The kerfuffle surrounding a University of Central Florida student who left a Catholic Church without first swallowing the Eucharist he had been given reminded me of my childhood. I would go to the front of our church, the minister would give me a soda cracker and a tiny cup of grape juice (it was a Protestant denomination, we did it on the cheap), and was told I was eating the body of Christ and drinking his blood. I suspect my fascination with vampires started with that disturbing event.
While Protestants engage in symbolic cannibalism devout Catholics actually believe they are practicing a kind of deicide. The concept of Transubstantiation believes the Eucharist becomes the literal body and blood of Jesus. Catholics believe they are literally putting God's flesh and blood into their mouths and swallowing.
In this sacrament are contained not only the true body of Christ, and all the constituents of a true body, such as bones and sinews, but also Christ whole and entire. ~ Catechism of the Council of Trent, 16th centuryEating gods is not a uniquely Christian concept. It was a common practice in many pagan cultures in Europe, Asia, and the New World. That it is common doesn't make Holy Communion any less ghoulish.
Many devout Catholics have made death threats against the Florida student referenced above; he is being compared with a kidnapper for the crime of not eating a cracker. Of course, the lad was stupid. I find it far easier if I disagree with a particular religion to simply stay out of their churches.
On the other side, it seems the church is now using armed guards to insure everyone swallows in the future. Sort of a fall back to the Spanish Inquisition.
But the practice, the tradition of eating God as an article of faith. Well, that frankly is pretty wacked.