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Author Topic: D.C. archdiocese: Denying Communion to lesbian at funeral was against ‘policy’  (Read 5186 times)
tmw89
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« on: February 28, 2012, 10:14:PM »

D.C. archdiocese: Denying Communion to lesbian at funeral was against ‘policy’
by Michelle Boorstein
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-archdiocese-denying-communion-to-lesbian-at-funeral-was-against-policy/2012/02/28/gIQAlIxVgR_story.html?hpid=z4


Deep in grief, Barbara Johnson stood first in the line for Communion at her mother’s funeral Saturday morning. But the priest in front of her immediately made it clear that she would not receive the sacramental bread and wine.

Johnson, an art-studio owner from the District, had come to St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg with her lesbian partner. The Rev. Marcel Guarnizo had learned of their relationship just before the service.

“He put his hand over the body of Christ and looked at me and said, ‘I can’t give you Communion because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin,’ ” she recalled Tuesday.

She reacted with stunned silence. Her anger and outrage have now led her and members of her family to demand that Guarnizo be removed from his ministry.

Family members said the priest left the altar while Johnson, 51, was delivering a eulogy and did not attend the burial or find another priest to be there.

“You brought your politics, not your God into that Church yesterday, and you will pay dearly on the day of judgment for judging me,” she wrote in a letter to Guarnizo. “I will pray for your soul, but first I will do everything in my power to see that you are removed from parish life so that you will not be permitted to harm any more families.”

The priest’s action has also triggered an uproar among gay rights activists and enlivened some religious conservatives. It came just days after the Maryland Senate approved legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in the state; Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is expected to sign it this week.

“Fr. Marcel Guarnizo has been thrown under the bus for following Cannon Law 915!” wrote one Catholic blogger in the archdiocese. “The issue here is not the priest but Barbara Johnson.”

Archdiocese officials would not comment. Instead, they issued a short statement saying that the priest’s actions were against “policy” and that they would look into it as a personnel issue.

“When questions arise about whether or not an individual should present themselves for communion, it is not the policy of the Archdiocese of Washington to publicly reprimand the person,” the statement said. “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.”

Messages for Guarnizo and other parish staff were not returned. Neither he nor other parish leaders were at the church or the rectory Tuesday night.

Active Catholics in the Greater Washington region said they could not recall another recent occasion when a priest had refused to administer the sacrament to a gay Catholic. Guarnizo’s refusal, they said, seemed at odds with the strong stand against denial of communion to Catholics enunciated by the archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl.

Wuerl said he did not believe in denying communion because it is impossible to know what is in another person’s heart. The issue took off during the 2004 presidential campaign, when some conservative Catholic leaders said that Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic candidate, should be denied communion because of his pro-choice views.

Johnson said that her partner of 20 years had been helping the family at the church earlier when the priest asked who she was. “And she said, ‘I’m her partner,’ ” Johnson recalled.

When Guarnizo covered the wine and wafers with his hand during Communion, Johnson stood there for a moment, thinking he would change his mind, she said. “I just stood there, in shock. I was grieving, crying,” she said. “My mother’s body was behind me, and all I wanted to do was provide for her, and the final thing was to make a beautiful funeral, and here I was letting her down because there was a scene.”

Johnson’s mother and late father were lifelong churchgoers who scraped to send their four children to Catholic schools, said Barbara and her brother, Larry Johnson, a forensic accountant who lives in Loudoun County. Barbara lives in Northwest Washington and for years taught art at Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg, her alma mater.

At the funeral Mass, Barbara Johnson was awash with spiritual memories of her mother: The 85-year-old waking from a heart attack this month and immediately crossing herself. The two women curled up in an ICU bed a few days later. Johnson reciting the “Hail Mary” and “The Lord’s Prayer” as her mother slipped away.

Despite their outrage, the Johnsons said they don’t see the incident as a reason to criticize the church more broadly. “We agreed this is not a discussion about gay rights or about the teachings of the Catholic Church,” Larry Johnson said. “We’re not in this to Catholic-bash.” That’s the farthest thing from our minds.”

But since Saturday, other Catholics have told him that the experience has shaken their faith. “You have serious questions about how American Catholics in particular practice their faith. How many divorced people live in a technical state of sin? How many people practice some form of artificial birth control in a state of sin?” he said. “If the church will now have these ‘state of grace’ police, you know, how can that be? That’s the most personal thing in the world — between a person and God.”
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Phillipus Iacobus
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2012, 10:17:PM »

Truly unbelievable.
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tmw89
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2012, 10:24:PM »

The blog posting to which the above article refers:

Quote from: An Archdiocese of Washington Catholic
Fr. Marcel Guarnizo has been thrown under the bus for following Canon Law 915!

According to a statement by 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.

The issue here is not the priest but Barbara Johnson.

Here is what I wrote on Deacon Greg's Blog:

If, as Barbara Johnson says that she is a “lifelong Catholic,” then she should have known that her relationship is sinful, that she was not in a state of grace, and SHOULD NOT have presented herself before the priest for Holy Communion.

The blame here is not on the priest, but on Barbara Johnson.

Now, the priest knows that she is living this immoral lifestyle and has to make a decision. Give her Holy Communion and himself commit a sin (and the theologians out there will probably correct me) or do what is correct.

Cardinal Wuerl has thrown this priest under the bus. Once again, he is more worried about the political and public relations damage, than about the mission of the Church.


Now, in addition, and more importantly, Fr. Guarnizo was following Canon Law, which states:

Canon 915: "Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion."

Once again, Cardinal Wuerl has thrown a faithful priest under the bus and has caused scandal to the Church.

No wonder why we are losing the battle over same sex marriage.

http://awashingtondccatholic.blogspot.com/2012/02/fr-marcel-guarnizo-has-been-thrown.html
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« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2012, 12:53:AM »


I'm strongly opposed to the idea of "marriage" for homosexuals and very tired of the homosexual agenda but the priest handled this very badly.  He did not do his job -- he didn't go to the cemetery to commit the body in Christian burial or get another priest to do that in his place and the dead woman had done nothing wrong.  It seems that he left the church without concluding the Mass.  It says he left the altar while Barbara Johnson was giving a eulogy, which he shouldn't have allowed.

It's not a sin to be homosexual, only to commit homosexual acts.   And if it's a sin for two or more homosexuals to live under the same roof, they'd better close all the monasteries, convents, and rectories with more than one resident.  We do know that many priests and religious are homosexual.  And that is ok if they're chaste, but we know many are not.

As Barbara Johnson's father -- a man who just lost his wife of more than fifty years -- said, there are many Catholics who commit adultery, use contraceptives, have divorced and remarried without an annulment of the first marriage, and they are not denied Communion.  No one should be denied Communion because the priest thinks they are in a state of mortal sin.

Barbara Johnson and her partner may have a chaste relationship.  Or she may confess it when they do have sex.  We don't know -- and neither does Fr. Guarnizo.

It's simply not possible for the priest to know if the woman he was denying Communion at her mother's funeral was in a state of mortal sin. 

He acted only on the information that she had a female partner, information the woman freely told him when he asked who she was earlier.  That's when the priest should have told Barbara Johnson he had to talk to her in private.  If she was in a state of mortal sin, she could have confessed, he could have absolved her, and the funeral wouldn't have been disrupted at all. 

But he might have learned that she was not in a state of mortal sin, that she had always confessed any mortal sin she committed before presenting herself to receive Communion. 

Whether she was or was not in mortal sin, the priest did not handle it as he should have.  He had the information that she lived with her partner before he began the Mass and that was the time to act on it, not during Mass.



 

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Mithrandylan
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« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2012, 01:04:AM »

Quote
“You have serious questions about how American Catholics in particular practice their faith. How many divorced people live in a technical state of sin? How many people practice some form of artificial birth control in a state of sin?” he said. “If the church will now have these ‘state of grace’ police, you know, how can that be? That’s the most personal thing in the world — between a person and God.”

Damn right you've got the question that.  But don't make a red herring out of it.  Point is, admitted and recognized practicing lesbian get's denied communion.  Shame on the bishop for reprimanding this priest, and shame on the bishop for saying "he doesn't believe" in refusing communion to people.

« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 01:29:AM by Mithrandylan » Logged


GottmitunsAlex
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« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2012, 01:27:AM »

Anyone check who Rev. Guarnizo is?

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002360743

http://www.saintjohnneumann.org/Main/sjnContacts.htm

http://www.unitasfoundation.org/advisory-board/

http://www.institute.sk/article.php?2220


(Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post) - Barbara Johnson was denied communion

“You brought your politics, not your God into that Church yesterday, and you will pay dearly on the day of judgment for judging me,” she wrote in a letter to Guarnizo.

The priest’s action has also triggered an uproar among gay rights activists and enlivened some religious conservatives. It came just days after the Maryland Senate approved legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in the state; Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is expected to sign it this week.

Archdiocese officials would not comment. Instead, they issued a short statement saying that the priest’s actions were against “policy” and that they would look into it as a personnel issue. Eye-roll

Active Catholics in the Greater Washington region said they could not recall another recent occasion when a priest had refused to administer the sacrament to a gay Catholic. Guarnizo’s refusal, they said, seemed at odds with the strong stand against denial of communion to Catholics enunciated by the archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl.
Wuerl said he did not believe in denying communion because it is impossible to know what is in another person’s heart.  Eye-roll


NO priests are starting to get their act together.
It's about time.
Slowly but surely I suppose.
Score 1 for the Church.

Edited to add: The lesbian never denied the fact that she lives with her lesbian partner.
And of course, Fr. Marcel will be transferred to Ghosttown, USA
video here: http://wusa9.com/news/article/193305/158/Lesbian-Barbara-Johnson-Says-Father-Marcel-Guarnizo-Denied-Her-Communion-At-Her-Mothers-Funeral

« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 01:42:AM by GottmitunsAlex » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2012, 04:16:AM »

+wuerl remains a catholic in good standing. 


Good to know.  Glad I realized the dioceses are sick. 

How can anyone out their faith in this man to transmit Catholicism?
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Stubborn
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« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2012, 04:25:AM »

Quote
“You have serious questions about how American Catholics in particular practice their faith. How many divorced people live in a technical state of sin? How many people practice some form of artificial birth control in a state of sin?” he said. “If the church will now have these ‘state of grace’ police, you know, how can that be? That’s the most personal thing in the world — between a person and God.”

Damn right you've got the question that.  But don't make a red herring out of it.  Point is, admitted and recognized practicing lesbian get's denied communion.  Shame on the bishop for reprimanding this priest, and shame on the bishop for saying "he doesn't believe" in refusing communion to people.

At least something noteworthy about the Bishop came from doing what he did - he openly exposes himself as one of the Judas Iscariots. Add him to the list.

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maso
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« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2012, 05:50:AM »

The priest may be blamed for a bad handling of the situation.
Why didn't he invite her to a private talk to clarify the situation and if necessary confess her?
It was easy to whisper:
"I cannot give you the Eucharist right now before we have a private conversation, please come to meet me once the ceremony is over and I will give you the communion"
Poor priest, we have to pray much for him because certainly he is very sorry of what happened.
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« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2012, 06:01:AM »

The priest may be blamed for a bad handling of the situation.
Why didn't he invite her to a private talk to clarify the situation and if necessary confess her?
It was easy to whisper:
"I cannot give you the Eucharist right now before we have a private conversation, please come to meet me once the ceremony is over and I will give you the communion"
Poor priest, we have to pray much for him because certainly he is very sorry of what happened.

What? Fr. did the right thing in denying her communion - IF she had any intention whatsoever of repenting, she's the one that should have asked to speak to father after father denied her communion - he already explained why she was being denied after she had the outrageous audacity to even attempt to receive communion in the first place!

He is not the bad guy here maso - SHE IS - and is so publicly.

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It is the Mass that matters.

But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth. -Apocalypse  3:16
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