Catholic Church | Discrimination | Maryland | News

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. Better yet, write to his boss: Reverend Thomas G. LaHood

    and demand his resignation and punishment. C'mon brothers and sisters: this is a time when we can act to declaim indecency. Flood that church with your indignation.

    Posted by: Tim | Feb 28, 2012 9:31:18 PM

  2. Catholic charity in action.

    Posted by: Commenter | Feb 28, 2012 9:32:39 PM

  3. @Sargon Bighorn...While you do have a point it does seem you are looking at the forest for the trees. The issue isn't the he a problem with lesbianism, its the WAY he handled the whole situation. He is very much entitled to his opinion, but CLEARLY he should dealt with the situation BEFORE the funeral.

    Posted by: Sam | Feb 28, 2012 10:00:51 PM

  4. If I were to write him I would congratulation him for his actions: one small step towards making one of the most corrupt and ridiculous organization in the history of the world (besides perhaps the Soviet Union) that much more irrelevant.

    Posted by: St. Theresa of Avila | Feb 28, 2012 10:01:51 PM

  5. Why any Gay person thinks ANY religious entity should change for Gay folk is a child. Grow up.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Feb 28, 2012 10:27:54 PM

  6. In an ideal world, malicious religious entities such as this would not even exist. The cults of Abraham are a plague on humanity, and this is but one of many examples of that. It is inexcusable for that cretin to make a scene at a funeral. It does not matter what "profession" he is.

    Posted by: Sarm | Feb 28, 2012 10:38:33 PM

  7. The founder of his religion wasn't quite so tetchy about with whom He would associate...

    Posted by: kit | Feb 28, 2012 10:51:56 PM

  8. Oh, Sargon, please. She wasn't expecting the Church to change for her, she was only expecting an ounce of common decency at her mother's funeral. Priests give communion to "sinners" every day. If they excluded every person who wasn't in line with Catholic teachings they'd be excluding most people who receive communion. Given the sins of some of the priests who are giving communion . . . Well, who's the bigger sinner here? Even the friggin' arch diocese said what the priest did in the middle of a funeral was wrong.

    Picking out sinners for your personal scorn in the middle of the deepest family grief cannot be spun as anything other than disgusting whether you think the Catholic church is nonsense or not.

    Posted by: Ernie | Feb 28, 2012 11:12:23 PM

  9. There were other people at the funeral. The Priest seems to believe one Gay person in the crowd poisons everything and abandoned the eulogy and graveside service. What about the soul of the deceased? Wasn’t that important enough to hang around for and send off with the official blessing? Is it church doctrine to deny a funeral service to a parent who has a Lesbian daughter? Is it childish to expect the church to say the magic words for non-Gay members Mr. Bighorn?

    Posted by: AnotherMike | Feb 28, 2012 11:27:06 PM

  10. So, did the priest ask her (and everyone else) if she (and they) had been to confession? Escaped and recovered for many years, but isn't confession before communion the eraser that wipes the slate? Perhaps she repented her sin and no longer bumps uglies with the woman in her home. Unless he asked her (and everyone else), how would he know? And unless he asked her and everyone else, there is absolutely no excuse. None. If there is a God, he or she weeps over such f*ckery.

    Posted by: TJ | Feb 28, 2012 11:47:56 PM

  11. I'm of two minds on this one. The priest should hae spoken to this woman before the service about not receiving communion. To hit her with a denial of communion during her mother's funeral service was not the way to go about it - it was hurting her at a time when she was most vulnerable. But he DOES have the right to refuse her. It's true, we all sin. But according to the church, what she's doing is an ongoing sin - not something she's trying to change. So this is not akin to skipping mass or cursing, or having a one-night stand. Those who bring up the fact that Jesus ate with sinners are overlooking two facts - one, he was trying to change these sinners, not accept them as they were. And two, the sinners to be saved had to accept him and then reform their behavior.

    Also, people should keep in mind the difficult situation church leaders are in regarding how to treat people who are openly sinning. In some ways they are subject to a damed if you and damned if you don't position. Be too lenient and people will accuse the church of being a farce that doesn't even attempt to practice what it preaches. Be too "strict" and then you're accused of driving people away from God and ignoring the essence of religion by having an obsession with petty issues.

    I feel for this woman and believe the priest should have been more tactful, but I also understand that his first concern had to be his obligation to uphold religious truth and serve God, and not her feelings.

    Posted by: Mary | Feb 29, 2012 12:05:54 AM

  12. A prime example right F'n here...they cry where attacking their religious freedom because we want to get married. and what are they doing? Talk about bigoted hatred from a bunch of bible thumping glad Im an atheist

    Posted by: x man | Feb 29, 2012 12:17:00 AM

  13. Come on over to the Episcopal Church. Pretty much the exact same service, the same God, but no Pope and a lot fewer homophobes.

    Posted by: Cole | Feb 29, 2012 12:38:25 AM

  14. I disagree with Sargon. I do understand that the priest was within his right to not give her communion, because she is not repentant for what he, and his church, consider a sin, but that was the only action he could or should have had even within the confines of catholic dogma.

    The priest had no right to be rude and during the service, nor did he have the right to leave. Those actions were against the woman being buried.

    This so called man of God didn't even have the couth or compassion to forewarn the daughter about the communion situation and then to proceed with his duties to her mother. Instead, he chose to punish the woman being buried and the rest of the attendees simply because he didn't not like the existence of the daughter of the woman being buried.

    Posted by: PTBoat | Feb 29, 2012 12:39:05 AM

  15. Burn in hell, father Scumbag.

    Posted by: TPOW | Feb 29, 2012 12:43:42 AM

  16. The church doesn't allow a man to love another man but if you Luke having sex with boys you're not only given an endless to them but are protected from prosecution and are slowed to molest as many boys as you like? This priest looks like a pedophile too.

    Btw, being gay isn't a sin. Anyone can Google the original meaning of the clobber passages to figure it out. You can tell a homophobe Corinthians was condemning masturbation less than a hundred years ago and it will not phase them.

    Posted by: Michael | Feb 29, 2012 12:57:07 AM

  17. Dear Mary:

    I am truly tickled and intrigued by your presence here. I absolutely love that you are making an attempt to learn what the "other side" thinks and feels. In the same spirit, I would sincerely like to know if you think the priest in this case would have been equally justified in denying communion to those who eat shellfish and/or wear cotton/poly blends, and who have no intention of altering those behaviors.

    Thank you in advance for your response.

    Posted by: JOE 2 | Feb 29, 2012 1:06:00 AM

  18. if "progressive Catholics" put their money where their mouth is the change will come.

    i'm not saying "give up your faith" - i AM saying "STOP GIVING THEM MONEY"

    organized religion is a business. businesses that lose money will change to keep financially stable.

    It's really simple. Stop Giving The Catholic Church Money.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 29, 2012 1:20:11 AM

  19. Joe, I'll be happy to answer your question. No, the priest would not have been justified in denying communion to those who eat shellfish or wear cotton/poly blends because these laws applied to Jews only. the "new covenant" (as Christians call it) doesn't contain these rules. St. Paul says so in the New Testament. As to what sins call for denying someone communion, you'd have to ask a priest or biship about this. I am not a theologian and don't know what the Catholic church's policy is exactly. Clearly, they can't deny everyone who sins communion or no one would be receiving it at all.

    And a question: are you being sarcastic when you say you're "tickled and intrigued" by my presence here? I hope you're being sincere. Since I've become more pro-gay due to reading Towleroad, you actually do have a reason to be happy about my being here (if not necessarily "tickled!")

    Posted by: Mary | Feb 29, 2012 1:26:12 AM

  20. The Parable of the Good Samaritan

     25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
       26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

     27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”

       28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

     29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

     30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

       36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

     37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

       Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

    Posted by: Timothy Poisal | Feb 29, 2012 1:36:48 AM

  21. MARY - I, for one, am (usually) tickled that you are here. But I just don't get how Jesus and his love jibes with humiliation, disrespect, and prejudice. Unless he knows for certain, how can he refuse communion? And as has been pointed out, this was the funeral of a person with whom the priest had no beef. Refusing communion is one thing; refusing presence? So un-Christ like.

    Posted by: TJ | Feb 29, 2012 1:49:48 AM


    Posted by: TJ | Feb 29, 2012 1:54:07 AM

  23. @SARGON: I often agree with you, but this time no. First, the priest was there for the MOTHER'S funeral; second, even as the atheist I am, I can see that this idiot failed the most basic tenets of ministry.

    Posted by: David R. | Feb 29, 2012 1:55:49 AM

  24. FOOLISH, FOOLISH GAY CATHOLICS put money in the plate, while the bishops plot against Gay rights .... Prop 8 won because the cardinal brought in the mormons.
    Stand outside the damn church, or put a note in the plate.... Have faith

    Posted by: Bob | Feb 29, 2012 1:58:26 AM

  25. Mary,

    I am absolutely sincere when I say that I'm tickled and intrigued by your presence here. I am sick of the partisan, us-against-them b.s. that has taken over our public discourse. I am genuinely curious as to how self-identified Christians can selectively interpret the Bible to suit their pre-existing beliefs.

    So: does the "new covenant" (I confess, I don't know what that refers to) specify animus toward those whose sexual orientation is "gay" or "bisexual"? My understanding is that Jesus never said anything about sexual orientation. Not, by the way, that what Jesus said or didn't say has any relevance to the issue of equal rights for gay/bisexual people in the U.S., since separation of church and state is a given (in my book, anyway).


    JOE 2

    Posted by: JOE 2 | Feb 29, 2012 2:03:11 AM

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