by Gjergji Evangjeli
Controversy has sprung up in the Avondale neighborhood in Chicago after a small restaurant, Kuma’s Corner, decided to sell a burger called “Ghost” which is topped off with a wine reduction and an unconsecrated host. Luke Tobias, the Director of Operations at Kuma’s, said that the specialty burger was inspired by the Swedish heavy metal band, Ghost BC, and that they see it as a tribute to them. Relating to the fact that a host was used he said, “The thing with this is, the communion wafer is unconsecrated, so until that happens, it's really just a cracker.”
Though his Eucharistic sensibility might be correct, there is still something to be said about the fact that a host is being used, Jeff Young, the producer of Catholic Foodie blog, thinks. He writes on his website, “It's not the Eucharist, but it's still symbolic. For us as Catholics, the Eucharist is more than a symbol, it's a sacrament. At the same time, it doesn't mean that symbols aren't important… It is a mockery of something that is holy.” Young shares this sentiment with many faithful Catholics and Christians who think that Kuma’s has crossed the line and that the idea for a burger featuring a communion host is tasteless.
Seeking to quell the controversy, Kuma’s Corner said it made a $1,500 donation to Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities, on the other hand, said in a statement on October 7 that it has not and will not accept Kuma’s donation and that they should consider taking the burger off their menus. Kuma’s, however, has been unrelenting in accepting that claim.
In a statement published on the restaurant’s website on October 4, the owners argued that, on the one hand, the burger was not intended to offend anyone, but that, on the other hand, they intended to keep the burger on the menu for the month of October despite the fact that it was offensive to some people. This point was so clearly outlined that the authors felt the need to quote the First Amendment to underline their point. The statement also points out that Kuma’s is “a small nine table restaurant,” and as such, possibly unworthy of so much attention being put on their operation.
It seems, nonetheless, that if the Ghost burger is inspired by and a tribute to Ghost BC, the commonality between the two must be the affront to Catholics. A lesser-known band, especially in the US, it takes no more than a single look to realize that Ghost BC and the Catholic Church are incompatible. Other than the explicitly Satanic themes in a number of their songs, Ghost BC members, who have never revealed their names or their faces, perform dressed in robes with their faces covered, while the lead vocalist is dressed in an outfit not unlike that of a Catholic prelate, except for the inverted crosses.
Moreover, while the rest of the band members go by “nameless Ghouls,” the lead vocalist goes by the name “Papa Emeritus.” This taken into consideration, it seems that the usage of the host and the wine is not for their unique tastes, but rather to depict Ghost BC’s clear anti-Christian sentiment, a sentiment that, perhaps, Kuma’s Corner also feels.