Oklahoma City Catholic Church’s Lawsuit against Satanists over Communion Wafer Dropped

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Aug 22, 2014

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Satanists in Oklahoma City threatening to defile a consecrated Catholic communion wafer in an upcoming Black Mass ceremony drew the ire of the city’s Archbishop this week, resulting in a unique lawsuit filed to recover the holy property at risk. Facing the threat of costly legal action, Satanist leaders relented and returned the holy wafer, depriving American jurisprudence of a definitive answer to an interesting and unusual question.

Satanist Leaders in OK City Threaten Holy Wafer

Adam Daniels, head of the Satan-worshipping group Dakhma of Angra Mainyu, announced last week that he had obtained a consecrated communion wafer from a Catholic priest working as a Satanist in Turkey, and promised to defile and destroy it during the organization’s Black Mass planned for late September. Having already raised the ire of the Oklahoma City archdiocese for planning the Satanic event inside the city’s Civic Center Music Hall, Daniels’ threat to further desecrate a symbol of Catholic faith resulted in the Archbishop’s filing of a Petition for Replevin seeking recovery of the wafer at risk.

Oklahoma City Archbishop Filed Lawsuit for Recovery of Wafer

Using a legal request for recovery of property known as a Petition for Replevin, Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley alleged that the holy wafer was property of the Roman Catholic Church illegally obtained by the Satanists and demanded that it be returned. The right of replevin is only applicable when the party demanding the property is the rightful owner, requiring the Archbishop’s lawsuit to establish that the Catholic Church was the rightful possessor of the consecrated wafer, despite the fact that it had been sent directly to Mr. Daniels by his contact within the priesthood.

The archdiocese’s argument, found in full here, alleged that the Satanists unlawfully took possession of a “Consecrated Host or Consecrated Eucharist,” a precious holy item to the Roman Catholic Church that cannot be possessed legally by any other entity. The Archbishop argued that a consecrated host may only be distributed to Catholics by an ordained minister, and it must be consumed immediately to satisfy the holy ceremony of communion. Due to the strict rules requiring distribution of consecrated communion wafers, Archbishop Coakley’s legal claim concluded that when an unauthorized individual has possession of the consecrated host he must have procured it by “illicit means,” including fraud, theft, or some other sort of wrongful taking. 

Saying that the Church has sole ownership rights over all the consecrated communion wafers across the world, the Oklahoma City archdiocese’s lawsuit argued that the wafer belonged to Catholics by virtue of the Church’s religious connection to the item. 

Satanist Leader Returns Consecrated Wafer

In response to the lawsuit, Mr. Daniels declined to pursue the Church’s legal action to its full conclusion and returned the wafer in question to the Oklahoma City Archbishop. Issuing a statement, Daniels said, “Once the Catholic Church has dropped the lawsuit, they can collect it from my attorney. I don’t feel like wasting thousands of dollars fighting over a nasty cookie that some man said a prayer over.”

Archbishop Coakley’s attorney called the development a “gigantic victory for decency and for all religions.” The Oklahoma City Archbishop continues to call for prayer and protests against the Black Mass, which he unsuccessfully attempted to prevent as an unlawful expression of hate speech, but it appears that wafer or no-wafer Mr. Daniels and his Satanist cohorts intend to proceed with the event as scheduled.  

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