Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fr. Marcel Guarnizo has been thrown under the bus for following Canon Law 915!

Note: No further comments will be allowed. Thank you.

According to a statement by the Archdiocese of Washington:

conceded that Father Marcel had acted improperly, saying, “Any issues regarding the suitability of an individual to receive communion should be addressed by the priest with that person in a private, pastoral setting.

The issue here is not the priest but Barbara Johnson.

Here is what I wrote on Deacon Greg's Blog:

If, as Barbara Johnson says that she is a “lifelong Catholic,” then she should have known that her relationship is sinful, that she was not in a state of grace, and SHOULD NOT have presented herself before the priest for Holy Communion.

The blame here is not on the priest, but on Barbara Johnson.

Now, the priest knows that she is living this immoral lifestyle and has to make a decision. Give her Holy Communion and himself commit a sin (and the theologians out there will probably correct me) or do what is correct.

Cardinal Wuerl has thrown this priest under the bus. Once again, he is more worried about the political and public relations damage, than about the mission of the Church.

Now, in addition, and more importantly, Fr. Guarnizo was following Canon Law, which states:

Canon 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."

Once again, Cardinal Wuerl has thrown a faithful priest under the bus and has caused scandal to the Church.

No wonder why we are losing the battle over same sex marriage.


Anonymous said...

And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.

Anonymous said...

You are some sick bastards!!!

wjhbrook said...

You are losing the battle because the Holy Spirit is against you. She has always been on the side of love. You, however, are a Pharisee. Shame on you.

I doubt you even have the courage to allow this post.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for defending the truth! She is free to make her own choices. She knows it is against church teaching and God's law, yet, it's o.k. for her to come into God's house and trample over Him and His commandments. She forced this priest to make this decision and he made the right one. For those of you who think we are so judgmental, explain Sodom and Gommorah or why God told Noah to build his ark. We are all sinners, no doubt about it. But, God called the shots on good and evil whether you like it or not. If you have a problem, take it up with Him. God bless Fr. Marcel!

Anonymous said...

I think you people have lost any sense of what is important in the Bible. You're so intent on fighting gay marriage that your hate has become stronger than any love you show. You are losing your "battle". Maybe you might want to reassess which side you want to end up on. Although, as Catholicism is so great at...we'll apologize in 400 years, but we won't admit any wrong doing!

Thomas W Maguire said...

God can judge people and no one else. and after all that time of this deceased women giving money to the catholic church and being disrespected like that...

Anonymous said...

You nor this priest knows the state of someone's soul.

sjbravo said...

Following the Canon Law does not excuse a priest from common sense. If he felt so strongly about this he should have either excused himself from serving or spoke to her BEFORE the service.

Anonymous said...

It is with no wonder the Catholic Church carries the reputation it does. This priest's actions were disgustingly cruel and a disgrace to pastoral care at it's most needed opportunity.

Anonymous said...

I went to Catholic school from preschool through college, and all throughout my education, I was taught that God (the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit) are forgiving, compassionate, and LOVING. I was also taught that God gave us each a moral compass and the right to make our own decisions. I was also taught that no matter what anyone tells you, if you, in your heart of hearts know that what you are doing is the right thing to do, then you must do what it is your heart of hearts is telling you. Loving someone seems to me to always be the right thing to do. Father Guarnizo, choosing to exercise your disgusting beliefs of prejudice, bigotry, and what I believe to be, a truly un-Christian act, is your choice. You could have chosen to do so prior to this woman's mother's passing. You could have warned her what your stance was, but no. You chose to take this woman's moment of grief, when she is losing her mother, a time when she is at her most vulnerable, to do what you did. Shame on you. Thankfully Jesus preaches forgiveness because you, sir, will need to ask for it.


To Anon at 1:55pm:

As far as I can tell, Fr. Marcel and I are not illegitmate children. Therefore, we cannot be bastards.


Mr. Maguire:

Thank you for your note and reading the blog.

But my sources have told me that Fr. Marcel explained who can and cannot receive Communion (before that part fo the Mass took place). If so, the only one who committed disrespect was the person living in a lesbian relationship.


To sjbravo:

If the information I have received is correct, the woman is at error, esp. if all those attending Mass were told who could and could not receive.


To ANon at 6:11pm:

If that is the basis of your Catholic education, then either you did not learn your lessons very well, or had some very poor teachers. I also wonder if you really followed up on the study of your faith.


To Anon 611pm:

So if my heart tells me to cheat on my spouse, because I have not had sex in weeks, then I guess it must be okay.

Anonymous said...

The woman brazenly approach Fr. Marcel prior to mass to tell him she was a lesbian and living with another woman. He told her then IN PRIVATE not to receive communion. She, alone, decided to make a spectical of herself, dishonoring her mother at her funeral. Fr. Marcel was completely in the right. very sad that the church does not stand behind its own doctrine. If you are Catholic and you don't like this then leave the religion and let the rest of us practice our faith in peace!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for standing up for the truth and God bless Fr. Marcel. I'm sorry to hear that the Washington Diocese, hung him out to try. This woman, a life long Catholic, should have known not to receive. Forgiveness doesn't mean tolerance and acceptance of sin, forgiveness means repentance. We are all sinners, but when we receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Savior, we MUST be in a state of grace, every Catholic should know this.

It isn't a gay issue, but a mortal sin issue. No Catholic who is known to the priest to be in mortal sin, should be given communion, just to make her feel accepted, or keep up some sort of sham. The Catholic Church is the Church established by Christ, and each and everyone of us should approach the sacrament with awe and humility, not with pride and presumption.

I certainly hope that Fr. Marcel can stand strong and does not cave to secular pressue. This about doing divine will, not the will of the people.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

in response to some of the people who say he does not know the state of someones soul; he was addressed by the lesbian couple before the mass. so would you have him go against his conscience or would you have him disobey cannon law?

Anonymous said...

in response to some of the people who say he does not know the state of someones soul; he was addressed by the lesbian couple before the mass. so would you have him go against his conscience or would you have him disobey cannon law?

Anonymous said...

Even if the priest was correct in denying the woman communion, how can you justify his cruelty in not accompanying the body to the burial. Who would God fault more here, the priest or a loving daughter?

Anonymous said...

Finally, a priest willing to stand up for the faith! I only wish there were more like him. Sadly, Cardinal Wuerl will just keep throwing good men like this under the bus so as not to rock the boat.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I am mostly ashamed of the Cardinal and how I see him and other Church leaders constantly compromising.

To all of you, this is NOT at all a issue of homosexuality. Anyone in Mortal Sin cannot receive communion. If this woman had been cheating on her husband or any other deadly sin it should be the same outcome.

Anonymous said...

People need to be told what sin is in the Catholic church. YES, get out of our church if you don't like the faith but don't make us condone your sinful nature. You cannot force us to be unrepentant sinners like yourselves. Jesus loves all of us the same but we don't all love Him the same and He constantly calls us to repentance and if you don't want that and choose to be a sinner that is mortal to your soul, then that is what you will get, hell. If there is a God, there is a devil and if there is a Heaven, then there is a hell. You choose but you will not make Fr. Marcel or me condone your sin in the name of love. That is not what love is all about. Love is about instructing someone to love God above all and not yourself above all.

Anonymous said...

Way to further marginalize yourselves, and appear ever more extreme. I won't pray for you, but I will fervently hope you awaken and recognize how your hate makes you the small ones.

Live and let live, judging is not your job.

Susan Matthiesen said...

Proper formation of conscience is crucial for the development of a disposition to pass sound judgements upon practical matters in light of moral principles. Since the correctness of the principles used in one's reasoning is indispensable for arriving at correct moral judgments, there is need for individuals and for societies to examine their moral principles in the process of building up a body of moral truths, and this process is called the formation of conscience. Therefore, to pronounce "feelings" and personal opinion as moral Truth is not the result of a properly formed conscience. And to pronounce a moral evil as equal to goodness is depravity of conscience.

Traveling Mom said...

Good! Under a bus with tire marks on his evil face is exactly where Fr Guarnizo deserves to be! What a horrible, pathetic excuse for a spiritual leader. What a pathetic attempt at political grandstanding. He should be ashamed of himself for turning a funeral into a showcase for his own political agenda. He reminds me of those Westboro Baptist Church crazies. Using a families loss and grief as a way to turn a funeral about himself. Terrible. Sinners in church! GASP! Of course, sinners are in church- that is where Jesus calls them to be. How many other people receiving communion that day had sinned? Premarital sex, birth control, greed, envy, materialism- all those sins people go to church to try strengthen their bond to Jesus. This attitude is exactly why I would drive a longer distance to go to St Rose of Lima and not the geographically closer Neuman. They are a cold and unwelcoming and judgmental church that makes me embarrassed to be a MD Catholic.

Jack McCullough said...

It appears that this guy made the decision on his own, with no evidence that the woman has either been excommunicated or interdicted.

In other words, he was carrying out his own hateful agenda rather than a canonical requirement.

I guess the new motto is "Hate the sin, hate the sinner."

Anonymous said...

wjhbrook, You were wrong a DC Catholic did have the courage to allow your post.

CHKYong said...

1) There was simply no justification for the priest to refuse to say the final blessings at the burial. Is it part of Canon Law that if your daughter sins then you cannot receive a blessing at your burial once you are dead? One doubts so.

2) Does this priest also deny communion to the >90% of his parishioners who present themselves for communion but are almost certainly using contraception, or who have otherwise engaged in non-procreative sex acts? Again, one doubts so.

Anonymous said...

Defending such a despicable act puts you in the same boat as Guarnizo.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Catholicism isn't the faith for those of you who think leaving a funeral mass and denying the deceased daughter communion during mass is the right thing to do.

If you can't show compassion there are ministries enough and ample room in the aisles of Protestant right-wing evangelical churches.

Guarnizo is an embarrassment to the priesthood and to Catholicism.

Anonymous said...

I think the priest should be put to the question, he might be a demon

AH said...

HER MOTHER was obviously allowed a full communion church service funeral, and that is what the MOTHER wanted, the daughter, regardless of faith has more important things on her mind than pomp and circumstance of the church ceremonies regarding herself. This wasn't any other Sunday service. This wasn't the time to punish or segregate. Isn't your goal to bring people ''further from god in your eyes'' to your faith, beliefs, and way of life? How do you think this act of absolute cruelty brought her closer to God on the day her mother was buried and showed her that it's somewhere she would want to change her life to be? You defeat your own purposes and alienate people from any walk of life from wanting to congregate under the burning blanket of bigotry you call your religion. You should be ashamed of yourselves. This is not about God or religion. Even murders in prison are offered communion before EXECUTION. Stop pretending.

Anonymous said...

By the way, it is true that the Bible forbids "laying with men as with women," but in no place in the Holy Scripture is female homosexuality prohibited.

You may say it is implied, and that whatever is forbidden or permitted to men is by analogy forbidden or permitted to women.

But we know that the priesthood is properly restricted to men, because the Lord had the free choice to call women to apostleship, but did not.

Likewise, God had the free choice to explicitly forbid lesbianism, but did not.

Anonymous said...

By the way, our Lord did not forbid Judas Iscariot from participating in the Last Supper, although he knew that he had already committed the gravest sin of all: betraying the Messiah to the forces of Satan.

Priests have the power to loose and bind. Mercy and love are always the preferred option.

Karen said...

Yet you do not argue for priests to deny Communion to others who commit grave sins?


Taking advantage of the poor—The economic or social exploitation of the poor for profit harms the dignity and natural rights of the victim. It is a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance (CCC 1867).

Gluttony—Gluttony is an excessive love for food, and is a disordered passion for wordly appetites. Because it is contrary to the virtue of temperance, it can constitute a grave sin. Gluttony is also a capital sin (CCC 1866, 2290)

Hatred—Hatred of a neighbor is to deliberately wish him evil, and is thus a grave sin (CCC 2303 and Galatians 5:19-20).

Presumption—The Church teaches of two types of sinful presumption: the presumption that man can save himself without help from God and the presumption that God’s power or his mercy will merit him forgiveness without repentance and conversion (CCC 2092).

Paul said...

"persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion." Living with another woman is not a "manifest grave sin" and there is no way anyone can know that two women living together were engaging in sexual activities.

Terence Weldon said...

This is outrageous. It is Fr Guarnizo who is in clear breach of the Catechism. In claiming to be upholding it, Fr Guarnizo is displaying woeful ignorance of it, on at least three counts. (See http://queeringthechurch.com/2012/02/28/in-denyin... for an explanation)

He was also acting contrary to diocesan policy, as Cardinal Wuerl has explained.

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.

Anonymous said...

and how does one know if B Johnson is living in sin?? There is no sin in living with someone of the same sex. Some people just jump to conclusions of what they know.

Anonymous said...

Would Fr. Guarnizo also refuse Communion to Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum for supporting the use of torture and war against the innocents (also against the current teachings of our Catholic Church)?

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

To Anonymous @ 6:11pm

"I was taught that God [is] forgiving, compassionate, and LOVING."

And St. John teaches us that to love God is to keep His commandments. (1 Jn 5:3)

"I was also taught that God gave us each a moral compass and the right to make our own decisions."

Then will you not allow this priest to make his own decisions, as is his right?

"I was also taught that no matter what anyone tells you, if you, in your heart of hearts know that what you are doing is the right thing to do, then you must do what it is your heart of hearts is telling you. Loving someone seems to me to always be the right thing to do."

The question is, what does it mean to love someone? To you, loving someone living in mortal sin means (in this case) letting them receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, instead of counseling them to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. To this priest, it was the other way around.

"Thankfully Jesus preaches forgiveness because you, sir, will need to ask for it."

We all need to ask for it, Fr. Marcel, Barbara, you, me, all of us.

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

Anonymous @ 9:44pm

"I won't pray for you, but I will fervently hope you awaken and recognize how your hate makes you the small ones."

Is that love?

Anonymous said...

Why do you hate-filled, arrogant people insist on putting your limits on the infinite love and compassion of God?

In all four Gospels Jesus says not one word -- not one -- about sexuality, let alone homosexuality. He said buckets on the other hand about self righteous religious hypocrites.

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

To CHKYong @ 12:38am:

I agree that the priest's decision to skip the ending of the burial ceremony was unwise, unless he was truly suffering an illness which prevented him from completing the ministry to the dead which he was asked to perform.

But as for #2:

"Does this priest also deny communion to the >90% of his parishioners who present themselves for communion but are almost certainly [mortally sinning in other ways]?"

Knowing that a specific person is engaged in a mortally sinful lifestyle is completely different from being aware of a statistical possibility than some persons are engaged in a mortally sinful lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

You people are nuts.

Keep enabling the Cardinal's multiple instances of obstruction of justice for the child rape epidemic in the church, while remaining sexually dysfunctional, overly worried about women's sex lives, and unable to follow your own logic to conclusion.

Most of the church's views about sex and gender are constructs from the middle period of the church, not its origins - i.e. celibacy.

Thank god I'm not a catholic

Anonymous said...

Well, one benefit from this story is that we now know that St. John Neumann is not a gay-friendly parish and gay and lesbian Catholics (and there are many) can find somewhere else to worship. I am fortunate to belong to an inclusive parish, Our Lady Queen of Peace in Arlington, VA, and I could never imagine our priests denying communion to anyone based solely on what they know about that person's sexual orientation.

Anonymous said...

Wow Father Guarnizo should be so ashamed of himself. He is the one trampling over God's commandments to love unconditionally and judge not lest ye be judged. And to do something like that at this poor woman's mother's funeral. He is going to burn in hell for it.

Anonymous said...

Where in the bible does it say communion is only for the ‘holy’? Jesus came for sinners, not the righteous and he embraced sinners. Your church shuns them while harboring closeted gay priests. How hypocritical of your religion!

Thomas Stefan said...

A few key words in Canon Law 915 are critical here, and seem to be ignored by you and many of the above posters: grave, manifest, and obstinate. First, "grave": merely being a lesbian is not grave. Sexual orientation is considered disordered but not a grave sin. Being in a lesbian relationship is not grave. Grave acts are those that degrade the dignity of self or others (see the Second Vatican Council) and are grounded in the Ten Commandments. Homosexual sex, therefore, is considered grave in that it is adulterous and degrades the individual. However, no one, including the priest here, knew the nature of sexual expression in this relationship. Second, "manifest": unlike Canon Law 916, 915 is about the order of the pastoral community. If only the holy minister of the Eucharist knows of a grave matter, this is not enough. The community must know, such that the reception is not only sacrilegious to the Eucharistic body of Christ but to the communal body of Christ of that parish. An assemblage of mixed-denomination, non-parishional attendees at a funeral (which this likely was), few if any of whom had knowledge of the daughter's sexual behavior, is far from a community to whom grave sin had become manifest. Lastly, "obstinate": again, this was the priest's first meeting with the daughter. Obstinacy is not only persistence in grave sin, but public persistence in the face of attempts to dissuade not only from the sin but from the publication of it. He had no knowledge of whether the daughter was sufficiently obstinate.

In short, Canon Law 915 was written with these many qualifiers to prevent inappropriate denial based on personal and/or incomplete knowledge. It is not about the relationship between a person and a priest, but rather about the relationship of sin to the moral order of a community. Denial of reception in the Eucharist is serious, and this was an example of a careless and misguided application of a serious Canon Law. The blogger and many of these posters should more carefully examine the teachings of our Church.

Adrian S said...

Your citation to Canon Law 915 does not seem to me to be dispositive of the question - can a lesbian who is otherwise an observant Catholic be denied Communion at the church-sanctioned funeral mass of her devoutly Catholic mother?

To conclude that 915 requires an answer in the affirmative is also to conclude that the daughter is "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin". And, at least for this Catholic, simply being a lesbian is not "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin". NOT EVEN CLOSE.

Anonymous said...

I must say that if Ms. Johnson gave Fr. Guarnizo a heads up ahead of time that she was a practicing lesbian that she then knew he would likely not give her the sacrament based upon what he then told her.

The problem then appears to me 1) the lack of respect she had for his running of the ceremony; 2) his lack of respect for her in how or what he said to her during the ceremony; and 3) Fr. Guarnizo not accompanying the body to burial if he had previously agreed to do so.

For everyone discussing, if these are the mortal sins that people commit with full knowledge and deliberate consent, why do we not hear more about bad treatment by the Catholic Church of those who commit these:

*The voluntary murder (Genesis 4:10)
*(The sin of impurity against nature –Sodomy and homosexual relations (Genesis 18:20)
*Taking advantage of the poor (Exodus 2:23)
*Defrauding the workingman of his wages (James 5:4)

Personally, what I see is mainly a hatred of those who do the first and second but never those who do the third and fourth.

Is it true and good to hate?

kyledeb said...

I'm a new Catholic still trying to figure a lot of this out, but can't help but see the hatred and disrespect in denying Barbara Johnson communion.

Is there a definition of "obstinately persevering in grave sin?" Would divorce be considered a grave sin, and why not the same attitude towards heterosexual couples who are divorced?

Col. Tom said...

Father Marcel is a hero. The cardinal's policy is squishy liberalism. I wish the cardinal would take a lesson from father Marcel.

Peter Gee said...

OMG... can you tell me the canon Law reference for Pedophillia and/or adultry and/or using contraceptives and/or cheating on your taxes.... once you have researched those "sins" can you advise id your beloved catholic priest would deny those people communion? Somehow i do not think so. As a matter of fact I cannot remember a priest being denied communion if was a known pedophile. This latest episode is surely more political theater than concern for the purity of the catholic faith.

R. E. Ebling said...

Luke 15:2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

No scribe, nor Pharisee, would grumble at the actions of Fr. Guarnizio. But the example set by Jesus in the Gospel does not seem to register with this priest.

Bob E said...

Luke 15:2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

Neither scribe, nor Pharisee, would grumble at the actions taken by Fr. Guarnizo. Perhaps he should become as familiar with the gospels as he is with cannon law.

Athelstane said...

Hello kyledeb,

Being divorced by itself is not a sin, and therefore not grounds for denial of communion.

Being divorced and remarried outside the Church, without a declaration of Nullity declaring that the first marriage was not a valid marriage, however, *is* a grave sin. Such people should not receive communion.

Whether they would be denied under Canon 915 depends on whether their status as illicitly remarried people was publicly known, and obstinately persisted in despite attempts at correction. If that wasn't the case, then the priest would not, should not deny them communion. The onus is then on the communicant, who undertakes a grave sacrilege by receiving unworthily, and doing so knowingly.

But you are right that homosexual acts are not the only grave sexual sins out there. One hopes that priests would apply the law here consistently.

A larger issue for Ms. Johnson is her adherence to Buddhism. She claims to be a Buddhist on her blog, and disavows belonging to the Catholic Church. So why is she insisting on receiving a Eucharist she does not believe in?

Anonymous said...

How about Canon 843? or Canon 844,4??
Is there any compassion left in the Church or is it all about rules and regs? Jesus would be appalled!

Dwight said...

Please don't let these 1-in-several-million instances of "controversy" sway you from your faith. (And that was not meant to lessen the gravity of this singular situation.)

To answer your questions:

'Is there a definition of "obstinately persevering in grave sin?"'- The priest would have to be aware that a grave sin is being committed, he should help the person recognize the gravity of their sin, and if the person doesn't turn away from/continues to participate in the same sin (and the priest is aware of this continued participation), then he should deny communion for the good of the person's soul (see 1 Corinthians 11:23-32).

'Would divorce be considered a grave sin, and why not the same attitude towards heterosexual couples who are divorced?'- No, divorce is not considered a grave sin. A divorced individual can continue to receive Holy Communion. Now, should a divorced person remarry without their previous marriage having been annulled or without their spouse having passed away, then that would be a grave sin: adultery, to be specific.

Go to the following link for a good explanation of denial to Holy Communion: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/holycom/denial.htm

Please be sure to continue in the study of your faith, and make sure that what you are studying is ACTUALLY WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES. Beware of those who say they were raised Catholic and went to Catholic school, or who were altar boys or girls, etc., and proceed (usually through sheer emotionalism) to vilify and castigate the Church. 100% of the time they were not catechized properly and don't really know what they are talking about, in spite of their "impressive credentials."

Anonymous said...

This is a classic example of the Sanhedrin mentality that resulted in Christ's persecution and execution for not conforming with self-defined rules of the religious elite. Well done. If you had been born 2000 years ago, you could have stood at the cross and cheered.

Anonymous said...

Father Guarnizo is apparently one of those kooks who carries on about abortion, but cannot extend a sense of human dignity to those who have already been born.

Guarnizo's enablers mis-cite Canon Law. He had no grounds to deny the Eucharist to any baptized Catholic. He abdicated his priesthood by walking out of The Holy Sacrifice of The Mass (over which he was presiding) while the daughter delivered words of remembrance for her mother.

It wasn't enough for Guarnizo to act as he did toward the daughter. He refused to attend the committal for a faithful Catholic.

It's tragic that a priest who presumably strives for holiness would willfully choose to act so utterly UNLIKE our Lord Christ.

Someday, Guarnizo and his kooky followers will pick up on the true meaning of Jesus' life, ministry, and teachings and act with respect for all of God's children. ay

Javier H. von Sydow said...

I am no righteous; I am also a sinner. But when I go to Mass, if I have a mortal sin in me and am not in grace (which has happened MANY times, I must regretfully admit), I stay in the pew at time of Communion. This is an embarrassing experience for me. But it is so -and as an adult I can see this clearly- because of my own doing, not anyone else's. If anything, it puts me on the spot that I deal with this problem and seek reconciliation with God. Which leads to the next personal issue of having to confess the sin in question and also address my lifestyle.
This puts me into another embarrassing moment of confessing to a priest. And yet, it is clear to me that I put myself in that predicament. It helps that this Sacrament of reconciliation is administered by the priest who has received this power by Jesus Christ himself as stated in the Gospel ("Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.' And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.', Jn 20:21-23). The priests have received it in turn through apostolic succession in 2,000 years of uninterrupted imposition of hands from the bishops. This power was given to the Apostles and the Church they represented, which is not theirs but Christ’s.
Since the beginning the original Apostles have had to deal with succession of their duties, starting with Mathias who took over Judas’ place. Nowhere in the Acts of the Apostles or the Epistles or the writings of the Fathers of the Church or in the Tradition or Magisterium of the Church, does it say that that power ends with the original Apostles. On the contrary, these writings and tradition attest to the power of the imposition of the hands, starting from the Acts of the Apostles, written by Luke.
So, unlike our Protestant brethren, and as it has been done for 2,000 years, we must face a person to deal with our sins, and properly so. This is a TRUE test of repentance, because before you get into that confessionary, you’d better know what you are doing. The Catechism of the Church tells us that we must confess our sins as accurately as possible. All this, as painful as it is, helps us to really address our failings and, frankly, to not repeat them. Jesus Himself told us to love our neighbors as a true part of love to God, since –as He put it- if we do not love our neighbor, whom we see, how can we love God, whom we do not see. Likewise, I think a beautiful and efficient analogy can be drawn for the Sacrament of Confession, since if we are TRULY sorry for what we did, we will go before this man empowered by God, whom we see, and experience the true ordeal of sin and also the peace and freedom of pardon.
Now, all of this has to do with the issue at hand because, as much as we want to empathize –and we do- with this woman, sister in Christ, we cannot put her above the Kingdom brought by Jesus. And she should probably be the first one to recognize this and spare the Church of all this convulsion. She ought to know what is sinful and what not in accordance with the teachings of Christ and the Church. The Catechism of the Church tells us that we must love and support our homosexual/lesbian brothers and sisters. But it does not condone homosexual/lesbian acts, which it declares (as has the Scripture, both in the Old and New Testament) as grave sins. I don’t think we know the full details of this story; how much was known or not by the people involved in it, including the priest. The Diocese says there should have been more pastoral care, but if the priest did act in accordance to Cannon 915, then the Diocese and the bishop must clarify this to the faithful, rather than have us all sort it out here.

Anonymous said...

incidents like this are killing religion. thank god

Steve from Melbourne, Fl. said...

For kyledeb, and for all: run, run, do not walk to the nearest exit. If you are "new Catholic" I wish you good luck, if you are an "old Catholic" then I am so very sorry for you! Just look at at the example set by a "Catholic" idiot trying to be not only the Commander-in-Chief, but also the spiritual leader of a free country! "What fools thes mortals be!"Oh, yeah, I do claim to br a practicing Roman Catholic. (:!

Ray Morgovan said...

What a truly hateful choice of time to bring to light his displeasure with the daughter's life. Why was he not in contact with the family prior to the funeral when the arrangements were made? He could have stepped aside earlier but instead made a circus of the ceremony which was to honor a woman's life and her passing.

Anonymous said...

Has it occurred to any of you that they may be in a romantic relationship, and living together, without having sex? Honestly. For all we know she might have been in a state of grace after all.

Sometimes it seems to me that my fellow Catholics think about gay sex more than gay people themselves.

Anonymous said...

I shared your thoughts when I first read this article! However, I do side with the archdiocese on this because we do not know if she had been to confession prior to communion and if she is living chastely. Sure, her lifestyle is scandalous, but for her to be guilty of mortal sin, she needs to know that it's wrong.

I fully realize that cohabitation, heterosexual or homosexual, is scandalous (i.e. sinful).

@kyledeb: Welcome to the Church! :)
To answer your questions:
You may want to read the Catechism on defining sin, particularly section IV: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a8.htm and #1869 and #1874.

Divorce is from the state, not from the Church. The Church grants annulments. If a heterosexual couple gets a civil divorce, there is no sin unless they go into relationships with another adult; then that would be adultery because they do not have an annulment. As long as a civilly divorced heterosexual couple is chaste, there is no sin. For them to either date or re-marry without sin, they need an annulment.

Many "Catholics" don't understand this. But the same "attitude" is given to those divorced Catholics who are not living appropriately. This article is a bigger deal b/c it's a homosexual who feels she's been slighted when really she just isn't following Church teachings.

Anonymous said...

I corinthians 11:27,29
"Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the Body and Blood of the Lord... for anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgement on himself."

Anonymous said...

Neither you, or Fr. Marcel Guarnizo have any way of knowing whether she was living in sin. Perhaps they were not having sexual relations but merely had an emotional bond. Perhaps she had just gone to confession and promised not to live in sin again. The point is that YOU nor the priest knows, only God knew. What would Jesus have done?

You and Catholics like you are HYPOCRITES. While the church deals with priest after priest molesting kids and having affairs with women, while your celibate clergy attempts to decide for the whole country whether they can select contraception in their reproductive lives, you have the nerve to defend this priest who was practicing NO CHARITY or LOVE in Christ.

It is no wonder people despise the Catholic Church. You are despicable and so is Fr. Guarnizo. I hope he is removed!!!!!

I publish my name here since I do not have a URL to provide - it is NANCY RUSS.

Anonymous said...

The bigger issue is that "Father" Guarzino refused to be present at the burial of the mother, a CATHOLIC woman. Its obvious from his behavior (including leaving the altar when the child eulogized her monther) that he was motivated by pure hatred of the family. The refusal to offer communion was the least problematic issue in my opinion. His other actions exemplified the utter and complete NEGATION of the concept of Christian "Charity", Catechism 2358,as well as created a scandal to the faith. His actions will lead no one to Christ, but will drive many away.

Anonymous said...

Truly, truly, what would Jesus our lord do? During his life on earth, he was continually doing actions against traditions, ministering to tax collectors and prostitutes, and he told us to conduct communion in remembrance of him and his convenant. There were no other rules associated with this ritual. Jesus did not tell us not to refuse to give communion to gay people or to anyone else for that matter. We are all sinners - and it is by HIS grace - not by a minister, or priest, or anyone else - that we are saved.

steve from melbourne, fl said...

killing this kind of religion, not personal beliefs, YEAH!

steve from melbourne, fl said...

Good for you, Nancy Russ, you expressed it extremely well. This is 2012, not the Dark Ages, altho' that is the way to which the Holy Roman Catholic Church would really like it to be returned. This woman seeking the blessings of the church may have been in solely a LOVING relationship, who is this Father(?) Marcel to question, and what is his business, it is soley hers and HIS business! A.M.D.G.

donald said...

She acted wrongly in forcing the issue.
My admiration for a Priest with courage. And the Diocese apologized ? shame.

Anonymous said...

First off, praise God for a priest like that who actually knows and follows truth.
To all those who think this is hate, to deny a person in mortal sin Communion, please look up the Catholic definition of love, or just keep reading. The Catholic definition is that we want and do what is BEST for others. Living in a relationship like that is sinful. We really can never know the true state of another's soul, but if she persists in this until death, Church Doctrine states she will go to Hell upon death.

I would like to address all the arguments here, but there are too many. Catholics are not taught that the conscience is the ultimate moral guide. It is a useful tool, but it can be trained, and like an animal, it can be trained to be good or bad. One who trains their conscience to be bad cannot be trusted to make intuitive moral decisions. Since we all have our consciences malformed in some way, we must have some source of truth to tell us what is good and evil. This was given to the Catholic Church by Jesus.

On that subject, Jesus indeed taught all loving forgiveness and love. The thing is, love is two ways. We have to love Him as well. If we love Him, we follow His commandments. One of Jesus's commandments is very common in the Gospels: "REPENT and believe in the Gospel." We can get forgiveness, but it is not worth anything if we just go back to sinning. Now small sins, since God knows we will sin constantly no matter what, aren't problems. It is when we sin in a continuously serious way that we have a problem.

Someone here referenced Canon law stating that Communion must be denied to people who persist in serious sin. To expand on that, the Church defines being gay or lesbian as a serious sin because it is a sin against nature and our very beings. This is because God created male and female to complement each other in a way that reflects His own perfect love. When we pervert this, it offends God by offenses against His nature, our nature, and regular nature.

To those who call hate, the final summation of my argument is that Catholics believe that being lesbian is a serious sin, and we wish to prevent people like that from hurting themselves further by receiving Communion unworthily and thus deny them Communion. We also deny them in order to let them know that what they are doing is seriously wrong so they can rectify the situation.

Anonymous said...

A priest can deny any person communion if he/she is not a Catholic or gravely in error wrt Catholic morality. A Muslim, A Hindu, a Jewish and most Christian Denominations believer will be denied Communion if the priest knows it and the person approaches to receive the communion.

When the priest denied the communion, the person can deny the state of sin or say that she is no more in error. But this person didn't do it.

Why is this a major issue. Because it is made as a right of the other person (especially because the person has a gay partner), not the right of the Church to deny communion. Church can deny communion to anyone.

If people don't like something, it is better to leave. So don't go to Catholic Church.

Louis E. said...

I am not a Christian.But my sympathies are entirely with the priest,and I am disgusted with the woman's use of her mother's funeral to wave a sledgehammer in the face of her mother's faith by parading a relationship that faith totally prohibits and demanding to be treated as if she were a member in good standing.I am likewise disgusted with the Archdiocese's apology for its priest's sincerity.May the Pope make Guarnizo its new Archbishop!

Kim Gienow said...

There, for me is only one Commandment regarding this situation. My Creator, in dealing with AND standing with a prostitute who was in danger of being stoned, simply said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone". That is the creator I follow.
When the process becomes more important than Jesus' message, religion is lost. I find it amazing that anyone could be so lost in the process that they could let politics be more important than the Master's words and message.
I will seek and follow Jesus forever, until I die, and I have nothing but contempt for 'religion'. This is a perfect example of why.
I only care about one thing in this sad, hideous situation: It was Barbara's mother.
This was about Christ and a woman trying to say goodbye to her dear mom.
If this is what 'church' is about, you may have it, pharisees. I am aghast.

Anonymous said...

Thrown under the bus? Hardly.

CC2357 says homosexual acts are "acts of grave depravity" but CC2358 says that women with deep-seated homosexual tendencies "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."

Communion states plainly: "Gays who do not engage in homosexual activity and who accept the teaching of the Church may receive communion in good conscience."

Furthermore, CC1858 says that "the gravity of sins is more or less great." CC1860 adds that "the promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders."

If an inclination to homosexuality is "objectively disordered" per CC2358, is Fr. Marcel really in a position to determine without doubt that the woman is not in a state of grace? Whether one should present oneself for Communion, how is the priest's action not a sign of unjust discrimination?

Larry W2LJ said...

For folks who don't understand Fr. Marcel's decision to withhold the Eucharist, I would suggest you buy yourselves a copy of "The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church" and read it.

To those who say that Fr. Marcel was wrong and that ALL relationships are good in the eyes of God, would you tell John the *Baptist that he was wrong for telling Herod that he was in an inappropriate relationship with Herodias?

You can call a duck a cat if you want to; but even after saying it until you turn blue the duck will still be a duck and the cat will still be a cat.

If you can't follow the teachings of the Catholic Church, then by all means, go join another church and have at it. The Truth will prevail.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a Catholic (or religious at all, for that matter), so I really don't care how other people conduct their religious ceremonies. However, I might suggest that if you've set things up so that a dang funeral can be interrupted by a moment to publicly condemn the behavior of the deceased's grieving daughter, it ought to inspire some reflection as to whether this is truly a virtuous arrangement.

Anonymous said...

i don't need another reminder that I made the right choice to leave the catholic church, but the church can't seem to go a week without providing one.

Anonymous said...

Larry WS2J said: "To those who say that Fr. Marcel was wrong and that ALL relationships are good in the eyes of God, would you tell John the *Baptist that he was wrong for telling Herod that he was in an inappropriate relationship with Herodias?

Jesus said there had never been anyone on earth as good as John the Baptist, but in today's society he would be called a hatemonger and intolerant.

Anonymous said...

This is the very reason that I am no longer a catholic, and have decided that I am anti-catholic. This church is corrupt and creates much ignorance and suffering. I think it should be persecuted until it no longer can threaten the sanity of ordinary people. Down with the catholic church!

Anthony said...

I love how strongly you defend your man made religious laws. Maybe you should try to really understand the meaning of Christianity instead of condeming people to your fairytale purgatory. Looks like his religion got in the way of his Christianity. Good job!

Anonymous said...

People like you are why I am no longer Catholic. I have read about Catholic priest denying communion from practicing Catholic politicians because of their political beliefs. Priests should be administering to the flock, not passing judgement in public.

I encourage all you Catholic readers to look into becoming an Episcopalian. This is what our priest says before communion: "What we celebrate here is not the Episcopal supper but the Lord's supper. We invite each one of you to join us at the Lord's table."

Alice Kottmyer said...

These people. They always forget the asterisk after Jesus's commandment: "Do this in memory of me*

*unless other humans have decided you live in sin --in which case get out of my sight, you trolls."

dedee said...

To Larry: If John the Baptist was consistent in his pronouncements of sin, I would applaud him.

If John the Baptist decided to preside over Herod's mother's funeral and left because Herod was there, I'd hope that the priest who would serve communion to John, would publicly refuse John communion.

In short, was the Priest appropriate in his judgement (by his actions) of the MOTHER for someone else's "sin"? In short - NO!

Anonymous said...

If this had been my Priest, I would support him 100% for his actions. This is not a matter of dicrimination, this is a matter of Love. A good parent disciplines their child to teach them. So does our Heavenly Father. I am an Orthodox Christian, similar to the Catholic. I have been on various occations asked to refrain from taking Communion because I have made choices contrary to God's ways. I accepted this because I knew what I had done was wrong. She should never have presented herself for Commumiom knowing she was living outside of God's ways.
This IS love. To say, no you cannot do that, is NOT anything to do with being Lesbian specifically. I am not one, but yet my actions have been wrong enough to be asked to refrain from A Holy Sacrament until I chose to correct my actions.
God is the same always, the world is change, not Our God. When he says no to something, it is no. We cannot start to pick and choose what sins we will uphold as grave sins, and which ones, we will put in the minor sins catagory. And yes, there is a difference.
Murder will never be minimized to a minor sin. Niether will the action of living outside and against the nature of sexual union be minimized. Because if Christianity did that, it best do murder, stealing, abortion, audultry, etc. Why not make all of the minor sins too?????

Anonymous said...

This holy priest was RIGHT. This is about the BODY OF CHRIST. People have died to protect the BODY OF CHRIST. PRAISE GOD for this HOLY PRIEST!!!

Many people in the church are confused and sick because of politics and FAKE, PHONEY ideas of what love actually is.

DID YOU KNOW THAT CHRIST IS A WARRIOR KING and that HIS QUEEN, his mother, owns this country? If Christ overturned the money changing tables in zeal for the Father and His house, what is he going to allow to happen to this country and to those who persist in their UGLY PRIDE--out of love for his MOTHER?

WAKE UP AMERICA--it's starting to sound like division time.

"I JUST WANNA BE A SHEEP--BA, BA. Don't wanna be a goat-NOPE!"

justme said...

Just like the laws change, maybe it's time you made changes.


Anonymous said...

A priest should never make a scene at a funeral, nor any time he is presiding. His conduct was disrespectful to the decedent, immature, and disproportionate to the situation. Excluding himself from the altar and not completing the event by not participating at the grave were seriously bad conduct on his part.
As far as the bereaved daughter is concerned, the church has a very long tradition and dogma of permitting a believer to act according to his or her own conscience. One should presume good faith of any person approaching communion. Other wise, how should presiders treat Karen Santorum (who lived for more than seven years as mistress to one of Pennsylvania's biggest abortion providers) approach the altar? How should presiders treat Newt and Callista Gingrich, whose seven year affair while he was married broke up that marriage, and all while she was singing at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and receiving communion? Are potential communicants required to walk around with a confessor's certification? In other words, especially in situations in which a respecful and full dialog has previously occurred (not hearsay information, or a few hurried words prior to a Mass), it is highly premature for expreme sanctions such as those we read about to be invoked.
To those arguing that ALL of the priest's conduct was appropriate, let me say that the interest of the Church was seriously compromised by the scandal that HIS conduct caused. What a nightmare that this ended up on page one of one of the major newspapers of the WORLD. I am not going to criticize the Washington Post for covering this. I am pleased that they regard the Church as a institution important enough to allocate resources by covering it. The fact is that we would have known precious little about the horrible sexual scandals of the recent decades had the secular press not brought this into the open. Jesus lived a life in full public view. He was not a secretive person. His Church should welcome the sunshine so that it may be purified over time.
I am also a little troubled that the priest is a bit of a headline grabber. There are various news reports about him snapping photographs by jumping out at people at the Gaithersburg abortion clinic. I am pro-Life. I do not think that such conduct, if true, is prayerful, although it is probably legal. I prefer to see priests acting with more dignity of their office.

Peggy IL said...

Lots of ignorance here. Receiving communion isn't like getting a piece of cake at a party. It is not an attendance prize. Only baptized Catholics who are not in a state of mortal sin and who have properly fasted may receive Our Lord.

Secondly, it is sad how people construe the good priest's actions as being "political" rather than having a basis in truth and genuine belief. It's like the media thinks the bishops are merely politically grandstanding on the contraception mandate. No, it is about true beliefs. We have a first amendment that leaves us free to practice our faith. You are free to join the faith of your choosing.

Aside from that it is sad to see the priest berated for following canon law when put in the difficult position by the lesbian woman who revealed her lifestyle to him just prior to mass. He informed the attendees of regulations on communion reception.

Some people can't and don't want to be pleased until we are destroyed. St. Michael pray for us.

grimgrimly said...

Bwah ha ha!

I love it when a pack of nihilistic hedonists stand up on their soapboxes to tell the Catholic Church what to do. Such ironic chutzpah is entertainment at it's highest!

Arlington ex-Catholic said...

I would like to know why not one person defending Fr. Marcel has explained why it was canonically proper for him to walk out of the service or to refuse to attend the burial itself.

Even if he was canonically correct for refusing communion to Barbara Johnson, there is no excuse, NONE, for his subsequent behavior. He needs to apologize to the Johnson family for his egregious behavior in that regard.

I would especially like to hear from the owner of the blog on that part of the issue.

Anonymous said...

Only jmj know what is in the heart we are all sinner,s jesus came to us out of love one must know right /wrong form thier thoughts &be one with the
LORD yes that,s the way the truth i✴
JMJ have mercey on us all✴✴✴✴ 5

Anonymous said...

Oh look at you all people! All of you just are not nice to each other! That is what your God wants...that is all he wants to see everyone to be kind. If she is not a catholic but a homeless, she asked to be blessed with Jesus's body...that is what Jesus wants! Jesus loves everyone on this earth whether you like it or not! Jesus welcomes all kinds of people. Yes...everyone! Be kind to each other. Love one other. Have you seen A WRINKLE IN TIME. That is how we are on Earth. We are so unkind, judge everyone else and being bigotry. This is so tiresome. Starting today, love! Love everyone. It is really nice feeling to love and do kind to others. Believe me. Try it!