I didn’t have a chance to write about it at the time, but I’m sure everyone is now familiar with the incident in Maryland where a 51 year old woman was denied communion during her mother’s funeral because the priest conducting the mass discovered shortly beforehand that she was a lesbian living with her partner.
When she knelt before [Rev. Marcel] Guarnizo to receive Communion last Saturday, Johnson said he told her, “I cannot give you Communion because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the church that is a sin.”
Guarnizo also left the altar during Johnson’s eulogy and did not accompany the family to her mother’s grave, leaving the family scrambling to find another priest, Johnson said.
In response to this incident, the parish pastor and the archdiocese sent letters of apology to Johnson, saying Guarnizo violated policy but any action taken against him would be done confidentially because it was a “personnel issue”.
Well, he was recently put on administrative leave. I’m glad they didn’t keep it confidential, since that hasn’t worked out too well for the Catholic Church in the past. He also made a statement recently about the incident in question:
A Gaithersburg priest who was put on administrative leave from his parish after a controversial funeral Mass at which he denied Communion to a lesbian said in a statement Wednesday that he “did the only thing a faithful Catholic priest could do” and suggested that archdiocesan leaders and the woman were lying.
So a “faithful” Catholic priest is under a divine obligation to be a dick to a woman during her mother’s funeral mass, leave during her eulogy, and refuse to accompany them to the funeral site? Look, I understand that in the eyes of the church, homosexuality is a sin. So is a lot of other stuff, far worse than liking members of your own gender. The problem is these days, people like Guarnizo tend to act as if all the bible talks about is abortion and homosexuality. Everyone is guilty of some wrongdoing; the bible even says it outright in Romans 3:23: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Why this guy singled out Johnson – on the day of her mother’s funeral – and decided that her sexual orientation was a grievous enough sin to warrant the refusal of communion without caring to see if anyone else in the joint was guilty of anything equally icky, I can’t say.
All I do know is that a little under 60% of Catholics favor same sex marriage. That was in the survey I linked to the other day, but I’ll put it here too. Of course, just because more people think something is acceptable doesn’t make it right … but in this case I believe it is. Additionally, it clearly demonstrates how the powers-that-be in the Catholic Church are significantly out of step with their followers as well as the modernity of society.