Is the Communion Burger in Poor Taste?

 

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Is the communion burger in poor taste?

When I first saw that headline, (in which, I guess, the pun was intended) I was dumbfounded. I still don’t have a lot to say, except that we live in a post Christian world, and this is part of our new reality. Obviously, this restaurant does not care if Christians forego eating there, but I certainly hope that Christians will forego eating there.

From CNN:

Kuma’s Corner, a heavy-metal themed joint with an “Eat beef; bang your head” ethos, says its new burger is an homage to Ghost, a Swedish band that performs satanic songs in Catholic clerical garb.

“The Ghost” burger features a “Communion wafer garnish,” a white, unleavened disc bearing the imprint of a cross and a crown.

Ghost’s new album comes complete with grape juice and a mock Communion wafer. Not coincidentally, the Communion burger at Kuma’s comes with a red wine reduction.

….   Luke Tobias, director of operations for Kuma’s, said the restaurant’s Communion wafers are not consecrated, and thus, not really holy. “It’s more or less a cracker with a cross on it,” he said. The restaurant bought the wafers online from an e-Bay-type website.

They’re not trying to make a big religious statement, Tobias said, just trying to have fun honoring a band they like.

“If there is a God, I’m sure he has a sense of humor.”

Some of God’s peoples seem to get the joke, according to Kuma’s.  A Presbyterian minister who ate the burger yesterday posted a message on Facebook saying that “sacrilege never tasted so good,” Tobias said.

  • SisterCynthia

    A Presbyterian minister should know better, but this denomination (of which I am presently a part) has in many areas become worldly to the point of just being another “club” with activities for kids and adults. I understand the elements aren’t consecrated, but the fact that the restaurant is joking about one of the sacraments, particularly the one instituted by Christ Himself as His very body, should have been enough to warn a man supposedly following God away from participation. It says more about the preacher than the cook or owners, I’m afraid. :-/

  • Dale

    Judging from reviews, both professional and amateur, Kuma’s Corner has a reputation as having the best burgers in the city. However, I doubt that this particular burger will last beyond October since, as the food manager noted, communion waters are not exactly tasty.

    Yes, the burger is incredibly offensive. But the hip and edgy have been mocking or parodying religion for a very long time, and a heavy metal themed restaurant isn’t likely to change course. The burger will be forgotten in short order. Let’s not make it famous by getting worked up over the matter.

    I agree with SisterCynthia about the comments of the Presbyterian minister.. I think that is an even bigger indictment of our post-Christian culture.

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    OK, maybe it’s that I’m an ex-Catholic, but wouldn’t Catholics to make any fuss over the unconsecrated communion wafer be worse?

    Those protestants whose Eucharistic theology is more of variety of pure memorialism may have more grounds for fuss. However, taking for the moment the framework of the Catholic Canons… the people getting upset are getting bothered over entirely mundane (since unconsecrated) pieces of no-yeast bread, and treating them as if remotely on par to the transubstantiated eternal body of Christ. In theologically precise terms, such Catholics would seem to be making an essential error!

    • Dale

      Abb3w, I am not sure that there is any organized opposition to the burger, from Catholics or anyone. Sure there have been scattered complaints, but I don’t think any Catholics are calling the burger sacrilegious. As you pointed out, an unconsecrated wafer is not the body of Christ, and I would hope any Catholic would know that.

      The complaint about the burger is that it mocks communion, as well as Christianity in general. As Rebecca noted, the fact that the restauranteurs felt comfortable creating the burger, and the muted objections to it, are signs of our post-Christian culture.

    • Almario Javier

      The intent is important. The intent was to mock (as in offensively deride) the Catholic religion, which, while not sacrilege, is still blasphemy.

      • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

        Arguably.

        However, according to the Catechism (2148), “The prohibition of blasphemy extends to language against Christ’s Church, the saints, and sacred things.” My point is that an unconsecrated communion wafer is not sacred, it’s just a cracker; which seems to leave the question of whether such mundane use can constitute “failing in respect” actually due to the Church.

        That, however, starts getting into a more subtle can of worms regarding what is “respect”, and when and to what extent is it due.

        • Almario Javier

          That it is not consecrated is true. But what was the burger and its promotion meant to convey? Objectively (of course, the subjective here is in the end more relevant, because God is the ultimate judge, and unlike me, He can read souls), it was to mock a sacred thing. That is seemingly what the intent was.

          Of course, he may not have known that it was a sin, which would likely make it not a mortal sin. At best only 2 of the 3 elements are satisfied.

          Just my two centavos’ worth.

  • FW Ken

    I have a friend who’s a metalhead and his favorite phrase is “that’s throwed off”. It’s a fundamentally juvenile culture and shocking the grown-ups is in the juvenile’s job description.

  • Mark.

    They can do a pulled-pork sandwich with beer for Ramadan, too. Oh, wait, that would take courage.

    • Dale

      hmm… in Kuma’s defense, their burgers are named after metal bands, and their creation of this current burger of the month is themed on the Swedish band named Ghost. That band mocks Christianity as part of their act, with the musicians wearing vaguely monastic robes and the vocalist vaguely dressed as a Catholic bishop. So if there is a famous metal band which mocks Islam, perhaps Kuma’s Corner will consider your suggestion.

      That said, a glance at Kuma’s menu suggests that the regular burgers do not seem to be themed on their namesake band. So perhaps this current, and offensive burger is a departure for them. On the other hand, perhaps the burger of the month is not part of the regular menu, so the restaurant takes more culinary risk with a temporary menu item. I am not familiar with the restaurant or its previous burgers of the month. Does anyone reading this have information about this?

  • FW Ken

    One good bit of news:

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/catholic-charities-rejects-restaurants-donation-over-burger-blasphemy

    Why good news, you ask? The point was made above that giving these children publicity only confirms them in their Sticking It To The Man superiority. But now someone had called their hand. The materialism that less beneath metal culture has seen a rejection of materialism. A small rejection, to be sure, but it’s where it matters.


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