.- An Anglican female priest in Canada has apologized for offering communion to a dog after the incident added to further tensions within the Anglican churches.
Last month Donald Keith, 56, took his dog Trapper, a German Shepherd-Rhodesian Ridgeback crossbreed, into St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Toronto where Rev. Marguerite Rea was officiating. The man and his dog frequented the park outside the church.
An interim priest, Rea welcomed the two inside and offered communion to both Keith and Trapper.
One parishioner filed a formal complaint about the action with Anglican Bishop Patrick Yu. He has since left the congregation.
After the action became public last week, Rea apologized during her Sunday sermon to anyone who may have been hurt or embarrassed by her actions. She explained the initial gesture as a way of welcoming a stranger.
Cheryl Chang, chancellor of the Anglican Network in Canada, responded critically to the action.
"Communion to a dog is not something that will ever happen to our or any Bible-believing Christian church anywhere in the world," she said, according to the Agence France Presse.
Keith, who had never been in the church before, thought the action was “very innocent.”
"And the joy and happiness on the face of one old lady in the front row made it all worthwhile," he told the Toronto Star.
Keith told the National Post he thought the act was “small stuff” that made him think of the church’s annual blessing of the animals.
“This has blown me away,” he said of the controversy. “The church is even getting emails from Catholics.”
Rea declined to discuss the incident since her apology, telling the AFP "The incident is done, it's over and I have no more comment about it … I am not going to discuss anything about it."