2, 4, 6, 8 – Did he or didn’t he transubstantiate?

On the rare occasions when circumstances force contrarian to participate in religious rites, our unfamiliarity with the rules often begets panic. Thus contrarian sympathizes with Prime Minister Harper’s apparent befuddlement when Monsignor André Richard, Bishop of the Diocese of Moncton, offered him the communion wafer during Romeo LeBlanc’s funeral.

What’s a Protestant pol to do? As a non-Catholic, Harper is ineligible to receive communion. But having taken the wafer, which, upon consecration for the Eucharist, becomes the body and blood of Christ, he can’t just ditch it. A YouTube video appears to show Harper slipping the host into his suit jacket pocket.

This has Monsignor Brian Henneberry, vicar general and chancellor in the Diocese of Saint John, in holy dudgeon.

If Harper accepted the host but did not consume it, “it’s worse than a faux pas, it’s a scandal from the Catholic point of view,” he told the Saint John Telegraph-Journal.

A thread on the Religious Forum website is headed, “The PM has kidnapped Jesus!!!!”

“Absurd,” says Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas. “The priest offered the host to the prime minister, the prime minister accepted the host and he consumed it.”

On close inspection, the video is open to either interpretation. Contrarian feels the PM’s momentary stupefaction, and urges Canadians of all creeds (and non-creeds) to cut him some slack.


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