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On Harper and “Wafer-Gate”

For those that don’t know, there’s a big brouhaha today over this:

A senior New Brunswick Roman Catholic priest is demanding the Prime Minister’s Office explain what happened to the sacramental communion wafer Stephen Harper was given at Roméo LeBlanc’s funeral mass. During communion at the solemn and dignified service held last Friday in Memramcook for the former governor general, the prime minister slipped the thin wafer that Catholics call “the host” into his jacket pocket. In Catholic understanding, the host – once consecrated by a priest for the Eucharist – becomes the body and blood of Jesus Christ. It is crucial that the small wafer be consumed when it is received…Monsignor Brian Henneberry, vicar general and chancellor in the Diocese of Saint John, wants to know whether the prime minister consumed the host and, if not, what happened to it. If Harper accepted the host but did not consume it, “it’s worse than a faux pas, it’s a scandal from the Catholic point of view,” he said.

The Prime Minister’s Office has immediately put out a statement saying he did indeed consume the communion wafer, but the video evidence, as they say at Maclean’s, is inconclusive over that claim.

Personally, I’m more insulted that Chalk River is going to be down til probably 2010 without producing medical isotopes, when the official Lisa Raitt- Conservative approved line has been 3 months. I’m also not Catholic, and I’m not up on every ceremony the Catholic Church does or the meaning behind them. However, the Prime Minister, unlike me, should at least be aware of the protocols involved when in this situation. Maybe Harper should get someone on staff that know other religious protocols so he doesn’t screw things like this up.

I think this story shows Harper how he tries to pander to every identifiable group out there to get his Conservative Party votes, and/or shows how ignorant he and his advisers can be of said group’s traditions.


8 comments to On Harper and “Wafer-Gate”

  • kwittet


    Is everything a “gate” to you? It is really sad that our political system has sunk so low as to have losers like this in office and in opposition and the we have to GATE everything. You drag every little tiny thing out and tryu top blow it up into more than what it is and it usually just peters out. Then you are off on the next gate whatever that is. I look down the right side of this page and all I see is Liberal slogans but never in the reading do I read or see anything constructive about what you think your party should be doing to make things better or if and when they get into power and real policy that is going to help Canadians.
    You slam the CPC for their attack ads as of late yet thats all this blog spews is negativity and attacks on a man who I dont think is doing a great job but I dont think he hates Canada either. You say he has his own version of canada. Well…does the LPC not have its own view of how Canada should be? Is it not ok for everyone to have their own views.
    I respect the liberal party for many things that they have done for canadians over the year and equally as much respect for the CPC also.
    We survived the Trudeau years which were not the best, same for Mulrouney, in my opinion we made it past the Chretien years which if memory serves me correct there were so many scandals that I have to go three generations deep to have enough fingers and toes to count them and we will survive Harper also. And if and when Iggy gets his chance we will see if he is any better. I am sure of one thing. If he is like Dalton he will be blaming Harper well into his second term if he gets a second chance.
    Its what socialsists do…ALWAYS blame someone else then raise taxes.

    • I can’t take credit for the Wafergate moniker. Someone over at Macleans penned it.. which is why I put it in quotations when I used it.

      • kwittet

        @Scott Tribe, Macleans..that explains everything. You could NOT keep it going. This story is a non issue. I remeber going to a catholic whatever it was when i was a cub scout and when handed the wafer i ate parents were appaled. I didnt know what to do and I think most non catholics dont either. 98% of canadians dont care about these tiny little gaffs.
        Make for good fodder for tabloid blogging though!!

    • Jon Pertwee

      @kwittet, “Its what socialsists do…ALWAYS blame someone else then raise taxes.”

      So when Harper inevitably has to raise the GST because his “deficit plan to surplus” fails to work does that make him a socialsist? It’s open record that he loves to blame others whenever the opportunity arises; just like he always has an aide to fall on the sword when he screws up. Face it Kwittet, this may not affect you but it is just another case of Stephen Harper showing a lack of suitability for his position. I do have to admit that I did laugh quite a bit at how soon he had to apologize for his snafu regarding the Ignatieff quote but that seems to be his modus operandi on the world stage; bumble and stumble.

      I find it funny that you accuse this blog of spewing hate. Many times Scott has stepped in to keep the discourse above the waterline and whether you like it or not, many Canadians as of late wonder if Harper really does have a vision for Canada rather than a giant firehouse sale. You havent really put forth an effective counterpoint other than a response of “that explains everything”. Well, it doesn’t. Your response explains nothing. Are you going to rely on the whole “liberal media bias” theory? Well considering over 80% of Canadian media is owned by conservative backers, that point is moot. Are you going to explain that Harper is entitled to force his vision of Canada onto all Canadians without fairness or participation? Are you going to illustrate how spending stimulus money in primarily Conservative ridings is good for all of Canada? Really? In three years? You can bring up the Liberals all you want and there are many points where you are right but this government is acting like they are on warp speed. That is proving to be a collossal error on the domestic and international fronts. Mr Harper, unlike his predecessors is a pale shade of a prime minister.

      In regards to your “catholic whatever” response there is the crux of the whole problem. You may not find it a big deal but catholicism is the largest religious denomination in Canada. Some of them find it a bigger deal than you. As Canadians we are supposed to have a tolerance towards others views and this includes not being insensitive to their religion nor brushing off their concerns due to your own ignorance. As an atheist, I put up with religious stuff all the day; it’s not my bag but I respect other’s religious views. As an atheist, I can also tell you how important religious tolerance and respect is.

      Why do conservative supporters always talk about “98% of Canadians” or “the majority of Canadians” or “real Canadians” when they try to discount a point? Really, you havent spoken to me or all of Canada so how do you know. Is there a “polling kit” that you get issued with the “talking points kit” from the CPC? So really, all you can speak for is one Canadian and one Canadian only. So really what you are saying is “Kwittet (doesn’t) care about these tiny little gaffs”.

      I thought so.

  • Stan

    You guys are actually this stunned?


  • EM

    It’s sad that the Reform sect of ‘Christians’ demonstrate such ignorance of major religions and other Canadians.
    It’s outright hostility sometimes, e.g.towards Islam and Muslims.

  • foottothefire

    “Wafergate”! Fantastic. First time I’ve bust out laughing at a blog…..Great post again Scott!

  • I’ve seen the video and I’m pretty sure he pocketed it…and I’m an atheist who could care less about the host.

    My main concern is:

    1) The Knee-jerk relex to lie and deny by Soudas and the PMO…they seem to do it quite often.
    2) Many of the BT and CPC supporters poo-pooing this were the same ones who were apoplectic when PZ Meyers did the same thing a few months back.

    IOKIYAC eh?

    Hypocrisy, they name is Conservative.

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