Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Anglicans Restore the Taurobolium

Anglicans in South Africa aroused some consternation over their plan to ritually sacrifice an ox in celebration of opening a new diocese. The SPCA, needless to say, objected.

The Beliefnet comments on this one got sorta bogged down in the history of Jewish and Zoroastrian demonology, and for the less obscurely minded, on the question of whether the sacrifice was okay as long as they planned to eat the animal. Well, fine, everybody has a perspective. Our thinking here at the Egg is that this sounds like the Mithraic rites of intiation -- slaughter a bull, and take a bath in it's blood. Ick.

But here's the thing: Last I checked, Anglicans were Christians (despite Bishop Spong). And Christianity has historically taken a pretty dim view of animal sacrifice. And yes, I understand the nuance that Paul (in 1 Cor 8) is talking about animals sacrificed to pagan deities. And I try to be sympathetic to calls for enculturation. But still -- what possible purpose can an animal sacrifice serve for Christians, given that whole Hebrews 10 business about how we are made holy by the sacrifice of Christ, once and for all?

We Evangelicals have always been a little skeptical about the Roman Catholic interpretation of the Mass as an "unbloody sacrifice." But, whatever its limitations, that has to be safer theological ground than, well, an extremely bloody sacrifice. I mean, do you know how much blood an ox has?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

so father, what's for dinner?