Opinion Brief

Communion for dogs?

A Canadian priest's decision to give a mutt a communion wafer has some Christians panting with fury

In Canada, Christianity is literally going to the dogs. Reverend Marguerite Rea of St. Peter's Anglican Church in Toronto sparked outrage last week after administering holy communion to Donald Keith, 56, and his four-year-old German Shepherd mix, Trapper. "The whole thing was all very innocent," Keith told the Toronto Star, adding that it made people "smile." But some parishioners and church officials have condemned the act as "misguided" and "shocking," and Rev. Rea has since apologized. Do dogs deserve to be included in sacred rituals?

Why the outrage? Rev. Rea shouldn't have to apologize, says Jeff Mackey in Opposing Views. "She should be applauded for recognizing that animals are included in God's infinite love." This is "something that compassionate people of faith already understand and others should hear."
"Priests shouldn't apologize for giving dog communion"

Jesus would not acknowledge pet piety: It's troubling that people are trying to "justify the act as something Jesus himself would approve," says Joe Carter in First Things. Christ wasn't "some happy-go-lucky hippie that just liked to see people smile." Though "I can appreciate not letting elective religious practices get in the way of welcoming a newcomer to church," bringing "disrespect to the Lord’s table is not something to be taken lightly."
"Anglican communion going to the dogs"

Let's get serious: I'd normally dismiss this as "silly," says Canadian lawyer James C. Morton on his website. But the "theological thinking" that would "lead a priest to give communion to a dog" is far from trivial. Had Rev. Rae done so because she "saw a radical connection among all creatures in the circle of life," it would have been a "serious and engaged" act. But if a priest "doesn't think communion is serious, why should anyone else?"
"A dog's communion"

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