I can’t help it…

…I just have to post this story from Canada:

This Shepherd can’t get communion
By KEVIN CONNOR, Toronto Sun
July 22, 2010

Donald Keith can’t believe the fuss that has been made because a Shepherd received Holy Communion.

The Shepherd called Trapper — a Shepherd mix rescue dog — received the wafer that represents the body of Christ at St. Peter’s Anglican Church on Carlton St.

“This happened a month ago,” Keith said. “One church parishioner had a problem with it. This morning (Wednesday) I wake up and see it on the news that some guy’s dog received communion. Then I go to the dog park and people were talking about it being on the radio.”

When Trapper received communion, Keith was a new member of the church, where pets are allowed.

“The minister welcomed me and said come up and take communion, and Trapper came up with me and the minister gave him communion as well. Then he bent his head and said a little prayer,” Keith said.

“I thought it was a nice way to welcome me into the church,” he said. “I thought it was acceptable.

“There was an old lady in the front just beaming when she saw this,” Keith said. “Ninetynine-point-nine per cent of the people in the church love Trapper and the kids play with him.

“It was just one person who got his nose out of joint and went to the head of the Anglican Church,” he said. “Holy smokes. We are living in the downtown core. This is small stuff. I thought it was innocent and it made me think of the Blessing of the Animals.”

The church has since told Keith he and his dog are most welcome at the church, but Trapper can no longer receive communion.

“This has blown me away. The church is even getting e-mails from Catholics,” he said.

Everything is fine, said Peggy Needham, the deputy people’s warden at the church.

“The backlash is from just one person. Something happened that won’t happen again. Something our interim priest did spontaneously,” Needham said.

“This person went to the top and e-mailed our Bishop to make a fuss and change things,” she said. “But he misjudged our congregation.”

And now the test, folks:

Q. Why should this dog not have been given communion?
A. Because they should have baptised and confirmed him first.

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50 Comments

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50 responses to “I can’t help it…

  1. Tony

    The backlash is from just one person.

    We should have sympathy for this doggy-phobe. Seeing that mut (I wonder if it gave a reverent bow as per instructions?) on the line must have given her paws, in fact, it could have been quite ruff or even a moment of sheer terrier. That could explain why s/he got so hot under the collar.

    Time to listen to a little Pooch-ini on my i-pawd, I think.

  2. What do you expect from religions? They are all a big joke.

    • Come now, Wayne, get into the spirit of this. I admitted you onto this blog so you could join in the conversation. Join in the fun or you will be asked to leave the table!

  3. Peregrinus

    Reading around, it seems that this was actually the guy’s first time in the church. It seems that, a couple of weeks previously, he’d been sitting on the church steps (with his dog) and found himself being harassed by the police. Angry, he rang the church to complain – perhaps he thought they had called the police to move him on – and they took the opportunity to invite him to come to church and worship with them. And he came. With his dog.

    It’s not clear whether he asked for the dog to be given communion, and the officiating minister had to make a quick decision, or whether this was a spontaneous gesture on the part of the minister.

    The liturgical abuse is clear, and the bishop has obviously put a stop to it. But you have to question whether the liturgical abuse is actually the most important part of the story. This is a community that turned an angry and confrontational encounter into a invitation to the gospel, and that welcomed a newcomer in their worship[. Yes, they could and perhaps should have handled this particular aspect slightly differently, but will it really be a great outcome if Mr Donald is upset or confused at the coverage of this incident, and decides church is just too anal to bother with? The key issue here is not whether the dog eats God, but whether the man meets Jesus.

    • Thanks for the background, PE. I wasn’t having a go at the guy or his dog, but rather expressing total amazement that both the eucharistic minister and those present (and many commenting on this story) didn’t know that there was anything wrong with giving a dog “communion”. It was the complete ignorance in this department that is the real scandal.

      • Peregrinus

        The eucharistic minister was the officiating priest. We don’t know that he “didn’t see anything wrong”. I daresay that he knew the discipline on this, but decided for whatever reason not to observe it. We might not agree with his decision, of course, but I don’t think we can infer from that that he was completely ignorant.

        As for the rest of the congregation, only one person apparently complained to the bishop. But we don’t know how many people saw the dog being given communion, and how many of them may have been aware that this was inappropriate, or may have been upset, but didn’t write to the bishop. In particular, we’re not told how many people spoke to the priest about it, which I think should be the first step for anyone who was concerned.

        The article you quote only quotes two people. One is Mr Keith, who is understandably ignorant of these matters. The other is a churchwarden, who is clearly trying – probably under instructions – to damp the whole thing down.

        • Tony

          We don’t know that he “didn’t see anything wrong”.

          We’ll have one of your ‘presumption of innocence’ stuff here, Pere!

          • “Presumption of innocence”, Tony? Perry said:

            I daresay that he knew the discipline on this, but decided for whatever reason not to observe it. We might not agree with his decision, of course, but I don’t think we can infer from that that he was completely ignorant

            From which one can infer EITHER:

            a. The minister was ignorant and therefore not culpable (but still ignorant and should never have been ordained with such ignorance); OR

            b. Knew what he was doing was wrong and did it anyway, in which he was definitely culpable.

            It would therefore be better for him if we assumed ignorance!

            As for it being “a discipline” not to give the Eucharist to an animal, it is a little more than that. It would be regarded as sacrilege if such a thing were done in the Catholic Church, and a good deal of reparation would be required in consequence. Had a Catholic priest done such a thing he would have incurred a latae sententiae excommunication and would in all likelihood have been removed from his office.

            • Peregrinus

              “As for it being “a discipline” not to give the Eucharist to an animal, it is a little more than that. It would be regarded as sacrilege if such a thing were done in the Catholic Church, and a good deal of reparation would be required in consequence. Had a Catholic priest done such a thing he would have incurred a latae sententiae excommunication and would in all likelihood have been removed from his office.”

              Actually, no. To incur the latae sententiae excommunication, provided for in Canon 1367, a Catholic priest would have had to either “throw away” the consecrated species, or “take” or “retain” them for a “sacrilegious purpose”. Since this is a penal provision, it is restrictively construed. Even if you take the view that what was done was morally comparable with throwing away the sacred species, it wasn’t actually throwing them away, which is what the canon requires. Nor was it “taking” or “retaining” them in the ordinary use and meaning of those words and, in any event, if we argue that it was, we would have to show that the Minister’s “purpose” was “sacrilegious”, which requires an examination of his purpose which, unsurprisingly, the Toronto Sun does not attempt. (In fact, there’s no evidence anywhere in the article that the Sun has spoken to the minister concerned, or even attempted to. This fact alone should give us pause before rushing to judgment.) It would have been for the bishop to decide on how to deal with a Catholic priest who did this; his decision would, I hope, be based on more than a report in the Toronto Sun.

              Would this be regarded as serious in the Catholic church? Yes, very. But this wasn’t a Catholic church; it was an Anglican church, and the Anglican church is a broad one, embracing a variety of theological perspectives and understandings of the Eucharist, including quite protestant perspectives in which the bread and wine are seen as merely symbolic, or as vehicles for the expression of the believer’s faith. For what it’s worth, the XXXIX Articles explicitly deny “the change of the substance of bread and wine”, and only affirm taking the bread and wine as a participation in the body and blood of Christ “for such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same” – which wouldn’t include a German Shepherd. I don’t know that many Anglicans would have been entirely easy with what happened here, but very few would approach it from a straight Catholic perspective.

              There is no point is saying that this would be a sacrilege and a blasphemy if done by somebody with a Catholic eucharistic faith, or if done for the purpose of outraging Catholic eucharistic faith. This action took place in the real world, not in an alternative universe. We know that the action contradicted good Anglican order; whether it was a sacrilege or a blasphemy depends on other matters, including the understanding and intention of the minister and the congregation. But it doesn’t depend to any extent on what Catholics think.

  4. Tony

    But you have to question whether the liturgical abuse is actually the most important part of the story.

    Hush yo mouth, Pere!

  5. Reminds me of the story of the woman who came to her PP and asked if he would officiate at a funeral service for her dog.

    He explained that he couldn’t do that – not for a dog. She was clearly upset, and so he suggested that she try the Union church down the road. They had just advertised an animal blessing Sunday; maybe they would give the dog a funeral.

    ‘Very well, Father,’ she said. ‘Can I just get some advice? Do you think $10,000 would be enough to offer them?’

    ‘Now why didn’t you tell me the dear dog was a Catholic?’ he said.

    • Tony

      Mrs O’Toole, a pet lover and devote woman, brought a litter puppies to the veterinary clinic for inoculations and deworming.

      As the look-a-like pups squirmed over and under one another in their box, the vet realized it would be difficult to tell the treated ones from the rest. So she turned on the tap, wet her fingers and moistened each dog’s head when she had finished.

      After the fourth puppy, the vet noticed the usually talkative Mrs O’Toole had grown silent and, as she sprinkled the last pup’s head, Mrs O’Toole leaned forward and whispered in reverent tones, “I didn’t know dey had to be baptized.”

  6. An Liaig

    This is not an issue of liturgical abuse – the priest breaking the bread during the concecration is a liturgical abuse. Even in the Anglican Church, this is an issue of sacralige. The sad thing is that these people, priest and lay, clearly have no understanding of the eucharist and the poor guy (and his dog!) have now been denied the chance to gain any real understanding. It is not enough for the bishop to issue an edict “Don’t give communion to dogs!” The priest needs to be retrained ands the congregation needs to be taught. This is just ridiculous. Thankfully it wasn’t a Catholic Church and no real sacrament was involved.

    • Tony

      Crikey, I’m wondering if this shaggy dog story needs to get back on the leash!

      • I think you are failing to see the point here, Tony. Granted this was in an Anglican Church and not a Catholic Church. Nevertheless, can you not see that giving the Eucharist to an animal is, at the least, grossly inappropriate and, to state it more strongly, sacrilege? Despite my making a joke of it at the end of the post, the more I think about it, the more I don’t think this is funny…

        • No, David, I can’t see those ‘at the least’ conclusions based on a newspaper report.

          I can see that your conclusions are possible, but how can we know from this distance and sternly conclude with some of the levels of certainty in this string? Surely it is folly, at best, and quite uncharitable, at worst?

  7. Fr John Fleming

    And who said ‘liberal Anglicans’ were not barking mad?

    • Peregrinus

      Who said they were liberal Anglicans? In my (perhaps highly unrepresentative) experience, “open communion” is associated with fairly low-church evangelical Anglicanism, as is a “Protestant” view of the eucharist, which locates the presence of Christ in the faith of the believer rather than in the substance of the consecrated elements.

      • Fr John Fleming

        Who said? I said. The service was being presided over by a woman priest. The Canadian Anglican Church has been in the forefront of liberal Anglicanism for aeons (back to and before the 1978 Lambeth Conference at which I was present), and no evangelical, I repeat no evangelical Anglican priest would give Communion to a dog! And while good evangelical Anglicans believe in open Communion for the baptised, they wouldn’t just invite ‘anybody’ off the street to receive Communion. They may not believe what I bedlieve about the Eucharist, but evangelcial Anglican Ministers are noteworthy for the reverence of the way in which they celebrate The Lord’s Supper. So, Pere, who said? I say so.

      • Tony Bartel

        I have to agree with Father Fleming.

        A traditional Anglo-Catholic would believe the host is the body and blood of Christ and would not give it to the dog.

        A traditional evangelical would see it as a sacred meal which commemorates the sacrificial death of Christ which takes away the punishment of human sin and would not give communion to the dog.

        Only a liberal Anglican of either persuasion would do this.

  8. Peter

    I’m waiting for someone to make a crack along the lines of… “at least it had communion on the tongue!”

    *groan*

    Seriously though, this isn’t as advanced as a theological problem. It is a philosophical problem about what constitutes a ‘person’. The action was consistant with a fair number of contemporary philosophers and a (lower) number of theologians.

    I’ll be interested to see what arguments can be mounted against it.

  9. wayne

    no arguements. Unsaved act like unsaved. I was unsaved at one point

  10. Fr John Fleming

    Pere says: “The key issue here is not whether the dog eats God, but whether the man meets Jesus.” This either/or obscures all reality! The Sacrament was was blasphemed and sacrilege occurred. The responsibility for that falls on the priest concerned and the priest alone. Such an act hardly assists this man to know Jesus, although welcoming him into the fellowship of the Church did. Nothing is said about the right condition of the man to receive Holy Communion. The Anglican Church clearly teaches that a a person has to be both baptised and confirmed, and “be in love and charity with their neighbours”. Nothing in the story suggests that there is nothing other than rank sentimentality at work here. The whole episode is a disgrace. It mocks God and so cannot advance the dog owner’s fellowship with God.

    • Quite. There is the objective matter of sacrilege, but the other matter of the absolute lack of any kind of formation in or knowledge about the Christian sacramental life. It is all very sad.

      • Your ‘sad’ now, David?

        Puleeese!

        Nothing is said about the right condition of the man to receive Holy Communion.

        and

        Nothing in the story suggests that there is nothing other than rank sentimentality at work here.

        So, based on ‘nothing’, John, you conclude that the ‘whole episode is a disgrace’ and, not to be outdone, it ‘mocks God’!

        Ahem … and it all started off as a good Monday morning chuckle!

        This post has really gone to the dogs!

  11. Fr John Fleming

    “So, based on ‘nothing’, John, you conclude that the ‘whole episode is a disgrace’ and, not to be outdone, it ‘mocks God’!”

    Objectively, a priest giving Communion to a dog is sacrilege. Fact, not nothing. Encouraging someone to receive Communion just because they are there is, to say the very least, poor practice and does nothing to advance that person’s relationship with Christ. Fact not nothing.

    My first contribution to this matter was jocular. My further contributions have been serious because the conversation became more serious. Pere treated it seriously and that was most appropriate because the issue is a very serious one indeed. At one level it is ‘funny’. But if one cannot see that beyond the superficial funniness there lurk very serious matters then that is, not to put too fine a point on it, shameful.

    • Peter Golding

      Brilliantly summarised Fr.John!

    • I think your conclusions are based on ‘nothing’*, because you only know a small, selected part of the story from a source that, as we are often reminded in forums like this, is very unreliable in general and, particularly unreliable in matters of faith.

      But if one cannot see that beyond the superficial funniness there lurk very serious matters then that is, not to put too fine a point on it, shameful.

      One? Shameful?

      It is not safe to assume those things, John. I can see there are serious issues worth discussing — in general — that this story may evoke. I disagree with some of your conclusions about this story in particular.

      * Read very little.

  12. Fr John Fleming

    I shouldn’t need to point this out, assuming you to be an intelligent person, but now I suppose I must. Objectively, which is what I said, the action of giving Communion to a dog is sacrilege. I am passing an opinion on an act, not a person.

    Second, to take the view that nothing in this story can be believed because it is in a newspaper is, what can I say, not clever. I don’t know what got into this priest that she thought she should act in this way. But the act is objectively disordered.

    So tell me with what you disagree. You disagree that giving Communion to a dog is sacrilege? You disagree that encouraging a newcomer to receive Communion (as distinct from that person presenting themselves for Communion) is bad practice?

  13. Second, to take the view that nothing in this story can be believed because it is in a newspaper is, what can I say, not clever.

    ‘Nothing in this story can be believed’? Where have I said such a thing?

    Pere (as usual) has done a fine job of urging caution about jumping to conclusions about this story. I can do no better.

  14. Even if it was done thru a religion, giving a dog communion was bad. Id doesnt change the state of that persons grace. Either you are saved or you arent. A saved person would never have done that. Say, John and tony, if you want to tell each other whats really on your mind, come to my blog. There are no restrictions. http://www.cherrybombcoutour.blogspot.com/

  15. Elise B.

    When I read this story on another blog, a few days ago, I thanked God for the foresight of Leo XIII who reaffirmed the invalidity of Anglican orders. But even if the consecration of the host is invalid and only a memorial, mere respect for what it commemorates should have prevented the priest from committing such an abuse.
    One commenter writes that the priest was a woman. I remember reading in an issue of ENI, many years ago, a commentary by Rev. Wolfhart Pannenberg in which he noted that women pastors are prone to disregard church doctrine. There is this Episcopal woman priest who calls abortion “a blessing”… Being a woman myself, I think this is due to a misguided sense of “compassion” or “niceness”.

  16. An Liaig

    Tony,

    I don’t think that any of the people on this blog have any direct connection to the ecclesial authorities concerned, so what we are dealing with and commenting on IS the story in the newspaper. We are commenting on it as presented. Since we do not have direct knowledge or investigative powers, this is all we can do (I do have direct knowledge of similar although not as egregious cases in Australia which I won’t comment on).The alternative is to make no comment at all on the story or indeed on any story in a newspaper. This is an important ecuminical issue since it goes directly to the Anglican understanding of the sacraments and sacramental life – not just the Eucharist. Even in low church Anglican understanding, only a baptised Christian can recieve the sacraments and to offer them to a dog is sacralige. These actions, as reported, show a complete disregard for, and disrespect of, the whole notion of sacrament. Those involved in ARCIC must cringe when they read such stories.

    • Tony

      The alternative is to make no comment at all on the story or indeed on any story in a newspaper.

      An Liaig,

      As I responded to Fr John’s characterisation of my point as being ‘… to take the view that nothing in this story can be believed because it is in a newspaper …’, my position is not that we can’t or, indeed, shouldn’t comment, but that we should do so with caution in terms of this (or any other) particular case especially when we are good distance (literally and figuratively) from knowing the facts.

      Again, Pere expresses that notion with a lawyer’s eloquence and insight.

      I also think it would be better if people exercised a little more charity in their interpretations too, but that’s just me.

      To me a pet is a pet. I’ve had them, enjoyed them and missed them when they’ve died. To others, pets are their most important … and sometimes the only … experience of unconditional love. That’s not a justification, but it is a perspective that may help us not to judge the individuals too harshly.

      • In the zoo that we Schutz-Beatons like to call home, we have a number of four-legged furry pals. In recent years, we have given three guinea-pigs burials with full rites, prayers, hymns and scriptural readings. But we didn’t give them the Last Rites and Viaticum.

        • Peregrinus

          Gosh, I hope they were dead.

          Seriously, though, nobody in this discussion has argued that it was appropriate to give communion to the dog. All that we differ about is how to respond to a newspaper story about giving communion to a dog.

          I don’t see much value in rushing to denounce this as a sacrilege. Firstly, we are not called to police the newspapers for sacrileges that take place far away, and in another country, to denounce. Secondly, if we rely on newspaper reports, we almost certainly don’t have the kind of information we need to make a judgment of that kind. The secular media are going to filter this story through a lens which will obscure dimension of the story which, to a Christian, are very important. Thirdly, behaving in this way tends to reinforce the stereotype of Christians as vindictive, judgmental and sectarian. (That is the impression created if advantage is taken of this episode to denounce liberals, or evangelicals, or any other favoured target. That’s also the impression created by denouncing the minister concerned for an act repugnant to a Catholic eucharistic theology which there is no reason to expect them to hold.)

          This is a serious matter, which can be profitably discussed. But it’s not serious because it involves something that, if done by another person in a different context, would be a sacrilege. It’s serious because it opens up issues about what we understand by eucharist, what we understand by incarnation, and what we understand by humanity. It may well point to a great gulf between a Catholic understanding of these issues and the understanding of at least one strand of Anglicanism. It’s not helpful, though, to consider those issues in terms of whether they amount to sacrilege. That seems to me to frame the discussion in terms that will almost certainly polarise participants, and will generate much heat, but little light.

          Reading back through the discussion, I can’t avoid the feeling that it has taken a wrong turning somewhere. There is very little consideration of why this is very wrong or, if we think it is not so very wrong, why it is not so very wrong. There are plenty of weak puns, an indulgent degree of self-righteousness and a certain amount of point-scoring, but I don’t think anybody’s understanding of anything important has been at all advanced. I don’t exempt myself from criticism here.

          • Cherub

            Well Pere, I beg to differ. I think some people have come to see that beyond the comic and sentimental there are important issues and they have been well identified. And I would not be so self critical if I were you. Your contributions have been fine.

          • There are plenty of weak puns …

            Now we’re all in the dog house!

  17. Christine

    Well, here’s a follow-up to the article:

    First, this:

    The priest has apologized, Trapper’s happy and the pews of St. Peters are reaping the benefits.
    That’s the happy ending to a tale that set tongues wagging and church officials grumbling after Rev. Marguerite Rea gave a communion wafer to a four-legged worshipper at St. Peter’s Anglican Church on Carlton St. a month ago.

    Seems it was a lady cleric who communed the pooch. Animals don’t sin, so they don’t need the graces that the Sacrament gives to humanity which unfortunately still does sin.

    Here’s the part of the article that I really like:

    It was a circuitous route, figuratively speaking, that took them to the front of the church that day, explains the 56-year-old truck driver. He and Trapper became “instant best buddies” three years ago when he saved him from death row after three previous owners declared him unmanageable.

    Having adopted two rescue shelter dogs myself I am delighted to hear that Trapper was given a second chance.

    Here’s the full article if anyone cares to read it:

    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/840211–priest-apologizes-for-dog-wafer-gaffe?bn=1

    Christine

  18. So it was a female priest? Well, females have more compassion than males. She saw that this guy loved his dog and gave it a piece of bread. No one is gonna die behind it. A male priest woudnt have done it though. Anyway, females arent supposed to be priests. But, you know, the unsaved will do anything. Everyone is unsaved untill they are saved,born again. The thief on the cross. His life was a mess, but befor dying he asked the Lord to remember him and acknowledged that he, the Lord , was the Christ. So, its never to late. But you have to be alive here on earth to get saved. Sorry, no pergatory. Thats just a scam to raise money.

  19. Christine

    So it was a female priest? Well, females have more compassion than males.

    You’ll never prove that to me, Wayne. I’ve known some women who should be flying brooms.

    And yes, you are quite right that there is no “pergatory” — now, “purgatory” is another matter.

    As for being “born again” that happens when the Holy Spirit makes us a new creation through the life-giving waters of Holy Baptism. Been there already 🙂

  20. Hi Christine. Yes, there are broom flying girls out there. I dont take the time to qualify my statements. I just HOPE readers understand i mean most or lots of them when i make a generalized statement like that.That was funny, broom flying. As for water baptisim, some people think that makes you born again. Born again is when the holy ghost actually puts a new spirit in you.This spirit knows god personally(Jesus). “My sheep know my voice, and another they will not follow”. I get into trouble when i try to explain born again since most religious people think they have been born again because their holymen said so. Jesus promised to blind the unsaved(not born again) to the ways of the spirit. He called them the natural man.You know, as many blogs and chat rooms as ive been in ive only ran into about 2 or 3 saved people. One brother spotted me in Damiens blog in the telegraph.uk site. Out of all those pompus churchgoing know it alls, not one was saved. Search ye the scriptures. Jesus said John baptized with water, but that he baptizes with the holy ghost. Two different events. Water bap is just a show to the world, born again is private between you and Jesus. But its not private anymore. the saved are asked to bare fruit, to sperad the word, to introduce peopleto your new friend, the maker of heaven and earth.

  21. Christine

    Oh dear, I don’t think it will be profitable for us to get into the evangelical versus the catholic (note the small “c”) view of baptism, Wayne. We could go at it all night. Jesus himself commanded the apostles to go, preach and baptize and in obedience that’s what the church has done from the very beginning.

    Yes, the good thief was promised Paradise on his faith and no Christian in the world believes that baptism without faith is salvific. But Scripture is also very clear that faith is God’s gift, not our own work, God always takes the first initiative and it is how the entirety of our Christian life is lived out that makes all the difference. Yes, John’s baptism was one of repentence but Christian baptism is the work of the Holy Spirit working through water joined to the Word. Evangelicals don’t always get that.

    He who perseveres to the END will be saved. One can choose to deliberately reject God.

    You know, as many blogs and chat rooms as ive been in ive only ran into about 2 or 3 saved people.

    Wow. And here the Apocalypse, or, if you prefer, the Revelation, describes a multitude too numerous to count standing around the throne of the Lamb, from every people, tribe and nation. Sounds pretty catholic to me 🙂

    Enuff said.

    Christine

  22. Hi Christine, the relelations quote, can you clarify that for me? Can you give me the reference verse? Ah, heaven sounds catholic to you. I forget sometimes that catholic dogma states that only catholics go to heaven. And that alot of catholics actally believe that. St. Augustine (354-430), Bishop and Doctor of the Church:
    “No man can find salvation except in the Catholic Church. Outside the Catholic Church one can have everything except salvation. One can have honor, one can have sacraments, one can sing alleluia, one can answer amen, one can have faith in the Name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and preach it too, but never can one find salvation except in the Catholic Church.”

    • Peregrinus

      A friendly word, Wayne: there isn’t a lot of point in you coming into a discussion forum like this, consisting largely of Catholics, and telling us what Catholic believe. On that particular question, you’ll have to agree, our expertise exceeds yours. We know what Catholics believe (and it isn’t what you think).

      We’re very happy here to discuss what we believe, or indeed to discuss what you believe, if you’re interested in that. If you’re interested in a discussion, have at it. And if you have any questions, we will do our best to answer them. But we’ve no particular desire to listen to you tell us what we believe; what use is that to us? Or to you?

  23. Ive noticed that the catholic think tank in the vatican are coming up with ways to un-say what church fathers have said. Embarrasing situation all the way around, seeing as how their writings are infallable.

    • Wayne, I’ve given you a fair go, but I’m not really impressed by your contributions to our conversation. I’m not saying you haven’t been “nice”… I’m just not quite sure whether your “contributions” really ARE “contributive”. I hope you will not be offended if I show you door…