Church of Canada priestess gives communion to a dog

| | Comments (6)
communion distribution.jpgAND you wonder why fewer and fewer people take the Anglican Church (or the Episcopal Church if you are American) with a degree of seriousness. Recently a Church of Canada priestess gave communion to a German Shepherd as a "simple church act of reaching out." What a gesture of welcome! This act is not only contravening "church policy" as much as it is an acknowledgement that the real Presence of Christ is not a Reality for these people. Policy is has nothing to do with it, does it? But if the Anglicans of the Church of Canada simply believe Communion is a symbol or that it represents something else.... Sounds like Joseph Campbell, Derida and many Protestant theologians (e.g. Borg, Tillich and Bultmann) are patron saints of mere symbol and not of Jesus Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity.

What comes to mind is Flannery O'Connor's famous insight when she said to hell with a symbol. O'Connor said:

"I was once, five or six years ago, taken by some friends to have dinner with Mary McCarthy and her husband, Mr. Broadwater.... She departed the Church at the age of 15 and is a Big Intellectual.... Toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. Mrs. Broadwater said when she was a child and received the host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the most portable person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one. I then said, in a very shaky voice, "Well if it's a symbol, to hell with it." That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable."


I am a priest in the Episcopal Church in the US. The Anglican Communion does not have priestesses. I am sure that you know that. Perhaps you are just being sarcastic.

Personally, I would rather have my Church known for giving communion to a dog than for the fact that many of my priests molested children, in countries all over the world, and that my Bishops did all that they could to ignore complaints about the abuse, to hide the problem, and to protect the offending clergy.

Dear Lydia,

Thanks for writing. My response is noted on the blog.

Look forward to hearing from you.


It is clear from the 39 Articles of religion that the Anglicans believe that the communion wafer is just bread, and it is only through faith of the consumer that it becomes the body of Christ. I assume the dog had no faith, so to him it was just a treat. The 28th article states:

"XXVIII. Of the Lord's Supper.
THE Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves, one to another, but rather it is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ, and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ.
Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of bread and wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith.
The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped."

You says it right dear Lydia.There are lots of fundamental believes that should be respected and there are lots are restrictions that are forbidden in our church.Well I have to say that we should focus on more important matter.

I can be wrong, but I'm not sure about Derida, was he a protestant theologian for real? What his theory of deconstruction and linguistic research papers have to do with church things? Any way the problem of religion in modern society is drawing attention of different structures and institutions.

Dear Katherine, Thanks for reading and many thanks for writing. To clarify, I didn't say Jacques Derida was a Protestant theologian but indicated that he's line with many of the Protestant theologians who have spent some energy to deconstructing and reducing ethics, biblical narrative and theological paradox to absurdities. The example of the Canadian Anglican minister giving the Eucharistic bread to a dog is one example of this type of reductionism. Later in Derida's life, perhaps in the 90's, he started to get into matters of ethics and bible and applied his philosophy to theological matter. I don't consider Derida to be an adequate interlocutor with Christian theologians, Protestants, Orthodox & Catholics, let alone Jewish theologians. I think Derida leveled some criticism toward Emmanuel Levinas' moral philosophy and dismissed it, though cloaked in "good will."

You're correct, there's much attention devoted to matters of religion in contemporary society. Some of the critical inquiry is fair and necessary, a lot of is dribble. Catholicism, for example, is a religion that bridges the gap between faith and reason, but it is often attacked by ideologues. You likely know the good work of Communion & Liberation, Opus Dei and Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II on matters of faith and reason. Secularity is a gift we relish; secularism is ideology.

Advent blessings. PAX!

Leave a comment

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



Humanities Blog Directory

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Paul Zalonski published on July 27, 2010 11:30 AM.

Nuns land record deal was the previous entry in this blog.

The priest is a fighting man is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.