Friday, July 10, 2009

Don't Call it a Wafer!!!!!

Today Stephen Harper responded to accusations that he took the Eucharist, but didn't consume it:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper dismissed reports that he pocketed a communion
wafer as "ridiculous" and "terrible" and said he would never do such a thing.

. . .

"First of all as a Christian I've never refused communion when offered to me, that is actually pretty important to me," Harper said.

Good for him for taking a principled stand. It's comforting to hear him address the issue directly because it actually is important. Strictly speaking he should not have taken the Host, but this issue has been badly handled all around. At most catholic weddings and funerals the priest will make a statement before communion inviting non-Catholics to come up and receive a blessing. If that didn't happen at this funeral, at least part the fault lies with the presiding priest.

I agree with Archbishop Richard that Harper clearly did not mean any disrespect. The thing that makes me angry isn't whether he received the Eucharist but the discussion around it - especially from Harper's so called defenders who have tried to downplay the issue saying it's unimportant and just a wafer. Terms like 'wafer-gate' drive me bananas. Catholics refer to the sacrament by a number of names most prominently the Host, the Eucharist, and the Body of Christ, so terms like wafer and cracker are just not accurate.

I haven't seen very much discussion on the relevant Catholic teaching. Simply put Catholics believe that the Eucharist really is the body and blood of Christ. It's not just some crazy church teaching, but Jesus' own words that form the foundation of this belief:
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." Matthew 26:26-28
The Church's teaching that communion must only be taken by Catholics who are in communion with the church, free from mortal sin, and observed an appropriate fast also comes straight from scripture:
Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 1
Corinthians 11:27
It really doesn't matter to me if you believe this or not, I suppose most people don't but PLEASE be respectful. The Eucharist is important.

Finally, I wanted to tip my hat to Owen who carried the flag on this topic in the comment section of my last blog post. Near as I can tell Owen is a good Conservative, a faithful Catholic, a fellow cyclist and quite the artist. Thanks as always for your comments sir.

1 comment:

Mutton Chops said...

One time a communion they broke a piece of bread off for me and it had a big hair in it. I ate it anyway because I thought it would be rude to ask for a different piece.