Sunday, January 04, 2009

Transubstantiation Troubles

This morning, despite the thick frost and a heavy, freezing mist in the air, I nevertheless decided to go on my usual five mile jog to help maintain myself in rude health. Although, initially, the cold was discomforting, I felt that the whole thing did me a lot of good.

Anyway, just as I was about to turn into the home stretch, I chanced upon groups of very well-dressed people on the road, impeding my forward progress. Rather than just knock them out of the way, as is my usual practice, I decided, instead, to study them. After a while, it became clear that they were Catholics. This was because each family unit had at least ten members, and most of the women looked heavily pregnant, about to pop yet another. So I slowed down and followed close behind them in order to carry out further research.

After a while, we all came upon a rather imposing looking church and entered en masse, filing into the pews, genuflecting, and generally crossing ourselves, as one apparently does on these occasions. Then I settled down to see what would unfold.

As far as I could tell, the Service itself acts as a sort of warm-up event: the Sam the Harmonica Man, if you will, to the Chas & Dave in Concert which is the main attraction - the so called “Transubstantiation”. If I understood correctly, what happens here is that, when the priest intones the blessing before the congregation, the Eucharist is transformed into the physical body of Jesus Christ. Once it has been, you’re supposed to go up to the front and eat it. (It’s only one serving per person – seconds are discouraged.) So I did and, to tell the truth, it tasted OK, if a bit bland, though nothing that a touch of mustard or ketchup couldn’t have put right.

Following consumption (which wasn't helped by the house wine - a rather sickly, sweet number), I went back to my pew and carried on observing. But what followed disturbed me greatly. There were so many Catholics in there that, after a while, the priest ran out of bready Jesuses. Therefore, rather than risk a riot, he had to send a choirboy round the back to bring in a new batch. A new batch which he didn't bless.

Now here’s my problem.

Clearly, this new lot must have been pre-blessed beforehand in some sort of assembly-line process. So where is the quality control? Obviously, the simple flour and water composition of a communion host renders it susceptible to degradation, like any other bread product. Consequently, a wafer blessed the previous day and stored incorrectly risks becoming progressively less divine as the hours pass. Indeed, if it's left to fester for too long, there is the danger that an unwary communicant could receive, not the Body of Christ, but just a leg or a toe. Indeed, he might even end up with a plain, unholy wafer.

To eliminate such hazards, I call upon the Catholic Church to stamp a “bless by” date on every wafer. Or maybe a “Holy until 28/01/09” sticker. I also demand that pre-blessed hosts be individually sealed in plastic bags to keep in the holiness. Then, and only then, will faith endure.


Anonymous said...

My Mother said in hushed tones "the wafers are made by Nuns who never see daylight".Some people surnamed Weaver are in fact Waferers,I don't know if the buxom Janet was amongst them.

Joe Slavko said...

Be so good as to post a photograph of boxom Janet so that I can assess her.

Anonymous said...

I shall endevour to do this a.s.ap!

Anonymous said...

Just spent the last half hour looking.Without success.May try later.

Joe Slavko said...

Incidentally, your efforts to evade the attentions of the forces of Law and Order could be in vain. I can tell that you're logging on from the library of Queen's University, Belfast, so might they.

Anonymous said...

Laughs uproariously.Dear J,I have been living openly for months!Do you know how much it costs to transport a VERY stroppy prisoner for a minor fine?From Belfast to London.Anyway I was thinking today if I "give up" they will either slap a minimal custodail sentence on me (not a good idea-if you think the Umma is radicalsed wait til I finish with 'em)or community service which for No Fixed Abode is pretty unenforcable.

Joe Slavko said...

That's a shame. I had visions of you as a sort of shady, Harry Lime character, forever on the run, lurking in the underworlds of Central and Eastern Europe.

Anonymous said...

Those guys in leather jackets play rough house rules baby.But an appealing thought.