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Priest Refuses Lesbian Communion at Her Mother's Funeral, Walks Out in Protest: VIDEO


Yesterday I linked to a story posted by the family friend of Barbara Johnson, telling of how a Catholic priest at a Maryland church walked out of a funeral in protest during Johnson's eulogy for her mother, after refusing her communion, all because she is a lesbian.

Watch an interview with Johnson, AFTER THE JUMP...

Now WUSA picks up the story: Guarzino

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.

Father Marcel refused to accompany the body to the cemetery, saying he was ill.

Watch an interview with Johnson, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Feel that Christian love..........

    Posted by: AllBeefPatty | Feb 28, 2012 7:18:05 PM

  2. I bet he would not have walked out of a funeral for one of his pedophile priests!

    Posted by: Peter | Feb 28, 2012 7:20:10 PM

  3. I just wanted to say:

    This is a personal issue, not a political one.

    I feel for this woman and what she went through, particularly during what was probably a trying time for her.

    Posted by: mini | Feb 28, 2012 7:23:39 PM

  4. Things have GOT to change. The proof pours in daily. Everyone should be able to expect to be treated with some basic human dignity at a time of mourning. The greatest commandment, according to some olden carpenter dude, is to love your fellow man -- to treat him as you'd be treated; I fail to see any modicum of love, or basic decency, being delivered by this priest.
    Is it so hard? Is it really impossible?
    Jesus made it clear which commandment surpassed all others, and it's not really that hard to keep considering the rewards. Sigh...

    Posted by: Johnson | Feb 28, 2012 7:34:12 PM

  5. I remember my mother talking about a fee for the priest to show up, i hope that check was canceled.

    Posted by: doug105 | Feb 28, 2012 7:38:15 PM

  6. I am a life long Catholic, proudly and openly gay since age 21. It is not easy being a gay Catholic, but my commitment to my faith has traditionally transcended my identity and the Church's institutional disregard for the authenticity of my and our orientation.

    But for all the awful things I have heard and seen and overlooked, this is perhaps the worst. What an awful, awful human being this priest is. He should be ashamed of himself. And as the Archdiocese's statement made plain (in its admittedly coded way), there is no excuse for his conduct.

    Posted by: Cubs Fan in DC | Feb 28, 2012 7:51:17 PM

  7. They make themselves more and more irrelevant on a daily basis.

    Posted by: peterparker | Feb 28, 2012 8:00:26 PM

  8. He looks like the incarnation of evil, and apparently he is.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Feb 28, 2012 8:01:24 PM

  9. God bless her! Having to deal with that at such an a trying time. I hope she remembers that not all Christians are so dogmatic. I do have to disagree with Mini though - there is a political side to this. The Catholic church is actively attacking the gay community, and we cannot afford to idly sit back and play nice. We have to call them on their hate at each opportunity.

    Posted by: Paul | Feb 28, 2012 8:03:46 PM

  10. The priest's behavior was inexcusable. It was her mother's Catholic funeral, and no one should be treated with anything less than dignity at a family member's funeral no matter where it is being held. (I'm not Catholic, but to those who suggested on the previous thread that she should just reject the Church, she shouldn't have to, particular during her mother's funeral, when any priest's focus should be on helping the family deal with grief.) Even the Archdiocese agreed, so at least--this time--they didn't compound the disgrace by excusing the priest's lack of basic human decency.

    Posted by: Ernie | Feb 28, 2012 8:09:35 PM

  11. Really, is nothing sacred. Is she the only gay child of a Catholic parishioner? Has this man never encounter another gay person?

    Maybe he doest protest too much.

    In any case, the man is a horse's ass, and he probably left to go suck off an alter boy.

    May his own funeral be equally besmirched.

    The Catholic Church should issue an apology for his behavior, and he should be demoted from parish priest (although you probably can't go any lower).

    Posted by: Fahd | Feb 28, 2012 8:12:25 PM

  12. Lesbian insists on Muslim/Jew feed her pork. Calls Muslim/Jew hatful because they refuse to feed her pork in their restaurant. Nope honey you're WRONG on this one. If you don't play the Catholic game the Catholic way, don't expect them to play with you. Stop FORCING THEM to accept YOUR life style choice JUST LIKE you don't want THEM to push THEIR life style choice on YOU.

    It goes BOTH ways Gay America. If you want to be a Muslim or Jew you can't eat pork END OF STORY. If you want a Catholic Priest to give communion, DON'T break Their religious Law. SIMPLE.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Feb 28, 2012 8:14:33 PM

  13. While I find the priest's actions reprehensible, I'm with Sargon on this one. And to Cubs Fan: unlike same-sex attraction, belonging to a church is a choice. mMaybe it's time to re-examine your commitment to your faith. You're supporting this institution. Is that really what you want to do?

    Posted by: Fritz | Feb 28, 2012 8:19:48 PM

  14. You know, I really don't understand why anyone would expect anything different from the Catholic establishment. There are some priests who would have acted differently, the priest who said my grandfather's funeral mass invited "everyone for whom it would be a spiritual at " to take communion. This was highly unusual and definitely outside doctrinal protocol. The catholic church is not Oprah, differences of opinion are not encouraged. Cafeteria Catholicism is the American way, but not for the clergy.

    Posted by: busytimmy | Feb 28, 2012 8:21:02 PM

  15. What a spiteful, hateful thing to do to a woman at her mother's funeral. Does Fr. Marcel have no sense of human decency? Has he no compassion?

    By the way, as soon as I saw his name, Fr. Marcel, I was reminded of another priest with a similar name, Fr. Marcial Maciel, who was protected at the highest level of the Vatican in spite of his notorious "sins".

    Posted by: Ninong | Feb 28, 2012 8:22:40 PM

  16. Sargon Bighorn, another troll heard from. First of all, this priest made an assumption based on something he heard. Your analogy makes no sense what so ever.

    I think we will see the near collapse of the Catholic Church in America within the next 20 years. Priests and nuns are dying out. Often there are cultural issues with priests who are outside of the U.S. (i.e. they are too conservative). The abuse scandals have robbed them of any moral authority. Stunts like this drive people further away from the church. They have an unsustainable plan.

    Posted by: Angela Channing | Feb 28, 2012 8:24:07 PM

  17. @Sargon- I think your missing the point. As I understand it the Catholic church says that you can approach a member about issuing with receiving communion- but its a step farther when he left the room while she spoke, and didn't accompany the body to the funeral. That is beyond the scope of what your responding to- and your ignoring it by not acknowledging it. That behavior served no purpose, was disruptive to a funeral and grieving family, and then catastrophically hurtful when he wouldn't even perform his duties to the deceased. Now, I may just be a daudy Wiccan, but that doesn't seem reflective of either whats in Mark, Luke, or Matthew, ya know?

    The man should face serious discussions with his superiors about his ability to continue his job as a priest.

    Posted by: Cecil | Feb 28, 2012 8:24:09 PM

  18. You're such a simpleton, Sargon Bighorn.

    Posted by: Alex | Feb 28, 2012 8:24:38 PM

  19. The parochial vicar (associate pastor) at Saint John Neuman church in Gaithersburg, Maryland has the first name Marcel? Could this be the priest involved? His email appears on the website and I am sure he would like to hear from those who support his actions.

    Although he may have been acting according to the dictates of his conscious in denying communion to the lesbian child of the deceased, it seems rude to leave during the eulogy and by not blessing the grave site, I believe he has done a disservice to the innocent and no doubt pious catholic deceased.

    This must be a difficult time for him, with the Archbishop publicly questioning his actions.

    Posted by: Bernard | Feb 28, 2012 8:33:19 PM

  20. @SARGON BIGHORN: No, it's not simple. For starters, the Catholic Church practices cafeferia enforcement when it comes to denying Communion to someone they consider to be "living in sin."

    There was a time when I was a young altar boy (more than 60 years ago) when the priest would deny Communion to someone who had gotten divorced to remarry. Divorce was not recognized, so the person was considered to be "living in sin." However, if their former spouse died, they could then go to Confession and receive Absolution. "Ego te absolvo." All is forgiven, go in peace and sin no more. Now that's simple. Ridiculous, but simple. Just say ten Our Fathers and ten Hail Marys and start all over again.

    I'm sure that worked just fine for thrice-married, serial adulterers like Rudy Giuliana or Newt Gingrich. Giuliani was even granted an annulment from his first wife after 14 years of marriage on the flimsy ground that he didn't realize she was his second cousin and he forgot to ask for the Catholic Church's permission to marry her (which was the rule back then). It's still nice to be an important person when it comes to getting special favors from the Church.

    The hypocrisy of this Church is difficult for outsiders, or former members, to comprehend. To say nothing of the fact that enforcement of the rules is arbitrary and dependent on the personal biases of the individual priest. If you're a practicing Catholic, when was the last time you saw the priest deny communion to parishioners who were known to have divorced and remarried? When was the last time you saw a priest ask Rudy Giuliani to leave St. Patrick's Cathedral when he was attending with his third wife-to-be while still married to his second wife?

    Posted by: Ninong | Feb 28, 2012 8:43:21 PM

  21. I've seen both sides. At a friend's funeral, his lover had to sit with us because the "Church" wouldn't acknowledge their relationship. I think the family of the deceased were afraid of the priest because when these two got "married" at a Pride Celebration, we all partied together at the reception afterward.

    At my partner's mother's Roman Catholic funeral, the priest talked about the remaining family members several times, mentioning each of us (me included) by name.

    Bet ya didn't know that back in the 80's, the Bishop of the Toledo Roman Catholic Dioceses actually appointed a Chaplin (priest) to the Dignity Chapter.

    Posted by: Jeff | Feb 28, 2012 8:50:08 PM

  22. I trust that Father Guarnizo denies communion to shrimp-eaters and wearers of cotton/poly blends at their mothers' funerals, too. Right, Sargon Bighorn? ("Lifestyle choice," BTW.)

    Posted by: JOE 2 | Feb 28, 2012 8:59:40 PM

  23. You can not deny communion because of someone's sin! No one would be worthy of God's cookies if that were the case.

    Posted by: Rex | Feb 28, 2012 9:09:57 PM

  24. WHY or HOW can anyone agree with the catholic faith....beyond me.

    Posted by: Reppin2 | Feb 28, 2012 9:17:31 PM

  25. Write to him:
    Tell him to repent and confess the evil that has possessed him. Flood his email with judgment and castigation. "An eye for an eye..."

    Posted by: Tim | Feb 28, 2012 9:25:57 PM

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