08 July 2009

Did Stephen Harper put Jesus in his pocket?

This is too funny.

Stephen Harper (the fundamentalist protestant Canadian prime minister) apparently pocketed a communion host while attended a funeral mass for Romeo LeBlanc. The poor guy probably wound up in line for communion (by mistake) and didn't know what the heck to do with the wafer that the priest gave him. So he stuck it in his pocket when he thought no one was looking.

But someone was looking and videotaped it. Now it's on Youtube for God and everyone to see. (Harper receives the sacred cracker at about the 30 second mark.)

It's not clear to me what happened to the holy host. Did he put it in his pocket to save for later?

Poor Harper was in deep shit once he got in communion line. Catholics think it is sacrilegious for a non-catholic to receive communion. So what's he going to do when the priest hands him a cracker? He can either eat it or pocket it. He's damned either way.


PersonalFailure said...

That exact thing happened to my Buddhist SIL. She's from mainland China, she had never been to church before, and she got caught up in the line at my sister's wedding. we get back to our seats, she grabs me by the arm, shows me the wafer, and asks me what to do with it.

Poor dear didn't mean to offend anyone.

twillight said...

I bet he was taken hostage Jesus! So funny a thought for me :)

Ian said...

Well, what about me? I was baptized and confirmed Catholic and went to Church every Sunday until I was 18 (although I don't think I ever believed much of it, as I can remember being 8 years old and wondering why the Bible was dead wrong about things like astronomy and the dinosaurs).

Anyway, I never go to church anymore and consider myself an atheist, but I was in church for a wedding with my arch-Catholic grandmother there, so in order to not offend her (she still thinks I pray to Jesus every night) I got in line and ate the wafer.

So I'm confused: was that sacrilege or not?

Miss Addict said...

There is actually a way out for non Catholics who find themselves stuck in this situation. You cross your arms across your chest (hand on opposite shoulder) and the priest will bless you instead of giving you a host.

In the case of Harper that would probably have been the best out but I don't think its a well known thing that you can do it.

Ah all those years of Catholic schooling.. pity I didn't learn anything useful!

Matthew Blanchette said...

Ah, well; it's pretty much tasteless (the wafer itself, not the act) either way.

Blue Mako said...

1. Stick a nail through it and throw it in the trash.
2. Get shitloads of hate mail
3. ???
4. Laugh your ass off at people claiming crackers are sacred.

Hey, it worked for PZ Myers...

TWF said...

Back when I was still on the edge of belief, I went to a Catholic service with some other family members. Not wanting to be the only guy sitting in the pew all alone when the rest took communion, I got in line and took the host in my mouth, and started to head back to my pew while I chewed and swallowed.

Well, I guess my Methodist background didn't give me the knowledge to do this right, because the priest detected something was wrong with me. He stopped the service and chased me up the aisle to ask me what I did with the host. I staggered with my "I.. ate it" reply due to the surprise that he had chased me. He turned away with a disgusted look and went back to serve the rest of the church.

I was embarrassed, but I was also laughing internally. It was only a few months later when I realized how great a "sin" I had just committed! ;-)

Lowell said...

He could have handed it back to the priest and said "Thanks, but no thanks, my heart belongs to Ritz."

Karen said...

They have been [i]very[/i] insistant that [i]of course[/i] he ate it ... although I suspect it might have been [i]after[/i] the media got ahold of this story and he located it again in his suit pocket! There are about 13 million Catholics in Canada, and Harper's election victory in 2006 was partly attributed to his strong showing among evangelical Protestants and church-going Catholics. Enough said.

I'm not Catholic, but I am a devout Protestant, and communion is meaningful to me ... but I have nothing but empathy for this guy. I've been there, and I don't think he meant to be disrespectful. He didn't even have the option to get in a line like the rest of us who have accidentally wandered up there: they came to him in the front row with a TV camera right on him!

If he takes it and eats it, people want to know why he is taking Catholic communion when he is not Catholic. If he takes it and hides it, people want to know what he did with Christ's real presence, which is what Catholics believe the wafer becomes. And if he hands it back or decines it in any other way than to get a blessing, people would want to know why he thinks his "sin" don't stink and he doesn't need God's forgiveness?

I Am said...

The original video is no longer on YouTube for copyright reasons. Here's a report about it posted on YouTube, with a close-up showing he took it but apparently never ate it. There are also other full clips on YouTube, but I suspect they'll be taken down too since the first one was.

It's scary to think that people still really think those wafers are more than just symbolic, and that this could become a huge political scandal.

I am the wise fool, sorry to hear about your experience. That was horrible to try to single you out like that. The very few times I do go to church these days, if there's communion, I do just sit in the pews. Harper didn't have that option, the priest came right to him so he had to take it.

Miss Addict, thanks for the explanation, I had never heard of that. Hopefully I won't need to know that, but it's good to know that option exists at least!

Ian G., obviously since the wafer is just a wafer, you don't have to worry about sacrilege. If your grandmother does ever find out you're not a believer, she doesn't need to know that you weren't when you were at the wedding.

I fortunately haven't been in a situation where my very religious grandmother was there when communion was handed out. I don't know what the other people have thought of me not taking communion, but I have one other relative who doesn't take communion sometimes. We've never talked about it, so I don't know why.

All this trouble about such a silly tradition of pretending to eat flesh.

Steve Wells said...

Thanks I am. I didn't know the video had been removed.

I replaced it with the link you provided. Hopefully this one will stay up for a while.

Chris said...

As a former minister and current freethinker, I still find myself in these awkward moments when attending (rarely) with my wife. I address some of this silliness in a segment of "Nature Chaplain" on YouTube. Mr. Harper had to swallow a bit of reality in the fantasy there and I feel for him.