Friday, August 20, 2004

Go to Hell

This article (originally on CNN, now from another site due to lack of accessible archives) is representative of the problems I have with organized religion.

To summarize: a girl with celiac sprue diseasewiki (wheat gluten intolerance) is being denied the rite of Communion by the Catholic Church.  Church doctrine requires unleavened wheat as part of the communion wafer.

Regardless of what the Catholic Church doctrine says about transubstantiation — that the wafer and wine change into literal body and blood of Christ, which is pretty sick if you think about it — Communion is a symbolic rite.  I doubt anyone really believes that transubstantiation occurs; they have “faith” that it does, but they don’t believe it.  (Someone will surely pipe up and say they do.  No, you don’t; you have been told to believe it, and you’ve accepted that.  That’s what faith is: believing what you’re told to.)

So in the name of holding to Church doctrine, this child is being given a choice: become ill, or do not receive salvation.  That is, risk your health or go to Hell.  What a choice.

(Now, not to judge the entire Church.  Some individual churches are willing to substitute a rice wafer.  But not the one the child’s parents attend: that one invalidated her Communion done at a friendlier church.  And of course the Vatican has already decided the issue, in the negative.)

In the end, it should boil down to this: “What Would Jesus Do?”  Would he tell a child no?  I don’t think so.  Maybe the Church should give some more thought to this.  And maybe adherents to the Catholic faith should give some thought to what they actually have faith in.

Added links on March 24, 2011

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