Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Man Arrested For Stealing Communion Wafers

What have we become? This news article retells the story of a man who was arrested for stealing comminion wafers because he was hungry.

JENSEN BEACH, Fla. – Police in said they arrested a Connecticut man after he
tried to steal communion wafers during a church service. The Martin County
Sheriff's Office said 33-year-old John Samuel Ricci, of Canton, was cornered by
fellow churchgoers when he grabbed a handful of wafers from the priest during
communion services Saturday.
The Stuart News reported that Ricci was being
held down by six or seven offended parishioners when deputies arrived at St.
Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Jensen Beach. Police say two parishioners,
ages 82 and 61, received minor injuries in the scuffle.
Ricci was charged
with two counts of simple battery, theft and disruption of a religious assembly.
He was being held Tuesday on $2,000 bond at the Martin County Jail.

I understand the man did not go about getting some food in the proper manner, but is holding down a hungry man, and jailing him on battery, theft and disruption of a religious assembly the best way to share the love of Christ with him? Seriously, what example in scripture could they have used to justify their actions? While Jesus was holding a religious service some men cut a hole in the roof of the building, and dropped a man down the whole, disrupting the service. What was Jesus reaction?
And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are

He didn't get angry and start yelling at them for ruining the building. He didn't get mad they they had interrupted his sermon. No, the first thing out of his mouth is "Son your sins are forgiven." Jesus not only doesn't get upset, but he forgives the man of his sins. He then heals the man and sends him on his way. Why then do we think we can live our life so differently than that of Christ, and continue to say we are following his example. What would Christ's response been, had he been present at St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church when this happened? I imagine he would have met the mans physical needs with the wafers, told him of bread in which he would never go hungry again, and forgiven the man of his sins. I only hope that these congregants will read the gospels and be convicted of their behavior.


Anonymous said...

I can see why you might not understand the affront, if you don't know that the Catholic faithful believe that the communion bread is transformed into Jesus' body during the priest's consecration. This fellow desecrated Jesus' body, in the eyes of the Church attendees.

There are lots of other ways to get food. This fellow's actions strike me as, at best, a bizarre way to get fed, and at worst, a sacrilegious act.

Catholics (priests in particular) are on guard against people trying to steal communion for the purposes of desecration (it happens, unfortunately) or simply consuming it improperly. It would be like someone coming into your house and lying on the couch for a nap. You'd be justified in restraining him until the authorities arrived, regardless of his protests that he just wanted to sleep. Same with these Catholic faithful.

Tim Faulted said...

I know all about the catholic belief of transubstantiation, but I feel it does not afford the priests their actions. The priests should understand the text of the Bible better than anyone, and should see the obvious problems associated with their actions.

We can not only use the text I quoted above, but also consider this text from Matt. 12

At that time(A) Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, "Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath." He said to them, "Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath."

Just like when David ate the showbread it was not a desecration, so I believe eating a communion wafer would not be a desecration. The strict adherence to this idea is exactly what Jesus was warning these pharisees of. This man, like the disciples and Jesus, ate bread in a manner the religious leaders of the day felt was sinful. Jesus however turns their attention to the fact the "Something greater than the temple is here."