As somebody remarked today when I told them this, It’s beyond mediaeval.
That’s right. It is.
Driving along, trying to find a decent bit of news on the radio, I stumbled across the dreaded Derek Byeeee Mooney talking to some reporter about – wait for it – communion bread. I’m not making this up. RTÉ sent a reporter out to some convent to report on the nuns making the wafers for communion.
Let us reserve comment on why the national broadcaster might consider this riveting listening, because I want to tell you something about the communion wafer mix. According to Canon Law, it can’t be gluten free, which means that Coeliac people can’t have it. I knew this already because a priest of my acquaintance was coeliac, and when he asked for a derogation, he was told to go fuck himself. In Latin.
So what are the alternatives? asked the reporter of the none-too-bright nun who was explaining the process.
Oh, they have to use the chalice.
Do they now? Seven-year-old kids and recovering alcoholics have to drink the wine? Well that’s very Christian of Mr Pope, I have to say.
You see, the Vatican is extremely particular about the chemistry of all this. If you allowed the nuns to use gluten-free flour, who knows what would happen when the priests waves his hands and says Hubba-Hubba!! The thing might not turn into Jesus at all. It might become fucking Jedward.
It isn’t every bread that can turn into Jesus. There’s no point waving your hands at the Mammy’s boiled fruitcake, for example. That will turn into David Norris. And if you try it with a packet of Marietta, they’ll all turn into Mrs Doyle.
No good. Neither Norris nor Doyle died on the cross to save the banks.
It’s got to be perfect.
You know when you’ve been out on the piss all night, or maybe even for two or three days without sleep, and the whole thing is a haze of alcohol, brown acid and Latvian hookers? And then, you stop into a church you pass along the way?
Well, it might happen that the preacher is waving his hands like a holy rail-gun, firing bullets of sanctity at the bread, but of course, there’s lots of that holiness irradiating the church too. A Catholic Fukushima with no sea-water to cool it, and there has to be some kind of overspill. Yes?
Well, here’s my question. Supposing you happened to have a half-eaten kebab in your pocket that you forgot about from the other night, just before that incident you’d rather not discuss. Would the rays from the priest’s fingertips penetrate your liquor-sodden clothing and transmute your tasty take-away meal into a Jesus-kebab?
Or suppose you were planning to visit a favourite and wealthy auntie with a packet of Jaffa Cakes but got caught up in an orgy of drink- and drug-fuelled debauchery by mistake? And you woke up inside the organ of a cathedral with a Mexican dance troupe and a medium-sized bag of mescalin? And there’s the priest waving those fingers and suddenly ZAP!! Your Jaffa Cakes are a band of Mariachi Messiahs?
Jesus Christ!! Not good.
Fortunately, I think I know the answer.
Since your kebab and your Jaffa Cakes are likely to be foil-wrapped, there’s little chance that the transmutation rays can penetrate and do real damage. At the very worst, they might turn one of your biscuits into Mother Teresa for a few seconds. Nothing to worry about.
That’s all right then. I’m not sure about the science of it, but I might submit a paper to the Catholic Alchemy Journal anyway and see what they think.