Fr. Marcel’s statement: “I did the only thing a faithful Catholic priest could do” — UPDATED

From Catholic News Agency:

Here are the facts: On Saturday, February 25th I showed up to officiate at a funeral Mass for Mrs. Loetta Johnson. The arrangements for the Mass were also not my own. I wish to clarify that Ms. Barbara Johnson (the woman who has since complained to the press), has never been a parishioner of mine. In fact, I had never met her or her family until that morning.

The funeral celebration was to commence at 10:30a.m.

From 9:30 to 10:20, I was assigned to hear confessions for the parish and anyone in the funeral party who would have chosen to receive the sacrament.

A few minutes before the Mass began, Ms. Johnson came into the sacristy with another woman whom she announced as her “lover.” Her revelation was completely unsolicited. As I attempted to follow Ms. Johnson, her lover stood in our narrow sacristy physically blocking my pathway to the door. I politely asked her to move and she refused.

I understand and agree it is the policy of the archdiocese to assume good faith when a Catholic presents himself for communion; like most priests I am not at all eager to withhold communion. But the ideal cannot always be achieved in life.

In the past ten days, many Catholics have referenced Canon 915 in regard to this specific circumstance. There are other reasons for denying communion which neither meet the threshold of Canon 915 or have any explicit connection to the discipline stated in that canon.

If a Quaker, a Lutheran or a Buddhist, desiring communion had introduced himself as such, before Mass, a priest would be obligated to withhold communion. If someone had shown up in my sacristy drunk, or high on drugs, no communion would have been possible either. If a Catholic, divorced and remarried (without an annulment) would make that known in my sacristy, they too according to Catholic doctrine, would be impeded from receiving communion. This has nothing to do with Canon 915. Ms. Johnson’s circumstances are precisely one of those relations which impede her access to communion according to Catholic teaching. Ms. Johnson was a guest in our parish, not the arbitrer of how sacraments are dispensed in the Catholic Church.

In all of the above circumstances, I would have been placed in a similar uncomfortable position. Under these circumstances, I quietly withheld communion, so quietly that even the Eucharistic Minister standing four feet from me was not aware I had done so.  (In fact Ms. Johnson promptly chose to go to the Eucharistic minister to receive communion and did so.) There was no scandal, no “public reprimand” and no small lecture as some have reported.

Details matter. Ms. Johnson was not kneeling when she approached for communion, she did not receive the cup as the press has reported she has stated. It is the policy of St. John Neumann parish never to distribute under both species during funerals.

During the two eulogies (nearly 25 minutes long), I quietly slipped for some minutes into the sacristy lavatory to recover from the migraine that was coming on. I never walked out on Mrs. Loetta Johnson’s funeral and the liturgy was carried out with the same reverence and care that I celebrate every Mass. I finished the Mass and accompanied the body of the deceased in formal procession to the hearse, which was headed to the cemetery. I am subject to occasional severe migraines, and because the pain at that point was becoming disabling, I communicated to our funeral director that I was incapacitated and he arranged one of my brother priests to be present at the cemetery to preside over the rite of burial.

Furthermore, as the testimony of the priest that was at the cemetery conveys, he was present when the Johnson family arrived, and in fact mentioned that being called to cover the burial rite is quite normal, as many priests for reasons much less significant than mine (rush hour traffic, for example) do not make the voyage to the cemetery. He routinely covers for them. This change in plans, was also invisible to the rest of the entourage. Regrets and information about my incapacitating migraine were duly conveyed to the Johnson family.

I have thanked the funeral director and the priest at the burial site, for their assistance that day. Mrs. Loetta Johnson was properly buried with every witness and ceremony a Catholic funeral can offer. I did not and would not refuse to accompany Barbara Johnson and her mother to the cemetery because she is gay or lives with a woman. I did not in any way seek to dishonor her memory, and my homily at the funeral should have made that quite evident to all in the pews, including the Johnson family.

I would like to extend again to Ms. Johnson and her family, my sincerest condolences on her mother’s death. I would never intentionally want or seek to embarrass anyone publicly or increase anyone’s emotional distress during such a difficult time. I did not seek or contrive these circumstances.

Read more, including his description of what led to his faculties being suspended. He says that, contrary to public statements by the Archdiocese, it is connected to the communion incident.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has more, including reaction to the above statement from Barbara Johnson’s family.


Comments are now closed


  1. If what Father says is correct, and it seems quite possible, it just confirms my feeling that he is being setup again, since it became obvious that he did not do anything wrong in quietly denying communion in that case. And he is exactly right that priests can and should deny communion for reasons other than those invoked by Canon 915. For example, if the Dalai Lama would come up for communion (which he would not, because he is polite), no one could rightly give him communion.

    We don’t know all the details, and we should not leap to conclusions, but if it is true that he is being pilloried when he has done the right thing, someone needs to step up and admit it and apologize to him, and stop kow-towing to those who disrespect the Church in the first place. Know whadda mean?

  2. In my heart I have felt along this priest did nothing wrong. And now more than ever I believe that to be true. What Ms. Johnson and the Archdiocese of Washington did to Fr. Marcel is reprehensible.

  3. “He says that, contrary to public statements by the Archdiocese, it is connected to the communion incident.”

    Hmm — Somebody is not telling the truth, and that person is an ordained priest, either Fr. Marcel or the bishop.

    Another cover-up and lie is not what the bishops need if, indeed, they are sincere about wanting the general Catholic population to regain trust in them. Anything other than the truth is simply shooting-themselves-in-the-foot.

  4. Have read the entire statement on the CNSNews site, including the discussion of Aux. Bishop Knestout’s involvement. Wow! This controversy is not over by far, and I think we can expect the focus now to move to the relationship/situation between the priest and the AoW.

  5. Just a minor point: this article appears on the site of the Catholic News Agency, not the Catholic News Service (CNS). There is a difference.

  6. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    My original link was to something called CNSNews, a conservative site. I changed the link to Catholic News Agency.

  7. It appears on many sites. Crisis Magazine, WDTPRS. What’s your point, Joanne?

  8. Wow. I think I rest my case. Impressive statement.

  9. What happened is that when I came on the blog, the story was linked to CNSNews. Joanne came on and commented some 12 minutes after I commented, and by that point the link had been changed to CNA (Catholic News Agency). I think that explains her comment. Be well, everyone!

  10. ron chandonia says:

    Has it made the cover page of the Washington Post yet? Why do I suspect not?

  11. midwestlady says:

    Correct. They’ve already blown most of the moral capital they had. They’re hanging onto what remains by the sheerest thread now.

  12. midwestlady says:

    The parish should have had an inkling ahead of time about what was going on. Parishes should NEVER schedule weddings, funerals and other things like that without knowing the family and being able to predict what will happen. This was bad planning. However, the priest, having come from another country, may not know the situation in the US so well. Americans are great pretenders and liars. We learn it as very small children; we like to deny it; but it’s true.

    Once the lesbian introduced her lesbian lover to the priest, he should have immediately and without comment changed the ceremony from a funeral mass to a funeral service. Period.

  13. midwestlady says:

    If he was indeed blindsided, yes, he was in a tight spot. The case can certainly be made that he did nothing wrong. I still don’t understand why he just didn’t change the mass to a service without Holy Communion.

  14. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    Fr. Marcel grew up in Arlington, Virginia and attended a local Catholic high school. He may have foreign roots, but he is very much an American.

    And: by canon law, baptized Catholics are entitled to a Catholic funeral Mass: “Can. 1176 §1. Deceased members of the Christian faithful must be given ecclesiastical funerals according to the norm of law.” If the woman died in the Church, she cannot be denied a funeral Mass because of her daughter’s lifestyle.

    I can’t tell you how many funerals we have at my parish where the deceased is virtually unknown to anyone but the funeral director, and the priest involved doesn’t meet the family until the casket is wheeled down the aisle. Many big and busy parishes (including St. John Neumann in Maryland, where this took place) have bereavement ministers who handle the details, talk to the family and make all the arrangements for the liturgy. They will then brief the priest before Mass.

    And even with the most prudent planning, you can’t predict what will happen. Especially at a funeral.

    Dcn. G.

  15. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    This priest’s version of the incident very much has the ring of truth to it whereas the original story had the look of an arranged activist “set-up.” We should all pray for this priest and bishops that wind up with situations on their desk that might make even Solomon weep to God for wisdom to make the most just and charitable resolution to them–following Canon Law.

  16. MD Catholic says:

    I suspect the WP will cover just a small portion of this just underneath the Classified ads as it does not fit their agenda.

  17. I just read the statement and a couple of quick thoughts come to my mind…

    1. His name and reputation over the last two weeks has taken a beating. From Barbara Johnson, the press, the gay community, those who work for religious institutions, he has been piled on.

    2. Those who have defended him have been, including myself in a number of instances, told we are ignorant, closed minded, lacking in understanding of pastoral concern, etc.

    3. They have taken away his right to say Mass, hear confession, etc. in public, through an Administrative process, in this Archidiocese. The only thing that they have not done (and one can only assume this) have taken away his right to say Mass privately. (The next thing, they will probably take away all his faculties in the Archdiocese of Washington, if they have not done so already — but we will probably get a letter from Bishop Knestout on this.) In addition, if they have not told him already, he will probably not be able to set foot on Church property again.

    4. I believe that Cardinal Wuerl instructed Bishop Knestout to do this and to find some incident to allow the administrative suspension. Just like it has happened to a couple of priests in the Diocese of Arlington. Find just that minor error in judgement, and that is the leverage you need.

    5. You notice how Cardinal Wuerl’s name has NOT been mentioned at ALL during these last few weeks. Not one word out of him. Not one word attributed to him. Why? You know why.

    6. Many of the details that came out earlier from parishioners, who wrote on this blog, seem to give additional creedance to what he has stated. For example, his suffering of a migrane, and that that another priest did cover the Cemetery. (PLEASE NOTE: That is not unusual here in this Archdiocese. There are a number of retired priests who do the ceremony at the gravesite because the cemetery is far from the Church. Hold a funeral Mass in Upper Montgomery County and get buried at Ressurection Cemetery. It can take you over an hour to get there on a good day.)

    7. What message does this incident send to the priests of my Archdiocese? Don’t ever deny Holy Communion to anyone or else you will pay a very steep price.

    8. What does this say to our seminarians about the way they can be treated when they are ordained and face this situation?

    9. I feel very sorry for Fr. LaHood. He probably had no choice in the matter.

    10. I feel sorry for the parishioners at St. John’s who loved his theology talks and those who were given a spiritual and moral lift, as he prayed with them outside of the abortion clinic.

    I do not fault Fr. Marcel for what he did. In fact, I think he did the only thing that he could do to save what remains of his reputation.

    What more than they do to him? Yes, Cardinal Wuerl can make it very tough (almost impossible) for him to find another place to hang his hat, but he will survive, through the kindness of his parishioners and fellow priests. They can’t stop him from living within the bounds of the Archdiocese, but they can cut off many avenues of support.

    Fr. Marcel, you were very courageous to do what you did. I applaud you. Ad Multos Annos!

  18. Henry Karlson says:

    Gossip, gossip, gossip combined with hearsay. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

  19. I agree Dcn. John. From day one, everything in my gut/soul told me that Father M was a holy priest (and victim).

    It’s inconceivable to me that his letter would be a lie. Even the most guilty of priests in various scandals might stay silent (often hoping evidence doesn’t come out against them), but I can’t think of one priest caught in a scandal that actually lied, at least recently.

  20. Which part Mr. Karlson?

  21. Henry Karlson says:

    Look at how you have attacked Cardinal Wuerl – there you will find gossip and hearsay. Then the supposed evidence of people who claim to be from the parish — again, without evidence that they were there and really involved with the case would again be people engaging in hearsay and gossip. Do we need more?

  22. Please…be specific.

  23. Peregrinus says:

    Canon law.

  24. 1. I know two parishioners from that parish, both of whom have spoken highly of Fr. Marcel. Another parishioner was interviewed and spoke of the matter on We have had parishioners on this blog, state many of the things Fr. Marcel stated in his recent letter.

    2. How have I attacked Cardinal Wuerl? Bishop Knestout would not do anything w/o the approval of Cardinal Wuerl.

    3. Do you have evidence that what i have said is gossip and can prove it otherwise?

    It seems to me Mr. Karlson, that your comments are just there to sow the seeds distrust in this matter and are no better than, as my father would say, “That of an old wash woman.” (Apologies to all of the old wash women out there.”

  25. In fairness, while I see no reason why the deceased should have been denied a funeral Mass because of her daught, the Church provides for two rites, a Mass and one without a Mass, and I believe that both would satisfy the requirement for an ecclesiastical funeral since both rites are duly promulgated by the Church.

    In my parish, many funerals are celebrated without a Mass for a whole host of reasons, albeit few of them having to do with the celebrants preference/decision. But they are all Catholics and all duly given ecclesiastical funerals, Mass or no.

    We also have a grief ministry, but they are careful about gathering as much information as possible, just in case something should go awry, and the pastor is duly informed if there is potential for a difficulty.

    Just my two cents …

  26. Catherine says:

    I am glad Fr. Marcel decided to give his side of the story. Hopefully he intends to pursue this all the way to Rome if necessary.

  27. Wuerl was an aide to Cardinal Wright back in the day?

  28. Mouse, great article on how the professional canonists got this wrong over at Rorate.

  29. Catherine says:

    American Life League issues press release on this controversy.

  30. I too have tended to believe the priest and this confirms it. Ms. Johnson is an activist with an agenda. I no longer believe any part of her story. This good Father is owed many apologies from a lot of people.

  31. Actually, there is a world of difference between the two. Granted, there is the option of celebrating the funeral liturgy outside of Mass and there can be legitimate reasons. Perhaps, as is common in some areas, there is no priest available – and a memorial mass might be offered at the later time. It could be the family’s choice. Sadly, this is more common and is usually rooted in the fact that the survivors aren’t particularly engaged in the life of the church or just want a “quick” service. (This happens with weddings sometimes, too.)
    However, the NORM is for a Catholic to be buried in the context of a funeral Mass, if at all possible. We can’t forget the merits associated with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as it is offered for the deceased person. Sometimes I believe many Catholics are oblivious to the reality of what a “Mass intention” is in the sense that the Mass is offered for the repose of the soul of the deceased person (or the intentions of a living person). There are actual graces connected to the celebration of the Mass that cannot be equalled in the simple prayer service. I know some parishes where, in the case of funerals that take place without a Mass, that a Mass intention is arranged at a later date, with or without the family’s presence.

  32. All the more reason not to allow eulogies.

  33. midwestlady says:

    Please print the WHOLE letter, not just some of it.

  34. midwestlady says:

    If she had to have a Catholic funeral, then that’s all the more reason for reading aloud the Church’s expectations about receiving Holy Communion.

    The Church has been asking for this kind of trouble for a long time by its lax and sloppy practices. Well, here we are.

  35. midwestlady says:

    The priest was trapped in a bad situation. I expect it’s pretty common, and it’s going to get more common now. There’s a political payoff.

  36. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    According to the bishop’s letter from last week, which I posted here, his faculties have already been removed.

    Dcn. G.

  37. I believe the priest and this is just another case of one of our good and holy priests being ‘thrown under the bus’ again due to the Church bowing down to society… i have to say , as a Catholic, I am SICK of this….I am divorced and remarried without an annulment ( currently going through the process) my husband and I live as brother and sister so that we may receive The Eucharist and will continue to do so.. Neither one of us has EVER presented ourselves for Communion before this.. Not even at the funeral mass of my husbands mother when she died.. Her own son would not go up and he shouldn’t have… WHEN are the powers that be in the Church going to start handling the Mass and the Sacraments as they are to be handled and stop kow towing to society? It is REALLY making those who are faithful Catholics wonder if we are no longer in the right place..

  38. Time for apologies….I believe the good father over an open and now quoted “lesbian activist, Buddhist, partnered & shacked up, artist, publicity seeking, catholic”…..

    Barbara gave her words……now he of father gave his……

    Imagine that….the exceptions don’t appear to be the rule….the multitude of nuanced defenses and plausible reaons for Barbara indeed appear unfounded…..


  39. midwestlady says:

    Too bad he can’t get himself excardinated from that archdiocese and brought into another. We’d love to have him out here.

  40. Barbara P says:

    My question is how did he go about trying to get written statements from people who were at the Mass and what did he say that could possibly have led to allegations of intimidation? I am not going to speculate but it has to be noted that Priest did not give a full description of his conversAtions with these people and did not disclose whether these people were employees. Perhaps this part of the incident is a misunderstanding but since he has made his attempts to get written statements public he should disclose what he said and the manner in which he said it.

  41. midwestlady says:

    Poor dead woman, disgraced so publicly by her child.

  42. With respect to everyone, given father Marcel’s statement this particular leaf of this thread appears to be completely inmaterial to the shocking statement he has given which appears to validate the anonymous commentor on deacon gregs first posting of his story…..that Barbara and her lover confronted the good father in the sacristy purposefully and willfully

  43. naturgesetz says:

    I really don’t see that this statement adds anything meaningful to the issue of refusal of Communion. He thought he had to refuse her and did so quietly. We already knew that. Apparently, it did not occur to him that she might have had such a poorly formed conscience that her sexual conduct, although objectively grave matter, might not have been a mortal sin. Too bad that he made a snap judgment and still does not seem to have realized that his judgment concerning her fitness to receive the Sacrament may have been false.

    As for the question of whether the placing on leave is related to his refusal of Communion to Ms. Johnson, he has provided the clarification that what was cited was conversations he had some time after the Mass with certain people involved in the funeral. Clearly, it is related in the sense that these conversations were occasioned by his conduct at the funeral. But it is unrelated in the sense that if these conversations had not taken place, the Archdiocese would not have removed him. If they had thought it was a valid reason, they would have included it as one of the items, in order to make their position as strong as possible.

    The fact that he is convinced in his own mind that he did nothing wrong, either at the funeral or in those conversations, certainly does not prove that he did no wrong. It is possible that he came across very differently to the others than the way he portrays it in his own mind and in his account. And it is possible that he is just incapable of admitting he did something wrong.

    I think the only Christian approach at this point is to admit that we don’t know enough of the facts to judge whether the removal was appropriate, and to presume that he thought he was doing the right thing, and that Bishop Knestout and Fr. LaHood thought they were doing the right thing too.

    I haven’t noticed anybody attributing evil motives or duplicity to Fr. Marcel. But I have seen some suggestions that the Archdiocese, or Bishop Knestout, or Cardinal Wuerl are being deceitful, and that they were hostile to him for other things he has done and positions he has taken. I see no solid basis for forming such judgments, which means that such judgments appear to be rash judgments, as defined by the Catechism and hence objectively evil matter.

  44. He is not incardinated in Washington, DC, but in Moscow, Russia. That is why his faculties have been withdrawn, rather than his being suspended.

  45. I am so glad Fr. Marcel has given his statement. I believe he is correct in all that he said regarding these situations becoming more common. We need to be prepared for the escalating persecution from the PC crowd.

  46. Let me throw you a line sister I hate to see a fellow Catholic drowning such…..:queue Atari pitfall music: Now let’s break bread

  47. Richard M says:

    Which “professional canonists” did you have in mind?

  48. Mary Russell says:

    The Washington Post has an article about Guarnizo’s letter and the family’s reaction to it.
    Guarnizo comes across as mature, concise, and priestly. He expresses condolences to the family in 3 different places. His account of what happened does not contain personal accusations against the family.
    The Johnsons’ reactions, on the other hand, seem malignantly personal in a very disturbing way, and refuse to ascribe any sort of good will to the priest.
    I’m going with Guarnizo on this one.

  49. The pastor states (in another post) that the incidents leading to his ‘suspension’, or whatever euphemism du jour we’re using, occurred in the week AFTER the set-up by Johnson where she introduced her “lover”:

    “The issue discussed this week did not have to do with the distribution of Communion two weeks ago. Let me repeat that: The issue discussed this week did not have to do with the distribution of Communion two weeks ago. The issue pertains to actions over the past week or so.”

    If this is a he said/she said, then I take the word of a faithful priest who gave no cause for his suspension prior to the incident with the Buddhist/Catholic/Lesbian who introduced her “lover” immediately before mass. “Lover” changes the context, as opposed to “partner”.

    Then after being pilloried nationally, after being the object of ridicule, Father may well have been angered and snappish with people. THAT”S what got him his current dog house status. This was a set-up and an otherwise good priest is being hung out to dry. There is no evidence that anybody in the clerical ranks made an effort to help this man shoulder the burden that suddenly befell him. He should shake the dust of DC from his shoes and move on.

  50. Richard M says:

    Yes, Henry, and you seem determined to do everything possible to turn every doubt against Fr. Guarnizo.

  51. midwestlady says:

    The problem is much deeper than this too. I mean we shouldn’t have to rely on this last resort, denying Holy Communion, to make a point about Church teaching. Catholics, in general, are dreadfully ignorant of what the Church teaches and has always taught, and until this last year or two, the Church in general hasn’t done a thing about it in the US. Some Catholics also do an interesting cultural thing that seems to exempt them in their minds from being Christian. Catholics are supposed to be, first and foremost, Christian. Being Christian certainly does not get in the way of being Catholic. In fact, being Christian is the whole point of being Catholic! That appears to be news to some Catholics; it shouldn’t be.

    I note that now, there are a couple of basic Christianity classes that some parishes are using to start teaching basic Christianity to Catholics again. There’s the Catholicism series by Fr. Barron which is very good, and there’s also “Discovering Christ” by ChristLife. Programs like these might be too little too late, but they are better than never. And they’re both quite good.

    We also now have the CCC, which wasn’t available until 1996 or so. If only Catholics would learn to read scripture, it would certainly help also.

  52. midwestlady says:

    Agree. There are plenty of dioceses that would love to have him.

  53. pagansister says:

    Well said, naturgesetz.

  54. midwestlady says:

    That’s weird. Are we being played again by the administration, even as we speak?

  55. midwestlady says:

    Maybe this issue ought to meet a quick demise, and we’d ought to get back to thinking about the statements by the bishops today.

  56. I disagree NG. Although only she would know her conscience, and based on her recent letter I would agree that perhaps in her mind, she had rationalized receiving the Eucharist ‘without sin’.

    But, there’s another reason for her to be denied based on the situation, and that is scandal. It would be a stretch to think that no one at the funeral, who knew of her gay lover, wouldn’t potentially be scandalized by her receiving the Eucharist.

  57. midwestlady says:

    The plot thickens. Too bad it’s not a novel instead of real life. Grrr.

  58. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Good points, NG.

    I think both sides should admit that they made a mistake, shake hands, and move on. The way this is unfolding, it will get worse before it gets better.

    There’s nothing Satan likes more than Catholics hating each other.

    Dcn. G.

  59. I don’t think anyone who has not been pilloried in the national media can have any idea of the stress Fr. Marcel was subject to, so Gerard Nadal’s suggestion of possible snappishness seems to me completely human and expected.

    A previous post I made on this issue expressed criticism of Fr. Marcel if a pre-liturgy meeting had not addressed the requirements of the Church. Having read what I believe to be an accurate description (from several sources) of what he was made aware of I am very happy the criticism does not apply. In the circumstances it appears there was nothing else he could do.

    My other comment stands: all the parties involved need our prayers.

  60. Richard M says:

    “Apparently, it did not occur to him that she might have had such a poorly formed conscience that her sexual conduct, although objectively grave matter, might not have been a mortal sin. ”

    A poorly formed conscience – which I don’t doubt she has, unfortunately – might reduce some of her culpability, but it does not make her actions no longer mortal sins. Homosexual relations are 1) clearly a grave matter (indeed, one of the four categories of sins crying out to heaven for vengeance, as we used to say in the old days), 2) she had to know they were gravely wrong in Church teaching, and as a matter of the moral law; and 3) she certainly did so with deliberate consent.

    As for the Archdiocese: I can only suggest that some people in the archdiocese have had cause to observe how it has functioned, both before and after Cardinal Wuerl’s accession – often to their cost – and because of that are less willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. For one thing, whether you agree with Ed Peters on the implementation of canon 915 or not, it’s clear that Cardinal Wuerl has been unwilling to deny communion to virtually anyone for any reason to date, even cases where (as even Dr. Peters has argued), canon 915 would clearly dictate refusal (see Pelosi, Nancy). And the result of what was done with Fr. Guarnizo, and how it was done, will in fact almost certainly send a message to the priests of the archdiocese that they refuse communion to anyone at their peril.

  61. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Interestingly, I wonder what her late mother would have thought?

    I Googled and found an obit that mentioned among her surviving children Barbara Johnson and her lover, clearly linked as a couple.

  62. Richard M says:

    Well, in fairness, perhaps most people at the funeral mass were not aware of her…ongoing relationship. If so, perhaps few there would have been scandalized. Perhaps that’s unlikely; but it is possible. We don’t know.

    Of course, *now* the situation is changed, as Dr. Peters noted on his blog yesterday. Thanks to this whole episode, pretty much every practicing Catholic in the archdiocese – and plenty of other people besides – know all about Ms. Johnson’s lifestyle and beliefs, and the scandal requirement would be pretty much automatically met. In short, if she presents herself for communion tomorrow at any parish in town, she should now be denied communion. One hopes there would be a quiet conversation beforehand, as a pastoral matter; but I don’t think it would be strictly necessary any longer.

    But I doubt that will happen, for obvious reasons.

  63. Lord High Adml. Hadrian Dumblewinker Ivorytooth Jr., Esq. says:

    In the photo for the Washington Post story (where he’s wearing the off-kilter sunglasses), he looks like a KD Lang impersonator.

    Which is, like, ironic.

  64. Just read the many comment on the Catholic News Agency website (where the original story is linked).

    The comments are running about 20-to-1 in favor of the priest. This has the makings of becoming a major embarrassment to the Arch. of Washington, especially since this priest has refused to stay silent.

    Just saw the WaPo story (online) about the Fr. Marcel’s statement, and I was stunned by the nasty comments by Barbara Johnson’s brother in response. This, in spite of Fr. Marcel’s repeated statements of condolences for the loss of the Mother. Not sure where this story is headed, but I don’t think we can expect “closure” anytime soon.

  65. Deacon,

    The good father’s letter appear to triangulate with other eye witness accounts now. I must say Deacon Greg, It’s very frustrating to me as a relatively new Catholic the way his priest has been drug through the public mud to simply call it a draw. Barbara and company have some splainin to do… catholic conscience is getting really tired of taking it or watching others take it from the public square bullies out there.

  66. naturgesetz says:

    ” … 2) she had to know they were gravely wrong in Church teaching, and as a matter of the moral law; and 3) she certainly did so with deliberate consent.”

    While she most likely was aware that Church teaching holds that homosexual acts are gravely wrong, in the climate of dissent which has flourished since the publication of Humanæ Vitæ, many baptized Catholics simply do not take it for granted that everything that the Church says is gravely wrong is, in fact, gravely wrong under the moral law. It is the possibility, even likelihood, that her conscience is poorly formed that makes it likely that she did not really know that homosexual activity is gravely wrong as a matter of moral law.

    As for full consent, her ability to refuse to engage in the conduct could be somewhat diminished by passion.

    It may be semantics, but I think I have the wording of the Catechism on my side when I say that lack of full knowledge or complete consent prevents a gravely wrong act from being called a mortal sin, strictly speaking. —Catechism 1857.

  67. Indeed, they are listed as a couple in the obituary. But I still have a hard time believing anyone, even or especially a gay activist (which Ms Johnson may not be; she has been confused, in many posts, with a woman with the same name but very different appearance and different age, who was profiled as a lesbian activist in the same area), would use the inflammatory and more commonly heterosexual term “lover” in introducing someone to a priest. “Partner” would be far more likely. A fine distinction, I know, but an important one.

  68. Richard M says:

    Yes, but there’s also canon 1860, NG:

    1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

    So certainly ignorance and passions can diminish culpability and consent, but they can’t entirely vitiate it. It’s s still a mortal sin; what is in question is how culpable she is, and how imputable it might be. In any case, no confessor worth his salt confronted with a penitent would suggest that such a person was in the state of grace necessary to receive communion. I grant that that’s really more of a canon 916 analysis; but it’s the right place to start, at any rate. Because once we’ve determined that she isn’t in a proper state to receive, there’s at least a theoretical case that, assuming other conditions are met, she should be denied.

    Your point about post-Humanae Vitae dissent is well taken, but not entirely pertinent; our reason may be further clouded by cultural pressures and suasions, but our natural reason’s access to the moral law is not completely destroyed.

  69. Richard M says:

    A young k.d. lang, perhaps, but…

    I can’t help but feel that the Post editors may have succumbed to the temptation to find a less flattering photo (or what they thought was a less flattering photo) of Fr. Guarnizo.

  70. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    It seems clear to me now that there won’t be any winners in this. It’s he said/she said. And his superiors clearly are against him. If this drags on, the wound will widen. The anger will grow. A fistfight will become a knife fight. Sooner or later, a gun will be drawn.

    The Body of Christ deserves better than this.

    Meantime, Satan just bought a bucket of popcorn and is enjoying the show.

  71. Unfortunately now he is a marked man as far as the LGBTQ community is concerned. Had they not removed his faculties I suspect the next time he celebrated Mass in the diocese there might be further “incidents”. Who can blame the diocese for desiring to avoid that?

  72. Richard M says:

    People are less likely to be charitable – or rational – in the immediate wake of the death of a loved one.

    Having said that, it’s hard to shake the feeling that Johnson and her brother will only have “closure” when her lifestyle is affirmed by the Catholic Church as good and wholesome, and Fr. Guarnizo is promptly laicized and ostracized from all polite society.

  73. Jkm

    Maybe the reason jkm, was to let Father-in-the-sacristy know, in no uncertain terms, exactly who they were and what they represent…… on purpose? …the key word here again is…………Purpose. (lover being a more explicit descriptive word than the secular gender neutral and cowboy word partner)

    You will note that IF it was done on Purpose….than simultaneously it is easy to logically deduce that they also knew they were engaging in mortal sin as well.

  74. midwestlady says:

    Agree. This issue needs to settle down. This is a political operative’s playground. The Church has enough on its plate without squabbles between all of us on internal politics.

  75. Richard M says:

    Yes, I fear you’re right, Deacon.

    We don’t have *all* of the information that Fr. Guarnizo presumably gave to the chancery (particularly the precise content of his conversations with the two people in question), but enough is becoming clear now that we are going to end up in a he-said, she-said situation. The archdiocese will have to decide who is right, with only limited means to confirm anything. And my guess is that they’d like the whole situation to go away now.

    And now that Fr. Guarnizo seems inclined to fight city hall, my guess is that they’d like him to go away, too.

    I agree that I wish this incident had never happened; or that having happened, it could have been handled by all involved in a better and more charitable way. But now that we’ve reached this pass, I find it hard to blame Fr. Guarnizo too much for wanting to tell his side of the story. If his hate mail is half as bad or voluminous as what has been posted online…

    Well, I’ll just say that his instinct is at least one I can sympathize with.

    In the meantime, every diocese needs to think hard about how to confront situations like this in the future, and get the word out. Because there are sure to be more of them.

  76. midwestlady says:

    The news media is going to use our internal political struggles against us as much as they can. They’re trying to divide the Church for bigger gains in the Obamacare issue. We can’t let them. This issue needs to die down. Those near Fr. Guarnizo need to comfort him and move him out of the limelight and he needs to find someplace quieter to be. We need to go on.

  77. Deacon, I understand your concerns. But I think that in the long run clarity and truth are best served by a full airing. If we might learn anything from past “scandals” (both political and ecclesiastical) it is that greater harm often comes from attempts to “paper over” a problem … than from the original problem or crime itself.

    Moreover, I’m less concerned now about the “he said/she said” than from the “he said/he said”, where the male protagonists in this sad tale are the priest and his superior in the Archdiocese of Washington. Too many people (faithful Catholics) are concerned that this priest was “tossed under the bus” by the AoW to appease the gods of political correctness, and this concern is the real source of disunity.

    Yes, the Church should stand united, but first we have to get to the truth and second we have to decide what we’re standing for. A false front — a “kumbaya” charade — in the interests of good “public relations” would be a great dis-service.

  78. Richard M says:
  79. midwestlady says:

    Nevertheless, the media is exploiting the intra-political struggles of the Church for their political gain. We need to stop giving them fuel to burn.

  80. midwestlady says:

    No, the Deacon is right about one part of this: This needs to settle down. The Mainstream Media is having a field day at our expense, and they’re doing it to make us all look bad in preparation for the Supreme Court decision and the election. WE need to cool it in public and not give them any more fuel to burn. So let’s all table our differences as Catholics for now, okay?

  81. Richard M says:

    Well, it’s a no win situation for them, isn’t it?

    Had Fr. Guarnizo stayed in place with his normal pastoral duties, he’d likely face a series of “disruptions.”

    But by putting him on leave, and fairly obviously hanging him out to dry, they’ll likely reward more such behavior. Priests in the archdiocese will think twice about denying communion to gays even when and where the requirements of canon 915 have been pretty clearly met.

  82. midwestlady says:

    Yeah, we need to let this go. It’s done and we can’t undo it. The news media is making a circus out of this at our expense to make us look bad in preparation for the Supreme Court decision, the Presidential election and the elections in Congress. Let it go. We have intra-church struggles; that’s not new. This is more important though. We risk much more than our petty differences as Catholics here. We need to let this go.

    If you really are concerned and want to work on something, then work in your parish on educational programs so that Catholics know their faith better and can’t be manipulated as easily in the public forum. It’s a huge problem we’re facing now.

  83. Richard M says:

    Yes, but who started the fire in the first place?

    Do you really think that the Johnsons, or the local gay lobby, are likely to give this a rest? Even if Fr. Guarnizo had stayed silent?

    As for the Church, I’d like to think that we can walk and chew gum at the same point. If in fact Fr. Guarnizo has been wronged – assumption on my part, admittedly – I don’t see why justice requires leaving that wrong in place out of the hope that we get less distracting optics for an upcoming election.

    And let’s not think that there won’t be more incidents like this. Whatever the requirements of canon 915 and how its implemented, the Church has a pretty clear teaching on homosexuality and homosexual acts that has become intensely hated in some quarters, especially in this community. That’s the deeper issue at work – and it’s not going away. Quite the contrary.

  84. Richard M says:

    He’ll likely be hounded wherever he goes – unless, possibly, it’s back in Russia.

    He’s an (in)famous man now. All you have to do is Google his name.

  85. Your pragmatism has merit, but can you blame this priest for FINALLY speaking out? He’s not the one who has sought the “limelight,” as you put it, but rather Johnson (the lesbian lady) and her brother. Johnson has made clear time that she wants Fr. Guarnizo out of the active priesthood. And apparently the Archdiocese of Washington seems to have found a pretext for doing just that (at least in their diocese) and satisfying her lust for retribution.

    From all accounts, Fr. Guarnizo has been an outspoken advocate for life and for the traditional family. In the broader fight against the HHS mandate, many advocates for the Church’s position will be disillusioned by any attempts to throw Fr. Guarnizo “under the bus.” You can see this in the way comments on the Catholic News Service site (where this story is linked) are running 20-to-1 in favor of this priest.

  86. Well, yes and no. I just googled his name (Guarnizo), and apparently this is the name of a neighborhood in the Spanish town of El Astillero :-)

    One doubts that he could have welcomed this kind of controversy to his priesthood. Still, judging by what we know of him, he is a determined and fearless fighter for truth … and perhaps something good will come from what you see as his “infamy.”

  87. Irish Spectre says:

    Who can blame the diocese for allowing the LGBTQ “community” to dictate, like a pack of jack-booted thugs, who can function as a priest and who cannot?!! Surely, surely, you jest!!!!

  88. Margaret Catherine says:

    So, either Fr. Guarnizo is blatantly lying, or his bishop and his pastor are. After Maciel, Euteneuer, Corapi, etc….it’s amazing that any of us can still be so confident of the answer.

  89. Well, you have a point, but WHO EXACTLY should be the one to “cool it?” This is the FIRST TIME that the priest has spoken out. If anyone created disunity in this case, it was his “higher-ups” who “rushed to judgement” from day one with their attempt to “paper over” what they perceived as a public relations disaster and condemn this priest.

    It’s quite possible that the priest did not observe the letter of canon law at the funeral. Yet, surely the initial statement from the AoW should have been more balanced. In other words, it should have provided a modicum of defense for the priest’s intentions if not his observance of canonical proprieties. Instead, it appears (though we can’t be certain) that they threw the priest “under the bus” as an offering to the gods of political correctness.

  90. midwestlady says:

    They’ll certainly get less mileage out of the incident if we don’t blow it out of the water quite as spectacularly, Richard.

  91. midwestlady says:

    Oh, no. The media only attacked him for a specific purpose. Once that dies down, he’ll be anonymous again. Think how many people’s names hit the media in a day. Think all of them are marked forever? Nope. The quicker we stop exploding all over the place, the quicker this will fade into the background.

    The public memory is astonishingly short. Honest.

  92. midwestlady says:

    That’s intra-church politics that the media would love to use against us to weaken us on the HHS mandate issue. And the media, I’m sure, is collecting fuel for controversy just in case one of the Catholic candidates becomes the Republican nominee, which might happen. In which case, I expect the media and the opposing party is going to try to stir up any old grievances they can for political points. This time, let’s finally not be played like a dimestore harmonica, okay?

  93. midwestlady says:

    Oh, sure. It fits their paradigm to make our clergy look as ogre-like as possible.

  94. midwestlady says:

    Cardinal Wuerl most likely sees that this is an attempt to weaken us in the eyes of the rest of the nation, which is non-catholic.
    Cardinal Wuerl also most likely realizes that this is an attempt by the media to divide Catholics and weaken us by externally manipulating our internal divisions. After all, it’s worked before, hasn’t it?
    The USCCB is trying to focus us on a bigger task which is the HHS mandate and the political tasks ahead of us. In fact, they have asked us to become more politically involved.
    For all you know, this priest may be being dealt with privately much more charitably than you might think, in order to normalize his life again. The person, after all, who took advantage of him was the lesbian–remember that. It is in the Church’s interest to get the limelight off of him so that he can still function as a priest later someplace else at a later time when the heat is off.

    We need to let this take its course, and stay focused on the tasks ahead of us. We have an HHS mandate to fight, puzzles to manage in the maintenance of our apostolates, and an election that we can use, if we are smart, to make sure this mess we’re in doesn’t get ANY BIGGER.

  95. midwestlady says:

    If Rick Santorum gets the nomination, the press is going to try to play us off each other on the topic of birth control because Santorum has a bunch of kids. We can’t let them. They might also try to get him to say religious things about marriage and so on, and then create controversy among Catholics over it, for political mileage. See what I mean? It’s an old pattern and the media thinks it works because part of the time it does.

    If Romney gets the nomination, you’d better believe the news media is going to hop on his religious views too. They’re after us, so they’ll try to get Catholic interpretations of what he believes, which makes no sense, but there you are. Watch & see if I’m not right on this.

    BTW, they won’t even listen to Catholic talk about Rev Wright. He’s protected by the media. The media know that they have nothing to gain there and everything to lose.

  96. Richard M, what you quoted is not “Canon 1860″. It is paragraph 1860 from the Catechism. And it does not seem to say what it seems you think it says. Instead, some other Church teachings may help shed some light on the matter: “Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent”, and “in sins of the sexual order… it more easily happens that free consent is not fully given; this is a fact which calls for caution in all judgment as to the subject’s responsibility.” The Church does not teach that every homosexual act necessarily satisfies all three conditions for mortal sin. While we may say a homosexual act objectively satisfies the first condition, i.e. “sin whose object is grave matter”, and thus may be called “objectively mortal”, we do not know whether the subject has satisfied the two subjective conditions for mortal sin. Therefore, we do not know if the subject fell into a state of mortal sin. There is no requirement that ignorance and passions must “entirely vitiate” all culpability in order for the sin to NOT be mortal. But it would need to be sufficiently diminished such that it was not committed with so-called “full” knowledge and so-called “complete” consent. CCC#1746 clearly states that “The imputability or responsibility for an action can be diminished or nullified by ignorance, duress, fear, and other psychological or social factors.” This is hardly something that is ascertained much less properly judged about a person we’ve never met while sitting at computer keyboards. Yet, you talk of “once we’ve determined that she isn’t in a proper state to receive” and whether “such a person was in the state of grace necessary to receive communion”. Let me repeat: Judgment of whether “she” is in a state of grace is not something that “we” determine. In the words of Pope John Paul II, “The judgment of one’s state of grace obviously belongs only to the person involved, since it is a question of examining one’s conscience.” Yet, for example, the sacramental minister may exercise discretion under Canon 915, and that discretion does not involve such a judgment. But let me take a step back and comment on your statement about whether her “actions” are/were “no longer mortal sins”, by pointing out that I have yet to see it established what alleged “actions” you speak of, and that they were ever “mortal sins” for her or that she committed them. Being a lesbian is not a sin, and though I have read reports where it’s alleged that someone referred to someone as a “partner” or “lover”, that does not establish any mortal sin or homosexual act as fact. Jesus is my “lover”, and I have many “partners”, but it would be rash judgment to think we’re having a sinful sexual affair. I have heard practically nothing but hearsay about Ms. Johnson and her private life, and if I’m to err at all in discussing the matter, I’d rather err by thinking good about her than by thinking bad. The same applies to anyone.

  97. “Dimestore harmonica,” heh? LOL :-) I haven’t heard that expression in a long time. “midwestlady,” you certainly have a way with words and I appreciate your political pragmatism and your fervor. Who knows, you may be right about all this.

    In any event, thanks to the good Deacon for providing a forum for all of us to think through and discuss these kinds of issues.

    It’s past my bedtime, so this is my last comment. “midwestlady,” try not to stay up too late :-)

  98. I’m glad to hear the other side of it. I knew sooner or later things would start to fall into place. One thing I didn’t know, and I think makes a difference, is that Ms. Johnson still received communion, just not from the Fr.

  99. Michelle Visokey says:

    Are we Catholic or aren’t we??? If a Cardinal is going to suspend a priest for following Catholic doctrine, then the Cardinal needs a little meeting with the Pope to get his attitude adjusted!! I don’t care who this woman is, if she specifically made it known that she was living her life in violation of church law, she cannot receive communion. Period. I have a friend who left a very violent marriage with four children, is raising them Catholic and sends them all to Catholic school, but cannot get an annulment because her first husband will not cooperate. She has remarried, is in a beautiful, faith filled marriage, but does not receive communion, because it is against the rules. If she can’t, this woman who is violating law on purpose cannot either. This priest should be proud and I am proud of him. Why do people think the law does not apply to them??

  100. midwestlady says:

    Thanks Mark. Good night and God bless you. ;)

  101. Upon hearing the word “lover”, I would feel a duty to follow CCC#2478: “To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way: Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it…” Perhaps you can point out where Fr. Marcel explained how he investigated his interpretation, or indeed, even what exactly his interpretation was and why it led to denial of communion. It seems to me that he skipped over it. He says “Ms. Johnson’s circumstances are precisely one of those relations which impede her access to communion according to Catholic teaching”, but I have many “lovers”, hopefully including you and Fr. Marcel, and it ought not impede my access to communion according to Catholic teaching. You might also help me find where in his statement he offers any explanation why someone would have allegedly been “physically blocking” his pathway to the door and why such person would have allegedly “refused” to move if she was “politely asked” to do so. Again, it seems to me that he skipped over it. Indeed, I cannot find in his statement what all he actually said to the women or that Ms. Johnson had done or said anything but the word “lover”. Perhaps you can point it out. Because in my experience, I would expect there’s much more to the story.

  102. Tyler, when we get into “maybe”, there are many more possibilities than the those few you portend. Anyone, not just Ms. Johnson or whoever, can say something “on purpose”. And *IF* the word “lover” was actually used (we do not know) and *IF* it was used “on purpose”, it still does not mean that we must or ought “logically deduce that they knew they were engaging in mortal sin as well”, even if that seems an “easy” route for you to take. There are many other “purposes” for the word “lover” in the English language than “to let Father-in-the-sacristy know, in no uncertain terms, exactly who they were and what they represent”, whatever that means. Indeed, the word “lover” DOES NOT let us know “in no uncertain terms” such a thing, for “lover” is not such a term, but open to various meanings other than something salacious. And when I consider the grievous circumstance of her mother’s funeral, where a woman may be in need of comforting, “lover” may be an entirely appropriate word compared to “partner” for “a person who loves, especially a person who has or shows a warm and general affectionate regard for others” in such a circumstance.

  103. Henry Karlson says:

    It seems many on here are determined to attack bishops…

  104. Henry Karlson says:

    Two questions:
    First, what does this have to do with a pro-life group? Second, the comment is about the funeral, which again, is not the only thing being discussed.

  105. Henry Karlson says:

    How does this “confirm” anything? You believe the priest, so when he says something, it confirms it? Say what? Logic, please.

  106. Henry Karlson says:

    But how do you know? Why is it that people instantly believe the priest and not others with holy orders involved? Aren’t the others also being thrown under the bus instead? Again, the best response is caution, to wait for all the evidence.

  107. Henry Karlson says:

    Exactly right.

  108. Henry Karlson says:

    MWM: it seems you are trying to exploit this as an excuse to attack Cardinal Wuerl…

  109. Henry Karlson says:

    He gave a statement. It doesn’t mean it is a correct assessment of the situation. We have not seen all the evidence and heard the full story. Let’s not rush to conclusions (there seems to be a tendency from some to rush to accept someone who seems ‘conservative’ to be without problems and accept their claims; see Frs. Marcial Maciel, Corapi, et. al.). It might be the case, but again, his story contradicts what we have heard from authorities and as such, again, I think there is more which the authorities are trying to investigate but they want to do it without saying what it is (maybe to even help the priest).

  110. Henry Karlson says:

    I remember huge support for Fr. Corapi, too… and people were saying how bad it made his bishop look… again, what we have is people who don’t know making judgments which they should not be doing!

  111. Henry Karlson says:

    Again, exactly right, and what I am trying to get people to see. They are assuming way too much without knowing all the facts. It seems to be something else going on…

  112. The Archdiocese of Washington’s leadership should be considered as heretics against the dogma of the Real Presence for making it impossible for priests under their care to properly give communion to the faithful in a state of grace.

    The faithful churches in the Archdiocese of Washington should protest by writing a letter to the nuncio and then only following the nuncio’s instructions until such time as the leadership can be changed in its entirety.

  113. Henry Karlson says:


    If there is bad discipline, it doesn’t make them “heretics.” Seriously, this is ridiculous. There is no heresy against the eucharist involved here. And the canon laws were not invented by the diocese.

  114. Margaret Catherine says:

    He is/was heavily involved with the pro-life group in Germantown, MD.

  115. Sandra,

    In your world, is the sky blue?

  116. I tip my hat to the man. Very proud of him. Can’t he appeal the withdrawal of his faculties to the Holy See? If he does that, I think the Cardinal’s action is automatically stayed pending a decision in Rome, which I’m virtually positive would be in his favor. Maybe he doesn’t want to deal with the hassle or spectacle, however. Who could blame him.

  117. His statement is very credible, and her statement has many holes. The fact that she says she’s a long time Catholic and insisted on receiving the Eucharest as a Lesbian suggests to me she’s lying. That’s just one. I don’t see any holes in the Father’s testimony.

  118. We can only go by the facts on hand, and that is reduced to two testimonies, his and hers. I find his exceedingly credible and her’s definitely not credible. I guess you don’t.

  119. Sandra,

    In my world when I put my pants on in the morning I don’t question if it is actually “pants”. Nor do I have a philosophical discussion about the nature and purpose of “pants”.
    You either legitametly don’t live in the same world I live in….the rational world. OR. You are purposely (there is that word again) creating subterfuge to provide cover for the alleged victim and to confuse the issue. Outcome one I guess could be forgiven but treatment is highly recommended and outcome two would require a firm trip to the confessional. Using your logic, I think I will call one of employees today my “lover” under your context and see what happens thereafter.

  120. Henry,

    Richard Nixon ordered men to break into the watergate hotel…perhaps you could use this fact to further confuse people looking at the evidence at hand some more. Please brother stop that.

  121. What astonished me as that her lover physically blocked Father Marcel from attempting to have a conversation with her, after she unloaded the little gem on him about her lover. These were two lesbians with an agenda, and they picked this priest and the occasion of her mother’s funeral to make a statement. I also think we can also all stop behaving as if Canon 915 is the only touchstone for determining when communion can be distributed. Father Marcel identifies several other situations which do not fall within 915 and which still justify a priest to withhold communion.

  122. Henry,

    The Commentaries.. on this blog are beginning to “Change the Argument” just like the HHS Mandate Issue. We went from Violation of Religious Freedom and the media switched it to “A Generic War On Women”.
    Please Henry Stop the nonsense.
    1. We know for a fact since the event that the woman has openly identified as Lesbian who lives with her “Lover”, is a Buddhist, etc etc. She should be denied communion in every parish in the diocese now.
    2. Father’s letter now corroborates with the person who gave testimony to the minute the story broke about the confrontation in the sacristy by the women, that the women identified themselves as lovers and that he was even blocked.

    (Of course that kind of blatant confrontation was going to be dealt with by Father. Thank God there are still actually “Men” who exist in this world who are willing to confront things and it looks like Father did it with discretion.)

    Now! we are turning it into….”We just don’t know…we just can’t know..Corapi!…What about the Bishops! Cardinal Wuerl!…Global Warming! Corapi!….You can’t ever know!….HeSaid/She Said!…. This is all Bunk…the truth needs to come out. We do not and should not attack people for “Doing the Right Thing” rather its our job to hold them up as role models for Pete’s sakes.

    I get tired of the Spin. I believe Father’s story in lieu of this woman’s actions and comments since the event. After a severe beating in the press with a family that is out for his blood even after we can now openly confirm the woman is acting the heretic…..Yes, Father needs to be defended.

  123. Henry Karlson says:

    Authorities have said that the problem is something which happened after the funeral and is not connected to it; then the priest said it is all about the funeral. The fact that the priest is making this claim does not mean the authorities are changing anything. Again and again, caution is needed and people who want to support him because of the funeral should not turn a blind eye to what might be problems elsewhere. We don’t know the full facts, and his claims are not proof of anything by themselves.

  124. Henry Karlson says:

    Once again, look to Corapi and others; it is often the claim of “conservative” priests that they are being attacked for their “conservative values” and they use that to hide the real issue.

    We should be cautious and not presume when we don’t know all the facts. It is possible this is correct. But, since authorities have claimed otherwise, we must let them make their case.

  125. Henry Karlson says:

    No, there are other testimonies; we have authorities saying the discipline isn’t connected to the funeral. He is saying it is. So we have another situation and other questions. Again, we have many who try to say “I’m conservative, they are picking on me” to try to hide the real reasons for complaints (Corapi being an example).

  126. Henry,

    Your still doing it. Regardless of what happened, “Afterwards” the facts are

    1. Barbara is a practicing Lesbian, who identifies as a “Buddhist Catholic” and apparently teaches at a Catholic School
    2. Father’s letter about what happened reinforces other eye witnesses accounts, especially the confrontation in the sacristy

    These are the facts. Even if it turns out Father is a tyrant who has been in trouble with his superiors over a great many things it does not in, ANY WAY, given the facts as they are laying out, mean what he did was wrong.

  127. Henry,

    Georgetown University is a Catholic University…one of their students got up and demanded the HHS mandate not only for employees but students should be covered as well! The administrative leadership at Catholic Georgetown did not condemn her statements as well and now her statements are being contorted by the MSM and political powers that there is a “WAR AGAINST WOMEN” which has totally and utterly confused the issue from the “Religious Freedom issue it really is about”. This was done during and under the management of Catholic Georgetown University. Henry….If we want to paint in colors of “Liberal vs Conservative”….I am still waiting for the “Liberals” of that episode to get their spankings I guess. I wait often….P.S Now that Barbara is an open, avowed, quoted, and documented, heretic will she get hers…or does she get a pass?

  128. Henry – let them make their case? Are you joking? They threw Father out before even hearing his side of the story. I do not expect we’ll ever hear the outcome of their ‘investigation’. Your attempt to tie him to Fr Corapi is ridiculous. He has given a statement which rings honest and true. He is not the one who went to the media in the first place. He is fighting for his life and reputation in the Church. He has pledged his loyalty to this Church, our Holy Father and Jesus himself. I for one, will give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Having said all that, I agree Satan is enjoying the whole show. It distracts us from the real fight ahead – namely the HHS mandate and defeating Obama. Not to mention the babies dying every week in Germantown at the hands of late term abortionist Carhart, who Father so valiantly called the Butcher of Germantown and personally confronted time and time again. We will miss his leadership in Germantown. He told us we must step up and fight for what is important. I pledge to do just that.

  129. Henry Karlson says:


    What happened afterward, separate from the funeral, is what the authorities claim is the problem. They are saying he was not disciplined as a result of the funeral itself. At least read what they are saying instead of assuming it is all about the funeral!

  130. Henry Karlson says:

    Tyler, it is clear you are not able to engage facts but just presume. Sad. Ok. I have no more I need to say to you.

  131. Henry Karlson says:

    “They threw him out” was what was said about Corapi, too. And there was all kinds of defense of Corapi and vile attacks on his bishop while the bishop was trying to do things discretely to help everyone involved. Corapi gave statements which his defenders said, “See, that rings true.” The way people are quick to judge and presume shows the reaction is the same. It ties into the whole issue: people assume “he is of my values” therefore “he must be in the right” without knowing the facts. I keep saying: get the facts.

  132. I give up on you.

    YOU get the facts.

  133. Catholic News Agency is affiliated with the somewhat conservative Catholic Register. CNA should not be confused with the more neutral and much respected and long-standing Catholic News Service.

  134. The Cardinal, the Aux. Bishop and Vicar for Clergy are well respected in most dioceses and are rarely know to be rash, simplistic or impulsive. They do not change their approach because of the press nor the influence of the gay/lesbian lobbists. I give credence to the Cardinal and his advisors.

    I have a different concern about Fr. Marcel’s naming names and sharing discussions he had with a grieving individual in a press interview. Confidentiality is a christian value. Father may have openned himself to an additional need for discipline due to speaking of Ms. Johnson by name in public.

  135. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    True. Although, it should be noted: Catholic News Service works under the auspices of the USCCB.

    Dcn. G.

  136. Yes Henry, it is very sad that you have such an agenda to push.

  137. Ike,

    Nothing was said under the seal of confession, and the conversation with Johnson took place in a public space. Justice demands that a priest who believes that he is being lied about and set up be able to defend himself. I call your attention to the fact that he was ‘suspended’ based upon his disposition in the wake of the incident with Johnson, not upon that incident or anything prior to that incident. That’s pretty flimsy stuff.

    The people of God are entitled to his priestly ministry. He believes Johnson lied about him, the lies spread like wildfire through the media and the blogosphere, and then he had his ability to function as a priest removed because he had a bad week in the wake of that treatment. Of course, none of us has ever had a foul week and been an angry bear to live with, right? None of us has ever had to reconcile with a spouse after a stormy episode, right?

    Not only did he get ‘suspended’, he had a letter sent out about him all over the archdiocese, and then to the world through the media. And he’s not supposed to speak out in his own defense? No. Sorry. The man has been maligned and not afforded a shred of due process.

    We don’t deserve vocations if this is the way we treat our priests.

  138. No, a priest, deacon or religious have a right to their good reputation the same as anyone else. They are not required to mount no defense to defamatory accusations against them. It is an option, but it is not required. Father Marcel’s statement, unlike Ms. Johnson’s and her family’s, is filled with restraint, charity and knowledge of his own obligations as a priest.

  139. It is diamond.

  140. Due process? That’s the norm in a democracy, but, as has been often stated on this blog, the Church is not a democracy.

    Is not a Catholic expected to believe as the bishops do? And have not the ordained vowed to unquestioningly obey the bishops? The answer has been yes to both questions from many contributors to this blog on past issues posted by Deacon Greg.

    Given that, it seems a Catholic wrong for Fr. Marcel to have publicly said anything about his bishop’s decision. It seems he should appeal via the procedures of the Church and not in public.

    Or is it a question of whose ox is gored?

  141. A few points:
    1) Fr Guarnizo makes a good case against himself that he exercised rash judgment, whatever the alleged basis of his decision was. By his account, there were only the briefest of a moments – maybe 4 or maximum 5 minutes of conversation and banter between himself and Ms Johnson, in the presence of at least one other person. By the way, it is disputed that the word “lover” was used.
    2)His account seems to leave out some important information. His statement that the other lady blocked the narrow doorway and would not allow him to proceed comes out of nowhere. Something is missing here.
    3) I am sorry that Fr Guarnizo, for all his good qualities, has now taken up the banner of “renegade priest” by essentially accusing Bishop Barry Knestout, a man of great moderation, and by implication Cardinal Wuerl, and pastor Fr LaHood of some kind of deceit on the whole situation. Are we to believe that Bishop Knestout rounded up a conspiracy, including the funeral home people, Fr LaHood, the parish staff, the folks in the chancery? This is all sounding like a Dan Brown plot.
    4)Fr Guarnizo sounds like he is working with a PR team that decided to go to the press. I think that he was poorly advised on this. The statement has the tone of a collaborative effort. Is this how clergy handle matters with the hierarchy? If so, then do not expect lay people to pay the hierarchy any heed either if the visiting clergy from Moscow get away with this.
    5) Fr Guarnizo sounds like a totally loose cannon with his reminder that he is not a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, and subject to Cardinal Wuerl. The Cardinal has a tough job working in the Nation’s Capital, and people like Fr Guarnizo do not make it any easier. Where is the Archbishop of Moscow, Paolo Pezzi in all of this? It really sounds like Fr Guarnizo is under no authority, no bishop, and has no proper supervision.
    6) Too bad that if this is why he left the altar, that he did not excuse himself once he returned. No big explanation was necessary. He could have said,”I am so sorry that I had to absent myself for a moment.” Then there would have been no mystery, following everything else that he says had transpired that day.
    Fr Guarnizo has undoubtedly had lots of stress with this entire episode. Would that he were resting on a silent retreat to let the dust settle, instead working up a media defense for this situation. I fear that he has tossed gasoline on a situation that is ready to get out of control.

  142. Bill Kelly says:

    The Fr. Marcel entire event was planned by those people who are working full time to harm the Catholic Church. Those who call themselves “Gay” are deceitful, dishonest and will do anything to any organization that does not fully “support” them. Please people support Fr. Marcel in this matter. I am disappointed that the Bishop would take the side of this self proclaimed lesbian, before supporting his own priest. Of course if Fr. Marcel was abusing children we could have the Church protect him. I am ashamed and heart broken that the church is “blaming” a good and holy man. God Help us all.

  143. Richard M says:

    Hello Sandra,

    I stand corrected on the Catechism. That was egregiously bad. I blame it on sleep deprivation.

    But I’m afraid your standard would make it impossible to keep from communion any practicing homosexual who did not list his/her sexual sins in number and in kind – at least under the 1983 code, which while very regrettably more generous than the 1917, doesn’t set the bar quite that high. If Fr. Guarnizo’s narrative is accurate, Johnson pretty clearly represented the other woman as her lover, and sexual lover at that. I concede, however, that that would have made her mortal sin (and yes, these are mortal sins) manifest, at least to the priest, but perhaps not obstinate, since she had not had the opportunity to be corrected or repent yet.

    In any event, it would be a moot point now, since a mortal sin analysis is no longer necessary to deny Ms. Johnson communion. We now have the clear prospect of grave scandal, since her lifestyle and beliefs are known to pretty much everyone, as Ed Peters has rightly noted.

  144. Richard M says:

    … but I have many “lovers”, hopefully including you and Fr. Marcel, and it ought not impede my access to communion according to Catholic teaching.

    Really, now: this is more than a stretch.

    Unfortunately, English does not have clear and distinct words for the different kinds of love. And when someone uses the word “lover,” they are (in every context I am familiar with) using it in the sense of eros, not agape, philia, or storge.

    I do agree that it would have been desirable for Father to get more information. It’s armchair quarterbacking, to be sure, but I would have made a point to refuse to start the mass until I had that conversation with her.

  145. Absent scientific evidence to the contrary, it is illogical to equate “gay” with deceit, dishonesty, and the wish to do organizations harm. Additionally, such a broad brush of malignment (is that a word?) seems unchristian in that it assumes evil intentions.

    One can disagree, based on one’s morals, upbringing, religion, and experience, with the homosexual lifestyle or the acceptance of same by non-homosexuals. It is another thing altogether to equate it with other perceived wrongs without evidence. And, as an aside, anecdotal events and hearsay are not evidence.

  146. Tyler, I don’t know that she’d need “cover” for saying “lover”, if that be the word she used. But as JKM suggested and as has otherwise been reported, perhaps she actually said “partner”. Either way, I don’t see that the utterance of a single word would provide a just basis to presume she was confessing or revealing a mortal sin. I have many lovers, including of the same-sex and opposite-sex. They love me, and I love them. It’s not a sin or a dirty word. Same with “partner”, “couple” and “live together” too. I use all these words and terms. Which would you prefer? Because the Church “speaks all tongues, understands and accepts all tongues in her love”. That’s what she professes. Does she not profess the truth?

  147. I stand with the cardinal and his aux. bishop and vicar. A susension was determined to be necessary for maltreatment of staff members at his parish.

    2nd Point: The priest is permitted to defind himself but I still believe he has a duty not to feed the flames of the blog world by telling of a conversation behind closed doors (I never referenced the seal of confession). I was talking of christian kindness… which is the start point for this entire discussion. Christian kindness at the funneral would have avoided the entire issue.

  148. Who can blame the diocese for desiring to avoid that?

    People who believe that bullying must be resisted, not rewarded. Thanks for asking.

  149. Katie Angel says:

    I think the difference is that in the Corapi case, he is the one that started the media battle and kept bringing it back up whenever interest died down whereas, in this case, it was Ms. Johnson and her family that brought it up to the media and has kept up the pressure. I do not know what the AoW has discovered about his bahavior and I am willing to wait until they finish their investigation to find out (or not). The part that bothers me is the the instant jumping to judgement either for or against one or the other set of ordained clery (Father Marcel vs. the Bishop and Cardinal).

  150. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    And, please, let’s try to keep some perspective.

    The charges Corapi faced were very serious — including having a sexual relationship with a consenting adult.

    Thus far, the only charges Fr. Marcel is facing — that we are aware of — is that he was insensitive to someone at a funeral, and “intimidating” to people in the days after (whatever that means.)

    Dcn. G.

  151. he looks like a KD Lang impersonator

    My dear Lord High Admiral: That is because kd lang impersonates the appearance of a young man. That’s where the irony resides.

  152. Henry Karlson says:

    The intimidation could be something quite serious; but we must remember that perspective is needed for all, and that we don’t know the full charges while we have one side being promoted all over the internet is what is parallel and where the analogy lies and is valid.

  153. Henry, your respect for authority is…admirable — but in this case, their unseemly haste and lack of corroboration from disinterested persons convinces me that they’re more interested in their agenda than in impartiality.

  154. Richard, my standard is the Church’s, whatever that may be. And I doesn’t seem to me that Mr. Peters thinks it “makes it impossible” to withhold communion from anyone, even if the standard precluded it in this case. The reported “narrative” of Fr. Marcel, even if it be “accurate” in some sense, is vague and rather barren about whatever allegedly happened in the “few minutes before the Mass began”, focusing mostly on the “other woman” and alleging but a single word “lover” from Ms. Johnson. It does not describe Fr. Marcel as having any conversation with Ms. Johnson or asking her even a single question. The single word “lover” does NOT “clearly represent” “sexual lover”, for you yourself apparently felt the need to add the modifier “sexual” to make clearer what you wanted to say, and Fr. Marcel does not use that modifier but only the vague phrase “Ms. Johnson’s circumstances”, whatever that’s supposed to mean. As to “manifest”, it does not seem to me that Mr. Peters and others believe that telling a priest something in private constitutes what Canon 915 means by “manifest”, i.e. public. And again, even as to what might have been known privately about Ms. Johnson is not established to be mortal sin by the mere word “lover”.

    As to what you allege to be “moot”, I do not believe she’d be denied at most churches even if she might have a problem at a few. And I don’t see the basis for your claim that her “lifestyle and beliefs are known pretty much to everyone”, as even I don’t know her “lifestyle” or beliefs, and I have followed this thing much more closely than “much everyone”.

  155. There were plenty of “conservatives” who had a bad feeling about Corapi before he went totally AWOL. Most others distanced themselves from him very shortly afterwards. Has he any following at all any more? Enough of this impertinent myth of John Corapi as Conservative Martyr.

  156. the Church is not a democracy.

    Nor is it dictatorship.

    Let’s not pretend that bishops rule as despots rule unresisted through force of will. It was Bishop Knestout’s (and that of others?) decision to engage in gratuitous detraction, publicly sowing doubts about Fr. Marcel’s character. It is entirely within Fr. Marcel’s rights to protest his innocence and unjust deprivation of faculties. Fr. Marcel has rights in canon law as well as natural law, and he does well to assert them.

  157. His statement that the other lady blocked the narrow doorway and would not allow him to proceed comes out of nowhere.

    No it doesn’t. I saw that allegation by one who identified herself as a witness, very shortly after this story broke.

  158. Richard, if “in every context [you're] familiar with” the word “lover” is always used in the sense of eros, then you have not, for example, familiarized yourself with the Church’s many teachings. But I’ll remind that I’m not convinced that Ms. Johnson used the word “lover”. She might have, but then again, Fr. Marcel might have just thought/said she did. Just as you might say it’s a stretch to think “lover” would not mean eros, others would say they think it’s a stretch to believe that she used that word. As has been noted, “partner” may be a more commonly used term in such a context.

  159. The statement you refer to came from a woman who was at a meeting after the funeral and heard from “someone who knew” about the use of the word “lover” and the doorway-blocking. That account matches Fr Marcel’s word for word, so I would expect that it is not independent corroboration, but simply Fr Marcel’s story in another’s mouth.

  160. midwestlady says:

    If you guys put half this much energy into vetting Obama instead of attacking our own bishops, the whole country would be better off.

  161. midwestlady says:

    And up comes the Fr. Corapi thing. Have we started talking about Hitler yet?

  162. midwestlady says:

    If you guys put half this much energy into vetting Obama instead of attacking the bishops, this whole country would be better off.

  163. Thank you, midwestlady. Honestly!

  164. Gerard, you say “the conversation with Johnson took place in a public space”. What conversation? There is no conversation with Johnson reported in Fr. Marcel’s statement.

    And maybe you believe that “he believes Johnson lied about him”, and if so, that would be your belief. But that doesn’t make it his belief.

  165. Fair enough, Fr. Jim. My point was not to agree with denying a funeral Mass or to suggest that a Mass doesn’t have infinitely more value than a funeral service without a Mass, but simply to suggest that it would satisfy the requirment for an ecclesiastical funeral, not that it is ideal or the norm (there was no reason to capitalize the word that way). And certainly to have changed it then and there would have caused a much greater harm.

    As for Tyler’s comment, I think he has a good point. Why did Barbara Johnson feel obliged to go to the sacristy with that particular piece of information?

  166. Amen.

  167. The vetting problem was with Palin.

  168. Margaret Catherine says:

    It isn’t so much the man. It’s the knee-jerk reaction so many (not you) have of circling the wagons and condemning anyone and everyone who breathes a word against this obviously good and holy and much maligned priest. He may be all of that. He may not be; here, either the priest or his pastor and bishop are flat-out lying. We don’t have the facts to determine who it is, yet we fall right back into the same worn-out pattern of which Corapi was just the most recent example. We indeed get played, time and again, and we never learn.

  169. Henry Karlson says:

    What, there are so many circling the wagons to attack bishops. Seriously, look to what is being said. So much presumption.

  170. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Someone just reminded me of another wrinkle in this case: last summer, evidently, Fr. Marcel got in hot water for performing a public exorcism outside the Gaithersburg abortion clinic. I haven’t been able to find any news articles on the subject, so don’t know how the Archdiocese responded to that.

    I suspect that’s another factor in this mess.

    Dcn. G.

  171. midwestlady says:

    So, where are you, in a cave. Brings to mind Plato’s Republic, doesn’t it?

  172. midwestlady says:

    Palin. This is 2012. Palin’s not even running.

  173. Does it really support his account? For example, it links to the Archdiocese saying “The Archdiocese of Washington recognizes that the prime obligation to determine one’s preparedness to receive Communion falls to the persons who are presenting themselves for Communion. In extreme cases where someone has been formally excommunicated or is trying to use the Eucharist to make a political statement it is appropriate to consider denying Communion.”

    As I’ve not seen any report that Ms. Johnson had been “formally excommunicated” or was “trying to use the Eucharist to make a political statement”, the Archdiocese’s statement would seem to be saying that Fr. Marcel was wrong to deny Ms. Johnson Communion.

    And in light of the “intimidation” claims, was he “attempting to follow” Ms. Johnson if/when she did not wish to be pursued? It would seem rather extreme if someone had to physically block the door in order to stop his pursuit. It reports that the man is “well known for his outspoken” “front lines” behavior. A war at a funeral?

  174. Resting in the cave of the heart.

  175. This is 2012. Obama has been being vetted for years. Go vet Romney.

  176. Hello Sandra,

    The Church’s teachings are neither here nor there, because they’ve had no tangible effect on regular, colloquial discourse in America. When someone says “lover” the overwhelming usage is understood to encompass sexual relations, period. You can’t finesse this away with extremely implausible definitions of the word “lover.”

    I *do* agree that “lover” is not a usual term of art in the gay community. “Partner” is more common, at least in my limited experience. Likewise, I agree that we can’t be certain if Fr. Guarnizo’s recollection is accurate. Unfortunately, we’ll never know, unless someone had a recording device present.

    If the good Father’s account is accurate – I have no reason to believe otherwise, but obviously I can’t be 100% certain – it would seem that Ms. Johnson put him in a difficult spot, given how seriously he took his responsibility to preserve the Eucharist from sacrilege. I readily concede that more information would have been desirable, and I would have made it a point to delay the mass to get it. If Johnson did confirm that she was a sexually active lesbian, then that’s the time to inform her she can’t receive, or in the alternative, to give her confession on the spot. Doing so at the communion rail (forgive the anachronism) is the least ideal situation. Very occasionally, it is a necessary situation – but never ideal.

  177. midwestlady says:

    That wasn’t Plato’s cave.

  178. midwestlady says:

    Obama has never been properly vetted. He’s about to get vetted this election, though.

    He attacked us openly. Full-face attacked us. There is no mistaking or explaining away what he did to us. We don’t have to put up with that.

  179. midwestlady says:

    Cardinal Wuerl is trying to cool things down and that’s appropriate. This isn’t the real issue with the HHS Mandate and the Cardinal knows this as we all should. The real issues with the mandate are:
    a) It needs to be evaluated in the Supreme Court for constitutionality.
    b) It was a full-face frontal attack on the Catholic Church by Obama, Pelosi and the Democrats.

    We don’t have to put up with this kind of aggression. We have an election in the fall and it’s time to fix the problem. We need to elect someone else who won’t be attacking us all the time.

  180. That’s interesting. Is there a rite for that? I heard that Pius XII attempted a “remote” exorcism on Hitler from Rome once but I don’t know if that was anecdotal.

  181. midwestlady says:

    So, we’re arguing about what the meaning of “is” is.


  182. midwestlady says:

    Arguing about what the meaning of “is” is again.

  183. I might agree with you if the venue was other than Mass.

  184. Richard, whatever she said and meant is a fact of history and not something yet to be decided by a roulette wheel or popular opinion poll, nor was it ever decided by such a thing. It was decided by her, a unique personality. No “overwhelming usage” decides the meaning of whatever she said. It’s not a matter of popular opinion or “finesse”. It’s a matter of fact already decided by her and uniquely her.

    Given that I don’t know what she said much less what she meant, I leave the door open, to the seemingly likely and the seemingly unlikely, more ready to give a favorable interpretation than an unfavorable interpretation even if it is seemingly less likely.

    You say you have don’t have a reason to disbelieve Fr. Marcel’s account, and we can say a similar thing about other accounts, even contradictory ones. You can say Fr. Marcel was in a “difficult spot” that day, and we can also say that the woman was too. It’s subjective whooey that doesn’t decide who to believe or not to believe.

    You say “If she did confirm that she was a sexually active lesbian, then that’s the time to inform her she can’t receive”, but whether that be so or not, it remains that “she mustn’t receive” is not the same as “he mustn’t serve”. Likewise, what someone is told in private is not the same as what is known in public, and likewise in regard to the consequences. Or so I’ve been told.

    You talk of “giving her confession on the spot”, but I don’t see where it was established that she needed it or asked for it.

    And it still doesn’t answer the question of whether Fr. Marcel was right or wrong to deny her communion. Fr. Marcel alleged “there was no scandal”, but I don’t know what he means by that given the fuss and confusion. He gives examples of cases where he claims he can deny communion, including the instance case of Ms. Johnson, but his examples do not seem to square with the recent statement published by the Archdiocese in the Washington Post. No scandal? Really?

  185. You can watch his exorcism video at vimeo dot com/27368620

  186. I am attending a talk by Father Thomas at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio on April 10th on “Exorcism: Myths, Facts, and Mystery.”

    Father Thomas is the Real Life Exorcist who was the basis of both Matt Baglio’s book, “The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist”, and the popular 2011 film “The Rite” from that book. In the book and movie, the true experience of the Catholic ritual is revealed.

    This priest actually is an excorcist and he is the true life character upon which the book and movie are based. He has been in direct battle with Satan after the call by the Pope for parishes around the world to have somone trained to fight the devil who was roaming the earth and causing great harm.

    In reading this book, we learn a great deal about the real life battle with Satan. To doubt that Satan roams free around abortion mills should not be a surprise to anyone. I am going because I think it is certainly something all Catholics need to understand and also to try to see where we are at most danger from Satan attack. It is interesting that I have talked with a few people who are skeptical about the Catholic Church and if God, heaven, and hell are real. I invited a few to attend this with me and you could see by the look on their face that they believe enough that something like this puts fear into them.

    I will put down this question and abortion mills into the discussion after the talk. Nothing like a priest who has been trained in Rome for this purpose and who has faced Satan in real life.

  187. Bill, I do not agree that those who call themselves gay can be grouped in this way. I think there are activist in the gay community whose entire life is to make everyone accept that this is normal and must be accepted in every way. They are usually at odds with the Catholic Church or any other that is against this teaching. I have met and talked with a number of people who have same sex attraction and like any other weakness human beings seem to have, they are battling that weakness. They deserve our love and respect. They also should allow us to have our religious beliefs witht he same love and respect. Every sinner would like to have their sin, their weakness, their thorn in the heel made normal and accepted. Other sins have been accepted by society such as greed and gluttony, and one could also argue stealing as many think it is OK to cheat a little on taxes or expense reports or keeping that mistake at the counter when you got more back than you were supposed to.

    I agree with you that as more information has come in about this lady that her past actions and her activist type action of going back to the sacristy set off some alarm bells about similar type attacks with the Rainbow group. I think the Bishops have failed to give consistent strong messages about dealing with this type of thing and thus leave or priest hanging out to dry with the only safe choice seeming to be to go against protecting the Eucharist from sacrilege. I have issue with back seat drivers who haven’t been consistent bashing the front line guy who had to make an instantaneous decision. I think the leadership failed also after the fact in how they handled this issue.

  188. I am engaging in facts….one fact is that you are using red herrings to take people off the main issue …according to father she confronted him…with her lover.