ACTION ITEM! POLL ALERT! Should priest be removed because he denied lesbian Communion?

You know by now about the dust up in the Archdiocese of Washington DC, where a priest denied Holy Communion to a woman who had in private announced to him in an unrepentant way that she was a practicing lesbian. The context was the funeral of the lesbian’s mother. This occurred against the backdrop of the unnatural “marriage” legislation going into force in Maryland. The lesbian, now making loud protestations of high dudgeon at having been denied Communion, is calling for the removal of the priest from parish ministry.

It think it is not unlikely that the priest was “set up” for this.  But that’s another kettle of fish.

I have several posts about this issue and about can. 915 on this blog. Start HERE.

Leaving aside the questions about the proper application of can. 915 in this case, the MSM seems to have it out – in their shallow way of being bloodthirsty – for this priest.

There is a POLL on the site of the NY Daily News which could use your attention.

I suggest that you vote.  Here is a screenshot.  Click the image or HERE to go to the page where the poll is.

Note the inept way the question is phrased, with its flawed grammar. And there is that “removed from the archdiocese“? This was obviously posted by someone who hasn’t a clue about what she is talking about.

Whether the priest in question made the right choice according to Canon Law, in that place and at that moment aside, his removal from his pastoral mandate is NOT WARRANTED for that instance of denial of Holy Communion to that person.  Based on this event alone, his removal would be far out of proportion to what he did, even if he didn’t get the law right this time.

Here are the results at the time of this writing, 2 March 1825 GMT:

Of course we know that it is unimaginable that the Archbishop of Washington DC should pay attention to a poll in the NY Daily News.  Nevertheless, I think it is a good idea that when people see a poll like this, they don’t automatically get the idea that the priest is the bad guy… which is the image the MSM delights in advancing as often as possible.

UPDATE 3 March 16:21 GMT:

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Darren says:

    Argh! The NY Daily News is just a rag, like the NY Times. It is no surprise that they can’t even get the grammar correct. The Daily News is good for two things. It has a good sports section, and last time I checked, 3 or 4 pages of comics. So, if you like sports or the comics, then it’s a good paper. Otherwise… roll it up tightly and throw it onto the fire.

    (Pardon my poor grammar)

    I wonder how many non-Catholics, who have no business voting, voted.

  2. marajoy says:

    I’m so glad the Church isn’t run as a democracy… (particularly one run by the uneducated and misinformed masses…)

  3. disco says:

    I find it offensive that the article referred to the “symbolic body of Christ”. There’s nothing symbolic about it. They could have at least said “the bread, which Catholics believe is the body of Christ”. Or something like that that’s moderately correct.

  4. aviva meriam says:

    Nothing like a trial by the lynch mob…..
    I too wonder how many non catholics voted.

  5. Centristian says:

    I participated in the poll.

    I wonder if the Times will also offer a poll that asks readers, “Should the auxiliary bishop who wrote a letter of apology to this hypocritical lesbian for that good priest’s commendable behavior have a cream pie thrown in his face?”: ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘not sure’

    Now, that wouldn’t be a very respectfully written poll question, at all, and I certainly would never draft such a poll question, of course, but if such a poll DID get published and I was encouraged to vote in such a poll…I might vote “yes”.

  6. smmclaug says:

    “I find it offensive that the article referred to the ‘symbolic body of Christ’. ”

    Agree completely, but it really wouldn’t help Johnson’s cause if the media let slip that Catholic think that communion is The Real Thing. If people knew that, well, then they might start to understand where the priest was coming from, and we can’t have that.

    Sarcasm aside, I doubt the writer has a clue. I’d say it’s more ignorance than malice in that particular case.

  7. DetJohn says:

    “symbolic body of Christ” What a put down by N.Y. Daily News reporter Nina Mandell. I agree with disco, she should have said “the bread,which Catholics believe is the body of Christ”

    Three cheers to Father Guarnizo.

  8. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    I find it offensive that the article referred to the “symbolic body of Christ”.

    Do you really believe that the likelihood that a paper that would print, “Do you think the (sic) Marcel Guarnizo should be removed from the archdiocese?” would accurately reproduce the Catholic belief about the nature of the Eucharist, is any greater than the likelihood that given enough time with a typewriter, a chimpanzee will eventually type out the entire text of Hamlet?

  9. wmeyer says:

    I find it a waste of time to be offended by anything which is written in almost any newspaper these days. And that is true, even for my diocesan paper. Ignorance reigns among those who think of themselves as journalists. Intelligent commentary is a rare find.

  10. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Vote cast. Reverend Father Guarnizo obviously has a great love for our Blessed Lord, and issues of pastoral sensitivity or insensitivity aside, the pummeling he is taking and that his position within the Archdiocese is being trampled upon in the secular arena should drive each of us to prayer in his support.

  11. irishgirl says:

    I used to buy the NY Daily News every day-I’ve read it for as long as I can remember. But now I don’t, because it has become a rag much like the NY Slimes, especially when it comes to ‘bashing’ the Church.
    For heaven’s sake, editors, if you’re going to report on ‘Catholic stuff’, at least have someone on your staff who has AT LEAST A CLUE what Catholic doctrine and practice is!
    There was a big close up photo of the ‘woman’ in question. I can’t even call her a woman; she looks more like a man.
    I voted ‘no’ in the poll, of course….that is, until Safari ‘kicked me out’ and my screen went blank. Happens a lot whenever I go on news websites….

  12. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Fr. Guarnizo was one of the first priests ordained in Russia right after the fall of the Soviet Union. How sad that he had more freedom and peace of mind to be able to minister in that atmosphere than he has here, in our supposed democracy with freedom of religion. And I can’t believe that the archdiocese of Washington just threw him under the bus, without nary a mention that a lesbian having sex with a lesbian is a mortal sin and that people should not receive Communion in the state of mortal sin.

    If she told Father without any contrition that she was committing unnatural fornication, and he denied her the Blessed Sacrament, he did no wrong. I just feel so sorry for that priest being hung out like that, for the sharks to circle. If I had such a quivering and shaking, sorry excuse for a successor to the Apostles as a bishop, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell the press what I thought of his cowardice. But Father Marcel, don’t let the spineless clowns get you down. The Church is full of their mealy mouthed and pathetic anti-testimony against the Truth. And the people aren’t fooled, nor are they amused. It’s all open for people to see. A strong man stands in the light of truth. Soli Deo gloria.

  13. irishgirl says:

    ‘Intelligent commentary is a rare find’-wmeyer.
    You got that right!

  14. Dax says:

    Voted but I wonder why the Daily News put up that picture of Ralphie from A Christmas Story…..


  15. anilwang says:

    Welcome to the world of “zero tolerance” (aka the new “tolerance”), whereby any step outside what is politically acceptable must receive the death penalty (or at least the career equivalent).

    Civility is gone. There was a time when you’d treat even your sworn enemies with respect. Napoleon who destroyed all the institutions of every country, seriously wounded the Church, and caused so much misery was initially exiled to a small island that he could be king of.

    Robespierre would be proud of what society has become.

    Our Lady of Fatima pray for us.

  16. mamajen says:

    Voted. I do wish Catholics would refrain from commenting on that article unless they know exactly what they’re talking about. They’re only going to end up spreading more misinformation about our Church on a site that lots of people read.

  17. Joan M says:

    As of this post the “No” vote is 53%

  18. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    I voted, too. As I did so, I was served with a fraudulent advert, promising me that I had won something or other, and tempting me to click through. It gave a powerful witness to the quality of the newspaper whose website I was visiting for the first time.

  19. chickoleary says:

    Where is the poll asking whether the NY Daily News should be re-classified as low-grade bird cage liner?

  20. ghp95134 says:

    As of 13:00 PST:

    NO: 58%
    Yes: 38%
    Too Stupid to Form an Opinion But Vote Anyway: 4%

  21. Jordanes says:

    Honestly, where do all these non-Catholics and anti-Catholics get the idea that they have a say in what the Church teaches and how the Church should implement her teachings? Excuse me, but in this matter, if you’re not a Catholic, then your opinion doesn’t matter and you’re not even entitled to have one. Kindly mind your own business and let the Church of the Living God mind her business.

    Someone should take a poll on whether or not Barbara Johnson should be formally excommunicated. Only Catholics would be qualified to participate in that poll, of course.

  22. Charles E Flynn says:

    I do not see how six months in a church simulator equipped with various Canon 915 training scenarios could have prepared Father Guarnizo to do what was right with confidence in the situation he faced.

  23. Elizabeth M says:

    “I am sorry that what should have been a celebration of your mother’s life, in light of her faith in Jesus Christ, was overshadowed by a lack of pastoral sensitivity,” Rev. Barry Knestout wrote, according to the Post.

    LACK of pastoral sensitivity? We will pray for Rev. Barry Knestout. Probably had to write it that way for “political correctness”. Too bad he didn’t feel he could just clearly back up what Fr. Guarnizo did. No wonder so many Catholics are confused as to what the Church teaches.

  24. ArtND76 says:

    Voted. As of 13:30 PST poll was 37% yes, 59% no, 4% not sure.

    I think Fr. Guarnizo did the right thing, even though it may not have precisely fit the Canon 915 requirements. The only element that appears to be missing from it qualifying completely under Canon 915 is duration of time – which might be argued as unnecessary for proving obstinant, knowingly sinful behavior, given the nature of how Fr. Guarnizo was informed. I think any ordinary minister who has a deep respect for the body and blood of Christ – and a love of the sinner adding to her sin – would have a hard time NOT doing what Fr. Guarnizo did. If he erred, and we all do from time to time, I really respect the side he erred on.

  25. NoraLee9 says:

    “A celebration of your mother’s life?”. When I go, I hope no one is there to celebrate my life. I hope they are all there to pray for the release of my sinful soul from Purgatory!

  26. The Cobbler says:

    “…is any greater than the likelihood that given enough time with a typewriter, a chimpanzee will eventually type out the entire text of Hamlet?”
    Given enough time an immortality to use it with, the chimpanzee would eventually accidentally type out the entire text of Hamlet; but it would not have composed said text and no one would find it because it would be buried under far more gzorninplatt than Shakespeare.

  27. The Cobbler says:

    *and immortality; sheesh, and I thought preview was for when I’m not being straight and to the point.

  28. The Cobbler says:

    “As of 13:00 PST:

    NO: 58%
    Yes: 38%
    Too Stupid to Form an Opinion But Vote Anyway: 4%”

    Actually, the Yes votes are the ones too stupid to form an opinion, whereas the I Don’t Know votes are too stupid or preoccupied enough to find the truth but at least smart enough to realize it. Not that it’s a wildly huge difference for the I Don’t Know voters, but without that amendment the Yes voters are horribly misrepresented.

    And I’m usually the guy who says it’s not a betrayal of Truth to hear out objections and try to actually answer them; I guess when a bunch of people think they know better than something they don’t even know anything about I really don’t expect them to even listen if you or I explain otherwise after hearing their objections. Probably not saintlike of me, seeing as martyrs have gone to their deaths trying to preach to people who wouldn’t listen… so I guess I need to work on making like the swiss cheese, you know, getting more holey. ;^) Well, that’s life, I should get back to it.

  29. ipadre says:

    I wonder WWJD? – “Go and sin no more!”
    I wonder what would Saint Paul do? – 1 Corinthians 11:29
    I wonder what would Bishops and Priests have done in 1812?
    I wonder what would Bishops and Priests have done in 1912?
    We know what most would do in 2012!

    Polls like this are stupid! Prayers for Fr. Marcel.

  30. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I am willing to speculate that Fr. Marcel Guarnizo feels about as desolated and abandoned as a man can feel right now. He has been at the center of a wrathful firestorm by the national media, and his bishop’s actions don’t inspire a feeling of support. Now Ms. Johnson is calling for his removal from the active ministry.

    I propose that we launch a letter writing campaign assuring Fr. Guarnizo of our prayers and support. This must be a terrible time for him, and I am certain he would appreciate hearing from all of us. A spiritual bouquet would be a tender mercy.


  31. rodin says:

    Is it worth noting that the Diocese of Washington D.C. is one of two that has the power to unload can. 915 of the likes of Nancy Pelosi, but has not done so? Had that been done there would be no question about a priest refusing communion to a declared and known and practicing homosexual would there? Should a major part of the criticism should be directed to the head of the Diocese?

  32. jhayes says:

    More developments:

    Yes, Fr. Guarnizo denied Barbara communion. But almost immediately thereafter a layperson acting as the service’s Eucharistic Minister did lovingly serve Barbara communion.

    Yes, Fr. Guarnizo essentially shunned Barbara. But directly following the service (and to a necessarily lesser degree during the service), Barbara was also surrounded and hugged by fellow Catholics who made a point of telling her that Fr. Marcel in no way represented the love of the Church.

    Yes, Fr. Guarnizo shamelessly refused to go to the cemetery. But immediately thereupon the funeral director (“an angel,” says Barbara) comforted Barbara with assurances that he would quickly secure a priest to perform the burial. He then turned to Fr. Peter Sweeney, who wasted no time at all stepping right out of his retirement, and right into the Johnson funeral service.

    “Father Sweeney was perfect,” says Barbara. “We couldn’t have asked for a kinder, more loving priest. Both Father Sweeney and the funeral director acted as soothing balms on our very scarred hearts.”

    When the head of Saint John Neumann’s, Fr. LaHood, was made aware of what had happened at the Johnson funeral, he phoned Barbara to apologize. Barbara played for me Fr. LaHood’s message. It left nothing on the table: his apology was sincere, obviously heartfelt, and accompanied by every last means to reach him, including his personal cell and home phone number.

    After Barbara later met with Fr. LaHood, she reported that, “He was very kind, compassionate, and apologetic.”

  33. shin says:

    It’s a diabolical action to give a woman living in mortal sin like that Our Lord’s Body.

    What devils we have here.

    How far we are from proper observances and piety.

    ‘To feel any displeasure because we are refused the Communion, is a sign of hardness, pride, and a want of mortification.’

    St. Philip Neri

  34. Norah says:

    Some years ago I phoned the then msgr of my dying sister in laws parish and advised him of her request that there be no Mass at her death but only a funeral service because the only practising Catholics in the family were my son and I. This msgr, one of the most orthodox priests in my corner of Australia, presided over a funeral Mass and gave everyone who presented, including cohabitating girlfriends, Holy Communion. I have never been able to understand this.

    For those Catholics who attempt to abide my the teachings and rules of the Church such behaviour by the clergy is a real slap in the face and an implicit message not to try and obey the rules. If I didn’t believe that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ I would leave it in a nanosecond.

  35. RichR says:

    For those Catholics who attempt to abide my the teachings and rules of the Church such behaviour by the clergy is a real slap in the face and an implicit message not to try and obey the rules. If I didn’t believe that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ I would leave it in a nanosecond.


  36. shin says:

    This is a time of apostasy. Either a ‘type’ of, or the real lead up to the scripturally prophecized one.

    ”They tried to reform faith and discipline according to their own whims. Venerable Brethren, it is no better understood by those whom We must withstand today. These moderns, forever prattling about culture and civilization, are undermining the Church’s doctrine, laws, and practices. They are not concerned very much about culture and civilization. By using such high-sounding words they think they can conceal the wickedness of their schemes. All of you know their purpose, subterfuges, and methods. On Our part We have denounced and condemned their scheming. They are proposing a universal apostasy even worse than the one that threatened the age of Charles. It is worse, We say, because it stealthily creeps into the very veins of the Church, hides there, and cunningly pushes erroneous principles to their ultimate conclusions. Both these heresies are fathered by the “enemy” who “sowed weeds among the wheat” in order to bring about the downfall of mankind. Both revolts go about in the hidden ways of darkness, develop along the same line, and come to an end in the same fatal way.’

    Pope St. Pius X

  37. CatholicCaliGirl says:

    Fr. Z, I just voted and here are the present results of the poll-
    Yes- 32%
    No- 64%
    Not Sure- 4%

  38. I’m surprised they don’t shut down this poll. As of the moment this comment is posted, it’s 65% no, 31% yes, 4% undecided. I doubt that’s what they were hoping for!

  39. Legisperitus says:

    The headline says “Lesbian woman.” Isn’t that a tad redundant?

  40. jhayes says:

    “woman” would be better.

    #2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.

  41. Miriam says:

    This holy priest needs our prayers and support.

    I voted and the votes are now:

    Poll Results
    You can only vote once.

    Do you think the Marcel Guarnizo should be removed from the archdiocese?

    Yes 29%
    No 67%
    I’m not sure 3%

  42. JKnott says:

    @ Rob Cartusciello asks: I propose that we launch a letter writing campaign assuring Fr. Guarnizo of our prayers and support. This must be a terrible time for him, and I am certain he would appreciate hearing from all of us. A spiritual bouquet would be a tender mercy.

    Excellent idea Rob!
    There is that passage in scripture referring to our Lord. ” My heart hath expected reproach and misery. I looked about for someone to grieve with me and there were none; I sought for one who would comfort me and there was no one.” Father is an alter Christus. We should do something.
    I am going to send him a spiritual bouquet card tomorrow, but maybe it could be done as a group as well. Somehow.
    Father’s email is
    Reverend Marcel Guarnizo
    Saint John Neumann Catholic Church
    8900 Lochaven Dr
    Gaithersburg, MD 20882

  43. filioque says:

    Do you think the Marcel Guarnizo should be removed from the archdiocese?
    Yes 28%
    No 69%
    I’m not sure 3%
    We are gaining! By all means let’s support this good priest. His contact information is:
    Fr. Marcel Guarnizo
    St. John Neumann
    8900 Lochaven Drive
    Gaithersburg, MD 20882-4460

  44. marknelza says:

    On 3 March 2012 it was 70% No.

    As for the comment about an EMHC who gave Johnson communion aft the priest said no. That is why we must be rid of these. EMHC think they are priests.

    My pet hate is the EMHC running off to hospitals and the sick to take them Holy Communion, leaving the priest to have to attend to administrative and other matters in the parish. For goodness sake, EMHC, if you have time, you do the admin and let our priests take the Sacraments, including the opportunity for the sick to make their confession, which EMHC cannot.

  45. jbosco88 says:

    Having read about the lesbian bringing her “life partner” into the sacristy and introducing her to the Priest as her “lover”, I agree with what the Priest did.

    I seem to be in the minority, but, if I were a Priest, I think in my human flawed ways I would have done the same as Fr Marcel.

  46. Givemeliverteaorgivemedeath says:

    The Father’s of the Church are clear: reception of the Holy Mysteries while living a life of sin brings condemnation upon the communicant. The priest acted properly in accordance with Roman Canon Law : “Can. 915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” Clearly, this Canon finds its source in the Apostolic Teaching of the Apostles themselves (namely St. Paul) whi in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 11, wrote: “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. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.”

    This priest did the right thing.
    What cannot be denied are the references in Holy Scripture which are clearly ‘written’ regarding homosexual behavior in both the Old and New Testaments. That which has been written, can never be taken away, though people (in our sinfulness) always try to interpret Divine Scripture to suit individual needs or motives. God, the Most Holy Trinity, truly ‘loves mankind’ – so much, that he prayed the Father ‘forgive them, for they know not what they do’ while hanging upon a cross to which he was nailed at Golgotha. Our God, is a God of the living; a God of creation and creation has a particular order required in order to ‘create’ life. One must understand the Eucharist, not for ‘what’ it is, but ‘who’ it is. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that it is ‘Jesus Christ: Body, Blood, Soul, and Diviinity.’ That’s correct, yet us Orthodox would say that is insufficient; for where ‘One’ Person (Jesus/the Word of God) of the Blessed Trinity (True God) is present, so are the other Two (Father and Holy Spirit). This is why St. Paul stated that those who are ‘unworthy’ that receive the Eucharist ‘bring condemnation upon themselves.’ Yet, one must first believe that what is Written in Sacred Scripture has not been abrogated in some way or no longer applies based on the social manner’s of life of the day. In my humble observance of this great struggle of our day, I find it interesting to watch the contrast between the fruit which the LGBT and heterosexual trees produce. If that which occurs in the flesh direclty relates to the spirit; then it’s rational to assert that one way leads to life, and the other, to oblivion. Just a few thoughts on the matter.

  47. irishgirl says:

    Amen to what both JKnott and marknleza said!
    I jotted down Father Marcel’s email address and I’m going to send off a message of support to him, as I did to Father Maletta in Indiana for his ‘Bravissimo’ sermon about Obamacare.
    I totally agree with you, mark, about getting rid of EMHCs. Your comment is absolutely spot on!

  48. irishgirl says:

    And Rob (the ‘originator’), your ‘thought’ of giving moral and prayerful support to Father Marcel is an absolutely fantastic one! Good for you!
    I just sent off my own message to him via his email address. I hope that all WDTPRSers will do the same, and let him know that he is not alone in this trial! We ‘little people’ (whom the media ignores and mocks anyway) will stand with him!
    I hope his email inbox gets flooded with messages of love and support!

  49. Johnno says:

    Thanks for Fr. Marcel’s contact information. I will definitely write to him tonight once I’m back from work.

  50. rodin says:

    Glad to see someone corrected the addition on the pole percentages. A couple of hours ago it added up to 101%!

  51. GirlCanChant says:

    I also plan on writing to Fr. Guarnizo. I prayed for him while I was at Mass today and at Adoration afterwards.

    I imagine he is getting slammed with mail right now. Let’s make sure the good stuff outweighs the bad.

  52. schmenz says:

    Fr Z:

    This issue is so serious, and the jackals out for this priest’s head are so vicious, that I believe a letter to the Apostolic Nuncio is very much warranted, and I concur with the blogger who wrote this “Open Letter” to the Nuncio, Archbishop Vigano:

    Unless something is done this is going to fester and get real ugly, real soon. I’m writing to Archbichop Vigano tonight.

  53. fbcallicoat says:

    Scandals like this one make me doubt the Catholic Church. Perhaps Rod Dreher was right.

Comments are closed.