Anglican eucharist for the “other specied”

About eucharistic communion for the "other specied" members.

I learned this morning about an Anglican giving their version of communion to a dog! 

If you are worried about Our Lord’s admonition in Matthew 7:6, don’t.  No sacrament was violated because Anglicans don’t validly consecrate anything … women or bread and wine.  No canonical process at the CDF for them!   But I am getting far afield.

I found this item in the Toronto Star:

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 [A priestess is involved!  Who could have known?] 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. But at least one parishioner saw the act as an affront to the rules and regulations of the Anglican Church. He filed a complaint with the reverend and with the Anglican Diocese of Toronto about the incident – and has since left the church. [Lest we forget that Anglicans also have tribunals, not just the Catholic Church’s CDF.  And has anyone wondered why the dog was in church?  Was this a service dog for the blind?  Apparently not.]


According to the account Yu heard, the man asked the reverend to give the dog a wafer. But Needham says she doesn’t recall the man making such a request. Instead, she said Rev. Rea instinctively leaned over and placed a wafer on the dog’s wagging tongue. [This is the relational wisdom that women will surely bring to the priesthood!]

“I think it was this natural reaction: here’s this dog, and he’s just looking up, and she’s giving the wafers to people and she just gave one to him,” said Needham. “Anybody might have done that. It’s not like she’s trying to create a revolution.” [Let’s all sing: "… non mittendum canibuuuuuus…"]


I am reminded of the case, reported with glee, of Episcopalians in Pennsylvania during their "Canoeing for Creation" liturgy throwing their communion to the happy geese on the Schuylkill River.

Seriously, are the Anglicans/Episcopalians going to have to bolster their parish registries with "othered specied" members? 

There was also the case of some Anglicans in Canada sharing their communion with the geese when they were bobbing around in kayaks… but I can’t find that link.  Anyone?  Can you find it?  Let’s call it a Z-Hunt!

Given the number of wacky folks in the Catholic Church today… and do we wonder if some Extraordinary Minister of Communion never gave a Host to Fido? … I am compelled to remind you readers that Holy Catholic Church has norms for dealing with this sort of thing.

Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

Repeat with me…. Anglicanorum coetibus… Anglicanorum coetibus…

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Leonius says:

    I can picture the Franciscans pulling this, tey already have “bring you pets to mass” masses.

  2. andyb says:

    Yes, but does this give new meaning to Matthew 15:27?

    27 But she said: Yea, Lord; for the whelps also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters.

  3. youngcatholicstl says:

    “She said Rev. Rea instinctively leaned over and placed a wafer on the dog’s wagging tongue.”

    I didn’t realize the Anglicans still permitted communion on the tongue.

  4. brianwalden says:

    I can’t believe that they, not just the reporter, call the host a wafer. Deputy people’s warden Peggy Needham called the Eucharist a wafer in a direct quote (btw… what’s a deputy people’s warden?). I know that most Anglicans don’t believe in transubstantiation, but I dunno, doesn’t the symbolic meaning imparted by their consecration merit calling it something more than just a wafer. Or is that just an Anglican thing, like they call it a wafer to contrast it with the Catholic belief to kind of emphasize that it’s still just bread after the consecration.

  5. “Do not give dogs what is holy.” (Matthew— oh, does it even matter anymore?)

  6. stpetric says:

    Oy. Just oy.

  7. AnnaTrad51 says:

    [This is the relational wisdom that women will surely bring to the priesthood!]

    Father I agree completely that a woman can not be ordained by the will of God,it was given to an ordained man to become Alterchristi but this remark is beneath you.

  8. Archicantor says:

    Well, we Canadian Anglicans have practised ecumenical Eucharistic hospitality for some time now. According to resolution 45 of the 1968 Lambeth Conference, the local bishop simply has to be satisfied that non-Anglicans who seek the sacrament are “duly baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity and qualified to receive Holy Communion in their own Churches”. Perhaps the assembled bishops overlooked the question of species, but then they didn’t include any explicit limitations either… What would be the strict constructionist approach here? Of course, it would be an entirely different matter if this were an Anglican dog. Then it would have to have been confirmed before receiving communion. :)

    I’m trying to laugh, but I’m starting to cry. I need to go and offer prayers of reparation now for my idiotic coreligionists. Can someone please get fired over this? What’s that you say? Something about “chay-tee-boos”?

  9. Emilio III says:

    Anna, the expression is not Fr. Z’s, but from an NCR article “Compromised hierarchy needs relational wisdom of women”

    So every time a priestess does something silly the question comes up: Is this what they meant by relational wisdom?

  10. AnAmericanMother says:


    A “people’s warden” is one of the vestrymen (members of the parish council) elected by the people of the congregation at the annual parish meeting. The other kind of warden is a “rector’s warden”, appointed by the clergy. “Deputy” appears to be the equivalent of “assistant”.

    Some dioceses (like ECUSA Atlanta) call for election of all wardens, in which case they are “senior warden” and “junior warden”.

    Wardens are supposed to prevent “riotous, violent, or indecent behaviour” in church. I think this qualifies.

    Christopher Johnson of the Midwest Conservative Journal developed “Johnson’s Law”, which is the principle that it is impossible to parody the Episcopal Church because they get ahead of you every time.

    We are well out of that madhouse. Sorry we stayed as long as we did.

    Also: how does a dog’s tongue “wag”? Mine have tails that wag, but their tongues just pant. And lap. Sometimes they “bell” if they get very overheated.

  11. basilorat says:

    Why is this a surprise to ANYONE? This is just the logical next step!

  12. luiz says:

    Anglicanorum coetibus…


    Anglicanorum canibus! lol

  13. wanda says:

    Whew, tzard, you’re fast! Good one, luiz! LOL.

  14. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Well, to be charitable, perhaps the Schuykill folks were trying to live up to “cast thy bread upon the running waters” (Eccl 11:1). Then again, given what I saw when I was young, foolish and Angican (but I repeat myself), that’s none too likely. Any religion that believes it can rewrite the natural law has a grim prognosis.

  15. FrCharles says:

    From where I stand in ministry, I think this is becoming a serious pastoral issue. More and more I observe affluent people deciding to have pets rather than children, and so come the inquiries and demands for the pastoral care of the animals. Twice I have been asked to administer the Anointing of the Sick to an animal, and several times received inquiries about Masses being offered for departed pets. I interpret it as another rotten fruit of artificial contraception.

  16. asperges says:

    “Non mittendus canibus!” – St Thomas Aquinas. (Should be corrected to “manibus” post Vat II.)

  17. THREEHEARTS says:

    I hope you are not sneering at the pseudo-christians Father Z. In the Vancouver Diocese, and you can check with the Priest you stayed with here. The newspaper interviewed an asian male at the front on the Sunday Morning. While they were talking his sister showed up with guess what the Eucharist. He said since he received the Eucharist from her he had not missed mass. The Local Ordinary said nothing, at least he never answered my letter and I found not one criticism anywhere. At about the same time a similar person was chased up the aisle by the priest and was stopped from wrapping the Host in a Kleenex and placing it in her purse. Her reason was the family dog was sick. I used to find the host after mass hidden in hymn books and just placed in the Prayer book shelf in the pews. The Parish priest was not concerned. He did say I was crazy, even when I brought him the proof that an extra-to the ordinary minister of the Eucharist, the leader of the charismatic Prayer Group, had given a host to a 5 year old boy who gave it to his mother who again wrapped it in Kleenex. He would not challenge the family and would not come out of the presbytery to meet with the family involved.

  18. MWindsor says:

    Seriously, are the Anglicans/Episcopalians going to have to bolster their parish registries with “othered specied” members?

    They’ll do it if the dog has money enough to help pay the lawyers.

  19. AnAmericanMother says:

    Oh, dear, Fr Charles, that’s very unfortunate.

    I love my dogs, they’re affectionate, well-trained, and hardworking. But they’re only dogs, after all. They get their blessing in the outdoor chapel on St. Francis’s feast day, and that’s it. They certainly never darken the door of the church ( . . . Monsignor would slay us all with a glance . . . )

    Even Fr. Eddi who worked for St. Wilfrid only made a cross in holy water on Padda’s muzzle! (Kipling’s “The Conversion of St. Wilfrid”)

  20. AnAmericanMother says:

    Seriously, are the Anglicans/Episcopalians going to have to bolster their parish registries with “othered specied” members?

    It isn’t a case of ‘have to’ — they will do anything to disguise the declining numbers. They include dead people and folks like us who told them to take us off the rolls almost seven years ago . . . . so why not the critters?

    The Piskies are as bad as the “Plain Truth” magazine (the old WWCG mag) — once you got on their mailing list you could never get off.

  21. Supertradmum says:

    I guess this priestess has redefined what it means to be “liberal”. Part of this craziness is the blurring of distinctions between the dignity of animals and the greater dignity of human beings. Many people in the pew now believe either that the soul of the animal is the same as that of a human, or that humans, like animals, do not have immortal souls.

    The whole episode is icky.

  22. Ceile De says:

    Without wishing to distract from the seriousness of the story, I am reminded by it of the joke about the man whose dog died and who requested a Catholic funeral service from his local parish priest.

    “Get away of of here”, said the priest, “maybe you could try the Unitarians”. “OK”, said the man, “that’s a pity but I will try them. I suppose I should make my $10,000 donation out to them instead in that case.”

    “Hold on now” replies the priest, “come in and sit down. Why didn’t you mention that your dog was Catholic.”

    (An old one, I know.)

  23. shadowlands says:

    priestess: “body of Christ”

    doggy: “Woof”

  24. Tantum Ergo says:

    Someone’s barking, Lord, Kum-by-ya…
    Someone’ honking, Lord, Kum-by-ya…
    Someone’s meowing, Lord, Kumby-ya …
    O, Lord, Kum-by- yaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

  25. “Rev. Rea instinctively leaned over and placed a wafer on the dog’s wagging tongue.”

    A wagging tongue? Uhhh… You sure you put that wafer in his mouth, Madam Reverend? He didn’t appear to be blowing you a kiss, did he?

  26. Jason says:

    I know the sacraments mocked by this false church are invalid but it sickens my stomach to read of even a fake Eucharist being given to a dog by a woman dressed up like a priest. Nobody can convince me that it is not satanic.

    I hope the good fellow who reported it and “left the ‘church'” has since made his way to a good Catholic priest to begin his conversion to the One Church.

    As for the rest of the Anglicans, as Fr. Z says, Anglicanorum coetibus, Anglicanorum coetibus, Anglicanorum coetibus

  27. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    One would hope that the “wagging tongue” was, as it is among us humans, taken as an indication that the communicant was at least a being with a rational soul – think of St. Christopher Cynocephalus (St. Odoric of Friuli, in the sensible, straightforward Latin relation of his travels in the Far East written after his return in 1330 soberly reports having encountered Cynocephali…), but one fears this is not the true explanation.

  28. When the Holy Father stated that Catholics are not permitted to use God’s name during Catholic Liturgies, alot of non-Catholic Christians were enraged and insulting in their comments (on an american journalist’s site) until I pointed out that the pope’s rules applies to Catholics during Catholic liturgies and is not enforcebale outside the Catholic church.

    This happened in another denomination, and NOT in a Catholic Church. Although it further prevents the unification of the two congregations, it has no affect on the Catholic Church itself.

    Further, as catholics we believe that our communion is the body and blood soul and divinity of our blessed Lord, but WE catholics also beleive that the Anglican communion wafer is NOT the body and blood soul and divinity of our Lord – so, as I told the protestants complaining about Catholic rules, Why do you care? THe dog got nothing more than a wafer.

    Now if a Cathoic or Orthodox priest gave our communion to a dog, then their would be something horrendous in the eyes of a Catholic.

  29. Penguins Fan says:

    What Henry Tudor has wrought…………

  30. Tim Ferguson says:

    Youuuuuu satisfy the panting dog,
    with gift of plain old wheat,
    we know God-dog is a palindrome,
    So give the beast a treat!

    As when the boy fell down the well,
    Ol’ Lassie saved the day,
    and Nipper with the gramaphone,
    heard Master and obeyed.

    Please satisfy ol’ Rover here,
    he’s really just a stray,
    your crackers in that ciborium
    aren’t valid anyway.

    [ROFL! Did it again…. !]

  31. jarthurcrank says:

    N.B. Paul Inwood’s response at Pray Tell. Will his next composition be “Alleluia (Arf! Arf!)”?

  32. Jordanes says:

    AnAmericanMotner: The Piskies are as bad as the “Plain Truth” magazine (the old WWCG mag)—once you got on their mailing list you could never get off.

    I didn’t have any trouble getting off the Plain Truth mailing list. I’ve never been on an Episky mailing list.

  33. RichardT says:

    See the comments under this post for the potential benefits of dogs in Church:

  34. chloesmom says:

    Reminds me of a wedding I played for once where the ring-bearer was a dog. He was beautifully groomed, and quite a bit more reverent than many folks in the congregation. There’s a photograph of him in our rectory, sitting quietly in the sanctuary next to our pastor. No one saw anything wrong with this, so this story, while pretty horrific, is sadly not surprising. The slope gets more slippery all the time. (For the record, I love dogs – but they just don’t belong in church. Even the annual Blessing of the Pets is held at our local Community Centre rather than in church.)

  35. AnAmericanMother says:

    It would be extremely tempting to have my oldest Lab act as ring-bearer at my daughter’s wedding. She would conduct herself impeccably (she is highly trained in retrieving, agility and obedience and already delivers all birthday cards and Easter baskets without leaving so much as a toothmark).

    But as was said long ago in a radio show, “‘Tain’t fittin’, McGee!”

    The three Graces will just have to do a ribbon dance at the reception or something.

  36. AnAmericanMother says:


    It depends on how recently you got ON the Plain Truth mailing list. It was while Armstrong was alive that you couldn’t get off. I understand they’ve sold the magazine and it’s almost mainstream now.

  37. greg the beachcomber says:

    There was a woman in my former parish who brought her purse dog to Mass with her every Sunday. She’d leave it in the pew when she went up to receive Communion and hurry back afterward. While entirely inappropriate, the dog was well-behaved, and quieter than most parishioners. The dog’s owner was retired, the kids were gone and the dog seemed to be the new kid. I’ve seen this a few times, where seemingly sensible people get a little older and lose their minds over their pets. I guess they appreciate the constant companionship, and sort of lose perspective.

    Oh, and I feel sorry for any Anglicans who had to receive “communion” after the dog. Maybe that would leave a bad enough taste in their mouths for them to finally swim the Tiber. And shake from head to tail when they get out.

  38. Gail F says:

    Wow, Canoeing for Creation… the write-up says:

    “The familiar words of the Eucharist brought deep peace to us all. Then we sang dispersed. The remaining crumbs of our Lord’s consecrated Body were thrown to the swimming birds (mostly happy geese) by the priests–and for one shining blessed moment, which will now live forever in our hearts and minds, the Creation and the Created were one. ”

    Strange, but I thought the Creation and the Created were ALWAYS one.

  39. Jack Hughes says:

    and to think that I once considered becoming anglican before I became Catholic

  40. Supertradmum says:

    Tim Ferguson,

    Wow, and thanks, as I hate the original so much, I prefer your version….Can you do something with the Servant Song, which I also abhor? I think the doggie theme would fit. Or maybe a cat theme, or a turtle theme…

  41. YoungCatholic says:

    I wonder what Henry VIII , would say about what his church has become.

  42. Francis says:

    sick and sickening-

  43. Ellen says:

    A very holy priest I knew had a dog named Angel. She would come to daily Mass, and sit or lie quietly in the corner back of the church. When Mass was over, she’d rejoin Father and they’d go back home.

    What is it with people? There are the muslims who think dogs are unholy and then there are some silly Christians who give them communion. Thank God most of us are not at either extreme.

  44. AnAmericanMother says:

    Tim Ferguson,

    I’m howling here (and the dogs are looking at me funny).

    Can we get something in liver or peanut butter flavor for the dogz? Only kidding but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was next . . . .

  45. Iconophilios says:

    This reminds me so much of The Children of Men, where, in the book, there is brief mention of an Anglican priest baptizing kittens. Who thinks that that will be next?

  46. irishgirl says:

    This is…unbelievable.

    Fr. Charles-that’s pretty weird about people requesting the Last Anointing for their pets. Also the requesting of Masses after death. I’m a dog lover myself, but I wouldn’t go that far….although I did put some drops of Lourdes water on the head of my Jack Russell/hound mix when she got sick and I had to put her to sleep.

    Tim Ferguson-you are as creative with words as Vincenzo is with pictures! That is TOO FUNNY! Father Z was right in giving you the ‘Gold Star’! Outstanding!

  47. Alice says:

    When I first had a children’s choir, I thought I would give them a chance to pray for their own intentions during the end of practice prayer. The first week I had kids wanting to pray for dead dogs (I could tell they weren’t allowed to do this at home) so the next week we ended by singing the litany of saints with each child picking a favorite saint or five. (They love their saints.) Let me hasten to add that these kids hadn’t reached the age of reason yet, so they were just trying to pray for dead relatives like Mommies and Daddies do.

  48. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Two possibly related data:

    For some reason – I have never heard/read an explanation that I recall – there are numerous paintings of Dutch church interiors – after the ‘Reformation’ – which feature dogs, though this is the only one I could immediately find of a dog at a service:

    I suppose this is ‘realistic’ (though perhaps it could be an ‘interior with portrait of so-and-so’s dog’ like various portaits of the donors present at an event in Biblical history).

    I cannot imagine that their participation extended beyond practicng patience: alas, there are new things under the sun!

    But can anyone explain this?

    On the othee hand, there were, according to accounts from the Middle Ages, for the ‘Feast of Fools’, Masses in which the participants made animal noises: this was apparently strongly, but with difficulty, discouraged.

  49. Supertradmum says:

    I went to the Brompton Oratory in London for years and was married there, as it was my parish. Weekly, a lady brought her dog to Mass in a little basket-a little dog. The dog was quiet and the priests allowed it in the Church. Lady and dog were quite “famous”.

    In Rome, I saw dogs in the vestibules of some churches,(the Gesu for one), perhaps waiting for their masters who were at Mass, or perhaps strays. No one chased them away.

  50. Tom Ryan says:

    something to keep in mind if the start entering our Church, God willing, in droves.

    The man who complained might object but will everyone he brings with him?

  51. I don’t have anything in princple against bringing pets to Mass as long at they don’t cause a disturbance. Franciscans often have an animal blessing ceremony once a year, in which people bring their pets to Mass.

    And in Rome, literally right across the river from the Vatican, is San Giovanni dei Fiorentini, where the 7 pm Sunday Mass is open to pets. The Diocese of Rome doesn’t seem to mind.

    Especially with some elderly people, who have sometimes become mentally fragile and are distraught without their pets, it could be a great comfort for them if their “purse pooch” accompanied them to Mass.

    Of course, the pets should not be given communion. That should go without saying, but these are the times we live in.

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