March 24, 2017

February 28, 2012

Catholic Priest Denies Communion to Unrepentant Lesbian, Rage Ensues

What a painful but faithful decision this priest made, denying communion to an unrepentant lesbian at her mother’s funeral. He may have saved her life (1 Cor 11:27-32) and I pray God uses his witness to save her soul. Various revisionist activists are, of course, enraged. Here’s the story:

Several left-wing blogs decided to attack a Catholic priest yesterday because it seems that he may have denied holy communion to an openly ‘active’ lesbian during her mother’s funeral Mass on Saturday. The priest is called Father Marcel Guarnizo, and I am sure he could do with some prayers now that so many of the Church’s internal and external enemies have decided to launch this assault against him.

Father Guarnizo is being vilified in a most virulent and unjust way on the comment threads at seemingly anti-Catholic sites such as The New Civil Rights Movement, Huffington Post, and Addicting Info (where the story originated).

Although the facts concerning what happened at this Requiem Mass last Saturday remain sketchy, and all we have to go on is what we’ve been told by Ann Werner in her apparently biased blog post at Addicting Info, it seems that the baying wolves amongst modernist Catholics and left-wing secularists have already pronounced Guarnizo guilty of some heinous crime…more


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This took some courage on Father Guarnizo’s part, and I hope his bishop backs him to the hilt.

[1] Posted by cennydd13 on 2-28-2012 at 02:21 PM · [top]

Quite interesting. Given the few facts, I agree that the priest did the courageous thing.  As it was pointed out in the comments, since the mother was part of the parish, the priest probably did know about the daughter and how she lived.  He was correct in what he did. Whether his bishop will back him is an entirely different matter.  Just hope the woman does not sue for some odd ball reason.

[2] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-28-2012 at 02:34 PM · [top]

This seems to be the standard modus operandi of the activists: create some situation that the liberal media will lap up to support the Cause.

Remember a few years back about lesbians trying to put their daughter into a conservative Lutheran school, which they knew would reject her due to the parents’ activism? But they got a lot of air play out of it.

My only worries are that the courts might take it seriously (if he is sued), and that people who are neutral will not realize that it’s all self indulgent fakery and narcissism on the part of the woman.

[3] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 2-28-2012 at 02:53 PM · [top]

The louder the rage, the greater the intimidation factor. The priest needs a letter of support from his bishop and that support needs to be communicated to other clergy as well.

[4] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 2-28-2012 at 03:35 PM · [top]

Before this goes to far it is very important to remember that if a Roman Catholic Priest “knows” that someone who is requesting communion during a Roman Catholic Eucharistic Rite is an Anglican, or Protestant of any denomination, the Roman Catholic Priest will refuse communion to the Anglican or Protestant as well.

[5] Posted by ECOOS on 2-28-2012 at 04:25 PM · [top]


True and irrelevant to this thread. 

It is good, I think, for Rome to keep Anglicans and Protestants from Communion since, in fact, we are not “in Communion” and have very different understandings about what Communion means.

But since this thread is not about the differences between Rome and Protestants with regard to Communion but rather about something the bible is very clear about and Protestants and Catholics on, namely, defiant sinners not receiving communion, your comment is irrelevant and off topic.

Please get back to the topic at hand. This is your warning.

[6] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 2-28-2012 at 04:39 PM · [top]

I think the proper concern here is the way he denied her communion. It reportedly occured beside her mother’s coffin and was public enough that others heard him tell her that she could not receive “because she was living with a woman in a state of sin”.

Well… she is living with a woman in a state of sin (and should not have been given communion), but that conversation should (and presumably could) have been held in a different setting.

And ECOOS… that’s exactly as it should be - and as an Anglican (etc.) should wish it. Why would you want “communion” if you’re not in communion?

[7] Posted by Positive Phototaxis on 2-28-2012 at 04:44 PM · [top]

Well… she is living with a woman in a state of sin (and should not have been given communion), but that conversation should (and presumably could) have been held in a different setting.

Yes, it could have been said in a better, more private setting, except for the fact that the woman presented herself for Communion knowing full well the teaching of the on the immorality of her public, open lifestyle. She knew, or certainly she should have known, that she should not have presented herself for Communion. The priest’s choice here was to speak to her in spite of the chance the conversation would be heard by others, or to allow himself to be strongarmed into doing something he views as wrong.

[8] Posted by Nellie on 2-28-2012 at 04:50 PM · [top]

I agree with most of that Nellie… but I can’t imagine a situation where a priest presides at a funeral mass yet has no opportunity prior to the service to talk to the family member delivering the eulogy.

How about…

“You must understand my dear that Christ is waiting with open arms to forgive this sin just as any other, but until you are ready to ask for that forgiveness I cannot allow you to receive because of that love (insert 1 Cor reference here and perhaps a reference to her mother’s faith if appropriate).

I hope that you understand that I stand ready to help you in this journey in any way that I can, but I feel that if I remain at the altar as you deliver the eulogy, it could be misconstrued as supporting your continuing sin. To avoid scandal I will step down at that point and return when you’re finished.”

Absent something like the above, he’s too likely to be seen as a self-righteous judge desiring a “gotcha” moment (and likely blind to his own sin)... and that isn’t the role of a priest.

I can’t come up with a reason why he wouldn’t go to the burial… but perhaps that was just a coincidence.

[9] Posted by Positive Phototaxis on 2-28-2012 at 05:03 PM · [top]

I thought the church got past that sin stuff and moved on to open communion - dogs, cats, Hindus, Muslims, homosexuals and straights are all part of the great big wheel-o-life? Of wait, not the Catholic Church and a few others.

[10] Posted by Festivus on 2-28-2012 at 05:10 PM · [top]

We really don’t know much about what actually happened.

Presumably, the homosexual daughter is a parishioner, or at least a Roman Catholic. Otherwise, one assumes that she wouldn’t have come up for communion.

Presumably, she would have been part of planning the funeral mass, and would have known (or been told) that eulogies and other tributes would be given - not during the funeral mass, but at a rosary service.

Presumably, if she had been part of the planning, the issues of her state of unrepentant sin, her wanting to receive communion, and her wanting to deliver a eulogy would have come up at that time.

I didn’t check all the links - but I’d assume that someone is calling Father a bigot. That word gets used a lot these days.

The whole mess says a lot about the homosexual activist movement.

[11] Posted by Ralph on 2-28-2012 at 05:16 PM · [top]

Here’s a little more information from an Internet search. Amazingly poor journalism - very unbalanced, one-sided.

Again, we don’t know details, but it sounds like the Archdiocese might be ready to throw Father under the bus.

[12] Posted by Ralph on 2-28-2012 at 05:26 PM · [top]

I have reason to doubt that any of the accounts I have read are fully accurate, in part because they refer to the daughter as having delivered a “eulogy,” which would be (if it really was a euology) either a serious irregularity in a Catholic memorial service, or it wasn’t actually a eulogy, the good Father departed from liturgical norms.

To understand this, consider the following, from the Catholic Answers website [my emphases in bold]:

According to the Order of Christian Funerals, there is never to be a eulogy at a funeral Mass (OCF 27), although the celebrant may express a few words of gratitude about the person’s life in his homily, or he may allow a relative or a friend to say a few words about the deceased during the concluding rite (GIRM 89*). The remarks must be brief and under no circumstances can the deceased person be referred to as being in heaven. Only the Church has the authority to canonize.

Contrary to common assumption, the purpose of the funeral Mass is not to celebrate the life of the deceased but to offer worship to God for Christ’s victory over death, to comfort the mourners with prayers, and to pray for the soul of the deceased. Relatives or friends who wish to speak of the deceased’s character and accomplishments can do so at a prayer service to be held in a home or funeral home or at the graveside following the rite of committal.

If Fr. Guarnizo allowed a euology to be given, which may have been the case given the statement that the daughter had spoken prior to the Eucharist rather than “during the concluding rite,” that was his first error. If the account is also wrong on that count, then I seriously doubt that the rest is trustworthy. And the comments, especially the one from author Anne Rice (a lapsed Catholic) are stupefyingly ignorant on the whole matter.
*—GIRM 89 refers to the 1989 General Instruction of the Roman Missal.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[13] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 2-28-2012 at 06:12 PM · [top]

Ralph—Welcome to TV news coverage in DC!

Per the ‘USA 9’ coverage, “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.”

Okay, no excuse! She may have found herself a liberal parish which violated the official teaching of the RCC (with most of the last few academics who have been officially disciplined by the Vatican coming from Georgetown, a real possibility), however she should have “known” it could be an issue. Hers is one of several sins the RCC will refuse communion to Catholics. I know a family lives in the Diocese of Arlington but drives to Baltimore each Christmas so uncle so-in-so can take communion (unknown) for he divorced and remarried and known in Arlington. RCC will not marry you if you’ve “shacked up” ahead of time (they will, but not in that condition and you’ve earned so “extra” time with the priest). If as a confirmed Roman Catholic go have an abortion and this is found out. It is NO great secret! Especially if she taught in the system!

Yes, I think priest could have handle the eulogy better (even if “Lesbian Barbara Johnson” was being GLBTIXYZPQD-ish during it), however, if “a lifelong Catholic and former Catholic school teacher,” she should have verified ahead of time and requested a funeral without Eucharistic mass, rare for RC, but I’ll bet they have a service for just such event (death of a Catholic parishioner whose family, for whatever reason, is not in communion with RCC).

“Father Marcel becoming suddenly ill” sounds like she pushed it for a political end then ran to the news media ASAP. It is possible Father Marcel is just a jerk. However, I’ve noticed with the pushiness of many of our Worthy Opponents, that if he was a deer caught in the headlights of a political agenda takeover ... sudden illness might be a very reasonable response.

[14] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 2-28-2012 at 06:13 PM · [top]

It’s a sign of how far we’ve slid that on those occasions when someone does what they are supposed to do, people are shocked and outraged and it becomes a topic for discussion.

I have a R.C. friend, now deceased, who had to change churches to receive communion after remarriage that lacked the necessary annulment. It isn’t about just being “a lesbian,” for crying out loud.

The rules are the rules, and the rules ought to be enforced, otherwise you end up with ... that church I used to belong to before the diocese realigned.

If the people entrusted with upholding the standards don’t, then who does?

[15] Posted by Romkey on 2-28-2012 at 06:42 PM · [top]

Indeed we don’tknow the whole story, but if the woman had been a Catholic school teacher, she must have known she was not permitted to receive given her living arrangements. We don’t know if she was part of the planning for the funeral; we dond’t know if there were siblings involved who did the planning. It is indeed true that a eulogy is not supposed to be given at a Catholic funeral Mass. Maybe she thought she’d just sneak it in there. Also, maybe the priest did tell her beforehand that she should not be receiving Communion, and she figured she’d do it anyway. Maybe she intended to start a controversy; maybe she used her mother’s funeral as a sort of protest against the Church’s “homophobia.” Maybe the only people who know what actually happened are the priest and the lesbian.

[16] Posted by Nellie on 2-28-2012 at 06:53 PM · [top]

Catholic Churches are not supposed to have eulogies; the sermon at a funeral mass is supposed to deal with redemption and the reasons for our hope.  I have been to funerals where friends and family were invited up at the end of the mass to “say a few words” about the deceased.  Perhaps this priest gave in to a request to have this done after a brief homily,  thinking the comments would be brief and of the ‘she was a wonderful mother, here is an anecdote which shows it” variety, and the woman used this as an opportunity to discuss her “lifestyle” issues.  We really don’t know what went on between the priest and the woman beforehand. Perhaps he spoke to her, and she was determined to do it her way despite what he said.  We really just do not know.  I believe he did the right thing,  I am hearing that the bishop’s office issued a statement saying he should have spoken to her in private about this.  That does not address the possibility that he did, and that she presented herself for communion anyway.  I would like to hear resounding support for him from his bishop, but I am afraid that that particular bishop is rather of the spineless variety. 
I wish I knew somewhere to write to offer the poor priest some support.

I do think he should not have run away from the conflictive situation by not going to the graveside.  There are prayers to be said there, and he should have done this for his parishioner. He should have been available to receive the angry complaint of the daughter with gentle firmness.  Who knows what effect that eventually might have.  But I can understand why he felt he couldn’t face that. 

[17] Posted by eulogos on 2-28-2012 at 08:55 PM · [top]

Here’s a little more information from an Internet search. Amazingly poor journalism - very unbalanced, one-sided.

That report was just ridiculous, and the comments are filled with fail.  Does anyone understand the difference between public and private anymore?  Between the Gospel and Godspell?

[18] Posted by Jeffersonian on 2-28-2012 at 10:36 PM · [top]

According to the article linked by Ralph in [12], the priest left the altar and didn’t return until athe lesbian daughter finished her eulogy. I may have missed something, but I didn’t see it stated anywhere that he didn’t go to the graveside, as some comments have assumed. Cardinal Wuehrl, who is the archbishop of Washington, is actually known to be quite conservative. I thought he (or his spokesman, if that’s the case) could have amplified the comment some.

[19] Posted by Nellie on 2-28-2012 at 11:26 PM · [top]

[17] eulogos,

If you want to write to Fr. Guarnizo, the Puffington Host gives his location as St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, MD. He is the Parochial Vicar at the parish. The contact info (phone, email and snail mail) is on the parish website.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[20] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 2-29-2012 at 08:20 AM · [top]

[19] Nellie,

Cardinal Wuerl is quite conservative, as you state. On the other hand, I am under the impression that he has explicitly declined to effectuate the limitations placed on at least one prominent Catholic public official who persistently contradicts Church teaching (Pelosi comes to mind in this specific regard, IIRC) who has been publicly advised by that official’s Bishop (Cardinal Wuerl’s brother bishop) not to present herself at Mass to receive the Eucharist. This is a matter of enforcing canon law, specifically [bold emphasis added]:

Can. 915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.

There are some comments regarding Pelosi and Sebelius and Canon 915 at this article. However, I am not absolutely certain that Pelosi’s Archbishop (Niederauer of San Francisco) has explicitly advised her to refrain from presenting herself to receive the Eucharist. And, according to the linked article, the Washington D.C. area Bishops have apparently indicated that they are honoring the directive of Bishop Naumann imposed on HHS Secretary Sebelius.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[21] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 2-29-2012 at 08:54 AM · [top]

[19] Nellie,

The HP article (end of 4th ¶) quotes the Addicting Info blog

written by Ann Werner, who also notes, “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.”

Keith Töpfer

[22] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 2-29-2012 at 08:59 AM · [top]

Saluting Father Guarnizo’s stand for Scripture this morning.

[23] Posted by aterry on 2-29-2012 at 10:15 AM · [top]

Thanks, Keith, for all the information. Who knows - maybe Fr. Guarnizo actually was sick. He sure must ahve been under a lot of stress! His is now, that’s for sure. He’s a gutsy man.

[24] Posted by Nellie on 2-29-2012 at 10:45 AM · [top]

I regularly give communion to sinners.  Every Sunday in fact.  So does every priest I know.  It is a very tricky question as to what constitutes a notorious sinner. When does one refuse communion? 

In San Francisco the Roman Catholic Archbishop refused communion to a “Sister of Perpetual Indulgence” (a gay bearded man dressed in a Nun’s Habit).  Clearly this was a good refusal as the “Sister” was making the taking of communion a political act. 

I don’t know the circumstances around this priest’s decision to refuse communion.  At any rate I hope for the sake of consistency that he also refuses communion to his heterosexual congregants who are living together, and also any gossips in the parish.

[25] Posted by Ed McNeill on 2-29-2012 at 11:40 AM · [top]

[25], A lesbian openly living with her lover is not quite the same thing as minor gossip. This lesbian is a public sinner, and could very well have been making a statement by presenting herself for Communion. Giving her Communion in that case is in effect giving the stamp of approval to her life style. This would not be the first time a homosexual used religion in this way. Of course we’re all sinners, and if everyone who ever sinned was refused Communion, then no one would receive. But we do confess our sin (in the course of both ANglican and RC Mass) and resolve to sin no more. You can bet this lesbian wasn’t sorry for her sin, and sure as you-know-what didn’t intend to go and sin no more.

[26] Posted by Nellie on 2-29-2012 at 12:02 PM · [top]

#25 - Ed.  Perhaps i understand and perhaps I do not.  But articles 28 and 29 differentiate between those who “carnally and visibly press with their teeth” and those who “righty worthily and with faith” or, to use Cramners words “duly receive” the communion.

So, in the Anglican Communion, what difference does it make?  The individual receipient determines what really takes place.  I believe this is called “receptionism”.

Hence, the Open Table movement.

[27] Posted by ALREADY-GONE on 2-29-2012 at 12:17 PM · [top]

26) Nellie, In Roman’s 1 Gossip is listed along with murder, and in the structure of that chapter it is clear that Paul considered it a far worse sin than the sexual sins that are listed earlier.  Paul spends about 10% of Romans on the subject of unity.  We know without unity there is no mission.  Gossips destroy the unity of the church.  Perhaps this is why Paul considered it such a serious sin. Galatians 5:19-21 lists Sexual immorality on a par with a multitude of sins.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[a] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

I have given communion to people I think have anger management issues and others who suffer from envy.  I have given communion to people who were actively trying to get me fired.  Clearly they were fostering divisions and dissensions within the parish.  Denying someone communion for one type of sin while ignoring others is a matter of integrity and consistency.  It is not a simple matter.

[28] Posted by Ed McNeill on 2-29-2012 at 01:35 PM · [top]

#28 - Ed - sort of like wearing a coat made of two kinds of fabric - expressly forbidden in the OT.  Also, stay away from the Red Lobster shrimp salad !!!

Art what point does this get crazy !!!

[29] Posted by ALREADY-GONE on 2-29-2012 at 01:48 PM · [top]

He did the right thing at the wrong time. Pastorally, it was not in the best interests of the daughter’s well-being for him to refuse her the Sacrament because she was at her mother’s funeral. The refusal will be necessary in the future if she remains unrepentant, but at the funeral, the priest’s job is to be a comfort to the family.

[30] Posted by jric777 on 2-29-2012 at 02:12 PM · [top]

I would hope, Ed, that if parishoners were engaged in organized idolatry, gossip or any of the other sins you rightly point out, you would deny them the Eucharist.  I’d also hope that if a cohabitating lesbian presents herself, you would do the same.

Not really so complicated after all, is it?

[31] Posted by Jeffersonian on 2-29-2012 at 02:14 PM · [top]

RE: “sort of like wearing a coat made of two kinds of fabric - expressly forbidden in the OT.  Also, stay away from the Red Lobster shrimp salad !!!”

Well no, not really.  As any informed Anglican knows . . . and indeed any Christian understands:

The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.

That is why a priest like Ed McNeill rightly quotes from the *moral law* which the New Testament carefully repeats from the Old Testament, while it also supercedes and over-rides ceremonial and civil law from the Old Testament.

This sort of stuff is pretty basic, and the only people I know who demonstrate ignorance like the boilerplate “shellfish” “argument” [sic] are the revisionist activists who are essentially theologically illiterate.

Back on topic, please—this thread is not about tired, devastatingly repudiated “shellfish arguments” from revisionists, but about the application of appropriate church discipline as regards New Testament moral law.

[32] Posted by Sarah on 2-29-2012 at 02:17 PM · [top]

RE: “if parishoners were engaged in organized idolatry, gossip or any of the other sins you rightly point out, you would deny them the Eucharist.  I’d also hope that if a cohabitating lesbian presents herself, you would do the same.”

I think in order to be truly parallel, the organized idolatry or gossip group would also have to be 1) publicly promoting the gossip, and 2) announcing that gossip is not sin but rather holy and blessed, not to mention 3) asking for the Church’s formal blessing on their gossip groups.

Then we’d have a true parallel to the activities of revisionist TEC activists.

[33] Posted by Sarah on 2-29-2012 at 02:19 PM · [top]

Precisely, Sarah.  Giving the host and cup to someone who may subsequently go out and gossip is far different from giving them to someone who has organized his or her life around the institution of gossip and fully intends to return to it the moment church is over.

[34] Posted by Jeffersonian on 2-29-2012 at 02:25 PM · [top]

Excommunicating someone is not a little thing.  In most dioceses clergy are expected or explicitly required to consult with their bishop prior to doing so.  Its not a small pastoral matter.  As the name of the action implies it cuts someone off from the church.

I prefer to err on the side of grace.  But then I will also marry a couple who live together without requiring them to separate first. 

#34, Jeffersonian, I don’t think the NT makes the distinction you do between someone who sins and someone who organizes their life around it.  Sorry.  Its not that simple.

[35] Posted by Ed McNeill on 2-29-2012 at 03:17 PM · [top]

Hi Ed,

The NT Does Very Clearly make a distinction between a repentant sinner and a defiant one.

That we give communion to sinners all the time is without a doubt…we commune ourselves after all.

But the prerequisite for communion with the Lord is humble confession and a repentant heart. To do otherwise is to partake in an unworthy manner (1 Cor 11)

It is to be assumed that, unless someone explicitly says otherwise, that after the confession and the peace, those who approach for communion are coming with repentant hearts.

However, in this case, the woman stood up and announced that she was not at all repentant.

Letting such a woman take communion is clerical malpractice and a travesty.

You may think you are “erring on the side of mercy”. In fact if the NT is true (and I would hope you agree that it is) then you are not erring on the side of mercy at all. You are endangering her life and her soul.

It is a proud, vain, usurpation of divine authority to replace the clear word of God with regard to Communion with your definition of “mercy”.

[36] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 2-29-2012 at 03:25 PM · [top]

Say, for example, one of my married parishioners decides to shack up with a woman of the evening named Trixie. After a night of adulterous sex, he decides to bring his mistress to church on Sunday morning and present himself, arm and arm with her, at the altar rail for communion while his wife and family weep in the back pew. I, Might, in such a circumstance “err on the side of mercy” by not beating him down right there on the spot. At the same time no bishop on earth could compel me to commune such a defiant unrepentant adulterer.

[37] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 2-29-2012 at 03:31 PM · [top]

#35, help me with sacramental theology. I’ve understood that, by their actions, people excommunicate themselves. The priest’s withholding of the elements is merely recognition that this has taken place.

Likewise, no priest marries two people. They themselves say the sacramental words to each other, and it’s God who does the joining.

#37, after doing all that, I don’t think I’d be bringing Trixie to church with me the next morning. In fact, I might not have the strength (physical or spiritual) to come myself.

[38] Posted by Ralph on 2-29-2012 at 03:44 PM · [top]

We have a lot of twenty-somethings at GS ; )

[39] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 2-29-2012 at 03:46 PM · [top]

Hi Matt,

As I mentioned earlier I am not familiar with the details of this event.  I am responding to the original post and the comments. If as you say the woman “woman stood up and announced that she was not at all repentant” before presenting herself for communion.  I agree that the priest had no choice at all.

#37 is I think a very clear case of a notorious sinner.  LOL I admire your pastoral restraint.  This actually happened to a friend of mine, but rather than a woman of the evening it was with another parishioner.

[40] Posted by Ed McNeill on 2-29-2012 at 03:50 PM · [top]

#34, Jeffersonian, I don’t think the NT makes the distinction you do between someone who sins and someone who organizes their life around it.  Sorry.  Its not that simple.

Now you’re just being obtuse.  It’s not the distinction between the sins, but the clear intent of said person to continue committing said sin.

[41] Posted by Jeffersonian on 2-29-2012 at 04:08 PM · [top]

Ed, might I suggest you read Rom 6, Rom 7, Mt 18, 1 Co 5 and get back to us? This isn’t rocket science.

Why don’t you also read Gal 1 while you are at it? When people are not only unrepentant but are trying to proselytize their sin as virtue using the church as a springboard, this is not to be tolerated. This is 101 stuff. Can you bring a single Biblical argument to bear in support of what you believe? And if not, if you are only rolling your own theology as you go along, why should anyone listen to you?

[42] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 2-29-2012 at 04:22 PM · [top]

#42, SpongJohn SquarePantheist What is it you think I am teaching that is contrary to Scripture?  I am advocating caution in excommunicating people.  I’m asking that we not raise one sin above others for special treatment but that we be consistent in our treatment of people in our parishes. 

#41, I did not mean to be obtuse.  I’m sorry if I was.  If I understand you right we should excommunicate everyone who is not genuinely intending to lead a new life.  Is this correct. Shall we start with over eating or Gluttony? A casual glance at the Council of Bishops would suggest this would not be a well received starting place.  It would certainly be awkward for me this year as I’ve gained more weight than I care to admit.  Quite honestly I don’t like to think about it. Given the national epidemic of obesity that we are experiencing it would seem likely that we have a whole lot of unrepentant sinners presenting themselves for communion on a regular basis.  As Matt said and I agree

It is to be assumed that, unless someone explicitly says otherwise, that after the confession and the peace, those who approach for communion are coming with repentant hearts.

With respect to giving people communion this is the default position of most clergy.

[43] Posted by Ed McNeill on 2-29-2012 at 05:06 PM · [top]

If I understand you right we should excommunicate everyone who is not genuinely intending to lead a new life.  Is this correct. Shall we start with over eating or Gluttony?

Sure, Ed, knock yourself out.  From the video linked above, it might provide a second reason to pass Ms. Johnson over, something more palatable to the port-side aesthetic.

[44] Posted by Jeffersonian on 2-29-2012 at 05:57 PM · [top]

44) If the facts in the video are correct I well understand why the Roman Catholic Diocese is in damage control.

I’m not going to comment on this any further.  There is too much about this particular situation that is unknown and discussing the why and when of excommunication seems unproductive and pointless.

[45] Posted by Ed McNeill on 2-29-2012 at 06:59 PM · [top]

Well, the video does show a rather zaftig Ms. Johnson, and I don’t suppose that the reporters stuffed her into a fat suit for the interview.  So that particular datum isn’t in dispute, I would submit.  Are you still eager to withhold the Eucharist from the portly?

[46] Posted by Jeffersonian on 2-29-2012 at 07:15 PM · [top]

I just looked at the video - hadn’t watched it earlier. It’s extremely slanted, and displays woeful ignorance. Johnson is referred to as a “lifelong Catholic” and a former Catholic school teacher. Yet she says she had “no idea” that her going up for Communion would be a problem. Sorry, but that’s BS! If she’s a lifelong Catholic and taught in a Catholic school, she knows perfectly well that living in a homosexual relationship - or in a heterosexual relationship outside of marriage, for that matter - is a serious sin, and publiicly giving scandal by her lifestyle is cause for excommunication. She is an opportunist who used her mother’s funeral to make a point. She appears more concerned with her agenda than with honoring her mother. And if the newscast has the facts right and the Archdiocese really did say this will be handled as a personnel matter (in response to Johnson’s demand that the priest be removed) I’m thoroughly disgusted with Cardinal Wuehrl. I think that if he said anythign, he should have said he won’t comment until he looks into this - or something like that. I think the victim in this is the priest.

[47] Posted by Nellie on 2-29-2012 at 07:34 PM · [top]

Are you still eager to withhold the Eucharist from the portly?

Well, that would be consistent with the First Lady’s new national policy of no Happy Meals.  So why not no Eucharist?  Got to set an example of tough love.

[48] Posted by hanks on 2-29-2012 at 08:00 PM · [top]

More detail here:

Sounds like he did attempt to address the issue beforehand.

[49] Posted by jamesk on 2-29-2012 at 08:38 PM · [top]

msnbc - what a surprise! The woman is an idiot - brought up in Catholic schools but surprised that a lesbian relationship is considered a sin by the Church - never figured that out in the 20 years she’s been with her partner. Her religion? Catholic, with a smattering of eastern religions and Gandhi and the Dalai Lama. Her main objective is to get this priest removed, which I sincerely hope the diocese doesn’t do. I noted that the writer of the letter from the diocese was not Cardinal Wuehrl, but some priest form the diocesan office.

[50] Posted by Nellie on 3-1-2012 at 12:42 AM · [top]

Further to comments [34] and [35], in the context of Catholic Canon Law, Canon 915 is unambiguously applicable with respect to someone obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin, which would appear to be the case in this instance, based on UPDATE II at The Deacon’s Bench, although UPDATE III concerning the required elements of proof does suggest that the priest may not have handled this as well as he might have done.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[51] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 3-1-2012 at 12:30 PM · [top]

What bothers me, is that to secular eyes, this is just some quaint, ritualistic custom. They don’t care about 1 Co 11. To them, this is merely a display of rudeness that must be conditioned out of people. To them, it’s on the level of, “Ms. Johnson had her arms full of packages, and the mean priest would not hold the door open for her, because he is a bigot and hates lesbians”. They live in a bizarre alternate universe in which moral integrity does not exist, and whatever base urges spring into your mind constitute your “identity” , so that no action can be called immoral as long as you cling to it loudly enough. Clinging to it and whining about it gives you the right to pester other people, and compel them to act against their conscience. This is why I always gag whenever I hear the homosexual activists claim they just “want to be left alone”. They obviously do not.

[52] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 3-1-2012 at 01:14 PM · [top]

Agree with everything you said, [52].

[53] Posted by Nellie on 3-1-2012 at 01:20 PM · [top]

[54] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 3-1-2012 at 02:16 PM · [top]

Two thoughts on this, first how did the TEC marketing machine miss this woman? Doesn’t she fit the profile of the “new thang?”  Didn’t somebody say they are in dire need of laity in that region?

Second, did anybody catch Archbishop Chaput’s warning, “God will demand and accounting.”

Father Guarnizo obviously understands that.

[55] Posted by ty1028 on 3-1-2012 at 02:30 PM · [top] accounting.” 

Sorry for the happy fingers.

[56] Posted by ty1028 on 3-1-2012 at 02:42 PM · [top]

I found the link you posted very interesting indeed, Paula. In addition to the fact that according to the reader whose story is on the blog the priest did know in advance of Johnson’s situation and did indeed tell her beforehand that she could not receive, I noticed a couple of other interesting and very likely relevant facts. The priest is an outspoken opponent of abortion who joins protests at the local abortion clinic; and his church has the old Latin Mass(Extraordinary Form Latin Mass), which the tolerant liberals really despise. These are two more good reasons for the loony left to hate him and to wish to discredit him.

[57] Posted by Nellie on 3-1-2012 at 02:59 PM · [top]

The archdiocese speaks (or writes) to the subject:

If this doesn’t work, it’s in the Washington Post, under local, today’s paper.

[58] Posted by JuliaMarks on 3-1-2012 at 06:42 PM · [top]

The comments to that article, JuliaMarks, are about what I would expect.  Apparently no one is to be permitted to deviate one iota from the left-wing zeitgeist.

[59] Posted by Jeffersonian on 3-1-2012 at 07:08 PM · [top]

Thanks, JuliaMarks, for the link. That article is absolutely clear and concise, and gives the entire statement.

[60] Posted by Nellie on 3-1-2012 at 07:47 PM · [top]

I hope she didn’t do to much damage during her term as a teacher. I hope her former pupils, if they hear about this, will read the statement in #58. That really is a good summary of the matter.

[61] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 3-1-2012 at 08:42 PM · [top]

Already Gone wrote at #27:

“#25 - Ed.  Perhaps i understand and perhaps I do not.  But articles 28 and 29 differentiate between those who “carnally and visibly press with their teeth” and those who “righty worthily and with faith” or, to use Cramners words “duly receive” the communion.
So, in the Anglican Communion, what difference does it make?  The individual receipient determines what really takes place.  I believe this is called “receptionism”.”

Your terminology is partly correct. The word “Receptionism” can have a number of different meanings.

But your main question is a very good one: The answer is that it makes a lot of difference in Anglicanism, and precisely because we believe (as you correctly point out) that the state of the heart of the recipient affects what spiritual benefit (or detriment) is gained through taking Communion. 

The Anglican reformers in the 16th century were concerned at the general laxness shown by many medieval clergy and laity towards the service of Holy Communion.  They were determined to teach all England about the importance of having one’s heart right before taking the sacrament.  The following paragraphs are from the preface to the oldest of the Book of Common Prayers services of Holy Communion (1549), although later versions are not relevantly different.  I suggest it is a model of virtue and restraint.  Even though he is not Anglican, I think this priest’s action would have met with the approval of Ridley, Cranmer, Martyr etc:

“SO many as intende to bee partakers of the holy Communion, shall sygnifie their names to the Curate, over night: or els in the morning, afore the beginning of Matins, or immediatly after.

And if any of those be an open and notorious evill liver, so that the congregacion by hym is offended, or have doen any wrong to his neighbours by worde or dede: The Curate shall call hym, and advertise hym, in any wise not to presume to the lordes table, untill he have openly declared hymselfe to have truly repented, and amended his former naughtie life: that the congregacion maie thereby be satisfied, whiche afore were offended: and that he have recompensed the parties, whom he hath dooen wrong unto, or at the least bee in full Purpose so to doo, as sone as he conveniently maie.

The same ordre shall the Curate use, with those betwixt whom he perceiveth malice, and hatred to reigne, not suffering them to bee partakers of the Lordes table, untill he knowe them to bee reconciled. And yf one of the parties so at variaunce, be content to forgeve from the botome of his harte all that the other hath trespaced against hym, and to make amendes for that he hymself hath offended: and the other partie will not bee perswaded to a godly unitie, but remaigne still in his frowardues and malice: The Minister in that case, ought to admit the penitent persone to the holy Communion, and not hym that is obstinate.”

[62] Posted by MichaelA on 3-1-2012 at 10:58 PM · [top]

Frankly, I am disgusted with the diocese for apologizing for this brave priest.  I don’t think they found out the whole story before they did so.  I believe that he was “set up”  by this woman, and that if he had given her communion, she would have made it public that she let him know how she was living and he still gave her communion. 

I am also not too happy with the canon lawyer who is saying that he would have had to take more steps before properly denying her… advising her, giving her a chance to repent etc.  She had already made it quite clear to him that at that moment she was not repentant in the least. Nor could she have been in any doubt as to what the Church teaches on this issue.  As for manifest; she made it manifest to him.  It was manifest to those who knew her, and after she got her chance to speak, it was manifest to everyone there.  The woman choose to make her mothers funeral about her issues.  And then she has the nerve to portray herself as a grieving daughter refused by this heartless priest based on a rumor…

We need more bishops who haven’t had the spine removal operation.

Susan Peterson

[63] Posted by eulogos on 3-3-2012 at 07:52 PM · [top]

[63] - I don’t really think the archdiocese did apologize. JuliaMarks gave this link in [58] to the sstatement by the archdiocese - I don’t think this was an apology at all. I think the press quoted parts of the statement out of context. Check out hte link. I do agree that the woman very likely set up the priest and used her mother’s funeral as a political platform. (There’s a bit of a reference to that in the diocesan statement, I believe.)

[64] Posted by Nellie on 3-4-2012 at 04:47 PM · [top]

There is something wrong with your tiny url. 
The first statement the diocese put out commiserated with the woman for being treated this way at her mother’s funeral.  Later, having heard more of what happened, they put out a more carefully worded statement.  The first one was much reported on, the second one not so much so.  Maybe they shouldn’t have said anything before they got a better picture of what really happened?  Maybe their first impulse should have been to support their priest rather than to try to appease the media and the gay mob? 


[65] Posted by eulogos on 3-4-2012 at 08:56 PM · [top]

I think I know what Nellie’s tinyurl pointed to…here is the full link, if I’m right:

[66] Posted by Jeffersonian on 3-4-2012 at 09:17 PM · [top]

If you look closely at the “tinyurl,” you will notice that it starts not with “http” not with “-http”. This is not recognizable as a valid url. The article to which Nellie was linking was

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[67] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 3-5-2012 at 12:49 PM · [top]

The article is now behind the “paywall” at WaPo.

Keith Töpfer

[68] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 3-5-2012 at 12:52 PM · [top]

Thanks! My error.

[69] Posted by Nellie on 3-5-2012 at 04:26 PM · [top]

[70] Posted by JuliaMarks on 3-11-2012 at 11:52 PM · [top]

It turns out that Barbara Johnson is not only a self-described lesbian, but also a self-described Buddhist:

[71] Posted by Roland on 3-12-2012 at 08:42 PM · [top]

Thanks Roland!

The priest was right on!

[72] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 3-12-2012 at 09:20 PM · [top]

The Catholic deacon’s post contains an interesting link to a canon lawyer’s reaction.  Typically - a WP blogger links to this article saying that the priest received a “severe penalty” when the canon lawyer notes that this was not a penalty, nor severe.

It’s worth noting that the suspension notice claims that the suspension was not due to the eucharist incident.  Canon Lawyer Peters notes:

The allegations of “intimidating behavior” by Guarnizo are not recited in Knestout’s letter, but three questions would occur to me: (a) is this just a pile-on by people looking to kick Guarnizo while he is down?, or (b) are there long-standing legitimate complaints against Guarnizo that the recent controversy made more likely to surface? , or (c) did Guarnizo’s post-controversy conduct in the parish render him intemperate with others, provoking what are really recent complaints? Such are the things that an investigation is designed to, well, investigate.

We may never know the entire truth behind the suspension, as it involves details that might need to remain confidential (i.e., the parties involved in the controversy).

[73] Posted by j.m.c. on 3-12-2012 at 10:33 PM · [top]

ah sorry, I see I neglected to link the canon lawyer’s article, which can be found here.

[74] Posted by j.m.c. on 3-12-2012 at 10:34 PM · [top]

[75] Posted by Roland on 3-14-2012 at 10:08 PM · [top]

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