7.06.2005

MP refused communion "over a handshake"

MP refused communion "over a handshake"

Charlie Angus, MP for Timmins-James Bay voted in support of Bill C-38, the Civil Marriage Act. The vote itself did not cost him his right to communion, which is being denied him by the Priest of his parish, Father John Lemire. To date to my knowledge not one other MP has been subject to religious censure.

It appears Mr. Angus' sin was shaking the hand of out gay NDP MP Bill Siksay, Burnaby Douglas. Mr. Angus offered a handshake to Siksay after the MP finished speaking on Bill C-38 and there in lies the sin. The handshake was caught on television. The local Priest called Angus and said he would refuse communion to him, the handshake was too public.

Would Mr. Angus, who shook hands with his colleague after a speech have been better off to just wave, ignore, run in the opposite direction? Would it have been okay to hug Mr. Siksay. It was an emotional speech to make (Siksay's partner is a United Church Minister) and whether you agree or not wouldn't you be there for your colleague or a friend?

The Parish Priest won the Christian Right lottery. Nailed the first one.

7 comments:

Stephanie said...

You've got to be kidding! Simple civil behaviour of shaking a colleague's hand is an excommunicable offense?! Or does the priest believe that the only allowable type of physical contact with a gay person is to bash them?

I'll never understand how such obvious idiots qualify to be a "spiritual" leaders.

Rick Barnes said...

Sad but true, likely if Angus had not been seen on TV shaking the hand of a gay MP after that Gay MP delivered an emotional speech, he would not have been refused communion.

To date, Angus is the "ONLY" MP in Canada that has been sanctioned by his religion.

Re-awakened Shaman said...

hmmmm.....

If this becomes a trend...perhaps a group of us ought to go to the R.C. Church and shake lots of hands during the "passing of the peace" and then let the priest know who shook hands with the gay guys!

At the very least a group of queer people ought to visit that particular church for mass and be very friendly, shaking lots of hands and then "speak up" to support Angus.

Rick Barnes said...

Re-awakened Shaman said...
hmmmm.....

If this becomes a trend...perhaps a group of us ought to go to the R.C. Church and shake lots of hands during the "passing of the peace" and then let the priest know who shook hands with the gay guys!


That sounds like a hell of a plan. Whoops can I say hell of a plan?

Rick Barnes said...

see Father Lemire's response to my article at politics in bc. Use link in sidebar!

John the Mad said...

Your expressed view that Charlie Angus is denied communion because of the handshake is mischievous and untrue. Fr. Lemire has clarified the point to you directly. The action is taken because he ceated a public scandal by voting for the bill. It is his dissent from the magisterial teaching of the Church that is at issue.

He is not alone. Joe Comartin MP has also been sanctioned by his bishop.
Each diocese acts on its own in these matters. Personally, I think all Catholic MPs who voted for the bill ought to be treated the same. Paul Martin, in particular, ought to be refused communion, but it's not my call.

Catholics who divorce and remarry are denied communion. Catholics who undergo, or support abortions, are automatically excommunicated. The Church does, in fact, insist on fidelity to its teaching on this and other matters, as it has a right and obligation to do.

I accept you don't agree with the teaching. That is your right. Jack Layton sanctioned a member of his caucus for obeying her concience on this matter. Was he wrong to do that?

Rick Barnes said...

John,

I do not dispute the Catholic Churchs right to hold opinions or positions they do. I do take exception to the power they exercise indiscriminately. The Catholic Church has not ex-communicated any Canadian politician that supports pro-choice as you suggested they would.

They have chosen to sanction only two members of parliament. They have denied only one MP from receiving communion.

Why have they acted in such fashion? I believe I know why, they know the majority of catholics support birth control, divorce and gay marriage. In the case of MP Angus, they feel they can "get him" because he represents a "conservative" riding.

You do not see them going after the prime Minister do you. You do not see the Church going after BLOC of Liberal MPs from Quebec do you.

Think about it, the Church is exercising selective political action. That in the end may mean they have entered the political game. As such they should have their tax status changed!