Monday, October 29, 2007

How Medieval of Her

I'd never before seen anyone holding a dog whilst presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion.

Until last week, that is.

One morning last week at Mass at our neighborhood parish, I had to do a double take when I saw a woman walking up to receive Communion, holding in her arms what appeared to be either a cocker spaniel or a poodle. While it made no noise, I can verify that it was not simply a stuffed animal that I mistook for a live dog; this was the real McCoy.

At the end of Mass, the woman appeared to be leading the dog out the back door of the church on a leash.

Why did this woman bring her dog to Mass? God only knows.

What I do know, though, is that this episode prompted me to recall a comment made by Sandra Miesel on this post on Catholic and Enjoying It! some time ago:

Medieval people took their hawks and hounds to Mass and Byzantine harlots turned tricks in the galleries of the old Hagia Sophia while the Liturgy was in progress.

To which another commenter said:

Next time I see someone with his hawk at church I'm going to say, "how medieval of you," and I'll mean it as a compliment!

Hence the title of this post.

[Cross-posted at Catholic Dads]


The Dutchman said...

That couldn't possibly have been at Saint John's, could it? I'm a usher there at the 11AM mass and, were I to see a woman with a DOG coming up to the communion rail, I would try to de-fuze the situation by offering to hold the dog, but I would UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES allow the mass to be profained by a canine at communion!

John Jansen said...


This was at a daily Mass at St. Odilo Parish in Berwyn. (There were at most 25-30 people in attendance, and, obviously, since it was a daily Mass, there were no ushers.)

I should point, too, that if this woman received on the tongue—and I'm guessing she must have; I wasn't in a position to see, as there were several people in line for Communion in front of me by the time she did—it's very possible the priest didn't even see the dog, as it was pretty small.

Even if he had seen that this woman was carrying a dog, one wonders what would/should/could he have done? Does canon law even address such a situation?