Did Harper pocket the wafer?
A video posted on YouTube shows Harper taking the host, but does not show him swallowing it afterward. Soudas said he consumed the wafer seconds after taking it.
Harper is a Protestant and would not normally be given Roman Catholic communion, though it was unclear whether it could be appropriate on special occasions.
Henneberry said that 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.”
I notice the article didn't include a link to the video. They usually do. I wonder why not, this time?
Having grown up Catholic, it was made very clear to me that you could only go for communion after having had First Communion - that ceremonial even where little girls dressed like brides and boys in shirts and ties (I don't know if they still do it that way) and are given their first communion after having taking special classes and proving their knowledge of the importance and background of this sacred ritual. My mother in particular let me know that one had to be forgiven of sins as well. Whether that had anything to do with Church doctrine, I have no idea, but going to confession at least once a year was vital, and I came away believing that if I hadn't gone to confession, I wasn't worthy of communion. Years later, having stopped going to church regularly, I attended mass as part of a special event. When it came time for communion, I and my family stayed in our seats. My mother was surprised and asked me about it later. I told her why and she let it drop.
Personally, I no longer feel welcome in the Catholic church. I got married by a Justice of the Peace, which means the RC church does not recognise my marriage. I no longer attend mass. The only reason the kids got baptised was because it was important to the grandparents and getting it done got my mother off my back about it.
Having said that, I still respect the rituals. These things are important to a lot of people, and I can respect that.
I don't know how appropriate it was for a Protestant to take communion in a Catholic mass - I don't know enough about Protestants to say, but I do know that it is acceptable among the big 5 Christian faith groups to partake in each other's rituals and recognize each other's ceremonies, such as marriage. I can't even remember what the big 5 are, except RC and Anglican. So it may have been entirely acceptable for the PM to partake in communion.
That people jump to the conclusion that, in not seeing the PM eat the wafer in the short video clip meant that he pocketed it is just plain silly. I remember any number of people who would eat their wafer half way back to their seats. Some even waited until they reached their seats and ate it while kneeling in prayer. That fact that the PM eating it wasn't visible in the video (which I have yet to find and see) doesn't mean a thing.
As for "pocketing" the wafer, it's no where near the faux pas it's made out to be. It certainly isn't a scandal. My mother regularly "pockets" wafers. She gets an extra from the priest to take home to my father, who is no longer physically able to attend mass. Sometimes, she gets one for her sister, who is also unable to attend mass anymore. Yes, this is perfectly acceptable. Obviously the PM wouldn't be doing this, but it still wouldn't be that big of a deal. If anything, it would have been ignorance, not disrespect.
But hey, it's PM Harper. Can't let a good slag go by, even if it's nothing but supposition.
update: So I finally saw the video at http://www.thestar.com/videozone/662717 This is what I see - someone who had no idea what to do with the wafer. Since the wafer was in his hand before the view of the PM was blocked by the priest, then no longer in his hand after, he ate it then. He just needed to see the other guy eat his wafer to know what to do with it.
Personally, I'm more curious as to why he went for communion while holding a piece of paper in his hand. He clearly has no familiarity with RC rituals.