Friday, July 10, 2009

The Globe and Mail Weighs In On Church Etiquette

Given the public furor here in Canada about what Prime Minister Stephen Harper did with a communion wafer (or host) at the Roman Catholic funeral mass of former Governor General Romeo Leblanc last week, the Globe and Mail today offers this helpful "church etiquette" guide for those finding themselves in that most unfamiliar of places, a church, especially at an RC funeral, this summer.

Read the article here).

I imagine that for many secular Canadians, the issue of what Harper did with that host seems arcane at best. Certainly the mainstream media's handling of the issue strikes me as "gotcha" politics played at religion's expense. Is the issue really about the PM's alleged disrespect for the Roman Catholic Church, and if so, is this about a protocol gaffe (akin to Michelle Obama's touching of the Queen during the recent presidential visit to London) or is this about a real issue of spiritual significance to many Canadians? The Globe's couching this How to Avoid a "Wafergate" blunder would seem to indicate the former.


styler said...

The C&MA is counted as a Holiness Church; that is it holds the belief of entire sanctification (or personal holiness through the Spirit) taken from John Wesley. Not that that has anything to do with communion, but my experience with Holiness folk (I was raised in the Church of the Nazarene) is that Communion, while not seen in the same "substance" as Catholics believe, is a rite to be taken most seriously. I doubt Harper would put the host in his pocket and walk away. And, while someone of his experience should have known about the exclusivity of Roman Catholic eucharist, as a Protestant he may have felt his participation merely showed Christian fellowship and not disrespect.

Of course, as you say, how many people today, Christian yet alone not, even understand what the eucharist is? While the article may be about etiquette, it does allow the opportunity to discuss with others the meaning of the eucharist both within churches and within people (corporately and corporally, if you will).

Anonymous said...

I am an Anglican priest, perhaps interested in serving in the CF. I wonder if you might be able to answer a few questions for me.


mad padre said...

Wise words, Steve.

DEA, please email me at with your questions and I'll be happy to answer them.


Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


Blog Archive