University of Minnesota Morris biology professor and science blogger Dr. Paul Zachary Myers, who last week threatened to desecrate the Eucharist and to broadcast the act on the internet, says he has acquired Eucharistic Hosts consecrated at a Catholic Mass.
Prof. Myers explained in an e-mail to CNA that he has received the Eucharist from several people. “So far, the crackers I have received have been given to me in person or sent to my home address.”
Myers has been derisively referring to the Eucharist as a “cracker.” He began his desecration campaign on his scienceblogs.com blog “Pharyngula” in reaction to an incident at the University of Central Florida in which a student senator allegedly held the Eucharist hostage.
When asked by CNA whether he considered taking consecrated Hosts from a Catholic church to be theft, he replied:
“I'm not taking the crackers from any church. I'm not interested in attending church, nor would I misrepresent myself as a Catholic to receive it.
“It is freely handed out to people taking communion in the church. The people who are sending me crackers have received it openly,” he wrote.
Myers also could not see how others could consider taking a consecrated Host to be theft. “No. This ‘theft’ nonsense is a rationalization people are making up to justify hysteria.”
Myers said the reason to abuse a Host is “to expose the witch-hunt tactics of extremist Catholics like Bill Donohue.”
CNA asked Myers if he had received any “intellectually worthy” replies to his desecration threat, to which he responded “No.” “It's your job to give me one. ‘I will pray for you,’ ‘you must hate Catholics,’ and ‘why don't you desecrate a Koran?’, which are the most common messages I'm being sent, are not rational.
He noted that his blog Pharyngula has an open comments policy where critiques are already posted.
On Friday the Catholic League reported that Thomas E. Foley, a Virginia delegate to the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Minneapolis has asked that increased security be considered for the event in light of Myers’ threat to acquire and desecrate the Eucharist.
“I just felt security at the Republican National Convention ought to look at him and his followers,” Foley told CNA in a phone interview on Wednesday morning. He reported that he had not received an update about his request.
Voicing his concerns about Myers, Foley said: “What I think he has done, he’s loaded a cyberpistol and he’s cocked it and he’s left it on the table. He may have set something in motion that no one can stop. It was irresponsible, a hell of a thing to do.”
Foley explained that he thought Myers should not be able to incite such acts with “impunity,” saying that he was especially disturbed by the comments posted on Myers’ blog. He said it was “eye-opening” to read the people who supported Myers’ action. Even at his age of 63, Foley said, he had never “personally encountered such bigotry.”
He also objected to Myers’ recent description of Catholic League President Bill Donohue as “braying,” which Foley, a self-described Irish Catholic, claimed was “a great insult for the Irish.”
Foley said he believes Myers was telling his readers to acquire a consecrated Host at Mass, which Foley thought would result in disruptions.
“What’s he telling them to do? Consecrated Hosts are not just lying around,” he said to CNA, noting that the only other possible way to secure a Host would be to accost a priest, nun, or layman taking the Sacrament to the sick. Even E-bay, Foley emphasized, has prevented the sale of consecrated Hosts.
Foley said he thinks Myers’ actions have ended his career. “Who can listen to him lecture on science without thinking ‘Polly wants a cracker’?” he asked.