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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]

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  1. 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.

    Posted by: Me | Feb 27, 2012 2:37:42 PM

  2. 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!

    Posted by: Secret Identity | Feb 27, 2012 2:43:52 PM

  3. 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.

    Posted by: JohnV | Feb 27, 2012 2:51:38 PM

  4. 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

    Posted by: jtramon | Feb 27, 2012 2:51:53 PM

  5. 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.

    Posted by: Robert in NYC | Feb 27, 2012 2:52:00 PM

  6. Papist Swine!

    Posted by: Dearcomrade | Feb 27, 2012 3:38:00 PM

  7. 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.

    Posted by: Dancobbb | Feb 27, 2012 3:41:30 PM

  8. 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.

    Posted by: jim | Feb 27, 2012 3:51:53 PM


    Pastor: Reverend Thomas G. LaHood

    Parochial Vicar: Reverend Marcel Guarnizo

    Posted by: rustytrawler | Feb 27, 2012 4:15:30 PM

  10. 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.

    Posted by: rustytrawler | Feb 27, 2012 4:18:26 PM

  11. 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.

    Posted by: Yeek | Feb 27, 2012 4:20:55 PM

  12. 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.

    Posted by: Tom in long beach | Feb 27, 2012 4:51:03 PM

  13. how long before this priest gets caught doing
    young boys?

    Posted by: walter | Feb 27, 2012 5:42:09 PM

  14. He looks evil like he should be playing Dracular or in dire need of an exorcist.

    Posted by: jaragon | Feb 27, 2012 5:50:50 PM

  15. 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.

    Posted by: jack | Feb 27, 2012 6:26:45 PM

  16. 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.

    Posted by: John Simpson | Feb 27, 2012 7:03:44 PM

  17. 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!

    Posted by: mike/ | Feb 27, 2012 8:16:48 PM

  18. 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.

    Posted by: Pete | Feb 27, 2012 8:20:51 PM

  19. 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!

    Posted by: Brian | Feb 27, 2012 9:36:20 PM

  20. 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".

    Posted by: jack | Feb 28, 2012 12:26:06 AM

  21. 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.

    Posted by: TJ | Feb 28, 2012 12:37:55 AM

  22. 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.

    Posted by: Kyle | Feb 28, 2012 12:47:55 AM

  23. He used a funeral as his platform for disapproval. Shame on him. Asshat.

    Posted by: Pdxblueyes | Feb 28, 2012 1:28:54 AM

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

    Posted by: Sarm | Feb 28, 2012 1:48:45 AM

  25. 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.

    Posted by: KSLICE | Feb 28, 2012 5:17:33 AM

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