Sunday, July 20, 2008

Local Response to anti-Catholic U of MN, Morris teacher's sacrilegious posturing

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From the Pastor's Desk:

By now many of you are aware of the views expressed by a faculty member at the University of Minnesota, Morris campus concerning the Eucharist. To say the least, his views attack what we hold so dear as Catholics, the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. That is why it is so upsetting. What we love, indeed, the One whom we love, is being attacked. When our loved ones are attacked, we feel attacked. We want to do all that we can to protect them and see to it that it doesn't happen again.

I do not want to give credence to his outrageous statements by repeating them. So what can we do? I believe we can do several things.

First of all, let us be clear about what we believe. "At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ's body and Blood." (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, article 1333.) We also believe that "the mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique....In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist, 'the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really and substantially contained." (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, article 1374.) To the human eye, nothing has changed. The bread looks and tastes likes bread; the wine looks and tastes like wine. To the eyes of faith, everything has changed. Jesus, the son of Mary and the Son of God, is now truly and actually present among us. No matter how many scientific studies are done that show it to be bread and wine we know that is not the case. Thus we receive Holy Communion with deep love, awe and reverence.

Secondly, let us give evidence to what we believe in the way we approach and receive Holy Communion. If we believe as I stated above, then it does make a difference how we approach and receive Holy Communion. We come forward with full awareness of whom we receive. We bow our heads as the consecrated host and wine, the Body and Blood of Christ, are presented to us. We proclaim, Amen: yes, I believe. And then we take and eat or drink and receive the Lord. Each time we come forward we proclaim our faith as Catholics in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The scandalous article that was written can become for us a golden opportunity to deepen our faith and love for the Lord in the Eucharist.

Thirdly, let us pray for this professor and others who may share his opinions. Only the power of prayer, spoken out of love, can transform any human heart. While we must condemn the attacks he makes, we must not condemn him but pray for him out of love. Only God can touch such a heart and that is what we pray for.

Finally, though the University has removed access to the professor's personal blog from their link*, it seems appropriate to let them know the outrage we feel at such a blatant attack on the Catholic Church's beliefs and what she holds to be most holy. How can we be sure that these personal beliefs are not expressed in the classroom? There needs to be some accountability by all involved.

Church of the Assumption
Morris, Minnesota
Father Tim Baltes

Pray for Father Baltes and his congregation. Pray for the teacher, P.Z. Myers.


Apologist Mark Shea's remarks
On the Matter of PZ Myers


*Through a press release issued last Thursday, July 10, 2008, a national advocacy organization pointed out that there was a link to Associate Professor of Biology PZ Myers’ personal blog on a University of Minnesota, Morris web site. Per university web policy, it was determined that the link should be deactivated. The views expressed by biology Professor Paul Myers on this blog do not reflect those of the University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM) or the University of Minnesota system.

Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson has issued the following statement:

I recognize that Professor Myers does not speak for the University on this blog, and I deeply regret that the postings have been so upsetting to so many people and that this has, in turn, caused some individuals to question the values of civility, respect, academic inquiry and critical thought that are the hallmark of this institution.

This is especially troubling to me because my own experiences here show that at Morris, students, staff, and faculty work diligently to engage ideas and one another, and we do this in the framework of intellectual and critical inquiry, not from a platform of name-calling and derogation.

I stand by our mission statement which includes these words: “In all of its activities, the University strives to sustain an open exchange of ideas in an environment that embodies the values of academic freedom, responsibility, integrity, and cooperation; that provides an atmosphere of mutual respect, free from racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice and intolerance…” and I will continue, with my colleagues here, to strive to fulfill that purpose.

I expect all faculty and staff members who are part of this community to interact and engage in a civil and respectful way in the workplace, and it is my hope that this demeanor would extend beyond the boundaries of their University responsibilities and commitments.

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