Wednesday, July 08, 2009

And now the Conservatives are bearing false witness?

As if possible desecration of the host by Stephen Harper wasn't enough, it now appears his spokesperson, Dimitri Soudas, may be bearing false witness.

The Toronto Star has more of Soudas' attempted damage control this morning, where Dimitri makes the Conservative position very clear:

Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for the prime minister, said that Harper "was offered communion, and accepted."

Soudas said he consumed the consecrated host immediately afterwards, within seconds of taking it from the priest, contrary to suggestions a video shows he did not.

"Unfortunately CBC cameras don't stay on the prime minister long enough sometimes," Soudas told reporters in L'Aquila, Italy, where Harper is attending a G8 summit.
Well that's a clear and fairly unambiguous statement. He says Harper didn't pocket it, and instead consumed it "within seconds." Except, as I said, the video evidence doesn't support that at all.

Dimitri mentions the CBC cameras. Maybe they cut sooner, I don't know. Maybe he's just trying to distract his upset base by implying a Liberal media conspiracy. CPAC, however, stayed with the Prime Minister awhile, and it does not show Harper consuming the host "within seconds." Far from it. Rather, it shows him slipping the wafer down to his pocket, standing a bit as people around him consume the host, and then sitting down.

A longer version of the footage has appeared on YouTube. Take a look:

By my count, it stays with Harper at a good 20 seconds after he accepts the host from the priest. That should be well within Dimitri's window for consumption. Yet no sign the host ever left his pocket. There's a fraction of a second he's off when they change cameras, but he'd have to have lightning-quick reflexes to consume it within that window.

And as for why Harper accepted it in the first place:
Soudas explained that while Harper is a Protestant, "who is the prime minister to question a priest offering him communion."
He's Stephen Harper, non-Catholic, that's who he is Dimitri. You can't expect a priest to know the religious affiliation and currency of every person at such a service. It's up to the individual to decline if ineligible, and to do so is perfectly acceptable.

Why he didn't is baffling, and why Soudas is compounding the mistake is even more so.

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Ted Betts said...

OK, so let's check the scorecard so far.

Whenever a Conservative gets bad press:

6. Claim this is no big deal, an invented story - check

5. Say this is the result of hypocritical Liberal spin - check

4. Say this is the result of liberal-biased media - check

3. Blame it on someone else - check (the priest)

2. If it still won't go away, fire a staffer - pending?

1. If it still won't go away, start talking about the sponsorship scandal, promises to cancel the GST, Shawinigate, HRDC boondoggle, the NEP and Pierre Elliott Trudeau - No sign yet

So we are currently at DefCon (i.e. Defend Conservatives) 3, and holding.

Proud Canadian said...

I guess Mr.Jedras it must be a slow news day for you. Isn't there something about the G8 meeting going on somewhere in Italy? But I digress.

Lizt. said...

Actually, who did take the picture?

A BCer in Toronto said...

PC, I'd have stopped 2 posts ago but a) Soudas' explanations are so ridiculous been confronted with the video evidence, and b) I can't stand false witness bearing.

I mean, I can definitely forgive a little coveting of thy neighbors' wife, as lone as its only coveting. I'll even forgive some work on the saabath, and a sports fan can't get to high and mighty over the worshiping of false idols.

False witness bearing though, definite no no.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Which picture, Lizt? If you mean the video, its from CPAC.

Proud Canadian said...

Mr.Jedras I'm going to give you the same answer that I gave you on my tweet.

"My point is there is more important stuff going on at the G8 meeting in Italy than whether he took the host or not."

Éric said...

I still don't see it going into his pocket. He may have just eaten it when he sat down or something. It looks like he is holding it with his paper. Maybe we should just give him the benefit of the doubt because this really isn't important.

Oh, and before Ted Betts says something, I'm not a Conservative.

Ted Betts said...

Proud Canadian:

Your point is so way back at DefCon 6. Don't you realize that we are already at DefCon 3 on this story?

(Please see above for Defend Conservatives ratings.)

Ted Betts said...


Thought you were another blogger by the name Eric who is Conservative.

Look, this was clearly a faux pas by Harper. Whether it was a big faux pas, a really big and offensive faux pas, or just a minor one, in any case it is religious and personal and merits some clarification and apology by the PM.

Worse, the PMO is out there outright lying about this when a simple "oops, my bad, won't happen again" would have ended this story instantly and permanently.

Éric said...

Note the accent on my name. The other Eric runs Diogensis Borealis, or something like that.

I agree with you for the most part, but on the one hand I'm not so sure now that he did put it in his pocket, since none of the videos clearly shows that. As someone has pointed out to me, though I don't know if it is correct, in his congregation they give the hosts and then people sit down before eating them. Perhaps that is what Harper did, as we do not know from the video what he did actually do. This is significant because if this is what Harper actually did, then Dmitri Soudas isn't (if you can believe it), lying, and so this isn't an issue after all.

Lizt. said...

Yes I did mean video, Jeff, Thanks.

RuralSandi said...

To a lot of people it may not be important, but it is to Catholics and they should be respected like any other religion.

All Harper had to do was ask what was proper conduct if he didn't understand. This was a STATE funeral.

Interesting that Harper was there (photop opportunity). The issue of appointing an Acadian as GG back then was very contraversial and there were those who were boycotting it - one of them being Harper - the guy is such a hypocrite.

Mutton Chops said...

Catholic church official say Canada's Anglican governor general, Adrienne Clarkson, should not be taking Communion in Catholic churches. A spokesman for the governor general acknowledged Clarkson "does take Communion in Roman Catholic services" and attends Mass "fairly regularly" in Quebec City's basilica.

The controversy surfaced late last month after it was revealed that Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais gave Clarkson Communion last September when she came forward at a memorial service in Notre Dame Cathedral. Church officials said last week that ...

Funny how that was never reported by the MSN.

Old School Liberal said...

Funny how even very conservative and very Catholic LifeSiteNews considers this a big deal:


Canadian Non-Catholic PM Says he Did Consume Communion after Offered, Will Meet Pope Saturday

By John-Henry Westen and Patrick Craine

OTTAWA, July 7, 2009 ( - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in hot water over a video that caught him taking Holy Communion in a Catholic Church, despite being a non-Catholic Christian. To make matters worse, the video** shows him walking away without consuming the host - although a spokesman for the Prime Minister told that the PM did consume the host off-camera.

The incident took place last Friday at the funeral of former Governor General Romeo Leblanc in Memramcook, New Brunswick.

In the video Harper is show being offered communion by the Archbishop of Moncton, André Richard. The Archbishop commented, regarding what Harper did with the host, that "I didn't see anything wrong there because I was busy doing something else," according to the Telegraph-Journal.

According to Catholic teaching the communion wafer becomes the body and blood of Jesus Christ after it is consecrated by the priest. The Church teaches that only practicing Catholics who are properly disposed to receive Holy Communion should present themselves to receive the sacrament.

Catholic officials are blaming Prime Minister Harper for the incident. Monsignor Brian Henneberry, Vicar General and Chancellor for the Diocese of St. John called for an explanation from the Prime Minister's office. "If the prime minister is not a Catholic, he should not have been receiving communion," he said, "and if he comes up it places the priest in an awkward position, especially at a national funeral because everyone is watching."

He says that if Harper took the host without consuming it, "it's worse than a faux pas, it's a scandal from the Catholic point of view."

"If I were the prime minister," he said, "I would at least offer an explanation to say no offence was meant, and then (clarifying) what happened to the consecrated host is in order. I would hope the Prime Minister's Office would have enough respect for the Catholic Church and for faith in general to make clear whatever happened."

sjw said...

Dateline 2003:

"Catholic church official say Canada's Anglican governor general, Adrienne Clarkson, should not be taking Communion in Catholic churches."

I think we just moved to DefCon 1

McLea said...

So what exactly are we suggesting here? That Harper purposely stuck it to the Catholic church by putting Jesus in his pocket? Doesn't that seem like a bit of stretch? Seems like a pretty banal way of making a political statement.

Prairie Kid said...

By the sounds of your blog you seem to be a very devout Catholic. I'm sorry you're so offended by all this.

By the way, aren't true Catholics against homosexuals, same-sex marriages and abortions? And aren't those Liberal beliefs?

I'm sure God would be far more disappointed in a person who goes against the teachings of his religion than he would be at someone who slipped a wafer into his pocket . . . allegedly.

Rick said...

"Unfortunately CBC cameras don't stay on the prime minister long enough sometimes"

Another example of liberal bias

Barcs said...

I wouldn't worry about it Prairie Kid. Liberals don't really believe in anything.

Take Jeff for example. He asks the question whether or not conservatives are bearing false witness in this case. But stops on the edge of commentary that alleges wrongdoing. I doubt even Jeff believes in the point enough to launch a legal complaint against Soudas and yes even the speaker of the senate Noël Kinsella ( for the crime he says they may have committed. Will they go to jail because some liberals believe strongly??? I won't hold my breath.

Barcs said...

On a lighter note (tongue in cheek), a year or two ago the liberals made fun of Harper's "portliness"..... Now they are suggesting that he would turn down food.

Another of the famed liberal flip flops???

Torybaiter said...

Prairie Kid uses my favourite Tory defence "But! But! The Liberals..."

And, of course, only pagan, human sacrificing, amoral, self-loathing, rude, fanatical phillistines can be Liberals.

Oh, yeah. we say mean things about Steven Harper.

My God, how do these fools feed themselves?

A BCer in Toronto said...


I'm what I suppose you'd call a lapsed catholic. Was raised in the RC, haven't been in years. And I disagree with many of the church's teachings, including the issues you listed, such as homosexuality and abortion.

But that doesn't mean that I'm not going to respect the practices of the church when I'm in one. When I do make one of my periodic visits to a catholic mass, for example, I don't accept communion, because under the rules of the church I'm not eligible, not having been to confession in many, many years.

It's about having respect for the practices of the institution when you're its guest, whether its a church, a mosque or a synagogue.


What the heck are you talking about with criminal complaints? You're making no sense. What could possibly be the criminal matter here that I should pursue? Unless I missed a memo and we've enshrined the 10 commandments into law.

No, I didn't call Noel K a liar. I'm sure he believes what he saw what he says. I just don't see how he could have from his perch many rows back BEHIND Harper, when the camera that was in FRONT of Harper saw nothing.

Frankly, though, like the good catholic I'm not, I'm more than willing to turn the other cheek on this whole thing, and would have by lunchtime yesterday had Harper at least manned-up to account for his own behaviour, and has the proffered explanations from his handlers not been so pathetically inept.

We're very forgiving of any multitude of sins, but you do need to ask first.