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Missouri Lesbian Couple Denied Communion After Priest Learns Of Their Relationship


When Carol Parker's (above right) partner was mentioned in her deceased mother's (left) obituary this December, the priest at their local Catholic church took notice and took action.

Parker and her partner, Josephine Martin, were members of Saint Columban Catholic Church for 12 years until the priest, Father Benjamin Kneib, denied them communion upon learning of their romantic partnership. Parker sang in the choir, and worked as a cantor and lector for the church, and both women were saddened by the church's actions.

Fox News 4 reports:

“He had called me the day of the rosary and said he wouldn’t be able to give us communion because of our same-sex relationship,” said Parker.

The couple says they will never step foot in the church again. Parker said it took away a final opportunity.

“It was very important to me, my last opportunity to worship here at the church with her,” Parker said...

“To be singing in the choir and be lectors, and everything, it’s all God. He just took it away in a second,” Martin said. “I just really don’t understand where his heart is.”

Fox News 4 attempted to contact Father Kneib, but his secretary said "he did not wish to comment." Parker and Martin have found a new place of worship where they are accepted. Parker has also found resilience in faith.

“My faith is strong enough that I wasn’t going to let this deter me to go to church,” she said.

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  1. Good for them for leaving the church.

    I guess the Catholic Church has never stood for morality anyway. They just want money (and bigots).

    Posted by: TonyJazz | Feb 11, 2014 12:50:02 PM

  2. sooner or later the church will realize that as they kick out all the "sinners", there isn't anyone left in the congregation, except liars in denial. go, church!

    Posted by: northalabama | Feb 11, 2014 12:54:22 PM

  3. And goodbye to the hypocrisy of "love the sinner, hate the sin."

    So a servant of God denies love and respect to a faithful couple. It just about says everything I have always believed about these perverted clerics with their jobs for life, their egos massaged by fawning religious nuts and their imaginary power of representing god on earth.

    As Holden caulfield said:
    "Old Jesus would just puke."

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Feb 11, 2014 12:55:36 PM

  4. Here's the good father's email address:

    Posted by: Jay Phillips | Feb 11, 2014 12:57:57 PM

  5. @ JY PHILLIPS :

    Thanks Jay .....Message delivered.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Feb 11, 2014 1:04:36 PM

  6. Priests/Druids who tell lies about imaginary deities often wildly over-react when confronted with real gay people and their real world lives, especially when such contact contradicts their elaborately constructed fantasies about spirits, gods, faeries and the weather.

    The fact that this hateful Druid eagerly took the opportunity to spoil someone's farewell to their beloved Mother should come as no surprise.

    Any opportunity to stick the knife in when people are vulnerable. It is, after all, ALL about power and who wields it.

    Posted by: Coemgenus | Feb 11, 2014 1:10:41 PM

  7. We've had this situation before. Around Baltimore I think.
    Evil thing from Russia (Guarnizo) that was some sort of envoy from the Vatican under Benedict.

    He was 'transferred' (how many times has the Catholic Church relied on that policy to cover the dirty deeds) and the Church (sorta) apologized.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Feb 11, 2014 1:11:17 PM

  8. Sigh. All these Catholics who go to a church that tells them they're unworthy and then cry over being turned away.

    "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." … "Yeah, I know; and such small portions."

    (from Annie Hall)

    Posted by: JJ | Feb 11, 2014 1:17:56 PM

  9. I do not understand why gay Christians do not just seek out the churches that accept and support them. There are plenty that do:

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

    The Episcopal Church

    The Metropolitan Community Church

    The Presbyterian Church

    The Unitarian Universalist Church


    The United Church of Christ

    Why not just check out a few of these until one is found to their liking?

    Posted by: RonCharles | Feb 11, 2014 1:18:13 PM

  10. "My [wilful ignorance] is strong enough"

    There's still time to walk free of the nonsense.

    Posted by: Randy | Feb 11, 2014 1:22:46 PM

  11. Here's an article about the priest.

    Posted by: homer | Feb 11, 2014 1:24:03 PM

  12. Not very Christian of the priest to deny communion.

    Posted by: Drew | Feb 11, 2014 1:24:41 PM

  13. Can't criticize the priest for this - he's following Catholic doctrine, as these women must have known as they have been members for so long. When I came out and gave up on "fixing" myself, the first thing I did was leave the Church. I knew I did not want to be a part of an organization that claimed I was "intrinsically disordered." When I have attended services since then - weddings and funerals - I have not even attempted to go to communion, because I know the rules and open gays and lesbians are not eligible for communion, any more than divorced and remarried people or Mormons are.

    Posted by: CPT_Doom | Feb 11, 2014 1:24:53 PM

  14. I'm glad these women were able to find a new place to worship. Everyone is a child of God and no one should ever need to find themselves in a position to leave their church or faith because of who they love, or stop having faith altogether. I applaud these women and I think a few of us could learn something from them.

    Posted by: bernard | Feb 11, 2014 1:37:16 PM

  15. We switched to the Episcopal Church. I kneel a lot less. Well, less kneeling at church.

    Posted by: parkrunner | Feb 11, 2014 1:42:08 PM

  16. Last I checked, religion is something you can freely to join and believe as you feel. The Catholic religion believes homosexuality is a sin. It is their prerogative not give communion to those they feel are sinning. Don't like it, don't go to a catholic church.

    Posted by: Perry | Feb 11, 2014 1:54:20 PM

  17. I'm not a child of the Catholic God.
    I'm not a child of the Mormon God.
    And I'm most assuredly not a child of the Evangelical God.

    The very idea of gathering to worship a humanized creator is actually anathema to what i consider the basis of humanity.

    To further give credence to fables and anti-science dogma and ignorance of the past as 'God's word' as an excuse to harm other humans is barbaric.

    I don't begrudge these elderly ladies the solace they find in a welcoming church, one that values them for who they are, but that won't stop me from calling out the inhumanity of this Priest and the organized religion that promoted him.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Feb 11, 2014 1:55:06 PM

  18. Forwarding an open letter in response to this from a Catholic priests who personally know these women. Not only do these women have a great amount of faith, they have been serving the church for some time.

    January 10, 2014
    Fr Benjamin Kneib
    St. Columban Church
    1111 Trenton St
    Chillicothe, MO 64601

    Dear Fr. Benjamin,
    My name is Fr. David Matz, C.PP.S., a missionary of the Precious Blood from Liberty, MO. I have been a priest since 1995 having worked with Spanish-speaking people, undocumented immigrants, and more recently with LGBT persons. My community sponsors an LGBT advocacy outreach to persons, families and parish communities who are effected by LGBT issues. We are a bridge-building organization designed to bring people together to listen to each other in faithful dialogue that fosters reconciliation.
    My purpose in writing to you is to begin a dialogue with you about persons with a lesbian, gay, or bisexual orientation. I know a parishioner of yours named Carol Parker. Carol is in formation with the lay associates movement within my religious congregation whom we refer to as, Companions. She was quite distressed when she called me in regards to your request that as long as she remains with her partner of 20+ years, she is not welcome to receive communion at Eucharistic liturgies. Of course, that request was made to her privately before her mother's funeral liturgy at a time of intense familial grief. It reminds me off similar situation that occurred in February 2012 in the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. where Barbara Johnson was denied publicly at her own mother's funeral the Eucharist. I'm concerned because harm was done to someone who has worshipped and participated in the Eucharist at St. Columban parish long before you arrived to minister and will probably continue long after you leave. I understand that you quoted to her traditional Catholic teaching on the reception of the Eucharist in regards to people with a homosexual orientation - the orientation isn't sinful but the act is. Of course, this teaching is intellectual thinking based on reason yet, devoid of the whole human person created by God in love to be love and loved - I am speaking of the human persons desire to love and to be loved in very real human relationships. It is difficult in the pastoral setting to find a balance between catholic teaching and pastoral guidance. Yet I would like to quote our Holy Father, pope Francis, in for his recent encyclical.
    “The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house to the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.” [Evangelii Gaudium, p. 40-41]
    Is it up to us to mark a practicing Catholic as worthy or unworthy of receiving Jesus? Aren't we all practicing and less than perfect? Is it possible that this situation could have been handled with more compassion and mercy? Were your decisions truly based on pastoral care of the grieving child of God? Is it possible that it was more about you than it was about her?
    I would like to invite you to consider these questions and words for reflection from our Holy Father. Perhaps in walking with persons who are LGBT, we could make these issues less about our own personal conscience and more about being the pastoral facilitator of grace that we are supposed to be as a priest and pastor. We shouldn’t close off letting Jesus, in the Eucharist, have a graceful encounter with the woman who needs all the divine compassion she can get in her time of grief. I would like to remind you that “Any baptized person who is not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to Holy Communion.” [Can. 912] And that if your are considering Canon 915 "excommunicated or obstinately persisting in grave sin" as the reason why you can’t give her communion “in good conscience,” perhaps I can remind you of the Pope's statement in America magazine, “Who am I too judge?” and leave the judging to God in this case.
    I am aggrieved that this situation happened during Carol's mother's death and funeral and even more so that you may continue to enforce your conscience without ever really entering into a mutual dialogue with Carol about her conscience and about her loving relationship with her partner of 21 years. Perhaps I could help facilitate that dialogue so that you can learn about the diverse ways people experience love in relationship and about how she feels she is properly disposed to receive the Eucharist. After all isn't the prime obligation to determine one's preparedness to receive the Eucharist the person themselves.
    Should you like to learn more about LGBT life and build bridges with your own LGBT community in Chillicothe, I would be happy to meet with you or have someone on my ministry team meet with you.
    Sincerely yours,

    Fr. David Matz, C.PP.S.

    Posted by: ADI | Feb 11, 2014 2:24:00 PM

  19. @ CPT_Doom : actually you can criticize the priest for doing that. In 2007. there was a big flap (with loudmouths like Bill O'Reilly weighing in) due to a couple of members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence going to a Catholic church dressed in drag and participating in their communion ceremony. The service was run by the local archbishop. has the details - the archbishop apologized, however the article quotes an expert who said, "The general sacramental principle is that you don't deny the sacrament to someone who requests it," said the Rev. Jim Bretzke, professor of moral theology at University of San Francisco, a Jesuit Catholic university. "The second principle is that you cannot give communion to someone who has been excommunicated."

    So it seems that, since no one had been excommunicated, the priest was the one who broke the rules.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 11, 2014 2:27:31 PM

  20. I'm aware that I sound insensitive about this kind of story, but who gives a crap? I can't force a priest to give anyone "communion," nor should I be able to, nor does it matter in the least to anyone. If this lesbian couple is so affronted that they aren't able to cannibalize some dead dude, can't they just wave their magic wands over a cheddar bay biscuit at Red Lobster and pretend they're eating a two thousand-year-old corpse? It would taste a lot better than the wafer.

    Posted by: Zell | Feb 11, 2014 3:27:11 PM

  21. RCC = child raping cult

    Posted by: TheSeer | Feb 11, 2014 3:44:53 PM

  22. Organizations change over time. Those organizations that embrace change will evolve more quickly. Even the Catholic Church can change. After centuries of Latin, in 1970, Mass was finally allowed to be conducted in vernacular languages.

    Churches are like politicians: It is difficult to find one where you will agree on every single issue. Clearly, some issues will take precedence. But, what do you do when that church/politician supports 9 of 10 things that you value? Do you stomp off and throw a fit or do you stick around and try to change the organization/person through proximity and education?

    Too many people on here seem to take their LGB identity as their only one. That saddens me, because there are so many more aspects of personality. When you live life in shades of gray instead of black/white, it's easier to affect change. How can you change the world around you if you refuse to interact with anyone unlike yourself?

    Posted by: alex | Feb 11, 2014 4:53:47 PM

  23. You sell us short Alex. We happen to be engaged in a rather large struggle right now. Think Nigeria. Uganda. Russia. And the Middle East. Know the one common denominator in all those places? We're victimized by Abrahamic based religions.

    And even with all we've had to endure I'd say we've maintained our humanity much better than those that would seek to keep us downtrodden.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Feb 11, 2014 5:51:30 PM

  24. but they won't deny communion to pedophile priest them they hide and cover up for . the catholic church the largest criminal organization to come out of italy

    Posted by: walter | Feb 11, 2014 6:04:57 PM

  25. Carol and Josephine,

    Instead of migrating to yet another church, where you will again be mistreated, why not embrace science? Science will never reject you. And science will lead you to truth about the world based on reason, not decrees from men in colorful costumes.

    Posted by: Bob | Feb 11, 2014 8:10:29 PM

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