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Friday, July 23, 2010

Canem Law

Having long argued the Anglican Church is going to the dogs, this story hardly comes as a surprise.
St. Peter’s Anglican Church has long been known as an open and inclusive place.

So open, it seems, they won’t turn anyone away. Not even a dog.

That’s how a blessed canine ended up receiving communion from interim priest Rev. Marguerite Rea during a morning service the last Sunday in June.

According to those in attendance at the historical church at 188 Carlton St. in downtown Toronto, it was a spontaneous gesture, one intended to make both the dog and its owner – a first timer at the church — feel welcomed.
Ah yes, blessed inclusivity! When I was a young Episcopalian, only those confirmed into the church were permitted to receive. Later, in the disastrous year of 1976, the Episcopalians, as did other Anglicans, opened up Communion to "all baptized Christians." In the past ten years or so, more and more Episcopal and Anglican churches have dispensed with even that requirement, administering the host to just about anyone who shuffles up to the altar on his own two (and now, apparently, four) feet.

Communion for all (it's so inclusive, so egalitarian!) ultimately of course renders the sacrament meaningless, a point confirmed, inadvertently perhaps, by a parishioner who, while expressing surprise at witnessing the sacrilege committed by the priestess, as she placed the host on the "dog's wagging tongue" (at least the critter received correctly), nevertheless insisted "nobody felt like it was a big deal, because it wasn’t a big deal,” which pretty much describes the state of the Anglican church these days.


The young fogey said...

I saw that and didn’t blog it because it wouldn’t be fair. It was between the offending minister and her bishop and he handled it fine. Those things happen. Around here the Episcopalians did the right thing: legend has it a blueblood left a parish in a huff because it wouldn’t bury her dead horse on church grounds. So loopiness from individual Anglicans is nothing new.

Of course the answer is dogs have no original sin on their souls - they’re not responsible for what they do, unlike us - so they don’t need sacraments.

Ecce panis angelorum,
Factus cibus viatorum,
Vere panis filiorum,
Non mittendus canibus.

Behold the bread of angels,
Made food for wayfarers,
Truly bread for the children,
Not to be given to the dogs.

The Bovina Bloviator said...

I saw that and didn't blog it because it wouldn't be fair.

You're a much nicer blogger than I. Somebody, though, had to blog it so I guess it fell to my lot. I was actually bothered more by the blasé attitude of the parishioner than by the act itself.

In my former Episcopal parish, perhaps the only "orthodox" Anglo-Catholic parish in upstate NY, I remember an old couple who asked the priest to conduct a burial service for their dear departed doggie. He declined for the very reasons you cite: no soul, no sin, no salvation, no mass. Nevertheless, the couple was outraged and also left the parish, for a happy-clappy low church nearby where, I am sure they are much happier.

Robbo said...

I saw that and didn't blog because everybody else beat me to it. Thank Heaven it wasn't the wine instead of the wafer! Slurp! Slurp! Slurp!

When I accompany the family to Robbo's Former Episcopal Church, I sit and stare quietly at the ceiling during Communion. I believe the fact that I decline to participate puzzles my former fellow parishioners more than anything else about my swimming, largely because of this policy of blasé inclusiveness. To them it's no big deal, so why should it be to me?