Professor Descrates Eucharist

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Writer

The University of Minnesota professor who has been promising to desecrate the Eucharist has apparently carried out his threat.

“Yes, the sad little cracker has met its undignified end,” he wrote on his blog yesterday, “so stop pestering me. The cracker, the Koran, and another surprise entry have been violated and are gone.”

Professor Paul Zachary Myers has been threatening to desecrate the Eucharist for weeks in protest of the treatment of a University of Central Florida student who stole a consecrated Host and kept it in a baggie in his dorm room for a week.

On July 8, Myers defended the student on his blog, Pharyngula, calling the Eucharist a “cracker” and promised to desecrate one if someone would send it to him.

The entry caused a national uproar among the faithful. However, in spite of thousands of protests from Catholic organizations and individuals, Myers carried through with his threat after confirming that he had been sent an unspecified number of consecrated hosts.

Details of the abuse are forthcoming, he says on his blog. “You’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the details, what little of them there are.”

Myers, who refers to himself as a “godless liberal,” decided to desecrate a Koran in addition to the Eucharist after it was revealed that he once defended the beliefs of Islam against similar attacks, causing many to accuse him of a double standard.

“Thanks to all who have demanded that I treat that silly book [the Koran] with disrespect, I’ll have to treat both equally,” he said on his blog.

“Instead of treating Catholicism with the respect he has previously shown for Islam,” Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a July 22 statement, “he now pledges to disrespect Islam the way he pledges to disrespect Catholicism (once again!). This is his idea of equal treatment.”

At one point in this weeks-long saga, Myers said his actions were more the result of the Catholic League’s strong-arm tactics than any reaction from the Catholic Church.

“There’s been no official response from the Catholic Church,” Myers said during a recent interview on Catholic Radio International.

“And I would make a deal here, that I would return these wafers to the nearest Catholic church if the Church would come out and disavow the tactics of Bill Donohue and the people who have threatened my job and have threatened my life,” Myers said.

To date, there has been no official statement from the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota about the Myers incident.

However, while the University of Minnesota has chosen not to discipline Myers for his actions, Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson did issue a statement expressing regret over the episode.

“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.”

She said personal and intellectual engagement at the school is done in “in the framework of intellectual and critical inquiry, not from a platform of name-calling and derogation.” 

In her message, Chancellor Johnson voiced her expectation that faculty and staff “interact and engage in a civil and respectful way in the work place, and it is my hope that this demeanor would extend beyond the boundaries of their University responsibilities and commitments.”
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