The last forty years have been the golden opportunity for secularism to show that it can, in fact, deliver a substantial alternative culture to the traditional religious culture of the West. The masses in the United States were ready to hear such a message. I was ready to hear such a message. But the message never came; the secular project, in nearly every respect, has been a dismal failure, which no one really denies. Freedom did not become manifest, only nihilism and new forms of slavery. Secularism can never admit this, so it must prod and poke the Church back into opposition so it can feel itself alive in the conflict. It is only in opposing the substantiality of the Church that atheism can avoid facing its own nothing.

Mao Tse-Tung understood the dialectic of nihilistic freedom. Since nihilistic freedom only exists in the search for it, in the unfailing hope that it is just over the next hill, there can be no rest for the atheist. The Revolution is not a means to the end of a classless society, as Marx and Lenin thought. The Revolution is an end in itself; true freedom is only found in Permanent Revolution. Thus the Cultural Revolution was a revolution against everything and nothing, an orgy of death and destruction not ordered to anything beyond itself, even in theory. But even the Cultural Revolution must come to an end, when everything is destroyed...

God is eternal and so transcends space and time; therefore His acts are eternal and for all time. In the Sacrifice of the Mass, we Catholics are literally present at the Death of Christ on Calvary. P.Z. Myers drove a nail through the Host and threw it in the trash, just as the Roman Guards drove nails through His hands and feet, and disposed of Him as so much trash. Even atheism testifies to the truth of the faith, and to the eternal nature of the Sacrifice of Christ.

There is a sort of negative wisdom in atheism. P.Z. Myers, with no theological training, understands what many Catholics do not: The Eucharist is the Source and Summit of the Catholic Faith. Destroy the Eucharist and you destroy the Catholic Faith. Myers did not trash a Bible, or a Crucifix, or a Rosary, let alone a contemporary felt banner or wooden Chalice. No, with the insight of hate, he went right to the beating heart of the Faith in the Eucharist.

4 comments:

- said...

It was just a cracker.

edtye said...

Dave,
Great post.
It seems commenter 1 is unknowingly reinforcing your point.
- Ed

PS: Is your second link going where it should?

David said...

thanks ed, I fixed it.

David said...

Ed,

Yes... atheism can subvert the symbols of others, but provide no meaningful symbols of its own. All it can say is "it was just..."

The Darwin fish on the back of cars is a good example. It is a subversion of a Christian symbol rather than a substantial symbol in its own right.