Friday, November 17, 2006

If the FDA regulated the Eucharist

[The Ironic Catholic is traveling for work until Wednesday. In IC's absence, the Spouse of the Ironic Catholic (sic) is filling in.]
[click image twice to enlarge the full nutrition facts label]

Washington, D.C. -- The Food and Drug Administration has rejected the Nutrition Facts label submitted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in order to comply with FDA regulations, a USCCB spokeswoman said today. The action was likely to exacerbate the dispute between the Church and the agency following the agency's ruling last month that the Eucharist, in both species, falls under FDA oversight.

"We submitted what we believe to be a factually accurate label," said USCCB spokeswoman Sr. Mary Jane Waltz. "Ontologically speaking, it reflects the reality of what the faithful are consuming when they receive the Eucharist."

But FDA regulators were "not amused" by the label, which listed as ingredients the "Body and Blood, soul and divinity" of Jesus Christ. The label also included a detailed list of the graces received with reception of the Eucharist.

"The agency wishes to respect the religious beliefs of Catholics," said FDA spokesman Sammy Bonk. "But given that some 38 million people are consuming the Church's bread and wine on a weekly basis, we feel that it is well within our authority to ensure that consumers are informed about exactly what they're ingesting. A simple 'wheat' would suffice for the ingredients list, along with a basic nutritional analysis. We just don't see the need to complicate this. We didn't get any grief from the Unitarians."

"Of course, the Unitarians don't believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist," Waltz clarified.

At issue, according to Bishop Harry Barrington, is whether the nutrition facts label applies to the bread and wine before or after consecration. "If we're talking pre-consecration here, well, no problem," he said. "But we don't distribute unconsecrated bread and wine at communion. As the Council of Trent taught, the substance of the bread changes into the substance of our Lord's body, and the substance of the wine changes into the substance of our Lord's blood. Frankly, we think that the government is overreaching its authority by trying to regulate the Divine Presence."

The Church plans to appeal the agency's ruling. Meanwhile, speculation is running rampant about whether the agency will expand its oversight by classifying chrism oil as a schedule III controlled substance, given its supernatural powers.

--sic

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's FUNNY! I linked to it at Domestic Vocation (and added a graphic for it).

Excellent!

Anonymous said...

Haha! A truly worthy post.

stephanie said...

Excellent! Well done!

Anonymous said...

I get the attempt at humor, but the accidental properties of the consecrated hosts include digestible and nutritional properties. Consecrated hosts have absolutely no difference in their digestible and nutritional properties than unconsecrated hosts because the change in substance that occurs at consecration does not alter any accidental properties of the host. Although consecrated hosts nourish the soul by their substance, they also nourish the body by the accidents they retain.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

SIC: Thou art a worthy spouse of IC.

Anonymous said...

I would add, too, that one could get inebriated by consuming a sufficiently large quantity of consecrated wine. The change in substance does not alter the inebriating quality of the alcohol, which remains as an accidental property of the precious blood.

Fr. Erik Richtsteig said...

LOL! But please don't give the USCCB wonks anymore ideas!

Anonymous said...

My only complaint would be your note at the bottom. While not a label we see in real life, I really wouldn't call it a "spoof" since everything there seems to be completely true.

Great pic though, I am printing it up for my pastor now!

RobK said...

I like the Amazing Grace addition. Very nice! Thanks, sic! :)

The Ironic Catholic said...

Isn't sic great?

You'd think our household was a laugh a minute. Instead, we get it all out on this blog. ;)

Drusilla said...

100% grace and calorie free!!! Isn't God wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I LOVED this - an added bonus for me because I work for the FDA. (It's not always easy being a faithful, visible Catholic at the FDA - think Plan B - but thankfully I am not the only one. Pray that our continued witness to the truth will convert the souls who need it the most.)

However, I would be surprised if the USCCB would actually submit a label this faithful to the true Catholic doctrine. I remember several years ago reading in the Catholic Standard that they had a vote on a document stating that the Eucharist actually becomes the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Lord during the consecration, and there were two votes AGAINST the document. I almost fell out of my chair when I read that, and wondered what, exactly, those bishops thought they were doing at Mass anyway!!!

O=onionboy.ca+luminousmiseries.ca said...

It's is a funny label and one that affirms what I believe however I see no problem in the FDA wanting the actual ingredients listed as the host wafers are what they are in normal substance until they also become the body and blood of our Eucharistic Lord when consecrated by the Priest.

Yep, the label is a hoot but is the CC frustrating people who are just trying to do their job the witness the Church needs?

Anonymous said...

The jab at Unitarians was unnessecary, but other than that, a good article. =)

Melody said...

lol... I just found your blog courtesy of the curt jester.

I have to agree that the precious body and blood does contain the appearance of bread and wine along with its effects, but I saved the label pics anyway because they are so perfect.

Now what about holy water?

Anonymous said...

Humorous, but it set me to thinking (which good irony does, no?). 100% grace cannot be locked up in a box (even if it is called a tabernacle). Nor can it be given to some and restricted from others--that is--it cannot be controlled. No one gets to be in control of 100% grace. If they are, then it's not grace. It's just old fashioned coercion.

And, who said that Unitarians don't celebrate the Eucharist? We celebrate all rituals of wisdom and grace, and we welcome everyone to the celebration. Now THAT is 100% grace.

Robert--a former Catholic

SIC said...

Hmmm...I had thought that Unitarians don't celebrate the Eucharist, based on the experiences of Unitarian friends and some light online research ...for instance this excerpt from Wikipedia: "The Flower Communion was initiated by Norbert Capek, who was also the founder of the Unitarian Church in Czechoslovakia. He saw the need to unite the diverse congregants of his church, from varying Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish backgrounds, without alienating those who had left these traditions. For this reason he rejected the Eucharist." Apparently, though, some Unitarians do celebrate some kind of communion service, while others don't. Mea culpa. No harm intended. I'm removing the bit about Unitarians not celebrating communion.

Robert, your comment about 100 percent grace is interesting...I thought about that as I was making up the label. I guess that's why you could never really make a label like this...how can you ever quantify grace, or any other spiritual gift? It's not like it can be divided up or measured out. It's pure gift. Can you really put down the fruits of the Holy Spirit as properties of the Eucharist?

Yes, the Eucharist retains its "accidental" properties...and clearly I missed a golden opportunity by not working that into the label (the standard "This product contains wheat and wheat gluten" warning) and the story ("Maybe we could come up with a compromise."). Thanks for the feedback, all. - sic

Hidden One said...

Wow. This was my first humour of the day... the wait was worth it.

I'll have to start coming here often.

sipmac said...

Bravo SIC & IC!

Tapestry said...

I read a lot about Unitarians in my journey in life. The comment was right on the money.
The Unitarians believe 'its all good' and that puts evil completely out of the picture. Which I don't agree with and decided to not pursue the matter.

joyfulpapist said...

This is funny.

May I repost it on my blog, with attribution and a link to yours?