Priest Who Refused Lesbian Communion at Her Mother’s Funeral is Placed on Leave from Church

The Archiocese of Washington has placed Father Marcel Guarnizo on administrative leave over his actions toward Barbara Johnson, a lesbian who says she was "humiliated" at the funeral of her mother, the Washington Blade reports.

GuarzinoGuarnizo refused to give Johnson Communion because she lives with a woman. During Johnson's eulogy, Guarnizo reportedly walked out, and refused to accompany the casket to the burial.

The Blade says Bishop Barry C. Knestout, chief of staff to Cardinal Donald Wuerl, told all of the Archdiocese's priests that Guarnizo was under investigation for "intimidating behavior":

…“I write to inform you that effective today, Father Marcel Guarnizo’s assignment at St. John Neumann Parish is withdrawn and he has been placed on administrative leave with his priestly faculties removed until such time as an inquiry into his actions at the parish is completed,” Bishop Knestout said in his March 9 letter.

“This action was taken after I received credible allegations that Father Guarnizo has engaged in intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry,” he said in the letter. “Given the grave nature of these allegations, and in light of the confusion in the parish and the concerns expressed by parishioners, Father Guarnizo is prohibited from exercising any priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Washington until all matters can be appropriately resolved, with the hope that he might return to priestly ministry.”


  1. miKem says

    Probably because all abusers like to claim they are the victims. It is a justification that works well for them …
    At best he will get only a wrist slap.

  2. jtramon says

    Action “was taken after I received credible allegations that Father Guarnizo has engaged in intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry”

    Let’s be clear and open about what happened here: He was not placed on leave because of the “funeral Incident”, but rather because he has been abusive to staff.

    This was just the “convenient” time to dump him, and try to make themselves look good.

  3. Selina says

    It’s just so sad that a “man of GOD” would disrespect the bible and GOD that way, conrect me if I’m wrong but doesn’t it say to not judge thy neighbor!!!

  4. Fahd says

    They’re throwing the LGBT community a bone. The statement does not speak of the specific incident that caused the email system at St. John Neuman church in Gaithersburg, Maryland to overflow.

    In the eyes of his “superiors”, this priest’s mistake was that he was overzealous in acting out Vatican policy. He should know better than to be so obvious in demonstrating the church’s bigotry.

    My heart goes out to the woman who was humiliated by this priest, but he is going to wind up in some unsophisticated parish somewhere where his history will be unrevealed.

    Meanwhile, the hatred continues to spew out of the Holy See.

  5. Reggie777 says

    All that means is that he now has nothing to do. Basically, a paid vacation. He still gets room and board. His clothes and expenses are still covered. If he wanted to go on a “retreat” in Las Vegas, he still could. Being on this “leave” does not really threaten his livelihood in any way. Short of being “defrocked”, all he got was freedom from his “work”. Early retirement without the fixed income.

  6. No kidding says

    Great, just great, with a shortage of priests, now who’s going to tell the seven year olds that unless they make a good confession before receiving communion they’re going to hell?

  7. Dearcomrade says

    At the most this is but an alcoholics brief moment of clarity for the church. They’ll be back to their regular homophobic behavior soon enough.

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