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Hume's Razor's Avatar Jump to comment 40 by Hume's Razor

In his wonderful book Der Gefälschte Glaube Karlheinz Deschner quotes a hilarious correspondence between Swiss catholic and vegetarian Fredi Kummer and Canton Max Hofer of the diocese of Basel. The question that Kummer wants answered seems clear enough: Can he participate in the communion without violating his principles as a vegetarian, and if so, how are we to make sense of the official catholic dogma that the communion wafer really becomes the body of Jesus?

Hofer's response is a true masterpiece of theological evasive action. Over the course of a correspondence lasting from December 1982 to May 1984, he is unable to provide any reason why there's no conflict between vegetarianism and participation in the communion except that there shouldn't be. Kummer finally has to turn to the diocese's own chemist (Is it legal to offer somebody a meal without informing them of its contents? Does the FDA approve of this?) to at least establish that the communion doesn't turn into the body of Jesus in any physical sense.

The whole correspondence was published in Zürcher Wochenzeitung and Berliner Tageszeitung in November 1984. As you have probably already guessed "Fredi Kummer" was already an apostate by the time he sent his first letter to the diocese. The real "Kummer" could still vividly describe the traumatic experience of getting a communion wafer stuck in his palate as a child and his fear of biting the Lord to death.

I am still interested in an answer to Kummer's original question btw. Can a vegetarian participate in the communion without violating his/her principles, and why(/why not)?

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 10:00:41 UTC | #947369