Friday, July 23, 2010

Just when you thought you had heard it all...

A dog has received communion at an Anglican parish in Toronto. Pets are permitted in the church.

“The minister welcomed me and said come up and take communion, and Trapper [the dog] came up with me and the minister gave him communion as well,” said Donald Keith, the dog’s owner. “Then he bent his head and said a little prayer.”

"I thought it was a nice way to welcome me into the church,” said Mr. Keith, a new member. “99.9% of the people in the church love Trapper, and the kids play with him.”

Following a parishioner’s complaint, the local Anglican bishop decided that Trapper would not receive communion again, though he will continue to be welcome at church.

Peggy Needham, the deputy people’s warden at the parish, told the Toronto Sun that the parish supported Mr. Keith.

“The backlash is from just one person. Something happened that won’t happen again. Something our interim priest did spontaneously,” she said.

“This person went to the top and e-mailed our bishop to make a fuss and change things,” she added. “But he misjudged our congregation.”


  1. Anglican priets cannot validly confect the Eucharist. Per the September 13, 1896 Bull called Apostolicae Curae in which Pope Leo XIII declared Anglican Orders invalid.

    Even so, to purport to give Holy Communion to an animal shows a tremendous lack of respect for the Sacrament. I think it's fine to bless animals (e.g. Feast of St. Francis) who are given by God as helpers and companions to us, but the Eucharist goes too far!

  2. The dog did not receive Holy Communion, but a piece of bread, because Anglican orders are invalid.

    When I read these kinds of things and the schism they are forcing among their own faithful by ordaining women, allowing gay marriage and now this, I am not surprised at all that large numbers of Anglicans want to come home.

  3. William and Anonymous, you are missing something important.

    "Invalid" does not necessarily mean "ineffective." Just because Anglican orders were declared invalid does not mean God cannot work through them (what a ridiculous--and Donatist--idea that would be).

    Whether this Eucharist was effective or not, and therefore more than Anonymous' "piece of bread," is beyond either my capacity or his to say, though William is surely right in saying that it was a grave offense to give anything even purporting to be the body of Christ to an animal, who does not need it (not having the capacity to sin) and who cannot value it or receive it worthily.

    The Anglican collapse is a terrible thing to witness, but let's be clear about the theological technicalities involved. In the interests of making it easier for Anglo-Catholics to "come home" (which I think is a wonderful idea, btw), one might consider being a bit more charitable, at the very least, about the communions they have been making faithfully for very many years. "Piece of bread" is not a term calculated to induce a friendly disposition in them (and again, is beyond our capacity to determine anyway).

  4. Paul, depends on what you're saying 'effective' means. If you're
    saying that even though Anglican orders are not valid somehow
    the Real Presence was confected in this Toronto church--well, no.
    I believe that it is indeed beyond your capacity to say that it might
    be, but certainly not beyond the capacity of Leo XIII.

    Were I to enter this Toronto church, I would maintain the same
    decorum I would maintain in my own parish, naturally. However,
    I would see no need to genuflect or to adore their host on the off-
    chance that this particular Eucharist was somehow validly confected.
    I would also never think to offer that bread to a dog, for while that
    bread is not the Sacrament, it is a sacramental, and demands