There’s still a difference between sin and crime

The other day I found an article about a woman and her daughter whose car was pulled over by police shortly after leaving their Catholic church. Did they run a red light? Hit a pedestrian? No. They did something far worse, at least, if you happen to be a deluded devout Catholic. The daughter didn’t eat her piece of Jesus.

On an earlier visit to this church, someone spotted Jackie Trebesh’s daughter dropping a wafer in the parking lot after the service and reported her to the authorities. Authority being Reverend Kelly at the church, of course. So, the next time Kelly saw the family in line to receive communion, he turned them aside without giving any, stating he’d explain why after the service. Instead of waiting to find out, Trebesh and daughter drove away. And then the police stopped them.

Trebesh said the deputy informed her that Kelly had requested the traffic stop. She and her daughter were issued trespass warnings.

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office and the Catholic Church confirmed much of her story, but said there were justifiable reasons for their actions.

It’s justifiable only in the minds of Catholics who seriously believe the wafer becomes the body of Jesus somehow and thus should not be treated like bird seed. The trespass angle of this is weird though. From a commenter at Rational Skepticism’s forum:

If the article is correct, the officer pulled the woman over in a traffic stop. Cops are not allowed to perform traffic stops unless they have – at minimum – reasonable suspicion that an infraction has been committed. Seeing what as the woman had already peacefully driven away from the church property (to wherever she was pulled over), the cop had no reasonable suspicion as a basis for detaining her.

It wasn’t trespassing unless she had been told previously that she could not set foot on church property, that she was no longer welcome there (where every sinner, even non-Catholics, is normally considered to be welcome). And the guardia are only supposed to get involved in a “trespassing” claim if the person returns after being warned off, or refuses to leave when requested. But if the “trespasser” is in the process of peacefully leaving when the authorities arrive, then there is no presumption of a crime having been committed. All they get to do is wave bye-bye to the departing person’s back.

The cop exceeded his authority, and he probably knows it.

Trebesh claims her daughter didn’t dump a wafer, that maybe this witness saw her spit out gum or something. The church hasn’t confirmed that a wafer hit the dirt in this case so it’s possible they’re picking on this family for some other reason and the whole wafer/trespass thing is completely trumped up to hide the real reason Kelly and company didn’t want them there anymore.

Here are a few comments found elsewhere that Catholics made about this story, with bold added for emphasis:

There are so many Eucharistic abuses. What a humiliation for our Lord to come in simple bread, without having to be regarded as chewing gum to be “spit out” at the end of Mass! This is sickening…

This is my parish. I did not know all the details till a friend forwarded me this website. But a few months ago during his homily, Fr. Kelly told us that there had been two instances of a parishioner finding a host in the parking lot on the ground after Mass. He proceeded to give a very serious instruction on the proper way to receive Holy Communion, and also stipulated that no one was to step to the side to receive the Host. They were to consume it immediately in the direct view of himself or the EME. He instructed parents with children in their arms to receive on the tongue, and that under no circumstances were people to hold one hand out or try to take the Host from the EME’s hand. He said that if he were alerted to someone attempting to leave the church without consuming the Host, he would leave the altar, follow them out and recover the Body of Christ by force if necessary.

Nothing like threats of violence to keep people in line.

I recently saw a jr high aged boy come back from receiving. He was putting the Host in his mouth, then taking it out again repeatedly. He then stuck out his tongue and allowed the Host to hang from the tip while he wiggled his tongue around and rolled his eyes. He got into the pew behind me and, as kindly as I could, I leaned over to him and told him, “That is our Lord and Savior you have in your mouth, please treat Him with the respect He deserves.” The kid just looked at me and swallowed the Host. I did tell the priest after Mass.

That line just makes me laugh. I wonder if this next anonymous one came from an atheist or something. It just reads like snarky sarcasm:

It’s good to see the Church in the news for something other than those silly child sex abuse accusations. How many times do they have to sweep those accusations under the rug before petty people stop wasting their time? It’s good to see a priest that is going after important matters!

If a Catholic left it, then it’s a real pity to see how priorities get organized, like stale crackers should matter more than the well-being of children. But anyway.

Others question why the priest didn’t call the family or chastise them earlier in private rather than make a public spectacle of denying them Eucharist or whatever. I wonder that myself. Unless the spectacle is supposed to deter others from trying the same thing?

It just seems like it should have been a whole lot of nothing. Instead they got police involved for no reason save what they dreamed up in a snit. No logical reason, that’s for damn sure. Unless there is more to this story than we’ve been given…

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Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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