Many have written about the PM's huge faux pas at the funeral mass of Romeo Leblanc, whereby said PM was rumoured to have "pocketed" the body of Christ. Some are outraged. Some are making political hay from it. And some are outraged by the outrage.
I have long held the opinion that the Liberal Party's fortunes have, for a great deal of decades, been tied to the Roman Catholic Church. Some have argued and debated with me that it's simply an east and west thing when it comes to political fortunes. Those of you that have known me for any length of time politically would know that one of my pet theories is that the Liberal Party has continually been successful in Ontario, Quebec and the east coast because of the presence of the Catholic Church in those regions.
Lately - and especially with the election of our latest Conservative pope - the Conservatives have been able to sway some of that Catholic vote with their anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage agenda that plays to the Pope Benedict/Rob Nicholson type Catholic.
Can't be, says you?
Let's have a look at some blatant material evidence. Canada's population is housed with 46% of the population that is identified as Catholic (2008). An additional 36% is protestant. Of the 72 diocese in Canada, only 13 can be found on the prairies. 8 of those are located in the cities of Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary and Edmonton.
My point? The strongholds of the Liberal Party are also the strongholds of the Catholic church. There's some wacky correlation attributed to it. So what's the big deal about his Royal Commander in Chief, Stephen Harper pocketing a little biscuit? The deal is 14,000,000 Canadians probably wouldn't believe it's right that he didn't eat the host. Moreover, the 1 billion Catholics worldwide would probably also be offended. It's not like it was a seal heart or something.
While I don't pretend to know the ceremonial do's and don'ts of every religion in the world, I would suggest to you that if I didn't know what the protocol was for a ceremony I was attending (especially as high a ranking one as this), I'd make damn sure I asked.
Thousands of non-catholics attend mass weekly (Notre Dame in Montreal to name one) at at least one of the almost 5,000 RC parishes across this country. Most would know to sit in their seats at the time of communion and let those in your pew pass by you to receive communion. Heck, as Catholics, some of us were taught as kids not even to receive communion without receiving confession prior to.
So yes, to 14,000,000 Canadians, it probably does matter whether or not the PM ate the host. And, yes it is a big deal. That's the thing about Harper. He doesn't care to learn about Canada or Canadians.