Saturday, March 17, 2012

Father Guarnizo - Continuing Story

The details of the incident can be found here but, in brief, Fr. Guarnizo of St. John Neumann parish in Gaithersburg, MD refused communion during a funeral service to a woman who, just prior to the service, rather aggressively introduced herself and her lover to the priest proclaiming themselves to be lesbians.  After the communion incident, the lesbian, Ms. Johnson, in so many words informed Fr. Guarnizo that she was going to make an example of him.  His bishop responded by removing Fr. Guarnizo from pastoral duties while claiming it had nothing to do with the lesbian incident but rather to do with other complaints from staff about the priest.

There are technicalities to the incident as, for example, the relevance or not of Canon 915, and who did exactly what, when and why, but it is not a pretty tale no matter how you look at it.  Ms. Johnson would seem to have intentionally provoked the priest, most likely in order to 'expose' the Catholic Church as--gasp--homophobic!  The occurrence is another battle in the culture war being waged by all those open-minded and tolerant progressives against the Catholic Church.  Fr. Guarnizo puts it this way in his recent open letter: 
what happened I believe contains a warning to the church. Such circumstances can and will be repeated multiple times over if the local church does not make clear to all Catholics that openly confessing sin is something one does to a priest in the confessional, not minutes before the Mass in which the Holy Eucharist is given. 
 And shouldn't the Church also make clear what is at stake when an admittedly practicing lesbian presents herself for communion?

Read Fr. Guarnizo's statement on the incident here.   And, for continuing coverage and commentary on this and other Catholic issues go to this blog, Restore DC Catholicism  which I found interesting.

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