On Friday Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended the funeral of former Governer General Romeo LeBlanc. He accepted communion when it was offered. The video footage seems to show that he did not immediatley eat the wafer. It is possible he ate it immediatly after the camera panned away. In this case the correct course of action was to immediatly eat the wafer.
Some Catholics have expressed concern that Harper has slighted Catholicism. Treating the host inappropriatly is a major issue. During the Middle Ages, Jews would be found guilty on trumpped up charges of Desecration of the Host. The penalty for cookie torture was death and would sometimes extend to the community at large and not just the accused. Keeping the wafer instead of eating it is a major insult. A spokesperson for Harper said that he did swallow the wafer.
As a Protestant he would normally not be allowed to take Communion. However as he is the Head of State there may be an exception to this rule. There is an accepted custom of crossing arms to indicate to the priest that one will not accept Communion. It stands to reason that people would have been just as offended by that decision sighting the exception to the rule. As a Protestant Harper would be more used to the idea that everyone eats the wafer at the same time. He could very easily have noticed right after the camera panned away that nobody else was waiting.
It took 5 days for the story to break. Despite the number of people standing around him, there doesn't seem to be any eye witnesses. Both are more indicative of a slow news day than a major story. Harper is scheduled to meet with the Pope this week. He should simply ask the Pope what the correct protical should be to avoid such silly problems in the future.
Update: Senate Speaker Honourable Noel A. Kinsella has confirmed he witnessed Harper consuming the host.