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Playing Hide and Seek with the Body of Christ, and with YouTube videos
July 9, 2009 3:50 PM   Subscribe

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has found himself in a bit of an imbroglio this week. Having attended the state funeral of former Governor General Romeo LeBlanc, the evangelical Harper has been accused of pocketing a communion wafer, an action considered "seriously offensive" by Catholics [scroll down for explanation]. But as professor of Internet and E-commerce law Michael Geist notes, the confusing thing about the controversy isn't whether the PM did or didn't eat the wafer (or even whether he should have been offered it in the first place), but rather why Societe Radio-Canada (the French name for the government-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) has yanked a video of the incident from YouTube.

Geist (who has explained copyright law for—and to!—the CBC before), says that "While other versions remain online, the [copyright infringement] takedown request by a news organization of a clip that should certainly qualify as fair dealing* is very problematic (and somewhat puzzling given that the video was a CPAC [Cable Public Affairs Channel] video, not Radio-Canada). News organizations depend upon fair dealing every day for their own coverage and should not be so quick to demand takedowns of newsworthy clips that should qualify for similar protection."

*Fair dealing is the Canadian term for fair use.
posted by ocherdraco (63 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Those crazy Canadians Catholics !!
posted by desjardins at 3:52 PM on July 9, 2009


Playing Hide and Seek with the Body of Christ

I am not Christian but man, this is just icky.
posted by desjardins at 3:52 PM on July 9, 2009


Playing Hide and Seek with the Body of Christ

Weekend at Bernie's Jesus'!

Also re: Harper? Christ, what an asshole.

And I would be astonished if the Radio-Canada thing was anything other than some Tory heavy saying "Nice (crumbling due to savage budget cuts) broadcasting corporation you got here. Shame if anything (more) happened to it."

Also, CPAC is entirely independent of government AFAIK, funded by cable companies, so I'd like to know what the fuck GoogleTube is thinking kowtowing to this stupidity.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:02 PM on July 9, 2009


Betcha can't eat just one!
posted by futureisunwritten at 4:04 PM on July 9, 2009


I am no fan of Harper, but Occam's razor would suggest that heads of state don't eat stuff unless it is cleared by security. The RCMP likely don't want to check out the body of Christ to see if it's fit for consumption. Seems reasonable to not make a big deal of that.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 4:11 PM on July 9, 2009


Vampire, Jew....or Jewish vampire?
posted by yoink at 4:18 PM on July 9, 2009


Good thing Harper isn't our head of state, weapons-grade pandemonium. That office is occupied by the Queen, with day-to-day responsibilities of such handled by the Governor General, currently Michaelle Jean.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:19 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I didn't vote for him ... but I stopped eating small pieces of Jesus a long time ago.
posted by philip-random at 4:20 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


er.. <>
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:20 PM on July 9, 2009


insert a /nitpick in there.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:20 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fuck! DNAB totally beat me to the head of state/head of government nitpick!
posted by mr_roboto at 4:21 PM on July 9, 2009


So what are you supposed to do when the body of christ comes out the other end?
posted by 2sheets at 4:22 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's the problem? He was just saving it for later in case he got a bit peckish for Jesus Corpse.
posted by Justinian at 4:22 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


the evangelical Harper has been accused of pocketing a communion wafer, an action considered "seriously offensive" by Catholics

One man's crazy superstition conflicts with another man's crazy superstition. Movie at 11.
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:25 PM on July 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Fair dealing is the Canadian term for fair use.
Fair dealing is the analogous Canadian concept to the American fair use. The big difference is that fair dealing is a set of enumerated rights, so there's not really such thing as a 'new' fair dealing, whereas fair use has the "four factor" test (purpose of use, nature of work, amount used, market effect). There are other differences, but that's the big one.

On this issue: I really wish the papers would stop talking. It's such frivolity - either he ate the cracker, in which case some catholics will be offended, or he didn't eat the cracker, in which case some catholics will be offended, and has an undertone of "Harper is awkward in social settings not known to him", which is both not exactly a new finding and kind of kicking a guy for not being smooth, which aspect of a person I don't want to matter.
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:28 PM on July 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


[petpeeve]Harper isn't a head of state![/petpeeve]

But also, I find it unlikely that security would be so tight around somebody like the PM of Canada. Politicians are always walking into random eateries and scarfing down whatever is being served so as to look like Ordinary Folks. I find it hard to believe that the mounties would advise a PM that a Catholic priest would be greater security risk than Burger Joint Guy. Especially since the exact same priest had just given communion to the actual (vice-regal) head of state.

I saw the video before it was taken down (sent to me by an enraged Catholic friend) and it looked to me like Harper was going for a handshake but got handed a communion wafer instead. He then looked nonplussed for a second and the camera cut away.

disclaimer: I, too, disagree with everything the man stands for.
posted by Dreadnought at 4:28 PM on July 9, 2009


If Marg, Princess Warrior (YT), can get close enough to snog Harper I seriously doubt security is all that tight.
posted by edgeways at 4:33 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Occam's razor would suggest that heads of state don't eat stuff unless it is cleared by security

Watching the video, what happened was pretty obviously that he went to shake the hand of the priest*, who was in a pretty businesslike mode of operation, promptly put the host in his hand.

Really, he should have known that during communion is not an appropriate time to greet the officiant, and that it's a time for non-Catholics (and catechumens and so on) to sit or stand quietly. Politicians get all kinds of things wrong, but this is pretty easy to get right.

Is it common for an RC church to do communion that way instead of having people come up to the altar-rail?

*Or deacon or whatever? Do RCs do that, or does only the officiating priest and maybe assisting priests hand out the host?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:39 PM on July 9, 2009


Sometimes Always a cracker is just a cracker.
posted by gurple at 4:43 PM on July 9, 2009


Overheard as Harper left: "Worst. Cookie. EVAR."
posted by GuyZero at 4:44 PM on July 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Really, he should have known that during communion is not an appropriate time to greet the officiant, and that it's a time for non-Catholics (and catechumens and so on) to sit or stand quietly. Politicians get all kinds of things wrong, but this is pretty easy to get right.

That's certainly a standard response, though I was taught that the best behavior is to cross your arms over your chest and receive a blessing. That way everybody understands you're neither a) Catholic, or b) bored and wanting to be somewhere else. Really, he should have somebody giving him quick lessons on how to behave in this/that situation. Taking the communion bread when you're not Catholic is a bad bad show.
posted by Sova at 5:04 PM on July 9, 2009


Harper should have been better briefed.

This shouldn't matter.
posted by Fraxas at 5:15 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have a cousin who worked in an Episcopal Church, which also practices the sacrament of communion. She insisted to me that they watched every single participant in Communion to ensure that they consumed the host to prevent people from using it for more nefarious purposes. Given that Satanists have been known to use consecrated hosts in their ceremonies, I can see why some Catholics are completely wigged out by what Harper did.
posted by jonp72 at 5:18 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


One man's crazy superstition conflicts with another man's crazy superstition. Movie at 11.

Politically awful for Harper (insert glee here) as many and maybe most Catholics in Canada are conservative, and his weak-ass minority government just got a little bit less support.

Dividing up the crazy superstitionists = good.
posted by rokusan at 5:21 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Harper should have been better briefed.

Dude, he's not a fucking Mormon.
posted by rokusan at 5:21 PM on July 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


“The Communion wafer starts as a host and becomes the body of Christ"

Unless you're a vegetarian Catholic, in which case it becomes the Broccoli of Christ.
posted by qvantamon at 5:25 PM on July 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Given that Satanists have been known to use consecrated hosts in their ceremonies, I can see why some Catholics are completely wigged out by what Harper did.

Really? I mean, you really think Harper's going to give that wafer to a bunch of satanists so they can practice their Black Mass?

The guy's a creep and all, but everyone involved in this story needs to chill out a little. It's one thing to deliberately offend someone (sneaking pork into an observant Jew's sandwich, say), it's another thing entirely to do the wrong thing out of basic cluelessness (not realizing that you should take off your shoes on walking into a mosque, say). To suggest that Harper was in any way acting out of malice or anti-Catholic sentiment is pretty absurd.
posted by yoink at 5:30 PM on July 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Harper is a dangerous authoritarian harbouring disastorous ideals -
but this is about the least significant action he's taken
(surprise! - he's a social buffoon ... who may or may not have a pulse)

it would be interesting to know why and how that video was pulled though -
that is a significant action
posted by sloe at 5:43 PM on July 9, 2009


I Marg.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:58 PM on July 9, 2009


More Marg.

Also, because it is traditional and necessary:

Fuck Stephen Harper. [spit]
posted by five fresh fish at 6:00 PM on July 9, 2009


marg delahunty must be canada's answer to molly ivins.

i can't imagine what that says about us....
posted by klanawa at 6:13 PM on July 9, 2009


Relax, people. He's just not into cannibalism.

As an ex-Catholic, I have to say this is the first time I've ever understood the man.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:20 PM on July 9, 2009


Even though I really loathe Harper, this has got to be the dumbest scandal ever.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:20 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are very strict rules about handling communion wafers in the Catholic religion. When my dad would go out on a cruise (in the Navy), there wouldn't always be a Catholic priest on board. Instead, a Catholic Navy Chaplain would pre-bless a bunch of wafers beforehand, and leave them in a lockbox in a safe in the ship's chapel. During the cruise, my dad would lead the Catholic service and dole out the host.

If you still had leftover wafers after the cruise was over, you couldn't just throw them out. In fact, you couldn't even let them leave the ship's chapel - because they couldn't leave consecrated ground once they're blessed, or something like that. And, for Chrissakes, you can't throw them away.

So my dad had to eat all of leftover communion crackers. After one cruise, he was left with three and a half ten-inch stacks of stale unleven wafers. That's a lot of Jesus for one sitting.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:52 PM on July 9, 2009 [11 favorites]


Can't you dip them all in salsa and have some Jesús instead?
posted by qvantamon at 6:57 PM on July 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


So my dad had to eat all of leftover communion crackers. After one cruise, he was left with three and a half ten-inch stacks of stale unleven wafers. That's a lot of Jesus for one sitting.

That's when you need the Holy Doggy Bag.
posted by yoink at 6:58 PM on July 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think the Canadian media is probably sick and tired of reporting about financial meltdowns, contracting economies, ballooning deficits, etc., and instead reports on this ridiculous pap.

I also wonder whether or not the media here is also sick and tired of Harper and is trying "define" him prior to an election, much like the Conservatives are running attack ads to "define" Iggy.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:10 PM on July 9, 2009


There's nothing that isn't funny about this!
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:21 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]



There are very strict rules about handling communion wafers in the Catholic religion.


Maybe so, but is that the responsibility of non-Catholics to be aware of? Can't say if someone thrust "the host" in my face I would eat it, but it's entirely possibly I might think the polite thing to do is not to obviously reject it, but to take it and quietly do something with it later so as not to offend the offerer. Clearly that would be wrong, but hardly an unreasonable interpretation for someone unfamiliar with the particular practices of the religion.

No fan of Harper, but can't see the big deal here. If every time throughout history someone made a religious faux-pas people lost their heads the world would be... oh, wait.
posted by modernnomad at 7:38 PM on July 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I also wonder whether or not the media here is also sick and tired of Harper and is trying "define" him prior to an election, much like the Conservatives are running attack ads to "define" Iggy.

Given how he's a complete shithead toward the media, I can't imagine they're keen to have him back in power.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:00 PM on July 9, 2009


stinkycheese: Even though I really loathe Harper, this has got to be the dumbest scandal ever.

Come on now, it's no fuddle duddle (God I love that clip).
posted by Kattullus at 8:14 PM on July 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's not hard to faux pas in the Catholic church. The gripers are a bunch of blowhards. It's not like Harper took the wafer to some satanic ritual.
posted by jabberjaw at 8:28 PM on July 9, 2009


Being occasionally privy to the evangelical mindset I'd not discount the possibility that it was a calculated action on his part to strike a victory for the one real invisible sky giant. His whole mindset involves impressing his imaginary friend, so not that it was strictly intentional, but it could have been.

Regardless, any situation where Harper looks bad no matter what course of action he takes is pure awesomeness.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:39 PM on July 9, 2009


Please God, if you exist (which I doubt), please do not make my first mefi comment in defense of the current Prime Minister of Canada (the second most despised Canadian politician in my lifetime*).

The sacrament of holy communion in the Roman Catholic church is so sacred that the exact details are kept a closely guarded secret from outsiders. So when ecuminical guests visit weddings and funerals, hilarity ensues.

(*Most despised is former Premier of Ontario, The Right Honourable Mike Harris).
posted by ovvl at 9:07 PM on July 9, 2009


"I am no fan of Harper, but Occam's razor would suggest that heads of state don't eat stuff unless it is cleared by security. The RCMP likely don't want to check out the body of Christ to see if it's fit for consumption."

This is Canada. Our way of dealing with night time intruders in the PMs residence is to have him subdue them with a duck. Poisoning from random food items isn't even a sub blip on the security radar.

Metafilter: a lot of Jesus for one sitting.
posted by Mitheral at 9:23 PM on July 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Looking at his gut, this must be one of the few things Harper hasn't eaten.

But honestly, of all the things Harper has done this is the thing most likely to damage him politically?

But even honestly-ier, who the heck didn't clear that beforehand anyway? How unpredictable is communion in a Catholic mass?
posted by mazola at 9:36 PM on July 9, 2009


Yeah, in addition to throttling a protester, didn't Chretien once pick up a statue when he thought he heard someone in 24 Suc-cess Dr?

Looking at his gut, this must be one of the few things Harper hasn't eaten.

SNAP!
posted by GuyZero at 10:01 PM on July 9, 2009


The sacrament of holy communion in the Roman Catholic church is so sacred that the exact details are kept a closely guarded secret from outsiders. So when ecuminical guests visit weddings and funerals, hilarity ensues.

What? Catholics aren't Mormons or Scientologists. There's no secret. If you want to see all the details you can go watch, or you could Google "how to receive communion".
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:25 PM on July 9, 2009


Maybe he had it later with a little Allah Me? ("Why not take...") peanut butter or some Yahweh? No Way! cheese spread.
posted by pracowity at 10:55 PM on July 9, 2009


I was taught that when the natives rub blue mud in to their navel, I should do likewise. So when I'm at a Catholic service, I take the offered sacraments. I had no idea I wasn't supposed to do that. Seems offensive to me to not do what everyone else is doing in such circumstances (except I won't kiss a crucifix, I find that idolatrous, and everyone wasn't doing it, just many).
posted by Goofyy at 1:49 AM on July 10, 2009


I was at a wedding last weekend where the couple fed each other communion wafers during the ceremony. Boy was that a topic of conversation at the reception.
posted by desjardins at 5:39 AM on July 10, 2009


Really? I mean, you really think Harper's going to give that wafer to a bunch of satanists so they can practice their Black Mass?

No. Of course not. I would expect Harper would be performing the ceremonies himself.

I agree that this incident is trivial but, on the other hand, it does seem an elegant example of why I especially distrust Harper and his people. I mean, any other PM would either know how to handle that situation, or be briefed by someone who does. Our new conservatives, however, generally don't know what they are doing but plow ahead anyway while ignoring good advice from people who do know.
posted by Zetetics at 6:13 AM on July 10, 2009


Wafergate is such a stupid controversy when compared to all the stupidness his MPs have been getting up to as of late. It's a bit disappointing the media is on this story so much, when the pride funding scandal is way more obnoxious and offensive.
posted by chunking express at 6:33 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I mean, any other PM would either know how to handle that situation, or be briefed by someone who does.

This is true. If Cretien was moving up to shake hands and got a wafer instead, he have smoothly tossed that wafer back and grabbed the priest by the fucking throat.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:47 AM on July 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


When you join the cracker line, you will be served crackers.
lol crackers, ok, host.

Harper must have known, Catholics don't line up for a handshake in a Communion line. It's religion 101, c'mon. Rather odd to accept it into your mouth and then put your hand to your mouth... sure it looks like he palmed it, but meh, so? He doesn't know everything, surprise!

I'm no Harper fan, but easy with the outrage, I'm more outraged at his record in Parliament.

As for pulling the video, Societe Radio-Canada is the Quebec arm of the CBC, no? They're the ones who insisted UTube pull the video [pshaw]. They're right Catholic in Quebec, now go kiss the Pope's ass for Pennance, SRC.
posted by alicesshoe at 7:52 AM on July 10, 2009


A Canadian assassination (attempt):

At 2:10 a.m. on Nov. 5, Dallaire arrived at the fence surrounding 24 Sussex Drive - and spent 20 minutes throwing stones onto the grounds and waving at security cameras that, ostensibly, were being monitored by Jean Chrétien's RCMP security staff. He then climbed the fence and proceeded to the Chrétiens' residence, where he smashed a window and entered the house. Dallaire wandered around in the basement and on the ground floor for another half-hour before going upstairs. Outside the Chrétiens' bedroom, he was confronted by the Prime Minister's wife, Aline, who quickly retreated into the bedroom, locked the door and telephoned for help - while Chrétien himself brandished an Inuit stone sculpture in case Dallaire broke through the door. Dallaire, later described by Aline Chrétien as resembling the Tom Hanks character in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump, put down his knife and waited for the RCMP to arrive - which they did, fully seven minutes later.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:36 AM on July 10, 2009


Cretien was such a bad ass. I also liked how he'd make fun of the Americans in the morning, and then in the evening be all, "you know me, my English isn't so hot: my bad," or give some equally half-ass apology.
posted by chunking express at 8:47 AM on July 10, 2009


God yeah, Chretien. He's like your crazy drinking buddy from university where you always hated him when you were hung over but years later it's all "good times, good times". Between the bad english and the Bell's palsy he had a way of making people underestimate him.
posted by GuyZero at 9:18 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Harper, meanwhile, is tilting at windmills.
posted by anthill at 9:28 AM on July 10, 2009


Harper, meanwhile, is tilting at windmills.

Sheesh! Mr. Harper is supposed to be a Canadian. I don't think you go out and throw out ideas like this that are so obviously contrary to a country's interest and nobody else is advocating them.

Those comments would be irresponsible coming from anybody, but they are particularly irresponsible coming from a senior Canadian parliamentarian.
posted by mazola at 12:15 PM on July 10, 2009


Harper, meanwhile, is tilting at windmills.

He is just incapable of passing up a chance to take a shot at his opponents. So embarrassing.

And can't the man hire competent people for once? It's like he is running some kind of idiot employment service.
posted by emeiji at 1:18 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Given that Satanists have been known to use consecrated hosts in their ceremonies

Are Satanists really known to actually do anything? All I can really find on satanism is references to legends or fiction and some angsty kids in the 60s.
posted by ODiV at 1:22 PM on July 10, 2009


Are Satanists really known to actually do anything?

Maybe the occassional orgy and (unsuccessful) television pilot.
posted by mazola at 4:01 PM on July 10, 2009


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