The “Lesbian Denied Communion” issue: some posts and updates

I initially posted on the story HERE.  Lot’s of comments, including excellent canonical points from Dr. Peters.

As a follow up I posted HERE about can. 915 and the denial of Holy Communion to sinners.

As an update, there is an op-ed in the Washington Post from an official of the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. here.

The lefty-leaning MSNBC covers the story HERE.  There is a video.  They interview the woman by phone.  The video will raise your blood pressure for sure.

I have now seen the letter of apology from the Archdiocese to the woman who was denied Communion HERE.

Also, Deacon Kandra has a good summary post on his blog HERE.  Among the other things Rev. Mr. Kandra posted, he has this, with my emphases:

A reader from Maryland writes about the never-ending communion controversy there:

I just wanted to let you know that there is a lot more to this story than has been published. I was in a meeting with Fr Marcel [The priest in question] and heard the whole story. The woman in question brought her lesbian partner into the vesting sacristy just before the funeral Mass and made sure to introduce her partner to Fr Marcel, introducing her as her ‘lover’. He told her then that she should not present herself for Communion. I have been to many Masses said by Father Marcel and he is a good and holy priest. He speaks very softly when giving out Holy Communion, almost whispering “Corpus Christi” — and did not publicly denounce her but rather said in a whisper that he could not give her Holy Communion. He did feel sick at the end of Mass and made sure to have a replacement priest accompany the body and family to the cemetery.

Father Marcel has a very active role in the very public and weekly vigils at Carhart’s late term abortion clinic in Germantown. He has been a staunch and vociferous defender of life. It is my belief that this is a calculated attempt to discredit him.  (Remember – same sex marriage will be signed into law this week in Maryland.) ‘Catholics for Equality’ and other gay groups are feeling pretty strong right now.  Fr Marcel is their enemy because he speaks the truth and does not back down…

I am telling you all this because Fr Marcel cannot speak for himself right now. And because he at the very least deserves the benefit of the doubt from you and Ed Peters and others who do not know all the facts. Please use this information to bring some balance to the discussion. And please pray for our bishops who must defend their priests from these attacks!

[Kandra continues:] As I noted here, Barbara Johnson is telling a different version to the press of how the priest found out about her.

Did you get that last part?  I think it is important.

It is so sad to watch the public lynching of the priest.

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This entry was posted in 1983 CIC can. 915, Our Catholic Identity, Priests and Priesthood, Religious Liberty, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

99 Responses to The “Lesbian Denied Communion” issue: some posts and updates

  1. louder says:

    *Sigh* Why is it that bishops think nothing of throwing priests under the bus?

  2. Martyrdom comes in many forms. It could come to the door of any orthodox priest at any moment. Thanks for this information. Our brother requires our prayers that the Lord will protect him, give him courage and bring the truth to light.

  3. The Egyptian says:

    APOLOGIZE, backbone transplant needed, this is why I am afraid when push comes to shove the Bishops will cave on the HHS mandate, NO BACKBONE

  4. ContraMundum says:

    @louder

    Exactly.

    It seems to be related to bishops thinking that the purpose of the mother’s funeral was “a celebration of [her] mother’s life”. I am reminded also of the bishop of Charleston/Wheeling (aka the whole of West Virginia) commenting on how Robert Byrd is now in heaven.

    I’m afraid it’s not ignorance; it’s habitual dishonesty and cowardice. Such habits will not help them in the serious struggle for religious freedom that is rapidly approaching.

    The priest misapplied canon law; I understand that. He should have given her Communion, just as I would have had to vote “not guilty” for OJ Simpson because the evidence against him came through the police, and the police were caught lying on the stand. However, there is no more doubt about her need for repentance and Confession before receiving Communion than there is that OJ really killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. For the sake of the law, OJ had to be acquitted, and for the sake of the law, this woman should have been offered Communion, but neither one is owed any apology whatsoever.

  5. StJude says:

    Unbelievable.

    Its Lent.. satan loves to attack his faithful at this time.

  6. Mary Jane says:

    All the attention the media is giving to this situation makes me sick. This woman needs to get over herself.

    I have an issue (well, a few) with the letter of apology. A funeral Mass is not a “celebration” of the deceased’s life.

    A holy (now deceased) priest that I knew growing up was once criticized for not withholding communion from some goth-looking-tatoo-covered-mohawked-hair-you-get-the-idea young adults that came to Mass (I was too young to remember this, even if I saw it – but the story was related to me years later). He told the person criticizing him, “It is God’s place to judge whether or not they should approach to receive the Eucharist – not mine. I cannot deny someone the Eucharist because I think they may be – or even probably are – in the state of mortal sin.”

    That said, I am sure – very sure – that this priest was doing his best and had the best of intentions at heart. Hopefully he can be spared from injustice, and I certainly hope this woman does not get her way (in having him removed from parish life priestly duties).

  7. poohbear says:

    I knew that would happen. Why can’t Bishops defend their priests who defend the truth? This priest saved this woman from committing the sin of receiving Communion in a state of sin. Just because the ‘world’ can’t understand that doesn’t make it wrong. We, as a church, need to stop catering to the world and get back to the Truth.

  8. padredana says:

    I think it is utterly shameful that a priest who tried to do the right thing is being thrown under the bus. Was he prudent? Maybe not. Did he act hastily? Probably. Even so, he was trying to do the right thing. To throw him under the bus is shameful. The bishop is to be a father to his priests. How many good Fathers would publicly humiliate their sons for doing something imprudent? None, I’m afraid. Shameful. Just shameful.

  9. Ralph says:

    Question for cannonists:

    If Father had been introduced to “the lover” before the service and had directly told the daughter not to present herself, does this change anything with reguard to can 915?

    This situation is sad. I can’t help but think that Father was set up. I’ll pray for him.

  10. Peggy R says:

    The Church is not a consumer-product firm that has to ensure the satisfaction of all its “customers.”

  11. Jim Ryon says:

    I feel so bad for Fr. Guarnizo. Please pray for him. Why is it always the orthodox priests (Guarnizo and Rodriques) that get slapped down by their Bishops and not the Reeses, McBriens, Flagers, Ruffs and other presiders.

  12. Mike says:

    This is disgraceful on the part of the bishop. The latter confirmed my son a few years ago. The homily was “catholic lite”. And so is that apology letter.

    I know we need to support and pray for our bishops. This is so sad.

  13. Peggy R says:

    The more I read, it also seems that there was not adequate or proper advance planning of the funeral at all with this priest. Some other employee at the parish arranged things, it appears, and not in line with this priest’s approach to funerals. The priest said only 1 eulogy, but the family wanted 2. Was he pulled into this funeral at the last minute? Was another priest supposed to celebrate it?

    What a mess.

    I pray for Fr. Marcel…I am guessing he may be a Latino immigrant priest? There are a few in DC Arch I recall.

  14. RichR says:

    Hang in there, Fr. Marcel! I will pray my rosary tonight for you. God knows the truth. You did right.

  15. Jordanes says:

    God bless Father Marcel for his defense of the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, and God have mercy on these poor lost souls who are assaulting him, the dignity of the Sacraments, and the rights and liberties of the Church.

    God have mercy also on the archdiocesan officials for apologising that God’s will was done on earth as it is in heaven. May His grace move them to apologise for their apology and their good intentions.

    Besides the all important issue that persons in public mortal sin must never be given Holy Communion until they are reconciled with Jesus, there is a total lack of understanding of what a funeral Mass is for. Contrary to Bishop Knestout, a funeral Mass must never, ever be a celebration of a deceased person’s life. Eulogies are fine at a wake or some other memorial service, but there’s a reason the Church’s funeral liturgies have no place indicating where the eulogy or eulogies are to be proclaimed.

  16. keithp says:

    Sorry but I’ll skip reading the “letter” as well as listening to the person who was denied communion.

    Speaking as someone who’s day in and day out job is making decisions and who is subject to all sorts of “monday morning quarterbacking”, all I can say to the Canonists, bloggers, commenters and pundits is back off on the priest. The Father made a decision based on the information he HAD AT THE TIME THAT CALL HAD TO BE MADE. And, he made that decision on that info and based on his ministry.

  17. acardnal says:

    The homosexual clout in the USA is beyond belief and is supported by very rich and very smart homosexual media executives/producers/writers who have used their influence to change public opinion very slowly over long periods of time by producing pro-homosexual media content. (We all know the story of boiling a frog in water.) None of this homosexual “rights” and “marriage” would have been conceivable 40 years ago! Mark my words, in another 40 years, polygamy and marriage to non-humans will be legal, too. Maranatha! There was a video produced several years ago that delineated much of this agenda. I think it was called “Table 19″ or something. HLI and Focus and the Family often promoted this video.

    Everyone should pray for Fr. Marcel Guarnizo and his bishop!

  18. sirlouis says:

    The Archdiocese should at least have said in the letter, additionally, that the priest was right to ask her not to present herself for communion. No apology is needed because she provoked the refusal. I smack you in the face and you get angry, and then you are supposed to apologize to me? Nonsense.

  19. lofstrr says:

    I realize that canon 915 needs to be applied very narrowly however, with all due respect father, I think Fr. Marcel did apply it correctly in this case. By manifest, I don’t think the canon necessarily means publicly know but rather as according to the normal definition, clear or obvious. That is if someone is well know in the community to be doing something wrong then it is manifest by virtue of it publicity. In this case, the woman coming into the sacristy and straight up telling the priest directly that she is living in such a situation makes it manifest by virtue of telling him directly with no opportunity for hearsay to cloud the possibility. She made manifest what her living situation was.

    Further, so long as the deacon proves to be correct, Father did ask her not to receive, she was admonished in private. I think it is also reasonable to assume that he offered her the opportunity to confess though she may have in other ways or words made it clear that she intended to continue in this lifestyle. In any case Father made the decision to instruct her not to receive. I think it is reasonable once again to assume that he believed her to be obstinate in this regard. Obstinate does not need to mean that she flouts his instruction at least a certain number of times but rather that she at any particular time knowingly refuses to repent. I think, so long as father either confirmed her intention to continue in her lifestyle or offered her confession and she refused that is can be reasonably interpreted as obstinance. Even if she then changes her mind a day later and does repent. She is still obstinately holding out at the time.

  20. moon1234 says:

    The judgment of one’s state of grace obviously belongs only to the person involved, since it is a question of examining one’s conscience. However, in cases of outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm, the Church, in her pastoral concern for the good order of the community and out of respect for the sacrament, cannot fail to feel directly involved. The Code of Canon Law refers to the situation of a manifest lack of proper moral disposition when it states that those who <<obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Eucharistic communion.
    -Pope John Paul II

    If this woman presented herself BEFORE Mass and announced she was with her lover, then wouldn’t the Priest be commiting an act of defiling the Eucharist if he allowed someone whom he KNEW was in manifest mortal sin (The sinner announced it as such) and ignored the direct request of the Priest not to approach?

    I am just shocked at the response of the Diocese. The Church in the USA is falling quickly. No one should wonder why things such as the HHS mandate and other anti-life policies are enacted. Bishops who do not respect their own law should not be surprised when the state chooses to also ignore such law.

  21. digdigby says:

    This is what we used to call (ca. 1969) ‘Guerrilla Theater’. It is Alinsky by-the-book. Flawlessly staged using her own mother’s funeral. Lovingly fed in little spoonfuls like Gerber’s creamed peas into the gurgling infantile mouth of the mass media. The church goes into ‘damage control’ when ven the ‘appearance’ of damage control is total defeat from get-go. Oh man, I was all psyched up for the persecution of the church. I didn’t realize how Satanically clever and nasty it is going to be. This is just a little taste of the radical homosexual assault on our very existence.

  22. Ame E. says:

    Saint Michael the Archangel,
    defend us in battle.
    Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
    May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
    and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
    by the Divine Power of God –
    cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
    who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
    Amen.

  23. TNCath says:

    I am confident that Cardinal Burke in the Apostolic Signatura will have a different opinion of this very unfortunate incident.

  24. Norah says:

    Acardnal, have you read After the Ball:How America Will Conquer its Fear and Hatred of Gays?
    Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madson
    http://www.amazon.com/After-Ball-America-Conquer-Hatred/dp/0452264987

    The strategy planned by these two men has succeeded beyond their wildest expectations.

  25. Maltese says:

    Snow job; precisely calculated.

  26. Ezra says:

    On the broader issue of giving communion to those who have made clear their public defiance of fundamental Church teaching: if Fr Marcel was wrong, does that mean Archbishop Nichols was right?

  27. acardnal says:

    @Norah: thanks for the book referral. Iwill check it out. FYI, I have asked Human Life International (HLI) for the exact title of the video I am trying to recall.

  28. Johnno says:

    From all we know so far I am in agreement that Fr. Marcel did the right thing, and that canon 915 was likely properly applied given that this woman made her sin known, flaunted it, and even defied the priest privately counseling her about what was the right thing to do, and that it as done amongst a whole host of people in her immediate family who knew she was living in sin. And now, because the archdiocese fears the wrath of homosexuals more than they fear God and protecting His body, they are going to allow further undermining of their position. With bishops like this, I seriously doubt if the Church in America is fit to stand up to the HHS mandate.

    Sure there’s a lot of bravado now given their coming together to fight against Obama. But I recall a similar episode in Israel’s time. We read in Samuel how Israel, having been dealt a blow by the Philistines, decided that so long as they had the Ark of the Covenant with them, they would be victorious! The Israelites took the Ark with them led by Eli’s sinful sons who were priests that shirked their duties and were immoral and corrupt. They led the battle, thinking that because the Ark was with them, they were protected by God’s divine promises, as they had a superstitious view that they would be victorious over their foes simply because they were the chosen ones, the true religion, and that in their human actions they could force God to work on their terms. But God was not with them. And even against the enemies of Israel, God allowed them to fall! Eli’s sons were killed. The Ark of the Covenant was stolen. And Israel as a whole was shocked and horrified at such a defeat and losing the Ark…

    Is the fight against the HHS mandate going to turn out similarly? What good is it for God to help the Catholic Bishops of America if they have not learnt their lesson and are just going to go back to the same old same old? It is probably in God’s providence that the Catholic Church lose to Obama, so as to bring about persecution in order to bleed out all that holds the Church back. Then when through trials of fire and suffering only the truly good and faithful remain who know what needs to be done and truly know their enemy, then shall God raise up those who are still in the Church to victory. They will have been tested and found worthy. They will not compromise. The will not apologize for doing what is right. They will not only go so far and then stop thinking they’ve got enough. They will keep going and going, victory after victory, no truces nor negotiations, and drive back the foe right up to the very gates of hell to which our current Church establishment has kept well away from. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it because it is now the Church on the offensive! And it is winner take all!

  29. acardnal says:

    @Norah: another good read that documents the decades old, organized, intelligent and well funded effort by the homosexual movement: http://www.amazon.com/Homosexual-Agenda-Exposing-Principal-Religious/dp/0805426981/ref=pd_sim_b_8

    The reason I raise this issue is that another reader suggested this may have been a set-up of Fr. Guarnizo and because of the recent passage of the new law in Maryland permitting gay “marriage”.
    Signed by a “Catholic” governor.

    Here’s a description of the book; notice the percentages of popular approval for homosexual activity:
    Authors Alan Sears and Craig Osten expose the goals of the homosexual movement and its rising legal activism. The homosexual agenda has as its primary aim to “trump” the rights of all other groups, especially those of people of faith. The saddest part of the story is that it is working. In 1988, 74.9 percent of the American public thought that sex between two people of the same gender was always wrong. By 1998, the percentage had fallen to 54.6 percent. Sears and Osten provide well-documented proof that America; is not only becoming more tolerant of homosexuality, through the indoctrination of children, positive exposure on TV, and the support and approval of corporate America, it is becoming less tolerant of those who disagree.

  30. Gail F says:

    Sounds to me as if the priest told the woman not to come up, or perhaps said something less straightforward that he thought had communicated that, and she came up anyway, so he made a spur of the moment decision. Do I *know* this to be the case? NO. Even with a lot more information than previously, none of us knows exactly what happened. We also don’t know the history of this woman with the diocese (except, apparently, she teaches in a Catholic school!!!!!). I think there is a good case to be made either way. The letter sounds bad, but gee, the bishop was trying to get her to go away, wasn’t he? If there are rules for this sort of thing, they sure never seem to be followed. The whole thing is a mess.

  31. I can see a time when we return to the former practice of infrequent Holy Communion just to prevent this sort of thing. It will be sad and lamentable, but understandable.

  32. Whether or not the priest and the lesbian talked to each other in the sacristy, I think the priest would not be too harsh to rush into judgment to deny the lesbian Holy Communion, other than if the priest can read souls like St. Pio of Pietrelcina.

    What is saddening are these:

    1. The Archdiocese rushed into appeasing the lesbian.
    2. The Archdiocese rushed into reprimanding its own priest who is just doing WHAT IS RIGHT.
    3. The Archdiocese did not even tell the lesbian that her lifestyle is gravely sinful!
    4. The lesbian is getting more attention from the Archdiocese and the MSM rather than the poor priest. (though we might not know how extensive the dialogue between the priest the Archdiocese is going on.)

    Cardinal Wuerl has shown has sloppy he is in the job by not even giving a categorical statement whether or not he will stop Nancy Pelosi from receiving Holy Communion if she attends Mass and presents herself for Communion in his archdiocese.

    So, I think this is some sort of a standard operating procedure for the entire Archdiocese then, eh?

    Compromise and media-savviness now occupy the number 1 spot in the Job Description of being a Catholic bishop and cardinal. Honestly, I am surprised Wuerl even received the red hat in the first place!

  33. It is disconcerting to see in this forum and in many others how many faithful Catholics would readily disregard Church law in order to satisfy their desire to see “sinners” denied communion. It’s almost a kind of blood thirst.

    Denying communion is a serious issue. Church law is there, inter alia, to protect the faithful from arbitrary clerical abuse. The law must be respected if we’re to truly respect the sacrament. And yet, so many Catholics seem to think that respecting the law is secondary to the issue of protecting the sacrament from being defiled, to the point that they consider it would have been wrong for the priest to respect the law in this instance if that meant giving communion to a self-confessed lesbian.

    Clerical abuse can take several forms. One instance that happened to me: being denied communion because I was kneeling. The priest saw my posture as inappropriate, in his own twisted opinion. So he took it upon himself to disregard Church law and do what he considers right.

    One can also imagine the very real possibility of a liberal priest denying communion to a conservative “homophobic bigot” who is unrepentant in his bigotry, which the priest considers a terrible sin. He would feel completely justified in disregarding Church law, because of his superior sense of moral duty, just as Fr. Guarnizo may have done.

    To those of you who side unconditionally with Fr. Guarnizo, please think twice. Don’t jump the gun like Fr. Guarnizo seems to have done. There are good reasons why the Church has imposed clear conditions for the application of can. 915. These conditions should be clearly fulfiled before someone is denied communion.

  34. Tom says:

    Of course the bishop wrote her back and apologized – she thumbs her nose at Christ’s Church and episcopal authority and then attacks a priest who seemingly takes the Mass and his priesthood seriously. Maybe Cardinal Wuerl was too busy signing autographs of his new book – which ironically is about the Mass – to bother to get involved. Alas, Nancy Pelosi may be right after all – why should we listen to episcopal teaching when the bishops never enforce anything? Mandate, schmandate…

  35. Liz says:

    Will pray for Fr. Marcel. These poor priests! God bless them.

  36. Laura says:

    If the Bishops cannot stand behind a good priest like Father Marcel, how can we expect other priests to get out there and lead their flocks in the fight against abortion, the redefinition of marriage, and the HHS controversy? Should they not all be wary of saying or doing the wrong thing IN GOOD FAITH and then be surprised to find their own BISHOP — their father in faith! refuse to publicly defend you in any way. I’m so, so disappointed in the bishops of the Archdiocese of Washington right now. Its like watching them throw a human sacrifice in a volcano to appease the gods. It won’t work and that volcano god will just demand more and more — to our detriment.

  37. Prof. Basto says:

    On top of the fact that the Bishop failed to defend a Priest who acted out of love for the Eucharist, the Bishop shows that He lacks a correct understanding of what a Catholic Funeral is. It is NOT about celebrating the life of the deceased on account of the deceased’s faith in Jesus Christ.

    Funerals are not canonizations. The life of the canonized Saints is celebrated by the Liturgy of the Church. For the dead, we in HOPE, pray for them and Holy Church offers Masses for them, so that, if they are in purgatory, they may be more quickly cleansed of their sins and admitted in the Heavenly paradise.

  38. Jim Dorchak says:

    As a Catholic, it is apparent that it no longer means anything when a bishop (many… possibly most) say anything. I have lost my confidence in the bishops. I DO have confidence in the Church, the Pope, I have faith.
    It appears that in this, as in many cases, that not only has a bishop (again) said somthing that is contradictory to the Church’s teaching, but has done so with a smile and a wink.
    These are hard times. We as Catholics are being called out to stand up for the Church, the truth, and her teachings (read HHS mandate). In her time of need when we as Catholics are waiting for a voice of reason in faith, but we hear not silence but worldly defiance from the bishop who should be CATHOLIC!
    What are we to believe now? I mean it! Really what are we to believe? Does this bishop not know?
    Is homosexuality the same as marriage in the eyes of the Church? The answer is yes (at least in all of the new reports I read) Is sin now dead, and there is no hell? Looks like it to me.

    Are good and holy Priests to be spit on and thrown out because they are not with the times or the spirit of spring in the church? Looks like it to me.
    There is a God. But there are no Bishops who are willing to stand up for Her in the USA or we would have heard from them by now. Lets flush the toilet and start over with those who believe in the Catholic Church.
    Jim Dorchak

  39. If this woman was so concerned about her mother’s funeral being something she apparently thought it wasn’t – then why bring up her being a lesbian at all? Why not attend the funeral as, obviously, a non-practicing Catholic should and not go up for communion. Just becuase your mother died does not exempt you from needing to be in the right state for going in the first place. Instead – she brought the politics into it by marching into the sacristy and confronting the good Father as if to challenge him and take him on. What a sad, disgusting mess this world is. I fear for all of us and I’m starting to lose hope.

  40. nanetteclaret says:

    The fact that Father felt sick is a clue right there. It takes a very strong stomache to confront evil face to face.

  41. ChronicSinner says:

    Mr. Arseneault, if this woman did indeed divulge her sinful state to Fr. Marcel, then just how did he “jump the gun”? Your comparison between being denied Communion while kneeling and this case is absurd. This priest did exactly what he should have done, cannon law notwithstanding. No one can be compelled to obey a law that forces them to aid and abett someone else’s mortal sin and be directly complicit with it, which is what, IMO, Fr. Marcel was being asked to do by this lesbian’s act, since she removed all doubt during her discussion with him prior to Holy Mass. If Cannon 915 compelled him to give her Communion in this instance, then in this instance, it was not a just law and need not be followed.

  42. KarenLH says:

    Speaking of Cardinal Wuerl, here’s a quote from his latest book, Seek First the Kingdom (which is not on the Mass):

    It bears repeating: we should assume the good will and good intentions of people who disagree with us. They are not necessarily ‘bigots’ and ‘hate mongers’ simply because they hold a position contrary to ours. If we sincerely believe that they do harbor evil intentions, we should remind ourselves of a time when people have misunderstood or misconstrued our own intentions. Then we should call to mind the irrefutable fact that we, too, are occasionally wrong in our judgments.

    We should avoid unnecessary hyperbole and, certainly, demagoguery. In a crowd where everyone is screaming, the calm, reasonable, and soft-spoken person will stand out — and possibly win the day. … Labeling other people simply because one disagrees on a specific issue is less than honest and, too often, simply divisive. Good people, and even saints, may disagree in practical matters.

    Defamation does more damage to the people who practice it than to the people they scorn. For a Christian, defamation — destroying someone’s good name — is a sin that must be confessed and renounced. …

    No community, human or divine, political or religious, can exist without trust. At the very core of all human relations is the confidence that members speak the truth to one another. …

    To speak the truth requires self-discipline and conscious effort. We must search out the facts and avail ourselves of the information necessary to make a judgment based on reality. It is a disservice to the truth when one’s opinions, positions, or proposals are based on unverified gossip, unsupported rumor, or partial information. If all the facts are readily available to us, we are obliged to undertake serious study before we pronounce our opinions. This is particularly true if our opinions involve the good name, honor, and integrity of another. …

    A wise and ancient Catholic maxim has always instructed us to ‘hate the sin and love the sinner.’ Yes, some actions are clearly wrong. Yet we must distinguish between what is done and who does it. The action is evil. The person is good, created in goodness by almighty God. Those who commit evil deeds sin against their deepest selves when they sin against God. That’s the fact we must demonstrate to sinners.

    We have an obligation to witness, but there’s only one way to witness effectively… Only if our lives and speech proclaim [charity] are they truly Christian and truly representative of the Church and the kingdom.

  43. I have felt such sickness many times when faced with controversy in the Liturgy, barely able to continue. I feel very much for Father Marcel and have written to him offering my prayers. As Father Z pointed out elsewhere, at a funeral usually everyone knows everyone. I can imagine that Father Marcel did his best and concluded – rightly or wrongly – that giving Communion to Ms Johnson would cause the scandal among all the family and relations that there is nothing wrong with her situation – which she herself claims. We can opine on whether or not Can. 915 was applied correctly or not, but the diocesan letter of “apology” should have taken the opportunity to point out to Ms Johnson that her situation is contrary to Divine Law, that she should not, in fact, have come forward for Communion and that, now that her situation is manifest, she should not in future venture to receive Communion without first amending her life. I hope Father Marcel is receiving appropriate pastoral care. If he got it wrong in this situation, he should still be supported in his ministry, and the letter should not have been so condemnatory of him. There should at least have been a suggestion that there might have been fault on the Ms Johnson’s side too.

  44. KarenLH says:

    I especially like this part:

    It is a disservice to the truth when one’s opinions, positions, or proposals are based on unverified gossip, unsupported rumor, or partial information. If all the facts are readily available to us, we are obliged to undertake serious study before we pronounce our opinions. This is particularly true if our opinions involve the good name, honor, and integrity of another.

    With all due respect to the folks screaming for the Cardinal’s head, it strikes me that, given the explanation of Canon 915 given by Fr. Z and Ed Peters, Fr. Marcel acted incorrectly (if understandably). Given that fact, Bishop Knestout’s letter does not seem to be out of line. It’s actually pretty mild.

    Aside from the story in the Post, the bishop’s letter of apology, and a second statement by Fr. Bill Byrne for the archdiocese, none of us actually knows very much at all about the situation. There may well be a lot more that is being said and done that is not publicly known. Really, this is the sort of incident that in the past would have remained relatively private. So maybe it would be prudent for folks to stop assuming that any of us knows enough to sit in judgment on the Cardinal.

  45. KarenLH says:

    BTW, Fr. Bill Byrne issued a statement today on behalf of the archdiocese explaining the importance of Communion.

  46. tcreek says:

    Does anyone really think that this lady was distressed because she could not receive Our Lord in the Eucharist. The issue was exaggerated by the woman, not the priest. She could have obediently returned to her seat and remained silent. Her distress, if any, was caused by her.

    Silence should also have been the order of the day for bishops on this issue. (Unless to praise the priest). The Lord knows they have been silent for many years in reprimanding grave sinful behavior.

  47. Andy F. says:

    I have one question about this and any other similar incident that has occurred or will occur in the Church: If these people who are offended are so devoted to the Holy Eucharist, then why are they taking their grievances to the press? I believe it was Our Lord who instructed us to take up our offenses with our brethren personally, not publicly. That same Lord is in the Eucharist and the faithful devoted should be able to implement these simple instructions via the grace they have received from Sacraments in previous days and because of the human dignity they should afford to others even if their own dignity has been violated. The reception of Holy Communion is not a battle over whether the bad child gets a cookie just the same as the good child. Regrettably, this is my impression of what these folks believe they are participating in. The Eucharist is not a ticket puncher or a cookie, it is an opportunity to receive the same Christ who gave his back to those who scourged Him. It would be nice to see an editorial about this.

  48. I’d like to see somebody versed in canon law address the factor Fr. Z. and Fr. Boyle brought up, namely, the fact that this was a funeral Mass, where this woman, being the daughter of the deceased, is actually a prominent figure among those in attendance, and where those in attendance very likely know about the daughter’s living arrangements. Does that not make this different from an ordinary Sunday Mass where the daughter and her lover would be just another couple of faces in the crowd?

  49. Daniel,

    Fr. Guarnizo knew about the lesbian’s active sexual life. He reminded her not to receive Communion. Yet she persisted.

    This is WAAAYYY beyond your example of clerical abuse of you kneeling for Communion and being refused. Your act and the priest’s act against you is not covered by Can. 915 at all.

  50. JKnott says:

    I wonder what Padre Pio would have said to the unmarried woman if she introduced her same-sex “lover” to him in the sacristy before Mass? I wonder what he would have said to her in confession if she continued to brag about her lifestyle?

    Maybe the Bishop’s staff wrote the letter and just forgot that Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.”
    This poor, sad woman is being justified in her sinful behavior and actually consoled for compounding the danger to her soul by seeking punishment to a priest. And it is Lent dear Bishop!!!! You need better letter writer.

  51. AnnAsher says:

    She used her mother’s funeral as fodder and stage for her lesbian agenda and intentionally tormented the Celebrant! Where are his defenders? Where is the appology to Fr Marcel from the Diocese that he should be placed in such a position of personal abuse ? Since when are Catholic Funerals a celebration of life ? Lame response from the Bishop.

  52. GordonB says:

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if the mother would have also disapproved of her active lesbian daughter’s sacrilege the Lord? If I knew my child was in a state of sin and presenting for communion I would throw a fit.

  53. Gregorius says:

    I have heard that the parish priest of that parish ordered Fr. Marcel into silence. So much attention is given to his detractors, and the man doesn’t even have the ability to defend himself. Pray for him, and for everyone else involved.

  54. AnnAsher says:

    I notice his parish offers EF Sundays at 1:30. I wonder who the celebrant is?

  55. catholicmidwest says:

    We’d better start paying more attention and screening people before we set up funerals etc.

    I’m praying for this poor priest, who has been victimized.

  56. NoTambourines says:

    Absent from the letter, as already noted, is any mention of the fact that the woman was actually not in good standing to receive communion. It should have been pointed out to her that she put the priest in an impossible situation — quite possibly deliberately so, it seems. What was at stake for him was not cooperating in evil and committing an outrage against the Blessed Sacrament.

    The apology letter will have much more mileage in the press than any follow-up documents, and I would worry that it reinforces a misconception already in place that weddings and especially funerals are somehow exceptions to the Church’s position on eligibility to receive the Eucharist.

  57. Sixupman says:

    Perhaps it would be preferable for Communion not to be distributed during Funeral and Wedding Masses, thereby avoiding both this situation and embarrassment to non-Catholics attending.

    In the UK, homosexuals are pushing the boundaries incessantly in order to raise media support for their positions. Some diocese even support their agenda – unofficially of course.

  58. Cathy says:

    Let me see, US soldiers accidentally burn a Koran, and, well, they are shot point blank at gunpoint and the President does not stand up for our soldiers but apologizes profusely about the book being burned. US priests defends the Body and Blood of Our Lord, Jesus, from being sacrilegiously received by a woman who openly lives in a relationship which she knows has separated her from the Body of Christ, and the Bishop does not defend the action of the priest, but apologizes because? sad occasion equals the right to receive Our Lord sacrilegiously?

  59. Pingback: FRIDAY EXTRA: SAME-SEX ATTRACTION | ThePulp.it

  60. jflare says:

    For those of you who insist that Fr should’ve acted differently in this case, please answer me one question:
    How blatant does a person need to be in sin before we’ll back a priest who dares to make a politically-incorrect judgement call?

    From what I understand of the situation, the woman in question found a compelling need to present herself WITH her lover to Fr in the sacristy before Mass. It seems that she made quite plain the nature of their relationship. It seems that Fr offered appropriate guidance right there in private that neither should come forward to receive.
    How ridiculous will we be in these matters?
    Will we now insist on a court trial of some sort to discern the state of someone’s soul before we’re willing to act? Will we now insist that the local ordinary must be involved before the priest can justly do so?

    How much will we insist on having spelled out for us in tawdry black and white before we admit that dogs are dogs, cats are cats, and a woman with a lover (female OR male) is almost CERTAINLY in a state of mortal sin and should not be allowed communion?

    Honestly! It’s no small wonder that the Protestant world has such grave skepticism regarding what the Eucharist IS when we, the Catholic faithful, demonstrate such a lackluster concern!

  61. Jim Ryon says:

    KarenLH,
    If you read Cardinal Wuerl’s good words from Fr. Guarnizo’s point of view you might get a slightly different take. He is being unjustly defamed and apparently ordered to be silent.

  62. jflare says:

    “It is disconcerting to see in this forum and in many others how many faithful Catholics would readily disregard Church law in order to satisfy their desire to see “sinners” denied communion. It’s almost a kind of blood thirst. ”

    Interesting you should state that last part quite that way. Especially when we ARE receiving the Body, BLOOD, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. I think I understand your point quite well, but I might remind you that, from my early teens onward, I recall having a TERRIBLE time making sense of what the Church REALLY taught vs what she didn’t. This happened in no small part because..our bishop and those around him didn’t require nearly enough discipline with regard to what we would learn about the faith OR how we would celebrate the Mass.

    If I may be so bold, I routinely lost interest in most Church-sponsored anything in no small part because..the local Church seemed to make quite clear that the actual rules of the Church only mattered if someone REALLY wanted them to matter. Other than that, who cared?
    The end result has been that at least half my family has little, if any, interest or concern for attending Mass routinely.

    AND, I recall many times that I had trouble discerning whether something TRULY was important or not because..well, even if the Pope said one thing, ‘ole Ted Kennedy likely would say something different. It literally took me YEARS–most of a decade even–to figure out that Ted Kennedy likely was the poorest example of a Catholic I could find.

    It may be that this woman doesn’t have the obvious public profile that Kennedy did, but it’s becoming more and more clear that most of those who attended the funeral knew quite well what this woman was about. I doubt if there was any particular doubt regarding WHY the priest made his move.
    I notice that most of those who attended haven’t been saying much to the press. It seems to be this one woman who’s insisting that she was singled out without good cause.

    Obviously we can pray (for her sake) that there’s been some MAJOR misunderstanding here, but to all appearances, she basically wished to have the Church behave precisely the way SHE thought it should, and if the teachings and the rules of the Church needed to fall by the wayside for THAT, well that’s just too darn bad!

    It’s pretty much the same attitude that the die-hard secularists both at the University and those directing the military had. Conform to the secularists view or be swept aside and spat upon.
    We won’t see the Church being taken seriously until we, the faithful, refuse to tolerate such nonsense.
    It’s long since past time that we allowed a priest to call a spade a spade.

  63. Pingback: Letter of Apology to Lesbian Denied Communion at Mom’s Funeral « Fr Stephen Smuts

  64. cthemfly25 says:

    I am genuinely confused and all the more so by Dr. Peters application of 915 so I ask for instruction. A person presents herself in a state of grave mortal sin (and frankly for the sake of discussion the grave mortal sin could be sexual or anything) for Holy Communion, and her state of being is known by the priest regardless of how it is known. Is not the most important concern for the priest to (a) protect the soul of that person from receiving Christ without having sought hope through Reconciliation, and (b) to protect the sanctity of the sacrament.

    Honestly, I am confused about any recrimination against Father Marcel and any apology by the Diocese. I would greatly appreciate it if someone could explain away my apparent misunderstanding. Not being up on canon law, it does seem that 915 is being misapplied here. Is there any other canonical source or spiritual source which should be discussed.

    Many thanks for any insights.

  65. Augustin57 says:

    I think what disturbs me most is the Archdiocese’s knee-jerk apology, which I think was completely for political purposes. It was a defensive maneuver to try to stem public outrage stirred up by a national media who has an agenda to try to normalize a sexual perversion (homosexual behavior).

    I think there have been many good, faithful priests in the past who have been demonized and attacked. And when the Church refuses to stand behind them, they get crucified. It’s not right!

  66. robtbrown says:

    cthemfly25,

    We do not know that the woman was “in a state of grave mortal sin”. We do know that she admitted to a life style that involves acts that are objectively gravely immoral. Whether or not she is a state of mortal sin, however, is another determination based on interior dispositions that cannot be known simply by observance of someone’s actions.

    No priest can use knowledge obtained privately from a person to deny that same person Communion. A priest, however, has the duty to advise that person not to receive the Host.

    On the other hand, when it is public knowledge that a person is obstinately persisting in objectively gravely sinful acts, then the priest has the obligation to make sure that the person knows that Communion will be denied.

    From what little I know of the DC situation, it seems to me that the priest was right in his approach to the situation. It also seems that with latest statement the Archdiocese is trying to be on both sides of the issue.

    BTW, all mortal sin is grave.

  67. tcreek says:

    Should anyone be surprised by the response of Bishop Barry Knestout? The Archdiocese of Washington has been giving cover (and communion) to pro abortion Catholic politicians for years.

  68. Centristian says:

    Is this bishop kidding me?

    This woman comes into church, decides to shine a spotlight on her homosexuality, flaunting it by attending the obsequies with her female companion, and even going so far as to introduce her to the priest as her “lover”, and then this bishop apologies to HER for what SHE had to endure? Because she decided that a mother’s funeral in a Catholic Church is the appropriate time to raise the Rainbow Flag and salute it, SHE gets an apology from a Roman Catholic bishop because she was, after her display, not permitted to receive something that she clearly doesn’t correctly believe in, in any event? Do you really mean to tell me that this woman and her lover had their hearts so set on receiving Jesus Christ in Holy Communion that their inability to do so traumatized them?

    The priest, on the other hand, who had to suffer this torturous situation by a publicly professed lesbian with an agenda (prioritized even at her own mother’s funeral), does not get an apology from the bishop for having to endure an impossible situation because his hierarchy is much more concerned about seeming diplomatic in the face of grave public sin than it is about condemning it. Where is this priest’s apology from the bishop for having to endure bishops like himself who are more concerned about the feelings of obstinate lesbians than they are about confirming the faith and intergrity of conscientious priests? When will he get a letter from (the) Most Reverend Barry Knestout telling him that his own personal inability to support him due to his own gravely misplaced priorities “is a cause of great concern and personal regret” to him? When will we all get an apology from Cardinal Wuerl for bishops who write letters like this one, which apologize to the offender and which throw the hero under the bus?

    Maybe this priest should be made a bishop and maybe this bishop should hang his head and shame and silence himself.

  69. HyacinthClare says:

    Centristan, you and I are at loggerheads fairly often, but YOU SAID IT BEST. Amen,
    Sir!

  70. tcreek says:

    Centristian — I am afraid that the bishops is not kidding you.

  71. ContraMundum says:

    How — how — how could the state of Maryland legalize “gay marriages” when they have such shepherds as Auxiliary Bishop Barry Knestout? What a puzzler this is!

    [As an aside: Am I the only one who thinks it is iffy for someone to refer to HIMSELF as “Most Reverend”? I suppose if he had been in the UK, he would have said, “My Lordship”? Seriously, my understanding is those titles are used only when speaking to someone else, and that identifying himself as an auxiliary bishop should have been enough.]

  72. Centristian says:

    ContraMundum:

    I’ll “Amen” your first paragraph.

    It isn’t incorrect, however, for a bishop’s style to appear beneath his signature as it does in this letter. What is incorrect is that the bishop (or his secretary) makes the mistake of omitting the word “The”, and furthermore omits his post-nominal letters. It should read “The Most Reverend Barry Knestout, D.D.”

    The form of address “Your Lordship” would correspond to “Your Excellency”, not to “The Most Reverend”. Whether in England or America, a bishop is “The Most Reverend so-and-so”.

    Correctly, the bishop signs his name, and only his name (without his style), adding a cross symbol before it. Incorrectly, however, he signs it at the bottom of a letter apologizing to a lesbian who was set on turning her mother’s funeral into an opportunity to highlight her sexual deviancy, and he does so because she complains that her feelings were hurt by a priest who felt it was wrong to allow her to approach the Sacrament of the Eucharist on account of the shameful and public way she decided to abuse the occasion.

  73. rodin says:

    If Deacon Kandra’s report is accurate, and how could it not be, then it would appear that the Diocese has made a rush to political correctness without collecting ALL of the FACTS. Stiffer spines are needed to deal with the carefully orchestrated attacks today.

  74. Random Friar says:

    If someone is in an irregular marriage, I’m supposed to inform them they cannot receive Communion, but if a lesbian couple shows up they can?

    I understand Can 915, but something seems off here. To me, the priest did the true pastoral thing here. Especially when this whole thing smells like a set-up and purposefully done provocation.

  75. B16generation says:

    How odd that so many so-called Catholic bloggers jumped on the lynching band-wagon alongside the media and homosexual lobbyist. We don’t know all the details so people shouldn’t criticize the priest so hastily and unjustly… even you, Fr. Z.
    In your first post on this issue you said:
    “It seems to me that to apply can. 915 to that woman at that moment was an improper rush to judgment, well-meaning, but wrong, zealous for the Lord and Holy Church’s doctrine, but pre-mature.”
    And then, later, you post:
    “It is so sad to watch the public lynching of the priest.”
    Unfortunately you had a hand on the rope. Be careful, take time, be charitable, and pray. [Your mischaracterization ignores what else I wrote. Take time, think, and pray.]

  76. Fr. TK says:

    These kind of problems will only get worse in the future. Things would be much simpler if we did not ordinarily give Holy Communion at weddings and funerals. I wish the bishops would discuss this option. The idea occurred to me when I was reading up on doing a funeral in the extraordinary form. It seems Holy Communion was not usually distributed. I had a Mass one time at a family reunion when it would have difficult for many to get to Sunday Mass. There was such a mix of irregular situations there that the grandparents were quite relieved when I mentioned the possibility of not giving communion at that Mass. Everybody seemed happy with that result. I don’t think any liturgical laws were broken. One does not have to receive Holy Communion to fulfill their obligation. They could have gone elsewhere if they felt they needed to receive.

  77. aladextra says:

    Peters is hilarious. I really don’t think I can give any stock in his Canon law opinions anymore. There are questions about her manifest and grave sin? Seriously? The woman is doing interviews on MSNBC about her being a lesbian and in a relationship. She is doing interviews with WaPo and in the NYT. She announced to the priest the fact, and even included it in her (illegal) eulogy.

    We can criticize Fr. Marcel for only one thing that I can see, and that is for allowing a eulogy at all, much less two. A funeral Mass is a time to pray for the dead, and I’m sure those present could have better profited from a longer sermon from the good father than whatever self-righteous blather the proud lesbian belted out. Seriously people, we are in a war here. We can choose not to fight it, that just means we’ll lose, not that there isn’t a war.

  78. acardnal says:

    I wonder how Bishop Bruskewitz in Lincoln, Nebraska or former Archbishop of St. Louis, now a prince of the Church, Cardinal Burke would have responded if this had occurred in their dioceses? I think I know, and Fr. Marcel Guarnizo would have no problems. Come on bishops! Defend the faith and morals you are obliged to uphold despite the slings and arrows of the press.

  79. irishgirl says:

    @ JKnott: I’m pretty sure that if St. Padre Pio found himself in such a situation, he would get REALLY ANGRY and throw that ‘woman’ and her ‘lover’ out on their ears! Or else he would yell at them in the confessional! He certainly didn’t pull any punches. Sometimes a priest has to imitate the anger of Our Lord when He threw the moneychangers out of the Temple!
    @ acardnal: Yeah, I also sure that Bishop Bruskiewitz and Cardinal Burke would have something to say in defense of the priest, too!
    And I’ll echo what you said at the end!
    Come on, Your Excellencies in Washington! Show some spine! Stand up for Father Marcel! Don’t throw him under the bus! BE MEN, NOT MICE!
    [okay, end of rant, and off my soapbox]

  80. wmeyer says:

    irishgirl, let us not overlook Abp. Chaput!

  81. jflare says:

    “We do not know that the woman was “in a state of grave mortal sin”.”

    OK, so in the strictest sense of the thought, we don’t know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she’s been committing homosexual acts. She hasn’t technically admitted to that.

    At the same time, when a man or a woman presents themselves to a priest in company with another, says “This is my lover” or implies such in a manner that leaves little or no real room for doubt, AND, by the way, has behaved in ways in the past that make pretty clear what she’s about, I should think we have adequate cause to act.

    I don’t think I’d necessarily buy the idea that this lady deliberately set about to create a scandal on this scale; I really don’t see evidence of THAT. I DO think, though, that she’s taking full advantage of an unexpected opportunity to hammer the Church.

    I don’t believe she’s mentioned it outright, but a few things I’ve read here and there imply that she’s quite willing to badger the Church about Her teachings.

  82. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    I’m very disturbed about the attitude towards Fr Marcel being exhibited by many, even by some posters here (a small minority, I’m glad to say). Several times I have read that Fr Marcel can’t really have known the situation with this woman, and was therefore incorrect to have denied her communion. I am struck by the irony that these commentators – all of them, so far as I can tell – are equally as ignorant of Fr Marcel’s circumstances as they claim he was of hers. I think they should henceforth keep their opinions to themselves.

  83. ContraMundum says:

    @Fr. TK

    To my mind that is one of the most helpful suggestions yet. I think there are many circumstances in which it would be better not to distribute Communion — for example, when there are rainbow sashes in the pews who are trying to be photographed either receiving Communion or being “unpastorally” turned away.

  84. ContraMundum says:

    @ (X)MCCLXIII

    I have not noticed anyone believing “that Fr Marcel can’t really have known the situation with this woman.” The story, which does not seem to be disputed, is that the woman left no doubt with the priest that she was in a state of sin and could receive Communion only to her own damnation. Making it clear to the priest, though, is not the same thing as being “manifest”; nor is her general appearance, although it is altogether stereotypical.

  85. Y2Y says:

    “I’m very disturbed about the attitude towards Fr Marcel being exhibited by many, even by some posters here (a small minority, I’m glad to say). Several times I have read that Fr Marcel can’t really have known the situation with this woman, and was therefore incorrect to have denied her communion. I am struck by the irony that these commentators – all of them, so far as I can tell – are equally as ignorant of Fr Marcel’s circumstances as they claim he was of hers. I think they should henceforth keep their opinions to themselves.”

    Telling the average person he has a right to his own opinion is like telling a dog he has the right to pilot a commercial airliner.

  86. ContraMundum says:

    @Y2Y

    It’s more like telling the sea it has the right to be wet.

  87. lofstrr says:

    “Making it clear to the priest, though, is not the same thing as being “manifest”’

    Actually, that is exactly what manifest means. As an adjective, as in “manifest grave sin”, it means clear, obvious, readily perceived, easily understood.

  88. lofstrr says:

    The other thing that is bothering me here is that while I understand, for the sake of the faithful, we apply canons like 915 narrowly and that is good. But assuming from the deacon’s statement that the lady made it basically painfully clear what her living situation was, How could Fr Marcel have given her communion. We are here parsing out words like manifest but at the end of the day, this is the body of our Lord. This is the very body that so many martyred saints have given their very lives for. I we really saying that in the case of a technicality, so long as we are not absolutely sure what a woman means when she refers to another woman as her lover, we can let our Lords body be disgraced and watch as the sacrilege takes place? Seriously?

  89. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    Dear Contra Mundum,

    I’m afraid that Ed Peters, in particular, has behaved particularly badly in this regard. And he seems to be held in considerable respect by many people, who appear to conflate his legal expertise with knowledge of this particular case. I don’t think he has any particular knowledge and I suppose that if he did he would keep it private.

    I am very sorry to see this. Of course, we hear nothing from the only man who really knows.

  90. tcreek says:

    I don’t know about the charge that Fr. Marcel may have violated canon law but I wonder if he would have also been charged with something if he had quoted Scripture to the lady.

    Like the 1st chapter in Romans —
    “Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.”

    A hate crime, no doubt.

  91. ContraMundum says:

    I am not a canon lawyer, so I do not know all the assumptions and history that lie behind the wording, so I will defer on those aspects to the experts. However, taken alone, “manifest” is ambiguous. Manifest to whom? It is presumptuous to say that it obviously means to the priest, and to him alone. What is “manifest” to the priest will often not be “manifest” to the congregation.

    I’ve seen a photo of this woman, so I know she does not look feminine. Such appearances can be deceiving, though: they do not prove that she has Lesbian tendencies, let alone that she is in a state of sin. A woman cannot be denied Communion simply because she is overweight, does not wear makeup, and has an unflattering haircut.

  92. ContraMundum says:

    Having given the subject a little more thought, there is a good reason why “manifest” cannot simply mean “manifest to the priest”: a priest may easily discover, through the sacrament of penance, that the “penitent” is “obstinately persevering in grave sin”. For example, a parishioner might want to go to confession for one fault, such as drinking to excess, but the priest learns that she is also practicing contraception, which she has no intention of stopping. This would mean a bad confession, of course, but the priest would still be bound to protect the confidentiality of what was said, under pain of excommunication.

  93. r7blue1pink says:

    I understand the proper application of Can 915 in the way that Dr Peters and Father Z have explained it.

    But one thing that I haven’t seen anyone discuss as of yet- is Conscience. Father may have misapplied Can 915, but he did NOT violate his conscience.

    Which trumps which? Does Conscience trump Canon law? Or does Canon law trump conscience? Or are the matters completely unrelated..?

    anyone?.

  94. plemmen says:

    More of the concerted attack on Holy Mother Church. I am of the same mind as Ann Barnhardt, the greatest trick Satan ever pulled is to convince the world he doesn’t exist.
    Thanks as well to all of you that have read the first two parts of my confession, part II is here: http://wp.me/p27DAO-ay and deals with discernment of a vocation as well as unsettling developments in diocesan vocation programs.

  95. ContraMundum says:

    @r7blue1pink

    Someone with a properly formed conscience will not feel prompted to knowingly violate canon law.

    Fr. Marcel may have violated canon law, but there is no reason to believe he did so knowingly.

  96. Pingback: The Lesbian Communion Controversy: New Information Has Come To Light « Catholibertarian

  97. Montenegro says:

    I have just one thing to say, and that is: WHAT IS CARD. WUEHRL’S PROBLEM?