Wednesday, February 29, 2012

God Hates Fags, Catholic Version

This has been bouncing around the blogs for a couple of days, made the front page of The Post today:
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. D.C. archdiocese: Denying Communion to lesbian at funeral was against ‘policy’

The lady's mother had just died, and the priest chose that opportunity to make a statement that Jesus will not save the souls of lesbians.

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.

And here is the classic response:
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.

When the clerk at Best Buy is rude to you, that's a personnel issue, when somebody sleeps on the job or shows up late. Of course the Church has a long sordid history of treating priests' dangerous behaviors as personnel issues. Let's hope there is some transparency here, and some accountability.

You may find the priest's bio interesting -- he's not a new guy or somebody who doesn't understand how the game is played. Here's a write-up at a site called the Conservative Insitute, apparently in Bratislava, Slovakia:
Rev. Marcel Guarnizo (USA) is an American by birth, he is a Catholic diocesan priest belonging to the Archdiocese of Moscow, Russia. Rev. Guarnizo studied theology and philosophy in Rome where he specialized in Metaphysics.

He became one of the first priests ordained in Russia since the fall of the wall. He is the founder and President of Aid to the Church in Russia an organization dedicated to the reconstruction of the Church patrimony destroyed by the communist in Russia.

He is also the founder and Chairman of the Educational Initiative for Central and Eastern Europe (EICEE) a foundation committed to the strengthening and promotion of free, just and democratic societies in Central and Eastern Europe.

Rev. Guarnizo has lectured and taught in many countries of the region and has worked with universities, students, and leaders in the region since 1993. As one of the speakers, Rev. Guarnizo have participated recently in several economic liberal forums, such as [lists several forums] Marcel Guarnizo: Economics, Philosophy and Foundations of Democracy

To have refused this woman communion at a normal Sunday-morning mass would have been a hateful gesture. To deny her the sacrament at her own mother's funeral, and then to abandon the burial, because the priest is personally repulsed by her sexual orientation, is a venomous expression of hate; what could be more hateful that believing it is appropriate to hurt the person when they are at their most vulnerable?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...Late Tuesday, Johnson received a letter of apology from the Rev. Barry Knestout, one of the archdiocese’s highest-ranking administrators, who said the lack of “kindness” she and her family received “is a cause of great concern and personal regret to me.”...

...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 F. Kerry (Mass.), 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.”"

February 29, 2012 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exclusive interview with Barbara Johnson

March 01, 2012 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has signed the historic same-sex marriage bill into law, making Maryland the seventh state along with D.C. to allow same sex marriage and the first on the East Coast below the Mason-Dixon line.

March 01, 2012 6:37 PM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Anon reported:

“Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has signed the historic same-sex marriage bill into law,”

Man, you can almost smell the equality in the air… it smells like… (sniff)… victory.

Have a wonderfully gay day!


March 02, 2012 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My five-year-old son was refused communion at the Catholic church too. He went up, bowed his head, put his hands out and the priest denied him.

What of it?

If you want to be Catholic, then be Catholic. If you don't, then you'll be denied Communion.

What's the big deal?

March 03, 2012 7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your son will be in church many Sundays to receive communion but there will only be one funeral for Barbara Johnson's mother.

Guarnizo turned what was supposed to be his pastoral mission of healing and understanding into his personal political mission and I hope the Church bans him from working with the public from now on due to his insensitivity.

"If you want to be Catholic, then be Catholic. If you don't, then you'll be denied Communion."

How many divorced Catholics receive communion? Or those using contraceptives? Or those who had abortions? Or those who cheat on their spouses? Or those who remarried? Or those who raise their children in the non-Catholic faith of their spouse?

If communion is for non-sinners only in the Catholic Church, there must not be very many Catholics taking communion these days.

March 05, 2012 9:50 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Anon reported:

“My five-year-old son was refused communion at the Catholic church too. He went up, bowed his head, put his hands out and the priest denied him.”

How in the WORLD did your priest know your five-year-old son was gay???

Should this priest be investigated???

I hope your day improves,


March 06, 2012 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My five-year-old son was refused communion at the Catholic church too. He went up, bowed his head, put his hands out and the priest denied him."

Possibly one of the best examples of why the Protestant Reformation came about!

March 07, 2012 9:47 AM  

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