Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Priest Denies Lesbian Communion and Walks Out of Funeral

The hypocrisy of the Roman Catholic Church clergy often knows no limits and a funeral in suburban Maryland provides the latest example. Barbara Johnson was at a funeral mass for her recently departed mother and received two public slights by the Catholic priest (Father Marcel Guarnizo pictured at right) presiding over the service. First he refused her communion and then he walked out of the church while Johnson gave a eulogy for her mother. Once the story hit the news media, the Archdiocese of Washington, rushed to state that Guarnizo's conduct was "improper." What's improper is the Church's continued position that gays are "inherently disordered" and "inclined towards moral evil." What about bishops and cardinals - and yes, Popes - who protect child rapists? Somehow I suspect that Guarnizo is only to happy to kiss the wide asses of members of the hierarchy who ought to likely be in prison for their roles in the aiding and abetting and protecting of predator priests. I can understand in part why Johnson attended her mother's funeral. What I cannot understand is how any LGBT person with a shred of self respect (or anyone with morals) can remain a Catholic given the Church's jihad against gay rights and the obvious moral bankruptcy of the Church hierarchy. Here are highlights on this disgraceful occurrence from WUSA9:

all started on Saturday at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, where friends and family had gathered to say goodbye to Barbara's mother, who died last week after a brief illness.

Just a few minutes before the funeral began, Father Marcel Guarnizo, who was presiding over the service, apparently learned that Barbara was involved in a romantic relationship with another woman.

A lifelong Catholic and former Catholic school teacher, Barbara says she hadn't even considered that her sexual orientation would be a problem with Father Marcel until she stepped forward to take communion. "He said, 'I can not give you communion because you live with a woman,'" Barbara says.

Though shaken by Father Marcel's actions, Barbara says she tried to compose herself to give her mother the dignified funeral she deserved. So a few minutes later, Barbara began her eulogy. "At which time Father Marcel left the altar and didn't return until I finished my eulogy," Barbara says.

According to Barbara, things got even worse, because after first refusing to give her communion, and then walking off the altar when Barbara was giving her eulogy, Father Marcel refused to go with Barbara's mother's body to the cemetery in Aspen Hill.

In a written statement, the Archdiocese of Washington conceded that Father Marcel had acted improperly, saying, "Any issues regarding the suitability of an individual to receive communion should be addressed by the priest with that person in a private, pastoral setting."

LGBT Catholics who want to remain churchgoers seriously need to check out the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. They will find a Catholic style mass and liturgy without all of the hypocrisy, anti-gay hate, and moral bankruptcy that are the hallmarks of the Roman Catholic Church. There is no reason to remain in a church where the leadership despises you and actively works to dehumanize you.


Jack Scott said...

This in an incredible incident.

When I was a young man of about 20, I had my first close relationship with the Catholic Church when I went to work for a Catholic Hospital while working my way through college.

As a proper Protestant boy in a town where there were no Catholics, I had kind of by default grown up thinking that Nuns and Priests were saints on earth.

That was before I met Sister Thomasine. The good Sister was the Devil incarnate and she didn't like me one bit. That was nothing against me. She didn't like anyone. She was old and frail and everyone just let her have her way and ignored her rudeness as best they could. I did too until one day she just went too far. I cussed her till I was red in the face and she was faint right in the middle of the nurses station.

I fully expected to be fired, but such was the lack of respect for her around the hospital that I think I became a hero instead. I was told just to ignore her from then on. I didn't have to. She went out of her way never to come near me again.

It was the way I learned that those in Catholic leadership are often not all they should be.

But Father Marcel certainly took it to a new level. He should be removed from any duties at all which require him to interact with human beings and put in a dark corner of the Vatican where he can work alone and in the dark for the rest of his service to the Church.

As for the list of Churches where anyone is welcome to receive Communion, you left out the United Methodist Churches.

At the beginning of each Communion Service those present are reminded that the Communion Alter is NOT a Methodist Alter. It is the Alter of God. They are further reminded that there is no invitation from the Methodist Church to approach the Alter, but instead God himself invites all to come who desire a closer relationship with him. That includes those who happen to be gay or bi.

Jack Scott

Michael-in-Norfolk said...


No slight was intended to the United Methodist Churches. I'm just not very familiar with their services whereas having briefly been a member of the Episcopal Church and now the ELCA, I know the services are nearly identical to a Catholic mass, especially the ELCA service.