e-mail us
Moments in Time
A Dangerous Cult

By Gary Macy

Accusations against unpopular religious groups remain amazingly consistent from century to century. Here is an account of that dangerous cult, the Christians, from the second century:

“Now the story of how they [the Christians] initiate recruits is as revolting as it is well-known. They coat a baby with batter, to fool the unwary, and they place it before the one to be initiated. The baby is then slaughtered with hidden and secret wounds by the recruit who has been urged on to strike blows which are apparently quite harmless because of the covering of batter. It is unspeakable: They slurp up the baby’s blood and eagerly hand around his limbs. By this victim are they leagued together; by the shared knowledge of this crime they pledge themselves to silence. These rites are more foul than all sacrileges combined.

“The nature of their ‘banquet’ is well-known. Everyone talks about it, and the speech of our man from Cirta bears witness to it. They meet for the meal on an appointed day, and all their children, sisters, mothers, people of each age and sex. There, after a huge meal, when the party has really got going, and fire of drunkenness and incestuous lust has waxed hot, a dog which has been tied to the lampstand is provoked to rush and leap forward by the tossing of a scrap of food beyond the length of the rope by which it is tied. Thus, when the light, a potential witness, has been overturned and extinguished, they throw themselves haphazardly into couplings of unspeakable lust in the wanton darkness, and, if they do not all commit it in fact, nonetheless, they are all guilty as accessories to incest, since whatever is capable of happening in individual cases is what the entire group really wants.”

Hmm ... not in my parish, anyway.

Gary Macy is a theology professor at the University of San Diego.

National Catholic Reporter, April 30, 1999