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Judge dismisses charges against man who stole consecrated hosts for ‘art’

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Sebastian Duda/Shutterstock

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 11/17/16

From CNA:

Abel Azcona stole more than 240 consecrated hosts from Masses celebrated in the cities of Madrid and Pamplona. He later took nude photos of himself arranging them on a floor to spell the word ‘pederasty.’ In November 2015, he displayed the photos as part of an art display in a city-owned exhibition hall available for public use. When that exposition was over, the would-be artist sold the consecrated hosts for more than $268,000. Azcona was charged for an alleged offense against laws respecting religious sentiments. However, Judge Fermín Otamendi of the Pamplona Second District Court of Discovery closed the case against Azcona. In his ruling, the judge described the consecrated and stolen hosts as “small white round objects.” He claimed that there had been no desecration of the sacred hosts because according to the Spanish Royal Academy dictionary desecration is defined as “treating something sacred without due respect or using it for profane purposes.” He rejected charges that the accused treated something sacred without due respect, claiming “lack of respect should not be confused with not doing what the Catholic Church requires its faithful to do with the consecrated hosts in the act of Communion.” The judge claimed Azcona made use of the hosts “discreetly, without his conduct being able to be characterized as disrespectful, offensive or irreverent.” The exhibition of the artwork “does not constitute derision of the beliefs, rites or ceremonies of the Catholic Church nor is it an affront to those who profess or practice said beliefs,” according to the judge. Polonia Castellanos, president of the Christian Lawyers Association, objected to the ruling. She considered the judge’s description of the consecrated Hosts to be an effort to “rule out deliberate harmful intent.”

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