Priest denies Communion to openly co-habitating lesbians

A friend sent me a note with a link to an article on a Kansas City, MO, news site. I wrote on this a few days ago, but am just returning to it now.

The note from my friend included this (about the priest in question):

That is his first solo parish assignment. Ordained May 2011. Spent associate year at our Novus Ordo Parish.

The article (about the priest and lesbians):

Area same-sex couple denied Communion

An area woman was denied Communion at her mother’s funeral [So far this sounds like the Guarnizo case in Washington DC a couple years ago. HERE] last month after a priest new to her parish learned she was in a same-sex relationship.

Carol Parker and her partner of nearly 20 years, Josie Martin, live in the small town of Chula, Mo., and had been attending St. Columban Catholic Church in Chillicothe, Mo., for 12 years when Ms. Parker’s mother passed away on Dec. 26. The obituary listed Ms. Parker as a surviving daughter and also mentioned her partner.

Later that week, Ms. Parker received a call from Father Benjamin Kneib, informing her that she and Ms. Martin would not be allowed to receive Communion at the Dec. 30 funeral. [Unlike the Guarnizo Affair, this priest was not ambushed by lesbians in the sacristy immediately before Mass.]

“It was a shock to hear him say that,” Ms. Parker said. “I never expected that, especially at my mother’s funeral.” [Because your mother's funeral is ... what?  Not Mass?  The Church's teaching about being properly disposed to receive Communion, and the responsibility of the priest to avoid scandal and to instruct, etc., ceases to apply?  If it would not be proper to receive at any ordinary Mass on some other day, why would be be okay to receive at the funeral Mass?  Simply because of "emotions"?  "Sentiment"?]

She added that at the funeral, most in attendance chose not to take Communion out of respect for her and Ms. Martin. [Out of "respect" for them?] Despite this show of solidarity, the women no longer feel welcome at the church and have begun visiting another an hour from their home.  ["No longer feel welcome."  sniff.]

“That was our faith community. It really took away a lot of things for us,” Ms. Parker said. “He (Father Kneib) would still like to see us there, but I don’t feel like I’m welcome if I can’t take part in the main focus of the Mass.”  [Ehem... you can take part in the main focus of the Mass.  You just can't receive Communion.]

[And we see more of their true colors.] She provided PROMO, a Kansas City-based advocacy organization for the LGBT community, with a Jan. 1 follow-up letter Father Kneib sent her in which he further explained his decision. [So, their goal is to force the priest, the Church, to say that it is okay for them to live in a scandalous relationship and still go to Communion. They don't care about what the Church teaches.  They want it their way.] According to a press release from the organization, the letter stated that “having a same-sex attraction is not sinful in and of itself [True.  It isn't sinful in itself.  But it is a deviation from God's design.] … it is only when a person moves from attraction to willfully acting upon it that the situation becomes a sinful matter.”  [True.  So, what they are saying is that these two are living together... they are just room/house mates?  Separate... you know...?  Is that what they are saying?]

Father Kneib also apologized to Ms. Parker that the events that had transpired took place at the time of her mother’s funeral. When contacted by the News-Press, Father Kneib had no comment.

Ms. Parker said she hopes that the priest might “open his eyes and fully receive the LGBT community into the church.” [Because he is the one who is blind.]

“We’re all God’s children, and we have every right to receive Communion,” she says. [No, you do not have an unfettered right to receive Holy Communion.  Particularly if there is risk of public scandal.... which they have now made plenty of.] “Even the pope has said, ‘Who am I to judge?’”  [That phrase again.  In no way can that phrase be taken as approval of the scandal caused by a known homosexual couple regularly receiving Communion.  No. Way.]

I am going to back the priest on this.

Look.  There is a possibility that these two women, lesbian attraction notwithstanding, are just housemates.  Sure.  That’s possible.  But that is not what the rest of the world is going to assume.  Thus, given that their relationship is know to people – at least well-enough known that Father learned about it, the priest did the right thing to contact them.  Perhaps you could argue that he might have met with him ahead of time.  Sure.  There are any number of things he might have done differently.  But he did reach out to them.  More than once, it seems.

Also, this seems not to have been a “test case”, as I believe happened in Guarnizo Affair.  I believe that in the case of Fr. Guarnizo, they set him up, hoping for some sort of confrontation, so that they could have a reason to whine to the press and hurt the Church.

UPDATE:

LifeSite informs us that the priest is getting some blowback! I’m shocked!

UPDATE:

On WOG Blog:

[...]

Fr. Kneib’s follow up letter to Parker stating that “having a same-sex attraction is not sinful in and of itself … it is only when a person moves from attraction to willfully acting upon it that the situation becomes a sinful matter,” was immediately taken to the local gay activist’s office. [Because they want to force the Church to their will.  But there's more...]

In the letter, he also apologized that this had to happen at her mother’s funeral even though [NB] it was certainly not the priest’s fault that Parker neglected to confess this sin for 20 years. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?] Perhaps she is just poorly catechized [hah] but even that is hardly an excuse when the Church’s position on homosexuality is under constant scrutiny by the media in these days of advancing same-sex “rights”. Surely she could have picked up at least an inkling of the fact that her relationship is in violation of Catholic teaching on same-sex attraction. [Exactly.]

[...]

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106 Responses to Priest denies Communion to openly co-habitating lesbians

  1. Faith says:

    I pray the priest was smart enough to alert his bishop to this situation, and get his OK, before he notified the lady. Otherwise, I’m afraid his bishop will do what Guarnizo’s bishop did–throw him under the bus.

  2. Liz says:

    God bless this good priest. We have been praying for him since I heard about this, but I suppose I should be praying for the women as well. God have mercy!

  3. Jim of Bowie says:

    I doubt if Bishop Finn will remove his faculties.

  4. La Sandia says:

    “Who am I to judge?”

    His Holiness will have to answer for the damage to souls done by that irresponsible remark of his. I hope he realizes the extent of the damage sooner rather than later. Not that this scenario would have been prevented without it, but it provides a ready-made justification for those determined to persist in sin.

  5. Long-Skirts says:

    “Oh, Lord grant us many holy Priests”…like this dear, one!!!!!

    UPON THIS ROCK

    Weary, weary,
    On this earth
    Shielding souls
    Beyond their worth.

    Few are grateful
    Some regress
    Others proud
    They won’t confess

    When the waves
    Break on the shore
    Warning them
    What is before.

    Established
    You stand on this rock
    ‘Gainst the gales
    Fore those who mock

    Facing squalls
    They cannot see
    But all behold
    Your bended knee.

    Few will follow
    Some deny
    Oblivious
    They won’t comply.

    Then a blue moon
    Saffron sun
    Come together
    Almost one.

    Fingers blessed
    With Holy Oil
    You lift the Light…
    Sun moon recoil.

    Blinding many
    Opening eyes
    Contradiction
    Most despise.

    But on this rock
    Eroded-rife
    You stand your ground
    Opposing strife.

    Between the storms
    And sheep you block
    The tempest winds
    That hurt the flock.

    With outstretched arms
    The daily crux
    You nail the Truth
    So not in flux

    Never will lie
    Only can free
    Upon this rock
    Catholicity.

  6. Volanges says:

    “Who am I to judge?” Has a 5 word quote ever been more widely reported out of context?? As I’ve read the interview, this reply was to a question about a homosexual priest who is living a celibate life.

  7. JPK says:

    I agree that this looks like a typical gotcha set-up. I feel bad for the priest. And I wonder if these 2 ladies really understand what they’re doing? Or is it just all politics, all the time? When one dies, politics and all of its emotional concerns become just a thin shadow.

    I shall pray for everyone concerned.

  8. mrshopey says:

    People identify housemates as partners?
    No. I would not list a roommate as a partner. Those words have meanings.
    Prayers for the priest and all involved.
    Maybe this can turn into a fortunate situation – her conversion.

  9. teomatteo says:

    who’s to say they are not living as sisters?

  10. JPK says:

    @teomatteo,
    Good question. However, the funeral bulletin listed them as “partners”, which in polite society mean they have an intimate relationship.

  11. OrthodoxChick says:

    mrshopey,

    I was just thinking the same thing. If these two women are housemates and BFF’s, they would not then list their relationship status as “partners” in the obituary of the mother of one of the women. If they were lifelong best friends and room-mates, they could have stated that one woman was the daughter and the second woman was cherished as a daughter by the deceased.

    This actually reminds me more of the situation of the priest in the Diocese of Providence refusing to give Communion to the gay male couple in Pawtucket. Which reminds me, that priest probably is still in need of our prayers in addition to the priest in this case.

  12. Giuseppe says:

    Re. ‘According to a press release from the organization, the letter stated that “having a same-sex attraction is not sinful in and of itself [True. It isn't sinful in itself. But it is a deviation from God's design.]

    While same-sex sexual activity is considered a deviation from God’s design, is same-sex attraction? Doesn’t God will that some face special obstacles (e.g. deafness, blindness, cancer, mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, etc.)? Aren’t these obstacles part of His design? How often have I heard “God would not have given you x if He also did not give you strength to overcome it”… Is that an incorrect way of viewing things? I think of those whose developmental trajectory showed (albeit in retrospect) a same-sex attraction, lack of opposite-sex attraction, from early on. There was much talk years ago about precursor signs of same-sex attraction in young boys (effeminacy, lack of rough-and-tumble play, greater ease in the company of girls, etc), which (at least for some homosexuals) seems like a early core part of their very personality and not likely the result of something sinful.

  13. What about rights of God? The emphasis is all on self-centered individual rights.

    Sins against chastity are sins, no matter what a person’s orientation is. This priest appears to care very much for the reverence due to our Creator [Who gives us the Mass], as well as concern for the danger of souls receiving Communion unworthily, and the bad example that multiplies the grievousness.

  14. TradRN says:

    A reminder to me that I have to “step it up” and pray more often for our priests- they need us to hold up their arms as this battle rages on- as it was done for Moses long ago… I will keep this priest in my prayers!!!

  15. Mike says:

    My prayers go out for these women, for the grace to recognize and follow the light of Truth; and for Father Kneib and all faithful priests, for the grace to remain steadfast in their witness.

  16. Riddley says:

    In my experience priests seldom refuse Holy Communion to co-habiting straight couples, which makes cases like this look specifically anti-gay and plays into the hands of the LGBT brigade.

    If more priests took a consistent line with both gay and straight co-habitors I think it would be easier for them to stick up for themselves in the current climate.

  17. The Masked Chicken says:

    “That was our faith community.”

    Some faith! Let a member(s) of the, “Community,” put their soul(s) in jeopardy.

    In other, “Water is Wet,” news, a recent report from the forefront of neuroscience research has just discovered that the cause of such things as over-drinking and having sex without considering the consequences is due to (wait for it)…a lack of self-control. Don’t those findings just sound so scientifical if published in a peer-reviewed journal, but are completely ignored if published in dusty old papyri from four writers quoting twelve wandering men speeching on behalf of another wandering (and, eventually sacrificed) man, who just happens to be God?

    Eventually, a thousand years in the future, after all of the scientific research is done, some researcher is going to summarize the best possible understanding of the human condition and it is going to start like this:

    Blessed are the poor in spirit…

    As for these women, let’s get real. If they were just roommates, they would have told Father, instead of making such a fuss. No. They are either badly catechized or in denial, it seems to me.

    Now, I know that, “love is patient and love is kind,” but, sometimes, I would just like to see a little more edge in dealing with these people. After all, there is a time to fight and a time to refrain from fighting.

    ““It was a shock to hear him say that,” Ms. Parker said. “I never expected that, especially at my mother’s funeral.”

    Logical Flaws:
    1. Special pleading
    2. Appeal to emotions
    3. Argumentum ad populum

    The Response

    [Drill Sargent stance and voice by priest]

    “Why were you shocked? Did you not have the nagging feeling that you should have check with Church authorities before doing something you knew to be a sin? What’s that? You didn’t know it was a sin? Who raised you – Marcel Marceau clones? How do you examine your conscience – do you pick it and turn it over and say, “Ugh, ugly things,” and put it back down? Who taught you your Faith…oh, I see, well, they got it wrong! You have access to the Internet? Do a little research. Come back in a week. Then, I will accept your apology and lead you to the confessional. That’s MY job. Guess what? I have a relationship with you, as well. I”M YOUR PRIEST! You get that?
    Love her…? What person who loves another would will the eternal damnation of their soul? You’re not a soulmate, you’re a soul-stealer, a soul-killer. Who am I to judge? I”M YOUR PRIEST. Snap to it. Crying..now, now, my dear, you poor baby – that’s right, You Are A Baby. Grow up. Be a woman. Show God you understand the simplest thing about Him. Your Cross? Don’t you mumble that to me. I’M YOUR CROSS and don’t you forget it. I’m going to restrain you and splinter you and nail you to a wall until you look like Christ…I’m so mean? Wait until you hear the hoof beats of the Four Horsemen…you’ll think me a pussy cat…and you’ll thank me profusely as the Horsemen ride by because I saved your sorry butt. Now, go home, pack and move out. I’ll even help with the moving. Then, you stick to that Internet like glue. You study Catholic theology until you are crying from remorse and fear. Then, you come see me. Who am I to judge! Honey, you’d better let me judge you, now, so God won’t get the chance, later. Are we clear? ARE WE CLEAR? I can’t hear you! Do not slink out of my office. You walk out like a lady. You’re in the Church Militant and you should be damn proud of it. Now, go and don’t come back until you have figured out who and what you’re fighting for.”

    Whew, I feel better.

    The Chicken

  18. gretta says:

    I think that the problem isn’t what the priest did, it was when he did it. Should he have contacted these folks and had this discussion…yes. Maybe he could have waited until after the funeral, then sat down with them and had this discussion in person? People’s emotions are so heightened around funerals (that fog of grief where it is frankly hard to listen to anything substantive) that it is really easy to over-react to any anything that adds pain at that time – and then it becomes a source of anger and hurt in perpetuity that is hard to overcome.

    To use a parenting analogy – when my children have done something bad, punishing them while they are still crying from being hurt just makes the situation worse. You comfort and get them to a place where they are calm and able to listen, and then you sit them down and explain what they did wrong and why they need to be in time-out. I think the priest would have done better to be a support and consolation to her, help her get through the funeral, then after the funeral is over have the conversation when the heightened emotions have died down a bit, and she would be more in a place to listen. Like a good parent, console first, then gently but firmly admonish.

  19. ““Who am I to judge?” Has a 5 word quote ever been more widely reported out of context?? ”

    Has a 5-word quote ever done more damage to the practice of the Faith? Unfortunately, it is…repeat, IS…taken as carte blanche and/or (especially) toleration for all kinds of illicit behavior–not only by cafeteria Catholics, but by many regularly practicing Catholics who misunderstand from this quote and similar faux pas that Church doctrine or practice is changing. Words have consequences. Especially papal words.

  20. jaykay says:

    “Whew, I feel better.

    The Chicken”

    You’re not the only one, Chicken! I feel better for reading it, and would that we heard more of it on a regular basis. No, wait… would that we heard ANY of it!

    As for this gooey guff: “That was our faith community.” Well, strictly speaking, love, your “faith community” is actually the entire Church Militant. Which you have damaged by your sin. So get your act together and fast, unless you want to spend a LOT of time in the faith community of the Church Penitent. The alternative is unthinkable.

  21. Palladio says:

    This is a win for the Church. Priest does his duty. Activists show their true colors. Lines drawn clearly. Rome beats Amsterdam, the City of God inches closer.

  22. Marine Mom says:

    “You, when you have worthily discharged some spiritual duty and then see yourself immersed in intolerable spiritual sufferings and dangers without number, let it not perturb you………..Suffer it all generously, realizing that these afflictions come to ALL, and especially to those who live the most spiritual lives; and this is HIS legacy: temptations and trials there will be on all sides.”
    St John Chrysostom

  23. jhayes says:

    I am sure that the priest did what he thought he was required to do.

    But I wonder if he gave enough thought to the pastoral care of the woman whose mother had just died. Perhaps, with more experience, he might have suggested using the Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass, in which no one receives Communion – and the grieving daughter would not have been singled out. [Who singled out whom?]

  24. McCall1981 says:

    La Sandia and Henry Edwards,
    I totally agree that much damage has been done, and will continue to be done, thanks to that irresponsible comment and others like it. However, I also think (fingers crossed here) that he has learned his lesson in this regard. Those kinds of comments were coming practically every week there for a while, but since that Scalfari interview in October they have seemingly stopped. I think (hope) that was the turning point.

  25. Gratias says:

    Hope this good priest is not punished too badly. Does anyone know what finally happened to Fr. Guarnizo after Cardinal Wuerl was done with him?

    The homosexuals have been the tip of the spear to destroy the Catholic Church. For now they continue to be very effective soldiers in
    the culture wars. Perhaps Church marriage rights for homosexuals will come next (or lose your tax exempt status). The bakers of wedding cakes were just a start.

  26. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I think the priest would have done better to be a support and consolation to her, help her get through the funeral, then after the funeral is over have the conversation when the heightened emotions have died down a bit, and she would be more in a place to listen. Like a good parent, console first, then gently but firmly admonish.”

    While I agree this might work with children, especially those below the age of reason, Parker and Martin are both baptized adults who are responsible for knowing and living at least the rudiments of their Faith. The sin of homosexual actions is a pretty clear-cut rudiment. While I am sorry they were hurt, there were, actually, two life-or-death situations going on, at the funeral: one being the burial of Mrs. Parker, senior, but’ also the jeopardy of the soul of Miss Parker (let’s bring back Miss and Mrs. That will confound the homosexual lobby). The priest had no choice but to say something, otherwise, she would have made a sacrilegious communion and he would have been accountable before God for it. He, potentially, saved both of their souls. What better gift to give for the repose of the soul of Mrs. Parker than saving the soul of her daughter? Make no mistake – maybe not in this life, but (Lord willing) in the next life, Mrs. Parker, senior, is applauding the actions of this priest. Indeed, one could hope that Miss Parker would mourn her sins at least as much as she mourns the loss of her mother.

    The Chicken

  27. majuscule says:

    Just wondering…is there such a thing as a funeral service that is not a Mass? So then no communion is given…

    Could this have been an option?

  28. CrimsonCatholic says:

    @ McCall, La Sandia, etc.

    Do you equally criticize and pass judgement(in La Sandia’s case) on Pope Benedict, for his poor choice of words in 2010? If you recall his quote, “There could be single cases that can be justified, for instance when a prostitute uses a condom, and this can be a first step towards a moralization”, was used by the MSM in news stories with such titles as , “Pope says condoms may be OK in some circumstances” and “Pope Condoms OK For Male Prostitutes”(which was by the Advocate).

    The bottom line is that Popes will continue to be misquoted and have statements cherry-picked in order to justify agendas, sin, etc. The issue here is that many people use the MSM as their source of Catholic teaching, which probably isn’t going to change anytime soon.

  29. Uxixu says:

    He should be commended by his bishop, not punished

  30. avatquevale says:

    chicken, thanks for your brilliant rant.
    And bravo for the priest.

  31. midwestmom says:

    He needs the newly ordained zeal humiliated out of him and right quick!

  32. gretta says:

    Chicken – yes the two were adults, but one of them just lost her mother. Is this a case of won the battle, lost the war? So now, instead of this priest having a relationship with these women where he could work with them, counsel them, and help them come to understand what the church teaches, he has instead alienated them. They are now off somewhere else where maybe the pastor isn’t going to be a witness to the truth and they will likely persist in their sin. Did he win in this circumstance? Maybe. Save their souls? Doubt it… because now there is no relationship. No openness to talk to them, to convince them of the beauty of the Truth the Church teaches. To me, this seems like a lost opportunity. I’m not saying compromise on the truth. However, there are ways of conveying that truth that make people more or less open to hearing it. You need to prepare the soil before sowing, or the seed lands on hard ground. And I think that in this case, the opportunity to actually make a real difference in this woman’s life is lost, and that he just made the ground even harder. There is a reason that people don’t love drill sargents. There is a reason that people love and listen to their moms – even when she’s telling them something they don’t want to hear.

    [So, you are saying: Set aside what the Church teaches, set aside the issue of scandal, and give them Communion anyway.]

  33. CarpeNoctem says:

    To pile on the Masked Chicken’s remarks, one more point: there is never going to be a “good time” to address this issue with these women… not at a parent’s funeral, not during the holidays, not after choir practice, not at the back of the Church after Mass on Sunday, not running into each other at the grocery store, not when one of the partners ends up in the hospital, not before or after a vacation, not on the event of a child’s baptism or First Communion, not after financial statements have come out, not in the sacristy before Mass (like the other funeral which was mentioned), not at the funeral home for the vigil, and probably not even in a short Saturday afternoon sit in the confessional. It won’t be convenient when one of the partners is unconscious in the ICU, making final preparations for her eternal reward. Wow. That’s a lot of ‘nots’. Let’s face it, conscious, active, contumacious rejection of God’s law, when one claims to be Catholic, is simply not convenient, and never will be. That’s why Father calls folks to go to confession NOW in order to seek reconciliation with the Church– not just as an act of cleansing the soul (as important as that is), but in restoring one’s integrity of prayer and lifestyle with the great call and invitation of Christ and his Church… even in the small things. Maybe this could be done on a quick Saturday afternoon visit, if one has come to know the sorrow of his/her sin. But if it has permeated something as deep and as all-encompassing as how one lives his/her domestic life (not to exclude homosexual relationships, but any illegitimate ‘cohabitation’, if you know what I mean), it will more than likely need to be a process of conversion, development of virtue, hesitation, backsliding, and recommitment, and finally (hopefully) victory over sin leading to final victory in God’s merciful kingdom. When a mother dies and a funeral is going to take place in three days, only supernatural intervention and heroic conversion might be able to change the soul in such a way as to be at ‘peace’ with the Church and receive Holy Communion in integrity and grace. Not that it is too much to expect, but God in his wisdom tends to choose nature, rather than miraculous intervention, to reveal his mercy and bring about his greatest glory.

  34. Uxixu says:

    Eh? The DI is hated at the beginning at Marine Corps Recruit Depot but by the end, he’s loved. Tough love is often what’s most necessary. Too much tact and being too gentle often entices one to test the line. Did the old priest(s) remain silent and allow these women to profane the Blessed Sacrament?

  35. anilwang says:

    @JPK says: ‘However, the funeral bulletin listed them as “partners”, which in polite society mean they have an intimate relationship.’

    Actually, “partners” does not mean that. There are dance partners, business partners, tennis partners, team mates, etc. It merely means “One that is united or associated with another or others in an activity or a sphere of common interest”. One cannot assume more than is stated about the relationship.

    That being said, it should raise some flags, and if the Priest was wrong the “partners” had adequate opportunity to correct him. They clearly confirmed his suspicions.

    And even if the priest was wrong, because they were listed as “partners” and “partners” is easily misconstrued, it was in his right to ask that the listing be revised to “roomate” or BFF to avoid scandal.

    None of this would happen if most priests and bishops regularly and unapologetically preached on Catholic sexual morality. If a single priest here and there can’t hold down the fort alone and is an easy target. The Catechism alone can’t do it, if only the hard identity Catholics read it. We need all our shepherds to have the courage to speak what needs to be said and ensure that the average Catholic has no excuse about knowing the Church’s teaching, the average Catholic will not unwittingly fall into this sinful lifestyle promoted by “the world”, and so our shepherds are united so it is nearly impossible to target any one priest.

  36. gretta says:

    I think I would try to 1) talk to the daughter in person, and 2) see if you could do the funeral without a mass and avoid the issue completely. But I also know that the absolute worst time to go to someone I care about to try to talk to them about something that they are doing wrong is when they are already upset about something else. How many married people pick a time when your spouse is already upset to have one of those “Honey, we need to talk” conversations? How well does that work for you? Maybe you guys are all married to saints. But in my house that is the absolute worst time to have the person hear you is to have that conversation when they are upset about something else. At least here, it gets me nowhere, and is usually actively counterproductive. If you really want conversion, true conversion, you have to have the conversation sometime other than at the mother’s funeral. If these women have been worshiping in this small community for 12 years, how is it that no one knew of their status before the funeral? Why did it take so long to have this conversation in the first place?

  37. LarryW2LJ says:

    “Who am I to judge?”

    Ewww. As soon as I read that, I knew there would be multiple cans of worms. I know what the Pope meant – but it is now being used with as much “artistic license” as possible. These folks didn’t listen to what the Pope was actually saying. They just latched onto a phrase they wanted to hear, and now – no matter the cause, this is going to be milked to death.

  38. Greta: So, your answer to my question is “yes”.

  39. Mike says:

    gretta asks:

    If these women have been worshiping in this small community for 12 years, how is it that no one knew of their status before the funeral? Why did it take so long to have this conversation in the first place?

    For me, I infer a hint to the answer in the number of times during my three decades of adulthood that my pastor has visited my home or made any similar personal outreach (a ten-minute phone conversation just to get to know me would qualify), which is zero.

    I know pastors are busy, and I know it’s because we have a vocations crisis. (I never bothered honestly to try to discern a vocation — never mind that I didn’t get much encouragement to do so in my formative years — so I bear part of the blame for this situation.) Of such circumstances are born consequences small and large.

  40. DavidJ says:

    To those saying “try and do the funeral without a Mass” I have to ask that, assuming the mother was a practicing Catholic, why in the world would you want to deny her soul a funeral Mass over this issue? It might be easier to say “skip the Mass so there’s no issue” however that cannot be the right approach.

  41. Palladio says:

    The priest alienated nobody, nor, far more important, is there the slightest evidence that he did. To pretend an adult Catholic does not know what the Church teaches is absurd on the face of it, and rushing to judgement about a priest, like second guessing one out of one’s sight, is unseemly at best, uncharitable at worst. Speculation is worth exactly what you pay for it.

  42. Kathleen10 says:

    A true bully is emboldened the first second he or she senses fear. Apologies and “reaching out” only signal reticence and capitulation to gay activists, and it’s time to stop hoping for a more responsible reaction. Given her “letter”, this woman ran straight to the Gay Police, informing them of her pain and suffering. Using this emotional rhetoric, the Gay Police rush straight to the media, so happy to hook up the railway cars to carry the victims to Auschwitz.
    This is about, first, whether or not a priest is willing to commit a sacrilege against Jesus by offering Holy Communion to people who are committing sin, and who’s declared or known status scandalizes the faithful. Nothing else matters. No other comparisons to giving communion to this person who commits this type of sin or that is relevant. No comparisons to sins committed by heterosexuals matters. These are distractions. Once a priest has discovered a situation, it is up to him to make that decision. We have clearly not have enough of that type of decision-making.
    There are not enough messages of good intent, letters of reconciliation, apologies, explanations, or any other thing that is going to appease gay activists of what they want, full inclusion into society and approval by means of removing you and me and anyone who stands in their way, including God himself. Fluffy ideals about dialogue and emotional reasoning to be understood and well intentioned need to be abandoned as soon as possible, because they are only emboldening the people who see them as what they usually are, weakness and lack of certitude and confidence about the unpopular truth.
    If Father does not have the support of his superiors is sad and terrible. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t. He at least does not have to someday die in the knowledge that he participated in any way with a sacrilege against his Lord and Savior. He defended Him rightly and appropriately.
    Even being “pastoral” should have limits, and should always be considered AFTER Jesus is given His due first consideration.

  43. gretta says:

    No, Fr. Z, that is not what I’m saying. [Seems like it.] What I’m saying is that this could have been handled better all the way around. [Hindsight is 20/20] 1) the priest told this woman this through a phone call. If you are going to deny the person the sacraments, shouldn’t y0u bring them to your office and establish the facts first, and then be able to tell them face-to-face what you are doing and why you are doing it? Isn’t this important enough for Father to make the time to do it? 2) Small community and this woman was a worshipper for 12 years. He really didn’t know the situation until it got published in the paper? Why did he wait to make this an issue until it became something that was sure to go public? 3) Suggest to the woman to have a non-Mass funeral for the mom where everyone can attend. Then have a Mass said for the mom at a different time where the communion issue is not going to be a big public deal. You don’t have to skip the mass completely, but the priest could offer the mass for her at the daily mass that day, or the next day and not make a fuss.

    I think this was handled badly, and I would hope as the priest gained experience and seasoning, he would learn to handle it better. We are supposed to be saving souls, and I think this was a lost opportunity. I am not saying to compromise the truth, or to violate church teaching, just to find a time and place to present it in such a way that the person is open to hearing and responding to it. And also not to do it in such a time and in such a way that is guaranteed to make the whole situation worse. [Pretty easy at a distance and in retrospect.]

  44. Del says:

    My parents lived in Chillicothe, MO. for several years while I was at college and beyond. A small town of 6000 people in the middle of farm country, it was the county seat and 1.5 hours away from any significant population centers.

    On the one hand, it is unfortunate that the young priest has to face this sort of public persecution so early in his ministry.

    On the other hand, take heart that our young priests are training like Marines, ready to take bullets in spiritual battle for the saving of souls. My own son is in 1st Year Theology, and I see it in him and his classmates. They know the battle is coming, and they are preparing for it.

    The most important thing: A young priest needs to know that his bishop will back him up with some spine, as long as the priest is teaching the truth. Whenever you encourage your priest, be sure to send a copy to his bishop.

  45. Priam1184 says:

    I have never figured this out so maybe somebody can help me: what is a ‘faith community?’

  46. Miseno says:

    If I read correctly about him, Fr. Kneib is a newly ordained priest. To go through this a couple of months out of the seminary is not a happy situation. May God bless him and reward him for his courage. The bishop may back him but even in the best diocese many in the presbyterate will not be pleased with him. He certainly is following the Holy Father’s must famous maxim “Vaya Lío.”

  47. Dundonianski says:

    Gay “marriage” has now been legally and so statutorily approved (and lauded) in Scotland, and hugely approved by the media. A column in The London Times by Magnus Linklater 5th February,is unequivocally supportive of this abomination, and of course he makes huge mileage from Francis’ now celebrated ” who am I to judge” comments. Frankly, that comment by Francis was, to be generous, careless at best, and I believe extraordinarily damaging. Reading Francis through Benedict? No thanks!

  48. Imrahil says:

    I think that wherever there is cause to deny Communion (read: can. 915; I do not mean the self-denial-of-Communion of one who had the misfortune to fall into mortal sin, can. 916),

    there is also cause to do so with the utmost possible publicity.

    I mean cause, not that it would be prudent to do so.

    Still, rather Mass with funeral without nearest relative, than funeral with nearest relative without Mass.

  49. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    This case makes me feel extremely sad. I am personally aware of same-sex couples who have attended a suburban Boston parish and received communion for years. More than that, one male couple are well-known activists who, with their adopted children, have appeared on national television and in the news advocating for gay rights. Recently they gave a lot of money to their parish. The pastor put up a plaque honoring them in the church hall! The archdiocese has received letters on the situation over the years but nothing has changed. No one in the chancery seems to have the courage of young Fr. Kneib.

  50. gretta,

    Avoidance doesn’t bring about authentic healing. Cardinal Burke has demonstrated that time and time again with his application of the penal aspects of Canon Law. This was particularly the case when he was Archbishop of St. Louis.

    These are not easy calls, but they do arise. Also, ignorance of the law is not a claim that Canon Law accepts. We are all obliged to know the law; this is no different than living in any ordered society. There is a lot at stake in a situation like this. It’s not simply about the individual’s reception of communion or not.

    The minister of communion (ordinary or extraordinary) has an obligation to determine whether a person is disposed (re: can. 843, especially par. 1) to receive the Sacraments. He should, of course, always err on the side of charity. However, if he neglects this role when he is aware of public scandal or public vice of some sort he may be formally cooperating in someone “eating and drinking unto their own condemnation” (1 Cor. 11:29). This is precisely why canon 915 and all those that relate to its application exist. (also can. 916; but that is for the individual) For the record, can. 915 states:

    “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.”

    The difference here is between public and private sin. A couple living in concubinage surely is a scandal and a sin. However, is it always and in every case a public sin/scandal? Probably not. If it remains a private matter then c. 915 doesn’t come into play. However, once it becomes a public matter then a minister is obliged to follow c. 915.

    So consider the situation:

    1. New priest finds out about this situation. (the situation seems grave)
    2. The situation is made public. (at least by the obituary)
    3. He discovers that the relationship has existed for 20 years. (this qualifies as persevering in the sin if not necessarily obstinately so)
    4. He discusses the matter with her/them. (I can only assume that in this conversation he determined that the situation qualified as “obstinate perseverance“)
    5. During the conversation he makes the judgment to inform her/them that he cannot offer her/them Holy Communion. (the conditions of can. 915 being satisfied)

    We should not presume that the application of the law is not “pastoral.” I don’t think that people are lurking around trying to find instances to employ the penalties of the law. They do, however, arise. There are just some situations where it’s necessary out of charity and justice for everyone involved to implement these canonical remedies. Certain situations require the carrot, others require the stick. Sometimes the Church has predetermined for us which situations require which. This seems to be one of those situations.

  51. The Masked Chicken says:

    Gretta,

    I do sympathize with those who mourn and I do see the empathy in your remarks (I hope I haven’t come across as harsh), but the fundamental, the first rule of moral theology is: one may not do evil that good may come from it. In the case of waiting for a child to settle down before correcting them, that is a prudential decision to tolerate the crying for a time for behavior THAT IS ALREADY DONE, before one fraternally corrects the child.

    Had, say, Miss Parker been chronically guilty of eating a donut before communion (she is, say, addicted to donuts and cannot help herself), the priest might have exercised prudential judgment in waiting until after the funeral to talk to her and while it may be argued that the condition of homosexual sin is already in progress, just as the sin of the crying child is done, the difference is that the child is not, while in a state of sin, trying to receive communion. No good parent would let him. While one may, for a time tolerate an evil that has already started (if prudential determined), the communion was not, already, a done deal, so it does not admit of prudential tolerance of a completed or begun act. It was a clear example that the priest would have to do an evil – not even just permit it, but physically do it, himself, by being the one saying the Mass and distributing communion – in order to gain the good will of Miss Parker and that is simply not permitted in moral theology. It would be similar to St. Thomas More signing the Oath of Succession in the hopes of later helping Henry VIII to repent. One cannot do such things.

    As others have said, the mother, presumably a practicing Catholic, barring circumstance mentioned in Can. 1184 §1, is permitted a funeral Mass. Those conditions are:

    Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals:

    1/ notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics;

    2/ those who chose the cremation of their bodies for reasons contrary to Christian faith;

    3/ other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful.

    Mrs. Parker would not be denied an ecclesiastical funeral under Can. 1184, but ironically, her daughter would, possibly, as a manifest sinner. Funeral Masses are NOT for the living. They are for the deceased.

    Causing a person pain while trying to do them a good is, unfortunately, one possible consequence of the Fall. Sometimes, you really do have to be cruel to be kind. The priest’s hands were tied by his being a priest. No tears, no sorrows for a dead mother can change that ontology. Had he given Miss Parker communion he would have killed her soul while saving her body. It is regrettable, but one’s body and one’s feelings are transitory while the soul is not.

    Let me ask this: can a person in mortal sin obtain any kind of mercy for another person by way of prayer and supplication for that other person? Even if this were possible, how much more efficacious would Miss Parker’s prayers for her mother have been had she been in a state of grace (I am making some, possibly, unwarranted moral assumptions about Miss Parker’s actions, here, for the sake of argument)? Not only that, but she is simply not honoring her mother by being in a lesbian relationship, so, far from being entitled to our pity, she should, seriously, mourn the damage she has done to the Fourth Commandment. It is not we who have dishonored her mother. It is she. She is also (and makes the priest a potential accomplice in) causing scandal by making her sin public.

    The problem is, she won’t see this and she won’t see it until it is raised in front of her face. The reason that these sorts of things happen during funerals (recall the case in Columbus, Ohio, last year, where a teacher in a Catholic school who was in a lesbian relationship was exposed in a similar manner) is because that is, often, the only way a priest can discover the nature of the relationship. Most homosexual couples keep their deeds in the dark. They are, more or less, forced to expose them during a funeral. The priest did, after all, call Miss Parker before the funeral Mass. Miss Parker should have said, “Okay, no communion,” but this ill-informed Catholic chose to be prideful and argumentative instead of exercising humility and actually trying to understand the teachings of the Faith.

    It is not his right to make the mother’s Mass secret or hidden because her daughter is committing sin. The Mass is for the dead, not the living. Suppose there had been more than one child in the family. Should the priest have had a quiet, back-door Mass for the mother, then, because one of the children were in a homosexual relationship? Miss Parker is in the situation she is in, precisely, because of the consequences of sin – a knowing sin. Even King David had to face the consequences of his actions with Bathsheba and his actions led to his son’s death. Miss Parker got off lightly with a little embarrassment (which, by the way, she did not have to endure, because no one has to go to communion at Mass).

    Entitlement, Entitlement, Entitlement is the name of the song being sung, here, not Sympathy, Sympathy, Sympathy.

    So, I cannot fault the priest for any of his actions. They were the ones most morally possible in this situation, given the time available and the circumstances. I suppose they could have cremated the mother and had the funeral Mass, later, or froze her body, but, again, that is denying someone a justly rapid funeral for a (probably) non-proportional reason.

    The Chicken

  52. dans0622 says:

    If they didn’t have the Pope (who am I to judge) to fall back on, they’d go to Scripture and the Lord Himself: “judge not…” “let he who is without sin…” or St. Paul “at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself”, etc.

  53. PA mom says:

    Chicken, so well said. And I hope the dear young man is not shaken in his vocation over this.

    Wondering if priests perhaps do quietly speak to other unmarried couples, but perhaps, because it does not have the political undercurrents, it does not end up in the newspaper?

  54. majuscule says:

    Now I wonder…if others in the faith community congregation were aware of the relationship, what is their responsibility (if any) to mention it, and to whom?

  55. Uxixu says:

    dans0622, they could indeed fall back on that. The proper response to a citation of John 8:7 is to continue through to John 8:11 “Go, and now sin no more.”

    By divorcing it of that crucial context, they are twisting Holy Scripture to suit an amoral argument other than it’s intension. I would argue the Holy Father’s words are similar distorted from their intent, but I wish he had been… more careful in his words.

  56. tcreek says:

    Gretta —
    “There is a reason that people don’t love drill sergeants.”

    Drill sergeants are among the most admired men in the military. At first you don’t like what you go through at their hands but afterwards you realize their commands (commandments) were for your benefit — to keep you alive when you engage the enemy.

    We need more pastoral drill sergeants in the Church Militant to teach us how to engage the Enemy that threatens our eternal lives.

  57. pannw says:

    dans0622 says: 5 February 2014 at 1:22 pm

    If they didn’t have the Pope (who am I to judge) to fall back on, they’d go to Scripture and the Lord Himself: “judge not…” “let he who is without sin…” or St. Paul “at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself”, etc.

    Yes, though I’m not sure what your point is. Perhaps you are simply trying to defend Pope Francis’ unfortunate remark? Though it rather looks like you are taking the side of the homosexual women and accusing the priest of going against Christ’s teaching on judging, but the priest would also have the Lord Himself to fall back on, “Go and sin no more…” “Give not that which is holy to dogs…” “depart from me, you that work iniquity…” “Going therefore, teach ye all nations;…Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” And then, Father has the Didache, which is the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles to further back up his position. “On the Lord’s Day of the Lord come together, break bread and hold Eucharist, after confessing your transgressions that your offering may be pure;
    2. But let none who has a quarrel with his fellow join in your meeting until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice be not defiled. ” Not to mention St. Paul’s admonition on eating condemnation…

    Father Kneib did the right thing, to protect the Holy Eucharist, the soul of that woman from further sin, and HIS OWN soul. God bless him.

    I find it very disheartening to be reminded of Father Guarnizo’s case, knowing that Cardinal Weurl has replaced Cardinal Burke on the congregation for bishops. Not encouraging at all.

  58. Traductora says:

    Sorry, I think this was very badly handled. For one thing, a funeral was not the time to do it. I knew somebody who had her husband’s funeral music choice cancelled by a pastor because he thought it was too conservative. Why use a funeral as a time to make your statement?

    Also, it doesn’t seem as if this woman was exactly making it into a “gay” event: many people of the same sex have lived together for many years, not because they’re homosexuals, but for other reasons, and even if she was a “practicing homosexual,” there would have been a better time for the priest to discuss this.

    I don’t think this has helped the cause of the Church at all and, in fact, it gave nothing but propaganda ammunition to the gays and the left. The only thing I can say in the priest’s defense was that he was young and recently ordained.

  59. Johnno says:

    anilwang -

    “Actually, “partners” does not mean that. There are dance partners, business partners, tennis partners, team mates, etc. It merely means “One that is united or associated with another or others in an activity or a sphere of common interest”. One cannot assume more than is stated about the relationship.”

    >>> This is simply naive. This isn’t a dance. Nor is is a business proposal, nor a sporting event. It’s a funeral Mass. Besides which, the Priest did his due diligence and called them up prior to the event. No doubt the first thing he asked them was to clarify what they meant by ‘partners.’ If it wasn’t the case, then they could’ve easily corrected the priest over the phone that they are not in a lesbian relationship and are simply house-mates.

    Greta -

    >>> If you had a daughter, and your daughter was about to do something that might endanger them, such as taking a shot of heroin. And they were doing this under emotional distress. Would you simply sit back and allow her to do it and wait for a better time to inform her?

    Reception of Communion unworthily is DANGEROUS. The priest has an obligation to protect his flock from doing something bad. He too is responsible for the way he treats the Body and Blood of Christ. If he doesn’t then he will be held accountable for not preventing it. It also prevents scandal and misunderstanding amongst the rest of the family. Now her entire family is more aware of what the Church teaches and the importance of Holy Communion. The fact that none of them received it out of sympathy for this lesbian woman shows they do not value or understand the Sacrament, andare therefore safer for not receiving it while being out-of-communion with Christ’s Body, the Church, on this moral issue.

    If a man who loses his wife, starts drinking, then gets in his car and drives, the law is still going to put him in jail. His emotional state does not disqualify him from the consequences and penalties. Emotions are not a get-out-of-jail-free card.

  60. Mike says:

    “it doesn’t seem as if this woman was exactly making it into a ‘gay’ event”

    The woman published in the newspaper that she was living with her “partner.” Since her “partner” and her mother evidently were not otherwise related, what was the purpose of mentioning the “partner” in an obituary except to advertise a quasi connubial relationship?

    When we filter the truth (be it in the telling or in the hearing) on the grounds of bad taste, we should consider whether that same filter would deafen us to the Enemy at the ramparts — or the Bridegroom at the door.

  61. aviva meriam says:

    Thank you Chicken. Your clarity, logic and generosity are appreciated.
    Especially appreciate the delineation regarding funeral masses being said for the benefit of the deceased’s soul….. there are obligation to the deceased, and after those are fulfilled, obligations to comfort the mourners.
    Further, every Catholic has Obligations to God and the church…. namely, accepting communion and membership in the Church Militant means we need to respect the rules. Those rules are for our benefit and I am Grateful for priests who continually instruct us on those rules and obligations.

    Prayers for this priest, Fr. Guarzino, and all priests is warranted.

  62. Johnno says:

    Traductora -

    >>> Reception of Communion, and who you give the Body and Blood of Our Lord to IS A BIG DEAL! Receiving it unworthily endangers one’s soul! The women, who do obviously know where the Church stands on their relationship should’ve been respectful enough to know that they don’t have any ‘right’ to receive Holy Communion any more than than anyone has a ‘right’ to sleep with someone else’s wife, or steal money from someone else’s wallet, or swallow a bottle of sleeping pills because they are under emotional duress. Your emotional state doesn’t give you a free pass to do something immoral or dangerous.

    The priest did the right thing by respectfully calling them before hand to clarify the situation and then inform them about what was going on. He still had the Mass for her mother. That was what was important. He didn’t make the Mass about ‘gays’, this woman, by choosing to go to the press afterwards and try and build sympathy to force the Church to kowtow to her lifestyle is the one using her mother’s funeral and memory to get what she wants. The only ammunition the gay lobby has is their own sense of narcissism, and they will step over the bodies and graves of their own dead relatives to achieve their ends. The Church and this priest has nothing to apologize for.

  63. adeacon says:

    These two women attended the parish for 12 years… receiving Holy Communion. I am sure the previous pastor / priests knew something about this relationship. I applaud Fr Kneib’s action..but he should not have been the first priest to question this relationship. What needs to happen is that all of us clergy must be on the “same page.”

  64. McCall1981 says:

    @ CrimsonCatholic,
    I feel the same way about that one Benedict comment, the difference is that it was only one comment over an eight year Papacy. With Francis it was twenty or thirty comments in six months. Yes the media will cherrypick and take out of context, but he was serving up made to order quotes for them frequently. In my opinion, his speaking style was wildly irresponsible/naieve/uninformed whatever you want to call it. Since the Scalfari interview, he seems (hopefully) to have learned or changed and those kinds if comments have stopped, which is good.

  65. Traductora says: Sorry, I think this was very badly handled. For one thing, a funeral was not the time to do it. I knew somebody who had her husband’s funeral music choice cancelled by a pastor because he thought it was too conservative. Why use a funeral as a time to make your statement?

    That’s hardly a comparison. We’re talking here about protecting the Eucharist, preventing someone from compounding her sins, and preventing scandal. We are also talking about a situation that the law of the Church contemplates and provides for.

    Also, it doesn’t seem as if this woman was exactly making it into a “gay” event: many people of the same sex have lived together for many years, not because they’re homosexuals, but for other reasons, and even if she was a “practicing homosexual,” there would have been a better time for the priest to discuss this.

    This was a situation in which the potential for scandal was very great. That necessitated action on the priest’s part.

    I don’t think this has helped the cause of the Church at all and, in fact, it gave nothing but propaganda ammunition to the gays and the left.

    This is just an excuse for surrendering to evil. It is also false. It in fact greatly helps the cause of the Church. Yours truly, for example, is braced and encouraged and energized at the sight of a real shepherd who is not afraid to put the wood to the wolves.

    The only thing I can say in the priest’s defense was that he was young and recently ordained.

    Thank God we are raising up a generation of tough new priests willing to confront evil.

  66. acricketchirps says:

    I applaud the priest who will withhold Holy Communion from those who would cause scandal and confusion in the parish community. I only hope 1) he is preaching to all the parish that they should not approach communion if they remain in any kind of mortal sin, including a sinful relationship; 2) he also withholds from heterosexual unmarried but cohabiting couples; 3) he has put an end in his parish to the damnable practice of row-by-row Communion with ushers herding the faithful up to the sanctuary.

  67. Traductora says:

    Johnno and Mike (and others),

    I think Our Lord can take care of himself. Into how many unworthy hands is He given every day? Whose dirty hands touch His garment? And He heals people, but not by driving them away.

    Partner can indeed mean a number of things, and if they weren’t having a sexual relationship (and I doubt that the priest asked them), this should have been ignored.

    And then he should have called the woman in and asked her about it, and told her to go and sin no more.

    As I say, his only defense is that he was young and inexperienced. But if he really wanted not just to demonstrate his orthodoxy, but to do something positive for souls, he should have handled it otherwise.

  68. mamajen says:

    I have to side with Fr. Kneib on this one. Yes, the timing is unfortunate for the two ladies, but that obituary is a public statement. I have a hunch that it was no secret before that, either.

    Missing in all this (though I haven’t been able to read through all the comments) is the previous priest(s). Was he completely oblivious? What sermons did he give that might have helped prevent this situation?

    Bad enough that the former priest (probably) allowed it to go on, now this young guy has to deal with all the fallout from cleaning up his messes. I don’t see how this new priest could have, in good conscience, given the ladies communion. The Fr. Guarnizo situation was different in many ways.

    I am happy that Fr. Kneib is still trying to make them understand that they are welcome. Their hurt shouldn’t be aimed at him, but at the people who enabled them for 20+ years.

    And, yes, shame on all the people who are “getting away” with equally grave sin and still present for communion.

  69. Traductora, God has His rights too, and there are consequences when we fail to give Him His due. In fact, we are living them right now. It is horrible to regard sin as insignificant, just because God can take care of Himself.

    Plus, it is uncharitable to refuse to punish miscreants. It is uncharitable to them, because they continue on their road to hell without correction; it is uncharitable to the rest of us, who are disedified; and it is uncharitable to God, against Whom an injustice is compounded.

  70. Gail F says:

    “She added that at the funeral, most in attendance chose not to take Communion out of respect for her and Ms. Martin.” I thought we were supposed to be showing respect for Someone else at Mass, not aggrieved fellow parishioners. Was it Christ or was it not Christ?

  71. eulogos says:

    The Benedict comment was very carefully expressed, with the proper distinctions made, and the press *chose* to misunderstand it. Either that or they live in a mental fog so thick that only certain flashpoint words can pierce it, and they cannot parse whole sentences. Pope Francis seemed to have expressed his feeling without trying to make the necessary distinctions. What he should have said is “Well of course such actions are objectively immoral, but as to the state of their souls, who am I to judge?” I agree that the press likely could have distorted that, too.

    As to those (Greta, Traductora) who think the priest should have just let this slide until after the funeral, I fear you do not really believe that taking communion is really such a big thing, or that it can be dangerous to the souls of those who do so in a state of serious sin. The priest just found out about it. Once he knew, he really had to do something about it. He had a solemn duty to do what he did, and really no choice in the timing.

    I do hope he will continue this way, and address himself to heterosexual couples he finds out are living together, and to any he might find out have been sterilized or are contracepting. It is in the nature of things that he will not often find out this sort of thing except from people who are already repentant, but if he does, I hope he will address them in the same way he did this couple. I greatly hope he will have the support of his bishop.

    A lot of priests and a lot of other Catholics have failed such couples in the past, by giving them the idea that what “the official church” says doesn’t really matter, and that actually, we enlightened ones know you two love each other and that is what matters, and of course you are welcome here as a couple. That is a very easy and tempting course to take. Who wouldn’t rather say that than speak the hard truth? And if one’s philosophical training has been weak, and one has doubts about objective truth and our ability to know it if it exists, then a justification is easily found for taking the easier path on this one.

    Susan Peterson

  72. robtbrown says:

    Giussepe says,

    from God’s design, is same-sex attraction? Doesn’t God will that some face special obstacles (e.g. deafness, blindness, cancer, mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, etc.)? Aren’t these obstacles part of His design? How often have I heard “God would not have given you x if He also did not give you strength to overcome it”… Is that an incorrect way of viewing things?

    It’s wildly incorrect. Human death and disease are consequences of Original Sin.

    It is part of God’s design just holding your hand on a hot griddle is.

  73. robtbrown says:

    Giussepe says,

    from God’s design, is same-sex attraction? Doesn’t God will that some face special obstacles (e.g. deafness, blindness, cancer, mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, etc.)? Aren’t these obstacles part of His design? How often have I heard “God would not have given you x if He also did not give you strength to overcome it”… Is that an incorrect way of viewing things?

    It’s wildly incorrect. Human death and disease are consequences of Original Sin.

    It is part of God’s design just as burning your hand by holding it on a hot griddle is.

  74. Kathleen10 says:

    @MissAnitaMoore, I completely agree with your statement. We are now in a defensive posture and desperately trying to claw our way out by trying to appease gay activists. If only it would work! It does not work, and it does nothing but cause greater effort on their part. They are winning, have all but won, the secular crowd, save the Evangelical holdouts, God bless their stalwart hearts, but the culture, it is gone. The government is making it easy for them to now harass and intimidate the church, using laws and it’s power to force the church to give in. They have all been wildly successful in this, beyond all imaginings of twenty years ago, even ten. But the remnant, the remnant.
    There is no point in further pandering. There is no need to fret about providing “ammunition”. They have it! The truth! They have it and they don’t want it. They want to replace the truth with their “better” truth, and have it they will and you can be damned or vaporize for all they care.
    I squirm when I see someone say this does “not help the Church’s cause”. I understand the fear of yanking the tiger’s chain, but there are times when you just have to do it and hand it over to God to handle. He is bigger. What we cannot do, thankfully He can. But there is no way whatever, that appeasement and gentle approaches or good timing are going to make even the slightest difference to gay rights activists. Change your policy, or they will plow you under. You can do it upon request, or they will force you. You are NOT going to peacefully and happily co-exist with this contingent any longer, so what a priest does or doesn’t do for the sake of trying to be considerate or “work things out” is pointless. Face it now because delay is not helping. The church is on a collision course with those who hate her. It seems all but unavoidable now. It might have been prevented, but probably not now. That barn door was not just left open but ripped off the hinges and is on the ground. The opposition all the energy and mojo they need. Now the remnant has only to turn, fight, and pray.
    Brian Camenker, courageous head of the Massachusett’s group “Massresistance” that so boldly defends the family in that lost state, has said that what silences the opposition is “the truth”. Just state the facts and they can’t say much to that. But if you aren’t willing to state the truth, you just have no dog in the fight at all.

  75. robtbrown says:

    Traductor,

    You have forgotten two small but extraordinarily important details.

    1. Any priest who gives Communion to notorious sinners participates willingly in scandal.

    2. Any priest who knowingly gives Communion to those living in such a situation not only does them no good, but actually aids in a very serious sin. 1 Cor 11:27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.

    You say that youth is the priest’s defense. I wonder what is yours.

  76. CrimsonCatholic says:

    @McCall

    No, Benedict was misquoted many more times than that, I was just giving you an example. I could reference his quotes in 2012 in Lebanon that were taken out of context by Huffington post and used to show that he supported Islam, or quotes by other liberal publications to say that Benedict did not support investigating punishing Priest accused/convicted of child abuse in late 2012., etc. It would take too long to show you all the examples.

    My point still remains, you might feel the same way, but nobody on this blog went out of their way to criticize Pope Benedict like they criticize Pope Francis. Instead of criticize the Pope, you should offer prayers up for him or perhaps for this priest that will surely come under attack by the same media sources that make their money off cherry-picking the popes.

  77. robtbrown says:

    BTW, no one should confuse this with the Guarnizo situation.

    BTW2, 30 years ago a good friend was posted to a parish just after ordination. He took the place of as asst pastor who walked out and was married (and never laicized). About a year later the ex priest presented himself for Communion, and my friend refused him. Afterwards, the rectory was swamped with phone calls from people who wanted to compliment him.

  78. CrimsonCatholic says: My point still remains, you might feel the same way, but nobody on this blog went out of their way to criticize Pope Benedict like they criticize Pope Francis.

    Except Pope Benedict did not actually say what was attributed to him. The news media chopped off a part of what he said, the omission of which completely changed his statement.

  79. Traductora says:

    Miss Anita Moore,
    God can take care of Himself, and He does. If the priest’s main focus is the salvation of souls…which is the main focus of Our Lord, I believe…he has to weigh both the good and the harm.

    In this case, the priest may have made a handful of self-righteous people feel good but he has made a lot of wavering people feel confused and very probably even driven these women away from the Church.

    The women had been going to this church for 12 years, and the “partners” reference seems to have appeared in a newspaper obituary. If he didn’t notice them during the 2 years he was stationed there before he became pastor, why should he suddenly get upset about a vague newspaper reference which, in addition, may have been written by somebody else and even written years before?

    I fully agree with refusing Communion to people who are in flagrant disrespect of Church laws, but it’s not clear to me that they were and in addition, even if they were, it appears that he had had ample opportunity to discuss it with them before hand. Since he didn’t, they were caught unawares and this does nothing but turn into “eeevil, cruuuel Church” propaganda. Because he didn’t discuss it before, he should have commended it to the Lord and discussed it with them later, probably saving their faith, that of the many people who have been scandalized (remember, scandal refers to doing something that is legitimate but not understood by that particular audience), and that of perfectly harmless, probably fairly conservative parishioners who are now the focus of completely unnecessary attacks.

    Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Think about how you’re going to achieve your goal and at what cost, particularly to the innocent. Again, he’s young and trying hard, and if he’s likeable and prays a lot, he can probably salvage this.

  80. robtbrown says:

    CrimsonCatholic says:

    Do you equally criticize and pass judgement(in La Sandia’s case) on Pope Benedict, for his poor choice of words in 2010? If you recall his quote, “There could be single cases that can be justified, for instance when a prostitute uses a condom, and this can be a first step towards a moralization”, was used by the MSM in news stories with such titles as , “Pope says condoms may be OK in some circumstances” and “Pope Condoms OK For Male Prostitutes”(which was by the Advocate).

    By the time BXVI said that, he was already very well known for years as a defender of faith and morals.

    On the other hand, a friend’s mother (who is on the Pontifical Academy for Life), rightly questioned the prudence of releasing such a text, which was part of a book long interview. She called for heads to roll at L’Osservatore Romano for leaking the comments prior to the launch date of the book, saying it was a betrayal of Pope Benedict. She called for its editor-in-chief, Gian Maria Vian, to be sacked.

    IMHO, it was a subject suitable for a theology class, but not really for the pope or preaching.

  81. Traductora, read the story again. The priest called the woman and talked to her on the phone.

  82. McCall1981 says:

    @CrimsonCatholic,
    I guess we just disagree. Several ill advised quotes in eight years do not remotely compare to dozens in six months. He certainly has my prayers, but that doesn’t make me blind to the damage done by his many, many “controversial” comments (which thankfully seem to have subsided).

  83. pannw says:

    @robtbrown says:
    ” BTW, no one should confuse this with the Guarnizo situation. ”

    Why not? How are the two cases different? Sincerely asking…

  84. robtbrown says:

    Traductora,

    You say the priest didn’t discuss it with the daughter, but the article says otherwise.

    I am aware of a similar situation in my home town, where I spent 14 of the past 15 years. Two women in their 70′s attended daily mass, going to Communion. They never socialized with people after mass, even thought that is common among those who have been daily Communicants for some years. For some time I thought they were sisters because they seemed so close. I began to wonder when I noticed that they wore similar style clothes–the same style warm up suits, with trim, etc., but different colors. And whenever a celebrant would make the even slightest reference to sexual morals, one would jump up and lead the other–they would storm out of church.

    When I mentioned them to other people, I would see eyes roll.

  85. robtbrown says:


    pannw says:
    @robtbrown says:
    ” BTW, no one should confuse this with the Guarnizo situation. ”

    Why not? How are the two cases different? Sincerely asking…

    I have a friend of many years (ordained almost 50) who is an FSSP priest. He is familiar with the Guarnizo situation, and all but said that Fr Guarnizo’s rep is a bit of loose cannon.

    Fr Kneib has a very good reputation.

  86. TopSully says:

    Two points from the linked article from lifesite:
    In a short biography describing his decision to enter the priesthood published by Catholic Key, Kneib says he had considered a career in the US Marine Corps.

    “I thought I might have a vocation to the priesthood, but was willing to consider this other path also,” Father Kneib said. “I didn’t see the two to be that distinct foundationally.”

    “I was raised to hold the priesthood in high regard and came to know many good priests growing up,” he said, adding that, “both pursuits are performed best when done for the sake of others.”

    “From a spiritual warfare standpoint, priesthood is like serving on the front lines of society,” Father Kneib said.

    Father Kneib was one of six men ordained to the priesthood May 19, 2013, by Bishop Robert W. Finn in the diocese’s largest single ordination since 1982.

    So he was willing to be a Marine during time of war. It shows he has some courage, and this battle is certainly going to require it. And he was in the largest class of seminarians in 30 years so his Bishop must be doing something right. Hopefully his Bishop will back him.

    For all those out there criticizing this priest for bringing unwanted publicity, remember it was the woman who chose to make this public, not the priest. And she clearly has an agenda

  87. frjim4321 says:

    I don’t think that this concept of communion as a reward for the righteous is contributory to an adequate sacramental/liturgical theology. [TWWWWEEEET! Foul. That's not what this is about and you know it. But nice try.]

  88. pannw says:

    @robtbrown,

    Hmm…but is it the priest’s reputation that determines whether his action is correct in this matter? Even if he is something of a ‘loose canon’ in some things, was he wrong in this situation? Were the two issues (Guarnizo and Kneib) the same? As far as I could tell merely from the reporting I saw on them, they would seem to be the same. I could definitely have missed something, but all that I saw on the Father Guarnizo case was that he had refused Holy Communion to an active homosexual person or persons who made a point of letting their homosexual relationship become known during plans for a mother’s funeral. He was then removed and an apology given to the active homosexual. I saw nothing in the reporting that suggested he had acted in a loose canon fashion whether he has a reputation for doing so in other cases or not and the whole reaction of the archdiocese seemed awfully scandalous to me, as though they approved the reception of the Holy Eucharist by those persisting in manifest sin and disapproved a priest doing his duty to Christ Truly Present and those people under his care. I wonder what sort of things people refer to him doing as being a ‘loose canon’.

  89. Athelstan says:

    Hello Gretta,

    If these women have been worshiping in this small community for 12 years, how is it that no one knew of their status before the funeral? Why did it take so long to have this conversation in the first place?

    Fr. Knieb was only ordained last spring, and has only been in the parish for a few months.

    So it’s not as if he had…12 years to discover what was going on and do something about it.

    But yours is a fair question for Fr. Knieb’s predecessors.

  90. The Cobbler says:

    “Who am I to judge” what, exactly? It’s a sentence fragment, i.e. “not a complete thought” as the grammarians are wont to remind us; if not inherently, at least given that it ever had a context that told us the object of the verb. Whatever else it is, it is obviously not an example of Francis’s quotes being more intact than Benedict’s; I’m amazed nobody bothers to realize this (and people here worry about the unintellectuality of college students)!

    In fact, if you read where that little bit came from, he contrasts “having a tendency” but trying to follow God with “lobbying” the Church for your pet sin. Don’t take my word for it, just read it. He may not be concise or straightforward with the delivery of the answer, but he makes it entirely clear that trying to get the Church to change for your pet issue is exactly not of what he says “Who am I to judge”, which is rather the person struggling with a particular “tendency” (temptation). You could quote this very comment against the actions of the woman in the article here more reasonably than for her little huff and scruff against the Church’s teaching.

    Now, I’ll grant you there are other occassions where he never did give enough context to tell if he was speaking orthodoxy (or enough to tell if he was speaking heterodoxy, for that matter), but this one… quoting him out of context on this one, to imply he said the opposite of what he said, that’s just sick. Criticize him for things worth criticizing if there are any (I’m starting to think nobody would actually know, least of all me), don’t criticize him for your own inability to look up and read a full sentence.

    (For the record, I think both Popes have been quoted pretty badly out of context, but in Benedict’s case the misleading line was at least a complete sentence that actually conveyed the wrong thing if you didn’t read the preceding paragraph that talked about a basis not for the morality of a given action but for getting the world at large to talk about morality in sex again in the first place, whereas Francis has been left with a sentence fragment with no meaning in itself — who is he to judge what, seriously?)

  91. mamajen says:

    pannw,

    The situation Fr. Guarnizo faced did not satisfy the “manifest” requirement of Canon 918. He found out about the situation in private, right before the funeral. The woman in question was visiting from out of town. A priest may not withhold communion due to the suspicion, or even knowledge, of grave sin alone. Canon 918 has strict conditions.

    Fr. Z and Dr. Peters both wrote helpful posts on that one.

  92. mamajen says:

    Canon 915. Sorry. Blame my cold.

  93. Sonshine135 says:

    I always find it ironic at how it seems easy to get mad at the Priest in situations like this, yet so few get mad at the parishioner who placed the Priest in this uncomfortable position in the first place.

  94. pannw says:

    @mamajen,

    Thank you. I just searched and read Dr. Peter’s post on ‘manifest’ and that definitely makes sense. But does the fact that the ‘community’ didn’t necessarily know negate the fact that Father Guarnizo knew she was persisting in grave sin, therefore presenting herself for Holy Communion knowing she was in a state of mortal sin? Does he not still have a duty to protect the Eucharist and her own soul, as well as his own? Would simply telling her that she should not present herself have been enough to get his soul off the hook? And doesn’t it seem likely that at least some at her mother’s funeral would know her or of her and notice her relationship during the funeral, since she obviously was ‘out and proud’ if she made a point of telling Father, and thereby causing it to become manifest at the actual Mass? It sounded as though she was trying to trap Father, and almost daring him which makes it seem likely that she would have relished the opportunity to make her relationship known during the Mass. Does he have no responsibility to prevent that sort of scandal since people don’t already know it beforehand? Is there a time limit to how long people must know about grave sin before it is considered manifest and causing scandal? Maybe he shouldn’t have worried about people being scandalized if they didn’t know he knew? I’m not trying to argue canon law or anything else. I honestly don’t know how that all works. God help our priests.

    Still, the whole reaction by the archdiocese seems awfully scandalous to me, due to the appearance of their support for the admitted active homosexual and the way it permitted homosexual activists to use it against those priests who dare to do their duties. Much like dissidents love to use Pope Francis’ “Who am I to judge.” What a mess.

  95. mamajen says:

    pannw,

    Priests don’t have a right or a duty to withhold communion except as outlined in Canon law. It’s as simple as that. Think about Jesus admonishing Peter for lopping off the soldier’s ear.

    As for the scandal aspect, in order to be scandalized, the people at the funeral Fr. Guarnizo conducted would have had to A) know about the woman’s lifestyle AND b) know that Fr. Guarnizo knew and chose to give her communion anyway. I have on multiple occasions seen lapsed Catholics (and even, sadly, non-Catholics) receive communion at funerals. I am not scandalized because I know the priest doesn’t know who they are.

    In Fr. Kneib’s case, the women’s relationship was published in the local newspaper, which anyone could have seen. The women had been receiving communion for years, and by continuing to allow it, people would think he was okay with it, too, especially since the news is “out there”. In this case I think he did have a duty to withhold communion under Canon Law.

  96. OrthodoxChick says:

    So here’s another interesting article written about this case. This one is written by a woman named Amy Werner and she states that one of the lesbian women involved in the situation with Fr. Guarnizo is her ex-husband’s cousin. The tone of her commentary is clearly, “Live and let live. And if I’m living in sin, Who are you to judge?” How these folks cannot see the harm and damage in that astounds me.

    http://samuel-warde.com/2014/02/another-gay-woman-denied-communion-mothers-funeral/

    And here’s a link to a local news story about the same event with the following comment about the situation provided by Miss Parker (daughter of the deceased):
    “Ms. Parker said she hopes that the priest might “open his eyes and fully receive the LGBT community into the church. We’re all God’s children, and we have every right to receive Communion,” she says. “Even the pope has said, ‘Who am I to judge?’”

    http://www.newspressnow.com/news/local_news/article_239ce081-84b0-57e7-9813-8237f5d33402.html?TNNoMobile

    It doesn’t sound as though Miss Parker and Miss Martin are particularly interested in either the Church’s teaching about homosexuality, nor Her teaching about reception of Holy Communion while not in a state of grace or (God-forbid) while in and attached to mortal sin. If they expressed to Fr. Kneib what they have shared with the local news media, then I can’t see any other possible way for him to do anything other than what he did. And the fact that they and some of their friends and relatives staged a Communion boycot in protest only emphasizes further that Fr. Kneib acted courageously, justly, and most pastorally. Fr. Kneib truly was caring for the state of their souls, even as they were unable/unwilling to do this for themselves.

    May the Lord richly bless him.

  97. Joseph-Mary says:

    I bet he did not know these ladies were lesbians until this time. He could not do otherwise but what he did, knowing now what the situation is. And they run to the press. Get out the violin. Living in mortal sin for a long time and coming to Communion….someone should have said something to them long before this. The Roman Catholic Church is not ‘their’ personal community to do whatever you want, sin however you want, and be allowed to continue with impunity. Love speaks the truth. Allowing people to proceed in their sin is not love, it is cowardice. They may not change but you have at least put it to their conscience.

  98. BillyHW says:

    This faithful priest is a true hero to the Church, despite what some American Catholic celebrity canon lawyer is about to post.

  99. pannw says:

    Thank you, again, mamajen. I understand the technical points on Canon Law 915 though I admittedly do not know under what, if any other circumstances a priest can refuse Communion. I am relieved that they seem to have far less responsibility in that regard than I had thought. I hope you are right on that for their sakes.

    On the other hand, I also know how the outcome looked to the vast majority of both Catholics and non-Catholics who are not canon lawyers, or at least to me and my friends and the majority of comments in the Catholic and anti-Catholic blogosphere, and it came off as an archdiocese that refuses to enforce Canon 915 even in the most severe cases of perseverance in manifest sin severely disciplining a priest trying to be Faithful to Church Teaching; as stated in the link provided by OrthodoxChick he was banished to Siberia returned to Moscow, and on top of it all they seem to be approving the active homosexual who could not wait to run to the press with her letter of approval apology from the archdiocese. I can’t help but find that scandalous regardless of Canon Law.

  100. lana says:

    Everyone should adopt a priest and pray for him at http:/www.nunsforpriests.org.

    God bless and strengthen Fr. Kneib!

  101. Deacon Augustine says:

    Miss Parker is not the one who has been sinned against here – it is the priest. No priest, deacon or EMHC should ever be put into the position of having to refuse Holy Communion to somebody because they are manifestly living in a state of mortal sin or manifestly oppose the teachings of the Church. It is appalling that these people could act with no thought about the situation into which they forced the priest. Fr. Knieb would have sinned if he hadn’t acted on what had become public knowledge. Why should he endanger his own immortal soul for somebody who was prepared to flout their depravity in the face of God?

    Adult Catholics should behave like adults and take the consequences of their own actions and choices in their stride – not behave like spoilt children who have been refused a cookie. If they really don’t know the law regarding reception of Holy Communion, then they shouldn’t be receiving it in the first place – they should be sent back to First Holy Communion classes.

    Fr. Knieb did the right thing. He behaved like a father who actually cared for the fate of his child. Priests are not meant to behave like indulgent mothers who keep their children spoilt, dependent and infantile by refusing to give them just discipline. Such people act from motives of satisfying their own need to be needed. They don’t act out of love.

  102. OrthodoxChick says:

    Deacon Augustine – Amen!

  103. letchitsa1 says:

    The problem I see with priests like this is that even though there are more and more of them, there still aren’t nearly enough. God bless this priest and his ministry. And may the Lord have mercy on the souls of all involved.

  104. dominic1955 says:

    “These two women attended the parish for 12 years… receiving Holy Communion. I am sure the previous pastor / priests knew something about this relationship. I applaud Fr Kneib’s action..but he should not have been the first priest to question this relationship. What needs to happen is that all of us clergy must be on the “same page.”

    Exactly. The main problem with all of this is we’ve had many priests through the last 40-50 years pretty much let everything and anything slide. Now, when one actually wants to do something about it, it seems as if he’s bucking precident. He is, but its a crap precident that needs to be turned around and the process of turning it around will cause much grinding and gnashing of teeth.

    This is one of the main reasons (plus the fact that I’m not a cleric) I have not ever acted as an acolyte in a NO parish since I left the seminary, I have no desire to be put in such a situation with no authority to back up my decision.

  105. RJHighland says:

    It sounds to me that Fr. Kneib did everything by the book. Sadly it had to happen at a funeral. In my opinion it is at these moments that their is a need for priests to charitably and in moderation evangilize to the lost sheep that often show up for funerals, weddings, baptisms, confirmations and first Holy Communion. There are often many none practicing Catholics in attendance and it is a good time to review who and who can’t recieve communion, the importance of the sacrament being attended and such. My only wish is that priests and bishops of public officials such as Andrew Cuomo, Dona Pelosi, VP Biden, the Kennedy’s as a whole used the denial of communion as a teaching tool not only for those public figures but to all of the faithful. By allowing these people to recieve the Lord in communion when they clearly are not is not charity but is condemning their souls. Surely if emperors and kings have done public penence for their sins, denial of communion until a public mea culpa is offered is not that much to ask of a public official. What the bishops have been doing now has had no effect on the public officials under their care that promote grave sins against God in our society. Gov. Cuomo and Dona Pelosi of late have very publically figuatively spit in the face of their bishops. The Bishops can’t say anything though because so many of them have allowing homosexuals into the priesthood and covered up for sexual perverts under their authority. Such are the fruits of the post Vatican II hierarcy. Who are they to judge, right? Most bishops are just simply poor business administrators, very few act as good shepherds of the Gospels and historical teachings of the Church. If they were good shepherds the Church it would not be in such a mess. You will know them by their fruits. What is a greater sin in God’s eyes, living in some form of sexual sin or being a shepherd of His Church that never teaches about the grave concequence of living in that state of sin without repentance? Just asking.

  106. Magash says:

    An interesting point to me is that according to the article:
    “Despite this show of solidarity, the women no longer feel welcome at the church and have begun visiting another an hour from their home. ”
    Is this another Catholic Church? A Catholic Church where, condsidering the publicity that the woman has generated, the priest must know that she and her “partner” are committing a public scandal and yet is allowing them to receive Communion?
    I hope his bishop is supporting Fr. Kneib. But if support only extends to not giving him a hard time the bishop has not gone far enough. He should send a public letter to be read at Mass by all of his priest. It should remind them and their parishioners that cohabitation for both hetero and homo sexual couples is a sin and prevents one from taking Communion. It should also remind them that if father knows they are cohabitating, especially in cases where they are creating a public scandal by presenting themselves publically as cohabitating, he should refuse to allow them to further endanger their souls by allowing them to receive Communion.
    I’ll hold my breath on tha tone.