Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
Recently there has been a rash of desecration of the Eucharist during communion time. As a result, there have been some calls to restore communion on the tongue.
That is one solution.
A priest in Valencia Spain witnessed a young man during communion take the Eucharist and throw it on the floor. The priest then decided on a course of action that one could properly call old school apologetics of the corporal kind.
The priest slapped the young man across the face and dragged him from the Church and loudly pronounced him a ‘blasphemer.’
There are different schools of thought on this. Some will undoubtedly say that the priest should have counseled the young man on exactly what is wrong with what he did. They would say that violence solves nothing.
Another school might suppose that the young man deserved what he got and the swift punishment for his reprehensible actions will serve as a poignant reminder to the young man and to anyone else who might be so foolish to attempt the same.
I have every reason to believe that when I was a young man, if I had desecrated the Eucharist my parents would have held me down while the priest pummeled some repentance into me.
In trying to decide where I fall on the slap/don’t slap spectrum, I recall when I was 16 in an all boys Catholic High School run by the Franciscans. One day I was mouthing off in a very disrespectful way to a teacher during French class. At that time, the Dean of Students, a certain Brother Gabriel, happened to be walking by the open door of the classroom and heard my disrespect.
Without a moment’s hesitation he walked right into the classroom and up to me. He ordered me to stand up whereupon he smacked me right across the face. Twenty four other young men took a deep breath in unison. The dean had my attention and the attention of everyone else in that classroom. He then grabbed me by the ear, apologized to the teacher on my behalf and escorted me to his office.
He sat me down and stared me down. After what seemed an eternity, he asked me what I had to say for myself. I briefly entertained making some cute remark about whether St. Francis would approve of the Dean’s five-knuckle attention getter but quickly thought better of it since I recently had an epiphany that I no longer lived in a consequence-free world. So I said, “I am sorry, it will never happen again.”
And here is the thing, it never did happen again. When Brother slapped me across the face, the thought of complaining never even crossed my mind because there was one thing I knew for sure. I had it coming. I knew better than to behave in such a way and that slap served as a stinging reminder.
As for me, there is no school like the ol’ school.