Priest Walks Out of Woman’s Funeral Over Her Lesbian Daughter

Ann Werner writes about a disturbing incident over the weekend at a Maryland church:

GuarnizoSomething terrible happened this past weekend in Maryland and the fact that it was Maryland, a state that has just proclaimed that all are equal and has enshrined that concept into state law, goes to highlight the lengths to which the right will go. In this instance, the right was personified by Father Marcel Guarnizo, who officiated at the funeral of a former family member of mine. She was no longer a family member because I divorced the man who was her blood relative. But with social media these days, a person can remain in touch with those who, although there is no longer a family connection, are still people who are valued.

My friend Barbara, the daughter of the deceased woman, was denied communion at her mother’s funeral. She was the first in line and Fr. Guarnizo covered the bowl containing the host and said to her,  “I cannot give you communion because you live with a woman and that is a sin according to the church.” To add insult to injury, Fr. Guarnizo left the altar when she delivered her eulogy to her mother. When the funeral was finished he informed the funeral director that he could not go to the gravesite to deliver the final blessing because he was sick.

I will tell you a little about the woman who drove that priest from the altar. She is kind, she is smart, she is funny and she works hard promoting the arts. She pays her bills, she cares deeply for her family and she loved her mother and her mother loved her right back. And now she will never set foot in a Catholic church again and who can blame her?

Read Werner's full account at the link below.

Priest Walks Out Of Woman’s Funeral Because Of Her Gay Daughter [addicting info]


  1. says

    And now she will never set foot in a Catholic church again and who can blame her?

    Well, that’s the good news!

    I was raised Catholic and I know the religion digs its tendrils deep. I hate the Church, but I feel a special sense of belonging and calm when I am in a church (the building). But the Catholic Church is an evil and corrupt institution and there are other options for LGBT people who want a spiritual/religious practice.

  2. aj says

    I can hear the dimes drop already, out there in the DC area someone has dirt on this poor excuse for a priest let alone a human being….

  3. says

    do you know why this continues? because progressive Cafeteria Catholics are letting it.

    hey, Catholics – 98% of you use birth control. the vast majority of you have no problems with gays marrying, nor with your OWN gay family members…and yet the church remains bigoted…why? YOU are not doing enough within the church to demand change.

    protest with your pocketbooks. make it known.

    when they pass that collection plate you write a note and put that in the plate instead – “I will not give you another dime until you promote love and acceptance the way Christ would have”

  4. NaughtyLola says

    Oh for god’s sake. THOSE ARE THE RULES. You cannot take Communion if you are not in a state of Grace. That is the law of the land in Catholic ritual; if you cannot abide by that rule *do not partake in the ritual*. It is NOT FOR YOU.

    If this woman was indeed Catholic then she should have known that. If she wasn’t, then a) why was she trying to partake in Communion at all, and b) when the family discussed the funeral Mass with the priest, this should have been made clear. She could receive a blessing, but not Communion.

  5. Steve in OC says

    The rule is that no one is to be refused communion should they come up, as no one, not even the priest, knows the state of the relationship between God and the communicant. The actions of one priest, or even several, will never make me leave the Church. Those of us who love and accept all people will eventually win out. And as long as marriage is also a secular institution with the state involved, the 14th Amendment applies!

  6. Marc says

    Not all priests are like that in the church. I know some priests who have no problem giving communion to gay people, will do blessings for weddings and invite everyone up to the service.

  7. Ricco says

    She won’t set foot in the Catholic Church because a no-count priest dissed her at her mother’s funeral, but the church’s long history of raping and killing in the name of Jesus . . . that did not bother her so much?

    Whatever!! I have to wonder about anyone, especially gay people, who would attend and pay tithes to this horrific church.

    He was sick, so he could not attend the grave site service? Lying is a sin, but a petty school-boy lie is just pathetic!

  8. Sargon Bighorn says

    I agree with NAUGHTYLOLA, it’s their sandbox and if you want to play in it you gotta play by their rules. ALERT FOR THOSE WITH NO CLUE: Jews and Muslims don’t eat pork. If you like bacon don’t become a Jew nor a Muslim. They will NOT be changing to accommodate your desires. Catholics don’t like Gay folk.

  9. says

    the problem, Naughtylola and Sargon, is that it’s truly NOT their rules: not really.

    if the catholic church denied communion to all Catholics who do not live according to Catholic Doctrine then the church would have imploded mannnny years ago.

    birth control users. oral sex enjoyers.

    the reason the church continues to be anti-gay is because it’s the only thing they can talk about negatively that won’t drive away their flocks.

    now, dont’ get me wrong – this story is sorta like saying “kids playing with matches are shocked to discover that their fingers get burned” but the sad reality is that Catholicism breeds more deceit than faith – catholics use birth control. they DO. and they still take communion.

    that selectivity is the reason the anti-gay stance remains unchanged – priests are all too aware that if they come down hard (no pun intended…) on the sexual acts of HETEROsexuals then they’ll scare aware their flocks.

    it’s time for progressive catholics to keep their pocketbooks closed.

  10. Yeek says

    I agree: you play with hornets, you get stung. Her own fault for being shocked given their record. Kiwi, you are right and wrong: the church can (and has) refused communion to those who openly state they are using birth control, are gay, etc. if you don’t talk about it, they’ll put up with you. You’re right that they’d fold in weeks if the masses stood up to them. Money talks, especially with all those settlement payouts. Don’t count on it though.

  11. acorlando says

    I have no use for these people, but remember, it was Christ himself who said, “No one who ever comes to me shall I turn away.”

  12. Scott says

    Honestly why is she or anyone else surprised. Don’t have the funeral at a Catholic church. It’s a terrible story but no one should be schocked.

  13. Luke says

    I have difficulties to understand where is the surprise, in Italy and as far as I know, everywhere in Europe, Catholic priest do not give religious funerals for gays and lesbian, especially if “was publicly displayed”.

  14. Robert in NYC says

    Naughty Lola….Oh please, millions of catholic women are on the pill and receive communion. The roman cult forbids artificial birth control, a venial sin. Do you really think all those women go to confession first and then renounce birth control as their penance before they’re back in a state of grace? What about catholic single women living with their boyfriends? This is nothing more than homophobia so stop apologizing for the cult. Does anyone really believe the majority of catholic women using birth control actually confess it or tell their priest openly? Get real. This is nothing more than hypocrisy and bigotry. About time catholic women stood up and took on these bigots they call priests, just as they walked out of churches during mass in the 60s when the cult reiterated it’s teaching on birth control.

  15. Brian G says

    In this case, I would blame the priest over the Church itself. At my father’s funeral, not only was I able to receive Communion, but so was my partner. In fact, my partner, whom the priest had met, played the music for the funeral mass. The priest, from the pulpit, thanked him personally for the lovely music; knowing he was as much a part of my family as my sisters’ husbands.
    I’ve had many issues with the Catholic Church and their dogmatic hypocrisy, but in this case, I would lay the blame at the priest.
    A nice response from the rest of the attendants, since she was first in line, would have been to all refuse to take Communion from that Priest. To show, in solidarity, that he was the one in the wrong.

  16. Steve says

    As Obi Wan Kenobi said: “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

    That’s the perfect description of the Catholic Church

  17. Gman says

    Naughtylola — there is also Canon Law that says a priest CANNOT deny Eucharist to someone if they ask for it. By being first in line, this woman was asking to receive and his refusal ignores the law of the Church.

    As far as his bad behavior, Fr. Guarnizo would do well to spend a long weekend, on silent retreat, praying over John 4:1-42 “The Samaritan Woman at the Well,” and then reconsider his actions.

    Scripture says to everything there is a season. And when someone is mourning the loss of a parent, the Church needs to be there in their loss. This priest should be not dragging the ugly Culture War out off of the street to play out in a sacred space like a church.

    He has done more to harm the Church in this action than we will ever know.

  18. NaughtyLola says

    @Robert in NYC, I’m not apologizing for anyone. I’m not Catholic. I’m atheist, as it happens. But instead of complaining that the Catholic church doesn’t do what I want when I want it, I just ignore them and don’t attempt to participate in their rituals.

    And for what its worth, refusal of Communion is basically up to the whim of the celebrant. Priests can and do refuse Communion to cohabitating couples and unrepentantly-birth-controlling women. Don’t like it? Don’t be Catholic.

  19. say what says

    ok , am an atheist

    He was in line with catholic doctrine refusing her communion

    BUT his leaving during her eulogy and not going to the grave site for the last blessing is NOT catholic doctrine but personal evil, hate, foulness within the priest

    Though the doctrine refusing her communion isn’t cool , it is what it is….but in no way should the priest be allowed to slide on the eulogy issue etc

    The catholic church could have a potential PR boon if they publicly condemn the priest and sensure him for the eulogy walk out etc while stating he was only right per catholic doctrine on communion

    many non catholics would accept such as a valdi compromise

  20. Bart says

    This is clearly the mother’s parish church. I hope everyone of her friends who attend that church saw what happened to her daughter and also stop attending that church and that the backlash continues.

    WWJD…certainly not that. This priest, for all his rules and supposed piety, is scum. Pray for your own soul, Padre, instead of worried about antiquated rules from an antiquated institution.

  21. Tarc says

    This is hardly atypical behavior in my experience. Aside from my godparents and their children (who are wonderful) most of the problems I ever run into with hateful behavior or extreme intolerance (and I mean producing real emotional, physical, financial, and legal damage) areCatholics or other ‘highly religious’ people. Religious is certainly nothing but a destructive force in my experience.

  22. Me says

    I really don’t know why we’re bothering to have this discussion–as others have said, their church, their rules, and if you don’t agree, don’t go. But, since people are throwing rules around, here’s the relevant one:

    Can. 915 — Ad sacram communionem ne admittantur excommunicati et interdicti post irrogationem vel declarationem poenae aliique in manifesto gravi peccato obstinate perseverantes.

    Living with a same-sex partner falls under “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin”, and thus the priest was correct, under the laws of the church, in denying this woman communion.

  23. Secret Identity says

    As a Christian I have said this before and say it again. When “chritians” do things that alienate others from God or the church whose work are they really doing? Too often those on the religious right focus not on grace or the teachings of Christ but instead on political posturing.
    From the wackos who protest funerals to this priest,when they end up turning people away from God. These people should remember the story of the good Samaritan!

  24. JohnV says

    When Ted Kennedy was divorced but not annulled, the question of cutting him off from communion came up.
    The answer I was given was that a priest could never be sure what went on behind closed doors. The two could be living as siblings in order to care for children or to share living costs. Short of a graphic declaration, the priest is never to withhold the sacraments from anyone.
    Yes, it’s a sad day for the Church.

  25. jtramon says

    Why not just drop the good father a note at:

    Or, better yet, give him a call at: St. John Neumann, Giathersburg, MD….Tel: 301-977-5492

    8900 Lochaven Dr, Gaithersburg, MD 20882

  26. Robert in NYC says

    NaughtyLola, I don’t think cohabiting straight couples or women using birth control actually tell a priest outside of the confessional and even if they did, they’re in a very small number. What would be the point knowing what the ramifications are? I know a woman who’s first husband died, she remarried a divorced man in a civil ceremony, her priest knows but doesn’t refuse her communion. It’s the hypocrisy and double standard of my former cult that I can’t abide.

  27. Dancobbb says

    Big deal! Why does anyone with half a brain care what that church –or any other church– decides to do!? Whenever I happen to be in a church service (next to never) for whatever reason, I marvel at how medi-eval it is; how dated and patriarchal it is; how laughable it is that people actually believe the nonsense preached by the church.

  28. jim says

    Cool shades on Holy Dude!

    Whatever church law says, this priest’s behavior was rude, callous and childish, given the very real situation of loss. He ought to be ashamed.

    Not Catholic here (thank the godz), but my half-sisters are. But, we had communion in the church I grew up in as well. I never understood it, always thought the spiritual cannibalism was an off-putting ritual. Theoretically I was supposed to get some spiritual/emotoinal something from it, but never did. All the church rituals were like that for me–never seemed more than contrived and showy, devoid of true meaning. Wasn’t hard at all to walk away from all that and find my own, true spirituality.

  29. rustytrawler says

    I think people care because this woman was in the middle of her mother’s funeral! I doubt she chose where the funeral would be. That was probably her mother’s choice.

    This isn’t about the church’s rules. This is about the inability of one human being to act with compassion towards another.

  30. Yeek says

    I’m not sure who’s breaking the rules here: this priest, or all the “nice” ones who give communion to all the divorced and almost-certainly-doing-it unmarried straight couples.

    In a way, I appreciate the open, unapologetic hostility. The tedium of the “love the sinner, hate the sin” crowd is just too cloying after a while. Give me an honest, direct adversary over a two-faced bleeding heart any day.

  31. Tom in long beach says

    Sad Story.
    Recovering Catholic here. Refusing communion makes him a thoughtless, heartless rule follower.
    leaving during the eulogy and not going to the gravesite should get him reprimanded severely…..

    Many Christians (myself included) do not follow the teachings of the religious right. They put rules before people.

    Tarc: There is also a Christian Left. There is a big difference between being Spiritual and being religious.

  32. jack says

    The good news coming out of this story is that “she will never set foot in a catholic church again”. The sooner all people abandon the primitive ideologies of Christianity, Judaism and especially the very primitive Islam, the better off the world will be.As John Lennon sung so long ago: “just imagine, no religion”. What a much better world it would be.

  33. says

    This is but one branch of Catholicism. For the gay community, I recommend finding an “Old Catholic Parish,” in your area and attend Church there. Chances are the Priest is gay and no one that is baptized is refused communion.

  34. mike/ says

    love the fact that he was at St. John Neuman church; it is a really a well known fact that Father John Neuman was gay; he was buried next to his life partner and there was just a stir in England where he was buried because the catholic church unannounced went in an moved his body! his express wish, in his will, was to be buried next to his partner!

  35. Pete says

    She should not have presented herself to receive communion – a religious sacrament. Would she have presented herself to a Muslim cleric and ask him to give her a sacrament in that faith? Of course not.

  36. Brian says

    He’s on his own here. This is not sanctioned behavior. He’s acting against canon law – to say nothing of Christian ideas of love and acceptance or common decency. What a horrible situation!

  37. jack says

    The eucharist is the most outrageous belief in christianity. The catholic church teaches that when the priest says the words of consecration over the bread and wine it becomes “the body and blood, soul and divinity of jesus christ”. It is an article of faith that the little piece of bread on that altar is the creator of the universe. Yes, the creator of the over a hundred billion galaxies is that little piece of bread. They call it transubstantiation.They put it in a fancy gold plated monstrance and people kneel before it in adoration. As Jack Parr use to say: “I kid you not”.

  38. TJ says

    JACK – actually, it is ritualized cannibalism. So there’s that. The rest? Deplorable. A man who doesn’t understand the best of his faith. Just the dogma. Just one of many reasons why I’m a recovered Catholic.

  39. Kyle says

    hm. I once was briefly in the seminary to become a Priest (was a Catholic at the time) and would never have refused communion to anyone who asked for it. Nor would any of the others. (Most of them were gay as well)

    Yes, there is a lot of hypocracy in the Catholic church, thus the reason I am no longer a Catholic OR interested in the church at all, but the priest in this story is a grade-A jerk.

  40. Sarm says

    Making a scene at a funeral. Dishonoring her memory by disrespecting her daughter. Is there any low that a Christian will not stoop to?

  41. KSLICE says

    If it is the case that communion can only be taken when one is in a state of grace with God, then it seems that no one should be able to willingly participate in it. Are we not all sinners, as is taught by the Church? Please right me if that is incorrect. Also, arguing that this situation should have been foreseen is similar to the one given when women are raped and are blamed for it. It is absolutely atrocious that a man of God should commit something, not only blatantly wrong, but against the teachings of Jesus.

  42. Craig says

    I am so very sorry about this. This is an abomination to God – what the priest did, not who the lesbian is. In my church (Episcopal) EVERYONE is welcome to communion, regardless of faith or no faith whatsoever. There is no reason to be denied communion. How disgusting. But, that’s the Catholic church for you. That’s why we do so many of their funerals at our church, I guess.

  43. Brian says

    I’m gay and Catholic.
    This is a very sad and disappointing story. The woman shouldn’t have gone up to take communion. I certainly keep to my seat when it’s time for that in mass. But on the other hand, the priest should not have taken it upon himself to deny her communion and not to finish the funeral by going to the gravesite. Neither side was right in this.

    And by the way guys, stop bashing the Church. The Church is sacred, the men who run it are human. And humans have faults, we aren’t perfect, and we can change. I’m sure things will change but we must be patient.

    Patience and humility are virtues.

  44. Sarm says

    So we should have patience while the Church continues to shelter pedophiles? We should have patience while Christians continue to torture, rape, kill and steal from everyone else, and generally treat them like garbage?

    And if you lot aren’t perfect, then stop pretending to be and imposing your will on the rest of us! If you can change from being completely reprehensible creatures, then do it! You have had thousands of years to do so. You have no excuses for continuing this behavior. You should be ashamed for attempting to justify it. I predicted you would though. Christians always do.

  45. says

    This is outrageous, In claiming to be upholding the Catechism, Fr Guarnizo is displaying woeful ignorance ot it, on at least three counts. (See for an explanation)

    If acting contrary to the Catechism is necessarily sinful, then by his own standards he is himself in sin. That is why he needs to apologize. The theory of confession states that not only must we repent and confess our sins – but also that for absolution, we must make reparation to those we have injured. The hurt in this case cannot be undone – the least that will suffice is a public apology.

  46. jamal49 says

    Um, “living with another woman” is not a sin and the Church has never said it is a sin. In fact, this priest made a value judgement that violates his own oaths to the Church. He is typical of the “new” Church–be as “in your face” as its Protestant competitors. The goal is to “out-right the right”. Maybe then, the Church will gain more adherents. What an @$$hole anyway. One can only pity the heartlessness of such un-Christian gestures.

  47. Jerry6 says

    The only reason a Priest can refuse communion is if they KNOW, (NOT ASSUME) the person is not in the state of Grace. He may know that she lives with another woman. How does he know she is living in SIN? Just because she lives with another woman? By his thinking, EVERY male and female attending Collage that lives in a room with someone of the same sex cannot receive Holy Communion?

    I would suggest looking into this priest’s private life. There is an old saying – “Me thinks thow doest protest too much!” What is he hiding?

  48. says

    I would not expect anything less with the standards of the Catholic Church. They are interested in “Do as we say and not what we do”. I am beginning to think those in the leadership roll of the Catholic Church make awful roll models. They condone anti-Semitism and pedophiles from the time of the beginning of the church, now and the future. Their followers are not allowed to think for themselves, and if they do… they are threaten with excommunication.

  49. Jeff says

    We Still have religious freedom last time I checked. You cant FORCE a PRIEST Priest to preform a Funeral.

  50. Shaun says

    um. . . this poor woman’s mother just died. Let us recognize that the service was more than likely the wishes of the deceased, so let us not believe that the daughter would want those wishes changed to benefit her lifestyle. Shame on those who say she shouldn’t have chosen this route to go. It more than likely wasn’t her choice. A person is a person, she was created in Gods image, his flesh and blood, so for those still thinking that being a homosexual is a sin, please understand that God makes no mistakes. Nor does he provide such a difficult challenge to anyone from the beginning of their birth. Yes, perhaps God send evils to tempt us throughout life, but he doesn’t make our lives evil. Not from the day you were born, not my God anyways. He loves me, and has made me a good person. He also gave me the right to love, and whoever I chose to love, that’s MY OWN choice. And that’s between God and myself. Bless that poor woman for enduring such HATE (which astounds me as God promotes love, someone please inform the priest). And bless this poor woman whose funeral was made a mockery of the religion she followed. Rest in peace.

  51. jack says

    You can see from just looking at the pics of Marcel Guarnizo that he doesn’t live in the 21st century. On the other hand why do people want to belong to a church that doesn’t want them? Better question: Why do people want to belong to any church,temple, mosque synagogue etc? All of these religions are the creations of man. Do you really think that the creator, if there be one, of the billion gallaxy universe would be asking Abraham for his foreskin as a sign of a covenant with him? Or any of the thousands of childish and sometimes hateful myths found in the “holy” books of religions?