KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia won’t prosecute two Muslims who deceived a Roman Catholic church and took Communion, a decision a church leader said Thursday undermines peace at a time of rising tensions between Muslims and the country’s religious minorities. [I am sure that this is a fair sentiment in addition to demonstrating an utter lack of respect towards other faiths. Believe me, I know that the Church is the One True Faith but the Church never condones this type of behavior against other religions.]
“The lack of action would appear to legitimize” the behavior of the two men, said Archbishop Murphy Pakiam of Kuala Lumpur, who heads the Roman Catholic Church in peninsular Malaysia.
In a letter dated Feb. 12, Malaysian police informed the church that, following instructions from the attorney-general’s office, “no further action” would be taken against two men who were investigated after they pretended to be Christians and took Communion at a church service to research a magazine article.
The crime of causing religious disharmony carries a prison term of up to five years in Malaysia. [Shows that the government there is trying to maintain some sort balance, albeit on the surface.] The government stance in this case is likely to draw comparisons with its strong defense of Islam, the faith of the majority of Malaysia’s 28 million people.
Most prominently, it has vigorously defended a ban on non-Muslim use of the word Allah. Court rulings in inter-religious disputes generally favor Muslims, and government leaders have on occasion publicly brandished daggers, vowing to defend Islam with their blood. [See what I mean].
One of the men who attended the church service wrote about it in the monthly Malay-language Al-Islam magazine.
The writer said he found no evidence to support rumors that Muslim teenagers were being converted to Christianity in churches [That’s because it happens in the heart]. He described how he and his unnamed companion tasted Communion wafers to blend in with the crowd.
Non-baptized persons are not allowed to receive Communion in the Catholic church. [Actually, it is all non-Catholics that are not allowed to receive the Blessed Sacrament in addition to any Catholics who are in a state of mortal sin. This is for the good of their soul.] While the church allows non-Catholics to attend Mass, many Catholics in this case were unhappy the two men entered the church under false pretenses.
The magazine indicated the men spat out the Communion wafers because they took a photograph of it partially bitten. Catholics believe the Communion wafer is transformed into the body of Christ by the priest during the Mass. [I pray for their conversion and repentance for desecrating the True Presence. Forgive them, for they know not what they do.]
Pakiam urged the government to rethink its position and file criminal charges against the two men, but the church would not sue the magazine. “We hope and pray. That’s our religious approach,” the archbishop said.
However, the church would cease to pressure the government if the magazine makes a formal apology, he said. “Forgiveness is the main line in our blood,” he said.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Well, I think that the Bishop made a good call. As Catholics we understand that we must submit to the authority of secular governments. We must play by the rules. And in this case the rules are double-edged for the Muslim majority. The question here is, will the government respond in the manner best for its constituents which in this case is to apply pressure to the magazine to apologize – to show some repentance for desecrating Christ (God) in the Blessed Sacrament?