Communion dog

communion wafers


–And in a moment of weakness… I prayed to the Virgin Mother to soothe Charly’s soul in his hour of suffering.
–You understand an animal has no immortal soul.
–I understand, mon pere.
–Yet you flout God’s law.
–I’m weak and a sinner.
–What else?
–Impure thoughts…. The woman who runs the chocolaterie.
–Vianne Rocher?
–She suggested I buy chocolate seashells… for the widow Audel. And, well… I guess that got me to thinking about the widow Audel.
–At her age? At your age?
–Yes. And yes.
–And just what were you doing in a chocolaterie during Lent?
—It was for Charly.
–Again you flout God’s law.
–Well, but if Charly has no soul… then there’s no harm in him breaking Lent. Isn’t that so, mon pere?
(from Chocolat)

When I saw this story in today’s news, I couldn’t help but remember the above confessional scene.  Apparently, an Anglican priest offered a man and his dog the communion wafer.  The priest explained it as an act of welcome for a man who was not a regular member of the church and thought nothing of the dog.

Most members of the congregation, it seems, were charmed by the act, but at least one was offended enough to file formal complaint and leave the congregation entirely.  Apparently the church offers yearly services for animals, so I’m not sure how much this “act” really departs from the church’s normal activities…

So I guess I don’t understand the issue?  It’s not like anyone involved was considering the dog’s immortal soul, and the act made the man feel more welcome.  If welcoming him and his dog brings him into the arms of the church, isn’t that a good thing?  Isn’t Christianity driven in part by the hope of converting everyone?

Is it really so terribly offensive?  After all, doesn’t the true meaning of communion lie within the heart and soul of the receiver, moreso than in the largely symbolic wafer itself?

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2 Responses to “Communion dog”
  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly. As a former Catholic, I can understand where the offended person came from, meaning that the wafer once consecrated is considered the body of Christ. However, I think that sometimes we get caught up in religious traditions and rituals instead of caring for the person itself. I’m not 100% sure of this, but I suspect Jesus was not offended by the dog eating the wafer and actually celebrated the man’s attempted to join the faith. My two cents.

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