Poe’s Law Strikes Again

I’m going to perform a magic trick for you. Think of a card, any card. Got it? Okay, now click on the awesome magic hat of awesome magic stupendousness:

Top hat

Ta-da! I told you I was going to do a magic trick, but I gave you two for the price of one: not only did the hat turn into your card, I also made your card look just like the hat! Isn’t that amazing?!

“No,” I hear you mutter, “what would be amazing would be if someone with a double-digit age actually fell for that.”


Well, they evidently do: the trick above was inspired by this homily:

The Eucharist is a double miracle. […] the first miracle is the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. The second miracle is that even though the stuff or the substance of the bread and wine have been changed into the body and blood of Christ, it still looks like bread and wine, even though nothing of bread and nothing of wine remain. That is so we can consume the sacred species because the normal chain of events is that when I change the substance, I have also changed the appearance of that substance.

and this article:

In fact, every time the priest at Mass pronounces the words of consecration there is a double miracle wrought by the power of God, a miracle not witnessed by the senses, but known only by the light of faith:

  1. The miraculous change of the substance of the bread and wine into the substance of Christ’s Body and Blood;
  2. The miracle by which God sustains in existence the perceptible qualities or characteristics of the bread and wine, although the underlying substance no longer exists. St. Thomas wrote so beautifully of this mystery in the eucharistic hymn sung at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament: “Praestet fides supplementum sensuum defectui.” (Faith supplies what the senses cannot perceive)

and this blog post:

The Roman Catholic church (hereby called RCC) says that once the priests have consecrated the elements, the substance of the bread and wine become the actual, physical blood and body of Christ (CCC 1377) while still keeping their respective outward properties as bread and wine. That is to say, it is a double miracle. In one sense, the bread and wine become the real body and blood of Jesus even though you do not see, taste, or smell blood and flesh, and the bread and wine still taste and smell like bread and wine even though its substance is no longer bread and wine.

and even the future Pope Innocent III, c. 1195:

To escape the conclusion that the body of Christ may be nibbled by
mice, burned by fire, etc., he preferred rather to resort to a twofold
miracle, — that, in the same manner as the substance of the bread had
been converted into the body of Christ, so, afterwards, in place of it,
the substance of the bread is created anew, of which substance, the
accidents only had remained.

(from General History of the Christian Religion and Church
by August Neander and Joseph Torrey).

And this is why we have
Poe’s Law:

Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.

I ran into this claim somewhere in a comment thread on Pharyngula, and thought someone was poking fun at Catholics. Then I looked it up. <headdesk>

In the interest of fairness, I tried to
find a reference to this
at the Vatican’s web site, and couldn’t find it. I also ran across a
link that claimed that this isn’t in fact an official Catholic claim.
But still… damn!

(Photo of the awesome magic hat of awesome magic stupendousness courtesy of WikiCommons user Bertow. Thanks!)

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This entry was posted in FFS, Religion, WTF? and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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