Minnesota professor encourages theft and desecration of Eucharist
Associate professor of biology P.Z. Myers
Associate professor of biology P.Z. Myers

.- A Minnesota professor and science blogger has said he will personally desecrate the Eucharist and publish photos of the desecration on the internet if any of his readers acquire a consecrated Host and mail it to him. “I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare,” he has written.

Paul Zachary Myers, an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota at Morris, made the threat while commenting on a University of Central Florida incident in which a student senator stole and held hostage a consecrated Host from a June 29 Mass.

In the Florida incident, student senator Webster Cook presented himself at Sunday Mass to receive the Eucharist. According to wftv.com, Cook said he intended to take the consecrated Host back to his seat to show a curious friend. After being stopped on his return to his seat, he put the Host in his mouth but removed it upon sitting down.

He said a church leader grabbed his hands and tried to retrieve the Eucharist, after which he left with the Host. Cook filed an official abuse complaint with the UCF student court, while Catholic students filed other complaints alleging Cook engaged in disruptive conduct.

Cook stored the Eucharist in a Ziploc bag for a week and then returned it last Sunday.

"I want to thank the individuals who explained the emotional and spiritual pain my possession of the Eucharist caused them to experience," Cook wrote in a letter to the church, according to wftv.com. "They have demonstrated that the use [of] reason is more effective than the use of force."

He said some people had threatened to break into his room to retrieve the Eucharist. A spokesperson for the Diocese of Orlando said the diocese does not condone the threats but is happy Cook returned the Host.

Professor Myers criticized the incident in a derisive July 8 post on his science blog Pharyngula, hosted at scienceblogs.com. He also solicited his readers to acquire consecrated Hosts.

“Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers?” Myers wrote. “…if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage… but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web.”

Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, on Thursday said that Myers’ blog could be accessed through a link on the University of Minnesota Morris web site. He noted that Myers’ remarks could be in violation of the university’s code of conduct, which requires faculty to be “respectful, fair and civil” when dealing with others.

Donohue also stated the Catholic League was contacting the Minnesota legislature because the university is a state institution.

“It is hard to think of anything more vile than to intentionally desecrate the Body of Christ,” he said. “We look to those who have oversight responsibility to act quickly and decisively.”

While a July 6 Google cache of the University of Minnesota Morris biology faculty listings showed a link to Myers’ Pharyngula blog, the link was removed as of Friday morning. According to Baylor professor Francis Beckwith, writing on the blog “What’s Wrong with the World,” the internet archive at web.archive.org shows that the University of Minnesota Morris biology faculty page had linked to Pharyngula since at least November 9, 2006.

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