Full text: letter of apology to lesbian


Comments are now closed.


  1. If I was in the Washington Diocese, my Bishop’s Appeal donation would be $5.

  2. I am supportive of church teaching on gay marriage, but am disturbed at the tenor of the objections to the Archdiocese’s response. This seems to me an appropriate response to something that shouldn’t have happened.

  3. Thanks, Deacon, for sharing the letter, which comes via MSNBC and its detailed story.

    But aside from the smoothly-crafted letter, there are four other “take-aways” from the MSNBC story:
    (1) This is getting covered by MSNBC; the story has potential to get more play on a larger stage.
    (2) Johnson, her “partner” and the priest got a chance to converse before the Mass, although much time was spent on the issue of eulogies: Johnson wanted two, the priest thought one was enough although he eventually relented and allowed the two (by Johnson and her niece).
    (3) Johnson left behind her “partner” in the sacristy to plead with the priest to allow both eulogies. One can only imagine what the priest was thinking when he was alone to discuss the situation with Johnson’s “partner” :-)
    (4) After the consecration but before the distribution of Communion, the priest did “issue a strong admonition that only Catholics in a state of grace can receive Communion.”

    It’s unclear if Johnson and Fr. Guarnizo had the kind of pre-Mass conversation that is ideal. But it’s possible that Fr. Guarnizo intuited something about Johnson’s life situation from his conversation with Johnson’s “partner” in the sacristy after Johnson left.

    Canonist Ed Peters may be right that the priest erred (from the point of view of strict compliance with the letter of canon law). And perhaps maximum “pastoral sensitivity” was not extended here, as the Auxiliary Bishop’s letter claims. Still, none of us were there, none of us were in the priest’s shoes, we haven’t heard the priest’s perspective, and we don’t know all the facts.

  4. This is well and good, but it isn’t Bp. Knestout who acted in such a manner. Where is the apology from the misguided priest?

  5. vox borealis says:

    I am sorry that what have been a celebration of your mother’s life…

    Funny, I always thought that a Catholic funeral was supposed to be about praying for the soul of the deceased. Or, if it was a funeral mass, I thought what this was supposed to be about was, um, well, the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

  6. This ought to be great for priestly morale in the Archdiocese of Washington. A real vocations-booster to boot.

  7. “A fond rememberance of her life.” At my funeral I want black or purple vestments, a reminder of purgatory, and prayers that commend me into the merciful hands of a forgiving and loving Father. No celebration of life crap.

  8. You know, we live busy lives, trying to make a living, juggling work, marriage, kids lives, making meets. And then we try to have a faith life that include being faithful to our Catholic Church, its teachings and doctrines. And then we get this… you know am done with this website and with the Catholic web culture. Bye, I need to live a life instead of getting bombarded by provocative blogs and then be judged for not being nice. So, with this, I say good bye to this blog, its useless to worry or to… well whatever man, have nice life fighting these useless controversies.

  9. Thom, were you there? Have you spoken with the priest or obtained his “side of the story?” How do you KNOW — for certain — that he erred or that he is “misguided?” Who made you his judge?

    I appreciate — from reading your blog — that you bring a particular perspective to this issue, but I think we simply don’t know enough to call this priest “misguided” or to demand that he apologize.

  10. Vox is right: I am puzzled at Bishop Knestout’s comment that the funeral Mass was supposed to be “a celebration of [her] mother’s life.” The mass is about Christ, not the deceased (or anyone else). As such it is directed to pray for the soul of the departed (and all the other souls in purgatory). Certainly that is what I would want MY funeral Mass to be about. It’s not supposed to be an instant canonization of the dead.

    Perhaps it was appropriate to issue an apology, or a letter of regret; I don’t have all the facts of what happened, so I can’t say. But it is singularly unfortunate that the bishop included this profound mischaracterization of the object of the Mass in his letter.

  11. Rick, if you change you mind, keep Bishop Barry in mind for a smooth, upbeat “celebration” with no hurt feelings and no questions asked.


  1. [...] among others in Canon 915, mustbe demonstrated before withholding holy Communion.UPDATE II:   Full text of apology letter is here. Posted in Ripped from the headlines, Sacraments101 Responses to “Archdiocese of Washington [...]

  2. [...] Full text: Archdiocese of Washington's letter of apology to lesbian… __________________ Your socks stink. To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts. Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2 _qoptions={ qacct:"p-61p7v5crX5G-6" }; var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); try { var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-1870794-7"); pageTracker._trackPageview(); } catch(err) {} [...]