Priest who refused communion to lesbian placed on leave, faculties removed — UPDATED

A couple people dropped me an e-mail or left a comment in the combox about this.  Fr. Marcel Guarnizo can no longer function as a priest in the Archdiocese of Washington. Details below, courtesy Abbey Roads:

A reader told me that Fr. Marcel’s pastor read the above letter at all the Masses this weekend, and took pains to point out that it was unrelated to the communion controversy.

Stay tuned. And keep all concerned in your prayers.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has more:

A statement Sunday from the family of Barbara Johnson, the woman who was denied communion, implied that the investigation and punishment were not related to the Feb. 25 funeral Mass at St. John Neumann parish. As Johnson, 51, a D.C. artist, approached Guarnizo in the Communion line that day, he covered the bread and told her that he could not give her the sacrament “because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin,” Johnson recalled of the interaction.

Guarnizo as well as staff at the archdiocese and the parish have refused to comment on what happened at the Mass.

Johnson declined to comment Sunday beyond this statement:

“The Johnson family continues to pray for the Archdiocese of Washington, Father Guarnizo, and all Catholics during this time of upheaval. While we understand this letter does not pertain to the events that occurred at our mother’s funeral, we are hopeful that Bishop Knestout’s decision will ensure that no others will have to undergo the traumatic experiences brought upon our family. We urge all Catholics to put aside political points of view, and pray that our Church will remain in Christ’s love.”

The interaction between Johnson and Guarnizo, who grew up in Northern Virginia and has spent much of his ministry in Russia and Eastern Europe, triggered intense debate and feelings among Catholics on the Web. Some said being in a same-sex relationship makes someone automatically ineligible for Communion, a moment that Catholicism teaches creates the actual presence of Jesus Christ and is not for people outside of a “state of grace.” Others said the process of determining a person’s “state of grace” is a far more complex and personal, something between a Catholic and God.

UPDATE II: Canon lawyer Ed Peters offers his own analysis:

1. Fr. Guarnizo has not been suspended (suspension is a canonical penalty levied only upon guilt for crimes, per c. 1333), but he has been placed on “administrative leave”, a term not found in the Code, but nevertheless serving as a practical description of a situation in which, usually, one is not permitted to function as a cleric for so long as a wider situation requires resolution. A priest’s faculties for confession, preaching (homilies), witnessing weddings, etc. can be restricted a couple of different ways, and there is no reason to think that those ways were not satisfied in this action (although direct discussion of them is lacking).

From the text of the letter, I cannot tell whether Guarnizo is prohibited from celebrating Mass even in private (he is certainly prohibited from public celebration), although the trend in such cases is to allow for private celebration. This question could easily be addressed between Knestout and Guarnizo, and probably has already been answered.

2. A vicar general almost certainly has sufficient authority to issue such a letter (c. 479 § 1); one may expect the Cardinal to be informed of this action in a timely manner (c. 480).

3. As a parochial vicar, Guarnizo has considerably fewer procedural rights to office than would a pastor. Compare a pastor’s rights under c. 522, etc., and c. 1740 etc., with those of a parochial vicar, per c. 552. All associate pastors know this.

4. Guarnizo is not “incardinated” in the Archdiocese of Washington (c. 265 etc.); the situation of an “extern” priest is inherently more tenuous than is the situation of locally incardinated clergy, it being a function more of contract (express or implied) than of law. All extern priests know this.

5. Little in Knestout’s letter suggests that this action is being taken in response to the lesbian/Communion controversy (though one may be sure that the pro-lesbian camp will claim victory, and the pro-Guarnizo camp will decry the ‘mistreatment’ of the priest).

The allegations of “intimidating behavior” by Guarnizo are not recited in Knestout’s letter, but three questions would occur to me: (a) is this just a pile-on by people looking to kick Guarnizo while he is down?, or (b) are there long-standing legitimate complaints against Guarnizo that the recent controversy made more likely to surface? , or (c) did Guarnizo’s post-controversy conduct in the parish render him intemperate with others, provoking what are really recent complaints? Such are the things that an investigation is designed to, well, investigate.


  1. The Archdiocese of Moscow, Russia? This story gets curiouser and curiouser.

  2. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Um, yeah.

    Not sure how a young man from the Diocese of Arlington ended up studying in Rome but then being ordained for Moscow and then assigned to the Archdiocese of Washington.

  3. …and took pains to point out that it was unrelated to the communion controversy.

    I would like to respond to that. But I don’t think I can without recourse to language I picked up in the Navy and which our host might not appreciate on a Christian blog.

  4. Indeed. I think the Roman Church has gone certifiably mad. If you don’t want this fine priest, send him back to Russia. We will take him with great joy!

  5. Grave matters sounds serious. The truth will come out, I hope it’s reported here because no place in the MSM is trustworthy.

  6. First of all, by now it should be clear that Barbara Johnson cannot receive communion unless and until she meets with a priest and, most likely, receives the sacrament of reconciliation. Let’s just get that out in the open so this doesn’t look like some “victory” for her and some who may be backing her.

    As for this letter, the timing is obviously horrendous. The bishop says it is “unrelated” to what happened with Johnson, but it’s a heck of a coincidence. I would love to know what this “intimidating” behavior has been, has he been threatening to beat up parish staff?

  7. Alan G Yost says:

    Good! The man is a disgrace. He certainly does not reflect Christ as I know him from the gospels and from my own life of prayer and priestly formation. I love the quote from a movie named “Priest,” which I paraphrase:

    “I always assume the faithful are much more worthy to receive the sacrament than I am to administer it.”

  8. Johnson was on a crusade to get the priest, Fr. Marcel Guarnizo, removed from ministry, telling the Post that Fr. Marcel “brought [his] politics, not [his] God into that Church and that he will “pay dearly on the day of judgement for judging [her].” She continues:Johnson is a self-professed Buddhist? No wonder she describes herself as a “student of … Buddhist
    So what was she doing presenting herself for Communion at her mother’s funeral if she apostatized? Why has she failed to mention this important fact in all of her appearances on the media?
    Could it be, quite simply, because she herself has a political agenda?philosophyohnson should not have gone forward to receive Holy Communion since she is not in communion with the Catholic church. Had there been a person attending the funeral Mass who was straight and in a state of mortal sin (and Fr Guarnizao and the rest of the community was aware of it), I would expect that he would be consistent in his denial of Holy Eucharist. Since Johnson is a lesbian

  9. Fr. Deacon Daniel says:

    It appears Dr. Ed Peters has offered his insights on some of the bizarre developments related to this matter:

    This part was especially interesting and touches on things that I wondered about as well pertaining to the allegations of “intimidating behavior”:

    “The allegations of “intimidating behavior” by Guarnizo are not recited in Knestout’s letter, but three questions would occur to me: (a) is this just a pile-on by people looking to kick Guarnizo while he is down?, or (b) are there long-standing legitimate complaints against Guarnizo that the recent controversy made more likely to surface? , or (c) did Guarnizo’s post-controversy conduct in the parish render him intemperate with others, provoking what are really recent complaints? Such are the things that an investigation is designed to, well, investigate.”

    Prayers for all involved…

  10. I am speechless and VERY discouraged…The Roman Catholic Church in America is going off its rails

  11. I read Ed Peters’ post over at Fr. Z and I must say I find his rush to adjudge this priest guilty of a violation of canon law rather dis-edifying. But then again, maybe he is privy to all the facts of what happened that day, unlike the rest of us. Maybe he has interviewed the priest in question. Maybe that information can be shared?

  12. A celibate homosexual or heterosexual can accept Eucharist. A homosexual or heterosexual in an adulterous situation cannot and should not accept Eucharist. There is nothing homophobic or heterophobic in this.
    Marriage (notice the lack of an adjective) is the sole sexual vehicle available to practising Catholics.

  13. God help us. Now we throw orthodox priests under the bus. But the powers to be inside the beltway will get invited to all the best bashes inside the beltway.

  14. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.”

  15. kevin, as the Notice on my blog states, “In commenting on current events, I draw only on reports made in publicly-available sources.” As for whether I rushed to any judgment of guilt, I’m content to let my posts speak for themselves. Best, edp.

  16. I would give the dioceses a failing grade on handling this matter from day one. It is almost laughable to have this happen in the midst of the controversy and say it had no bearing. When did the complaints about this priest start about issues of grave concern? By removing a priest without giving clear indication in the midst of the other matter in my view will embolden others with an agenda to come after other priest. Thus, any priest now becomes a prime target of those whose hatred of Church teaching controls their lives and activities.

    Note how the gay site dignity is touting this as a “first step”.

    “Now, we call on the Archdiocese of Washington, DC and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to work on addressing the climate that allowed Father Guarnizo to believe this was an appropriate response. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Catholics and our families experience exclusion at Mass every single week, although in ways not as dramatic as this incident. We need our Church leaders to hear what this feels like to us, and to work with us on ways to strengthen our Church. Can we honor the memory of Barbara Johnson’s mother, whose faith was clearly so important to her, by beginning to talk with each other?”

    I would hope that this priest takes this issue to the Vatican asking them to take a look at this situation to see if the Archdiocese of Washington is supporting its priests in the face of those living in grave sin open attack in this parish.

    As to a priest not getting along and seeming to say I want this done this way period, if that is a grave issue, I can name a lot of priests who would have to be removed because they can come down quite hard on staff. If the parishoners complain, what are those complaints and are they around this priest standing up for Catholic Church teaching which makes this dioceses leadership uncomfortable as they rub elbows with the Washington elite?

    What is clear is that we will see more of these “situations” and need our priests to be protected from those intent on tearing down Church teaching as we clearly see in the letter from Dignity at the link above. This is called appeasement and never works.

    Even if there are other serious issues, the timing is horrible and this letter so poorly written that I fear it gives aid and comfort to those living in grave sin. As Cardinal Dolan has spoken recently of sheding blood and the attacks on the Church, I would think situations like this need to be reviewed immediately.

  17. The Germans during WWII called that the Eastern Front…LOL.

  18. I think a relocation to a different diocese might serve everyone’s interest.

    On a separate but related issue, does Barbara Johnson seem like another Sandra Fluke? They seem like they’re both there to intentionally undermine the Church and her values. They both seem like plants.

  19. Just curious. Is there any criteria by which you refuse to serve the Euchrest to someone?

  20. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    I think there is a similar rush by some here to adjudge the Archdiocese guilty, and the priest innocent — a victim, perhaps, of some other agenda.

    We don’t know enough to judge either way. The evidence seems to me, at best, circumstantial.

    Dcn. G.

  21. Kathryn Ventura says:

    Amen to that! I love the latin by the way.

  22. There are so many things that I want to say, some of which many of you have said, some of which if I cannot for a variety of reasons.

    This has been a public relations disaster from the very start for this Archdiocese. The moment they said “Fr. Marcel did wrong” without presenting all of the facts — who did what and when and why — they blew it. Presenting all of the known facts (and a simple search on the web would have helped) would not only have put the Archdiocese in a better light in the court of public opinion but also would have been a teachable moment for all — Catholics and non-Catholics alike. It would have answered such questions as when should one receive, when should one not, etc. The fashion they are doing it now, is too late and too little.

    This, as Mark has said, gives our enemies and the allies of Satan a chance to beat us up over and over and over. Some of our bishops and priests will succumb to this and bow to the pressure and our faithful will continue to be misled.

    Even if these “credible allegations” are found to be false. Fr. Marcel will NEVER get his reputation and good name back.

    The Archdiocese will come out much poorer (and not necessarily $$ wise) from this, as those who oppose the Church’s teachings will see victory, and those who attempt to remain faithful, will have their foundation shaken.

  23. If there were an Academy Award for Extremely Poor Timing, this diocese as well as my own would be in a neck-and-neck race to win the Oscar. It’s hard to believe, after a lifetime of witnessing Extremely Poor Timing (kick out seminarians at the end of their diaconate year, toss out pastors for poor management and then hire lay parish managers, etc.), that this letter is completely unrelated to the now-infamous funeral. Very, very hard.

    Every time I start to think the Church is finally doing right things (e. g. Cardinal Dolan’s strong stance against the HHS mandate, echoed by all our bishops), something like this happens.

    I am praying very hard for everyone involved, and hoping against hope that this beleaguered priest is treated fairly. I am not, however, holding my breath.

  24. Kathryn Ventura says:

    Regardless of your personal opinion or my opinion of this article, I am glad to have read your input: “I always assume the faithful are much more worthy to receive the sacrament than I am to administer it.” Such a profound humble statement that speaks heaps and volumes to my soul. Thanks for sharing that. I saw the movie priest too.

  25. Kathryn Ventura says:

    Be of good cheer Robyn. Christ has overcome the world and the gates of hell do prevail against St. Peter’s church.

  26. C.S. Lewis once described a “social martyrdom” that would replace physical martyrdom. I have no idea what happened that day other than what I have read. But I think C.S. Lewis was right. all of you who actually accept the Catholic faith (whether or not you live it out) will eventually suffer a kind of social martyrdom.

  27. Kathryn Ventura says:

    oops that should read: “and the gates of hell shall not prevail.”

  28. pagansister says:

    The timing of this does seem to be interesting, even though the claim is that it has nothing to do with the Father refusing communion to Johnson.

  29. Michael Cedrone says:

    Kevin, By what authority do you judge the state of Barbara Johnson’s immortal soul? Have you met her? Have you interviewed her? Have you examined her conscience?

  30. (hopefully “not” wasn’t a typo in the New Testament…. )

  31. Richard M says:

    “He certainly does not reflect Christ as I know him from the gospels.”

    None of us really resemble the Christ as we know Him from the Gospels.

    But there is also the Christ that is directly and immediately present in the Eucharist, too – He is there, body, blood, soul and divinity. It’s not a memorial. It’s not a meal. And St. Paul warns us of the perils of receiving unworthily (1 Corinthians 11).

    We still do not know all the details of what happened on that day of the funeral mass, nor what has happened since. I will venture to say, however, that while it does appear that Fr. Guarnizo may have had an error in judgment in applying canon 915 to deny Barbara Johnson communion, there is nothing “disgraceful” about an apparent deep concern for not only the integrity of the Eucharist, but the peril of Ms. Johnson’s own soul.

  32. Cardinal Wuerl and Bishop Knestout are not going to take such action lightly. I think that whatever differences anyone (including myself) may have with them, we have to assume that the action concerning Fr Marcel Guarnizo was not taken without very substantial reason. I have had questions about Fr Guarnizo for some time, and have been very curious about his unusual biography. He Is born in Columbia, South America, raised in Arlington, VA, high school there at Bishop O’Connell, seminary in Rome, and ordained in Moscow? Priest of the Archdiocese of Moscow? How did he end up here, and more importantly, why? One web site indicated that he is not fluent in the Russian language. I am wondering if he has been properly screened (psychologically), trained, and ordained. There is strangely a certain grandiosity about him (heads organizations that are going to totally reform Russia and all eastern Europe), reportedly would jump out with a camera at those entering abortion clinic, dressing differently, pronouncing the name of the parish in Gaithersburg differently than is pronounced in the US, administering communion with “Corpus Christi” instead of “Body of Christ”, leading public Latin prayers, etc. I love Latin (studied it 5 years), but it strange from a man who never lived in the era of the Latin mass. Of course, none if this is reason to remove a priest, but in hind sight may all be indications of some stability issues that have been ignored because of our priest shortage. Although part of me hopes that this is all a terrible mistake, my information makes me wonder if the poor man is really cut out for ministry.

  33. Joe Cleary says:

    While I am sure that Ed Peters is right- the vicar general has the authority to implement this, I cannot imagine this serious action occurs without an advance vetting / review / discussion with the Cardinal – in regular situations that are not newsworthy.

    This hardly being regular and clearly newsworthy and controversial to boot , the ordinary certainly fully reviewed and approved this action in advance.

  34. The timing more than stinks on this one. If the allegations against Father Marcel are those of a longstanding nature and sufficiently serious to merit the above letter, then why didn’t his pastor act sooner? Pastors can, and do, have associates removed in short order and for far less than this letter indicates.

    If the issues are indeed longstanding and the pastor didn’t move to have Father Marcel disciplined, then that’s a failure of leadership on the pastor’s part and he ought to come in for severe criticism and correction for allowing the sort of behavior alleged in the letter go on for so long. After all, the allegations are severe enough to remove this priest from public ministry. That’s more than just a personality issue.

    If on the other hand the issues are not longstanding, then the allegations ought to be interpreted in light of their timing, rendering this very public letter an act of injustice.

    Either way, it doesn’t look good for Father Marcel, his pastor, or the Archdiocese.

  35. “Engaged in intimidating behavior towards parish staff” is the key phrase in the Aux. Bishops’s letter and apparently the pretext for putting the priest on admin. leave.

    However, “engaged in intimidating behavior” could mean a wide variety of things and is vague to the point of being meaningless. Maybe he gave the folks on the parish staff a few too many stern looks (and they got spooked by it) … or maybe it is something far more serious. Sounds like the usual “bureaucratese” and it doesn’t smell right.

    The priest will be getting my prayers … and the benefit of the doubt from me.

    Incidentally, the information on the priest (ordained in Moscow, etc.) was no surprise to me. When this story first broke, it didn’t take much effort to google either the priest or “Barbara Johnson” to get the full story on both of them. I also googled “Barry Knestout” at the time to get an idea of what he’s all about. Too bad the folks in the mainstream media — the so-called “professional journalists” — aren’t as diligent as “little old me” to get to the bottom of the story.

  36. Donna, what evidence do you have that Ms. Johnson was on a crusade to have Father Guarnizo removed? And are you saying her “crusade” began because of this incident, or are you implying that she started this whole incident on behalf of someone or some group? If she was indeed “crusading” against Fr. Guarnizo, why would she have chosen him? Was it the convenience of her mother’s funeral, or did she have issues with him in the past, or did someone tell her that he was too orthodox?

    A note to all: I think we all need to not only read what Dr. Peters says, but note his restraint: his statements and interpretations are based on the facts as he knows them, without any assumptions or presumptions otherwise.

  37. Fr. Deacon Daniel says:

    “Even if these “credible allegations” are found to be false. Fr. Marcel will NEVER get his reputation and good name back.”

    I had the very same thought. Having worked in corporate HR for decades, this level of public disclosure based solely on allegations (credible or no) might be grounds for terminating the author’s employment, not to mention a possible lawsuit. I get the distinct impression that despite the Vicar General’s stated “hope” that Fr. Marcel will return to priestly ministry, the specifics provided in the letter about the allegations leave little hope that such a return will be possible or even desirable by either party, at least not within the Archdiocese of Washington.

  38. Mich-Ael

    Her public admittance now, post-funereal, that indeed she is A practicing lesbian and living with her “partner”, i depise that word beyond any reference oher than a cowboy movie, should suffice…..don’t you think mikeee

  39. Peter,

    St. John Neumann parish is sometimes pronounced “Noyman” which is old world and sometimes as “Newman” or new world. I am a parishioner there and it is said both ways. Believe me when I say it creates confusion to those outside the parish. Father Marcel happens to pronounce it the old world way which is the correct way.

  40. Alan,

    Do you find it scandalous that regardless of How father handled it….the facts are known an out for all to see, that a woman living in grave mortal sin with another woman, thought it o.k to present herself to communion in that state? An apparently due to her aggressive volume of public statement releases since the episode, one could consider that she still thinks its o.k?

    I am a relatively new catholic and was told by the priest running rica NEVER EVER to do that EVER… he wrong and Barbara the buhidist catholic lesbian press loving catholic right than?

  41. Some of the finest priests I’ve known have had to bounce around seminaries because of the ideological and sexual shenanigans in their home diocese. They are still priests while many of their seminary classmates are…um, yeah…doing other things. As Google will quickly show, Arlington had some high profile sexual scandals 10-12 years back involving active clergy.

  42. It is likely that Fr Guarnizo is incardinated in Moscow due to the work in which he was involved when he operated the non-profit organization Aid to the Church in Russia.

  43. Just as all people of faith should pray for the President (current and future) in part b/c of his power to appoint Supreme Court Justices, it is crucial for Catholics to pray for the Pope in appointing cardinals and for the cardinals as they prepare to elect the next pope.

  44. She also happens to be a declared Buddhist, throwing a wrench into any talk about her being numbered among the Catholic faithful…

  45. It seems like the church is becoming like a business. If a ‘customer’ complains, the customer is always right. I am just going to wait to hear all the facts on this, but, either way, the lady shouldn’t get Communion when she doesn’t care about Jesus anymore. Wait and see what unfolds here.

  46. If the priest’s suspension and the incident of denying the Eucharist to an openly avowed lesbian are not related, then the timing is horrendous. It seems we don’t know enough facts to make a judgement on that, but nonetheless I would guess that even if the two events aren’t related, many will assume they are.

    That being said, I have to support the decision to deny the Eucharist to a parishioner openly living in sin. We receive the Body of Christ in the Eucharist, and the scriptures are clear that it is important that we be in a worthy state before we participate (I Cor. 11:29). It may be argued from scripture that this priest has prevented this woman from eating and drinking “damnation to herself”, and that he has done her a service.
    I read several comments above that express outrage that the priest had the temerity to judge the state of the woman’s life. Although usually each person must examine him or herself before receiving the Eucharist to determine “worthiness”, in this case an openly sinful lifestyle makes it not only the right, but the duty of the priest to refuse her. If, in addition, this woman is a Buddhist and is only taking the Eucharist because of her presence at a funeral mass, the priest is even more justified in refusing her. The Eucharist is the Body and Blood of our Lord, and not to be taken lightly.

    I certainly hope the suspension and the incident at mass are unrelated. I’m sure we’ll find out. One of the reasons I converted from a Protestant denomination to Catholicism is because it is one of the few churches which has taken a firm stance against the current state of moral corruption which exists in our society. I am especially sensitive to incidents like this which might infer that the Church is softening on that stance.

  47. Christ is always eager to forgive us. However, such forgiveness requires repentance and a commitment to abstain from sin. Christ never hesitated to condemn sinfulness, while at the same time loving the sinner. St. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, condemned sin in his letters to the churches he founded, including the sin of homosexuality. Our own Church teaches that this is sin. I find it difficult to understand why this priest is a “disgrace”. I find it much more disgraceful to see priests and bishops “looking the other way” and serving the Eucharist to people in an openly sinful state. I Cor. 5:1-5 makes a pretty clear statement about what should be done in a situation like this in order to save the person’s spirit (soul).

    I thank God for his grace and forgiveness. It extends to all who will humble themselves, submit to His will, and ask Him for it. He gives us free will to do just that. When we condone sin we don’t encourage our errant brother or sister to repent and cease the sin, and we will be held accountable for that.

  48. If I were simply upholding the Church’s teachings, and my superiors fed me to the dogs, I’d be ticked and probably let fly with a little righteous indignation.

    I agree with the comments which point out that the phrase “engaged in intimidating behavior” is somewhat ambiguous. A bad bedside manner, for lack of a better term, or a raised voice could be intimidating to some while hardly constituting any real threat. In these days of pastoral hypersensitivity, I’d dare say that half the saints in history wouldn’t earn the veneration of some delicate flower on a parish’s payroll because Saint So-and-So was all fire-and-brimstone-in-your-face. I suppose the next thing we’ll hear about is some jackass, offended by a priest preaching vigorously on hell (or against homosexual acts…), charging said priest with creating a climate of fear and intimidation. Oh wait! – it’s already happened.

    People are too easily threatened these days. People should take a moment before squealing to their bishop to imagine what Christians in Iraq or Pakistan go through on a daily basis.

    Prayers being said for all concerned.

  49. Tania says:
    Mark, I am in total agreement with you! Cool heads need to prevail here! But, at the same token our Priests need protection! The attacks seem to be coming from any and all directions as well as fast and furious! Thank you for sharing in the way that you did! God’s Blessings!

  50. Richard M: Well put.

  51. Is that a typo at the very start of the letter, ‘brother priest’?

  52. Alexander says:

    Like Christ, the clergy are attempting to diffuse confusion and outrage. They aren’t interested in headlines to promote their innocence. The Church is doing damage control to seek the truth by thorough canonical investigation.
    “The allegations of “intimidating behavior” by Guarnizo are not recited in Knestout’s letter, but three questions would occur to me: (a) is this just a pile-on by people looking to kick Guarnizo while he is down?, or (b) are there long-standing legitimate complaints against Guarnizo that the recent controversy made more likely to surface? , or (c) did Guarnizo’s post-controversy conduct in the parish render him intemperate with others, provoking what are really recent complaints? Such are the things that an investigation is designed to, well, investigate.”

  53. Alexander says:

    In reference to Jesus and the Church I mean that the clergy is trying to stop the fingering pointing and quickness to shed blood in order to disclose the heart of the matter.

    As faithful Catholics we should be patient.

    Ms. Johnson and her camp’s speed to claim to victory and to claim victory at all betrays her motive and sincerity.

  54. I havent been following the entire diatribe, but what I have become aware of is that this woman was not a practicing Catholic but a practicing Buddist and a gay rights activist living an openly gay life style as well as that she received Holy Communion from the extraordinary minister at the funeral. So what are we to make of all this?

  55. Fiergenholt says:

    Saint John Neumann passed through my area of the Midwest and left his mark in several Baptismal Registers. We generally pronounce it “Noyman.”

  56. Suburbanbanshee says:

    We don’t know what’s going on. Anything that folks on this board can say is just a guess and some hot air.

    But when times are tough, it’s important for bishops to reassure their flocks, both laypeople and clergy, that they are loved and cared for. The way these matters are being handled, it doesn’t seem like anybody’s situation is being valued except the one who’s not Catholic anymore. Obviously the lost sheep has to be pursued, but there are a lot of wolves out there scaring the rest of the ninety-nine.

  57. Not sure why/how he has come back, but Aid to the Church in Russia, which he headed and I believe founded, was HQd in Arlington, but did most of its work in Russia. Read its mission here.

  58. Gail Finke says:

    I don’t find Mr. Peters rushing to judge anything. Quite the opposite. He takes pains to say that, AS WE DO NOT KNOW THE FACTS, several possible problems in the way this priest works with others MIGHT be the reason for his reprimand.

  59. Excommunicate Bishop Knestout. I will be writing a letter campaign to do just that.

  60. Fr. Marcel Guarnizo was a genuine pro-life preist, that could a strike against him in Wuerl’s organization. So, being pro-life and denying communion to a Lesbian, thats 2 strikes.

  61. Turns out she’s a practicing Buddhist, which makes her not in communion with the Church without our needing to know anything about her sex life.

  62. If that’s true, S, (and I doubt it is) then it’s evidence that ALL parties at the time misunderstood the fundamental reason for incardination of seculars into local Churches in the first place.

  63. Lavender Mafia Strikes Again: Hit Unrelated to Neighborhood Beef, Sources Say

  64. According to St. Jerome, when we are baptized we make a pact with the devil to not sin. Yes, I said to NOT sin. When we sin the devil is actually punished for “our,” sins. We are not being fair to the devil when we sin, even voluntarily. If we go to Hell it is obviously because we have sinned and not repented. Do think the devil will be nice to us in Hell if he is being punished for our sins? Jesus commands us to take our sacrifices and leave the altar and go make peace with anyone who has something against us. Jesus is also referring to the devil in this passage. The good priest may have “goofed.” but I don’t believe he sinned. I’m not sure about the rest of us.

  65. I came across this link:

    You are referenced in it Dcn. Greg, as well as one of your someone from the combox.

    While my gut tells me Father G was/is probably a good holy pro life priest, I simply don’t have the facts to know for sure. On the other hand, Father Louie also mentioned in #3, from Holy Rosary Chruch in San Diego, used to be my confessor, married my brother, and baptized my niece. He is without question one of the most courageus and holy priests I have ever known. I remember his “set up” incident very well.

  66. Fr. Deacon Daniel says:

    …which makes me wonder why they did not simply give him some time off in a mountain retreat somewhere until everything could be fairly evaluated. There was no need to disclose the additional allegations until it could be properly investigated.

    As was observed earlier, in my opinion there is little credible hope for him to return to public ministry in the Archdiocese when mere allegations are publicly disclosed. If he is guilty, then he should be disciplined appropriately and if necessary, publicly. If not, how could he ever hope to regain his reputation as a priest? In this climate priests are already judged negatively in the court of public opinion. The separate incident regarding the funeral certainly does not help, since there is tremendous social pressure to have him removed.

    As to his formation, ordination and incardination in Moscow, having known of some tradition minded Latin priests who suffered tremendously through seminary (some of whom are now famous bloggers), is it any wonder that not a few ended up seeking formation and ordination elsewhere? I mean, have we forgotten the stories of “Goodbye, Good Men”?

  67. I’ve written the following letter to the Nuncio for the USA, I highly recommend that others write to the Nuncio as well:

    Subject: Archdiocese of Washington‏

    To Your Eminence Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano Apostolic Nuncio to the United States,

    We Catholics continue to watch with amazement and sadness the deteriorating situation of the Catholic Church in the United States and other parts of the world. A trend in the United States which is also visible in other parts of the world has shown that faithful priests of the Holy Catholic Church are being treated unfairly and thrown out of ministry for upholding the Magisterial teachings of the Holy Catholic Church, while priests,religious, and nuns who are in open dissent against Magisterial teachings of the Church are treated with high esteem by the various Chanceries and their leadership.

    I respectfully ask that you conduct a deep investigation into the situation of Fr. Guarnizo in Archdiocese of Washington, as well as requesting an apostolic administrator for the Catholic Church in the United State that will oversee the various Archdioceses and religious communities.

    In Christ,

  68. As someone who personally knows Fr. Marcel, I find this very sad. I no longer live in the area, so I do not know any details of this case, but I must admit, the phrase “intimidating behavior” is very troubling by its ambiguity.

    As I mentioned in another comment, Fr. Marcel marches to the beat of a different drummer. He speaks the truth boldly and he seems not to care if such words sometimes offend. I personally found him refreshing, but I can see how people who are raised on a heaping of “I’m okay, you’re okay” and “let’s just talk about how great we are” would be greatly offended by some of the things he might say…even “intimidated.” Not in a physical sense (Fr. Marcel is, perhaps surprisingly by the way I described him already, a gentle man), but in the sense that his words often do not comfort, but challenge deeply. And people can be intimidated by such challenges.

    I am praying for myself to have the most charitable attitude possible towards the ADW, but I admit it is a challenge at this point. Most of all, I pray for Fr. Marcel, Ms. Johnson and all involved in this mess.

  69. Larry Coty says:

    I assume Alan is not, in fact, a priest. He gets his deep reflections from Hollywood schlock, and he deprecates the Church … wait a minute …!!

  70. Sad to say these situation are often more about “follow the money.” A few years ago I was attending mass in a San Diego Church with a very holy and pro life (and young), priest, one of the new JPII priests.

    During his homily, to the shock of many, he said, “You need to know: If you voted for President Obama, you are an accomplice to murder and need to confess it.” Many gasped, but he said, “Sorry to shock you, but I’m here to save your souls, not make you feel good.”

    I especially remember the kid in front of me saying to his mom, “Hey mom, you voted for Obama.”

    Long story short, 2 weeks later, from that same pulpit, with tears in his eyes, he was telling us he was being “transferred” (to one of the most undesirable parishes, but he didn’t say that, only that as heartbreaking as it was, he was vowed to obedience).

    The story goes, that one of the “uncomfortable” in the parish was also one of the biggest donors, who of course, complained.

    It’s pretty much been a pattern; speak out, get out, especially if it involves money. That msg. has been sent loud and clearly. The only priests who can still get away with it are the retired ones, as they can’t “ship them off anywhere.”

  71. Henry Karlson says:

    So much we do not know. And so much showing contempt for a bishop, once again, without knowing the facts (Corapi anyone?).

    I see all kinds of claims being made. One is that, in the case of Barbara Johnson, is that she was a Buddhist. I’ve not seen that proven. At best, I’ve seen it shown that she studies Buddhist philosophy. Many people do! Many good Catholics do! Studying Buddhist philosophy, of itself, doesn’t make one non-Catholic. Indeed, we have Jesuit priests who are also Zen Masters. They have not been excommunicated nor seen outside of the Catholic Church.

    Instead of spreading gossip and making things up, it is better to let authorities look into it, see what is up. The gossip around this case (on all sides) is getting bad. Please, tone it down.

  72. Charles Ryder says:

    I believe that Father Guarnizo’s dismissal has everything to do with the recent dust-up involving Ms. Johnson. My guess is that the Archdiocese, embarrassed by the publicity of the situation, conducted an investigation of Guarnizo. That they would find something to charge him with would be inevitable. Maybe the charges are true and are of a serious nature; maybe they’re simply the perceptions of people who clashed with Father Guarnizo. But whether Father Guarnizo is guilty or not of conduct unbecoming a priest, one thing is clear — there seems to be a larger pattern of outspoken orthodox priests being ostracized when they cross into inviolable territory. That these priests are punished while open dissenters to the Church’s teachings on marriage and sexuality are given a wide-berth is discouraging. Maybe some of them lack tact or diplomacy — I don’t know. Maybe some of them, like Father Guarnizo, seem to come from central casting’s image of an orthodox zealot.

    Meanwhile, a talk will be given this week at St. Cecilia’s in Boston entitled “The Grace of Being Gay?: A Conversation Between Karl Rahner and Lady Gaga” by Sr. Mary Ann Hinsdale, IHM, Ph.D.

  73. I forgot to post it, here’s the email address for the Nuncio:

  74. No. Do not. Please remember that he is probably doing what Cardinal Wuerl has asked him to do. By all accounts, Bishop Knestout is a good priest.

  75. Actually, Henry, Barbara Johnson has asserted she is Buddhist, based on a number of published comments she has made and which are and were available on the internet. One of those internet sources (a recent interview of her on an arts blog) was taken down two days after the communion story made the major media, in an obvious attempt to scrub any embarrassing evidence that contradicts the carefully crafted image of her as a “life long Catholic.” However, I cached this internet interview before it was scrubbed, and have also saved all other internet sources on her (before they, too, get scrubbed).

    Why is this important? Because we are being fed a lie that this woman really cares about the Catholic Church and has borne a life-long commitment to the faith. Sheer nonsense, and her own published statements prove that it is nonsense.

  76. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Take deep breaths, everyone.

    We do not have all the facts. We do not know all the evidence. All we know is what we read in the papers and on blogs. The rest is conjecture.

    For now, it is what it is. We just have to see what else emerges over the next few days.

    I repeat: pray for all concerned. That includes Fr. Marcel, Fr. LaHood, Bishop Knestout, Cardinal Wuerl, all the people at St. John Neumann parish and, of course, Barbara Johnson.

    Dcn. G.

  77. Removing that interview is very troubling, I agree. That’s kind of like removing all references to Minor v. Hapersett in its case law database.

  78. Henry Karlson says:

    What, exactly, did she say in the interview? Remember, as I said, there are priests who are also Zen Masters. Some people can consider themselves a Buddhist-Catholic, and the Church does allow it. So what exactly did she say? Did she say she was no longer Catholic?

  79. Henry Karlson says:


  80. This entire incident is very, very sad. We don’t have all of the facts regarding Fr. Guarnizo’s “grave nature of the allegations”, but if I had to go with my gut, I’d say the man is a good, faithful priest and understands quite well what is expected of him. I will keep him in my prayers.

  81. Hi Henry:

    I’m very (sincerly) curious as to where the church “allows” Buddhist-Catholicism. Can you site the references? Thanks!

  82. “We urge all Catholics to put aside political points of view, and pray that our Church will remain in Christ’s love.” from Barbara Johnson’s letter. Look, Barbara Johnson thinks lesbianism is a “political point of view.” “a political point of view”. It bears repeating: “a political point of view”. Is this what Catholics are dealing with for our culture and our children?

  83. nuovoamerica liberta says:

    The basic fact is that communion is a sacred event and not just another ritual. The Church needs to uphold this and not bow down to lgbt scare tactics. The use of journalistic terrorism by this group should not sway the basic tenets of the Catholic faith. Stand firm in your beliefs and do not allow gay extremists to pervert your thinking. They are masters of this and will not stop.

  84. will do

  85. Is Zen Master really capitalized Henry? Like Jedi Knight?

  86. and you wonder why we need priests?

  87. Henry Karlson says:


    You can look into someone like Fr. Robert Kennedy, S.J. and find out that he is still a Catholic in good standing, a Jesuit priest, and a Zen Master. So, the fact that he is still a Catholic and a Zen Master shows that the Church allows this. is his website

  88. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Here’a an interesting overview of comparisons between Buddhism and Catholicism, with observations by Peter Kreeft, among others.

    Click here.

  89. HK, your comments are, as always, interesting, but in this particular case, irrelevant. Since April 2006, the actions taken by this woman would not suffice for a formal act of defection under canon law, and (long story omitted), she still enjoyed the canonical rights to reception set out in cc. 18, 213, 843, 912, etc. Just so folks are clear on that. Best, edp.

  90. Henry Karlson says:


    I was talking about how all kinds of gossip have been spread about her; I have not seen her say she is not a Catholic, but many people have claimed it. That is my point. One can study Buddhism, feel attuned to it (various ways, Zen is not the only one, but probably the easiest for many reasons) and still be a Catholic. That was my point — that from what I have read, all I have seen has not shown a repudiation of Catholicism on her part. I could be wrong; she might have at some point, and if people can show that, then it is something else.

  91. Some of the information on the concealed background and views of Barbara Johnson was provided five days ago by Thomas Peters at his American Papist blog. He doesn’t have everything, including stuff that Johnson had scrubbed from the internet (but which I cached), but it is a start.

    Here is the link to the reporting by Peters:

  92. Henry Karlson says:

    Deacon Greg,

    I think Fr. Bede Griffiths was a much better student of Lewis in this regard. And many of the things which Kreeft mentions would end up condemning Catholic saints for their practices as well (the spirituality of St Gregory Palamas).

    Now, Buddhism is complex because it is not one single thing, and the different forms end up having different philosophical presuppositions. So when talking about Buddhism, one is already talking about many things; and from them, one can learn and practice similarly to the way early Christians engaged Plato or Aristotle (both who, also, taught much in contradiction to the Christian faith). It is interesting to note that the schoolmen often were condemned because of where Aristotle went away from the Christian faith, with the suggestion one can’t be a follower of Aristotle and Catholic. We now know differently. Catholics who engage Buddhism often do the same thing, and consider themselves followers of Buddhism as many scholastics saw themselves under the mantle of Aristotle. And this is permissible and requires much more than the simplistic dismissal of Kreeft.

  93. Father Paul says:

    There is always the possibility that Fr.’s actions at the funeral is just the tip of the iceberg of some serious need for pastoral re-tooling. There is one BIG question I have, how was Father not aware of this person’s situation until only a few minutes before the liturgy. Not knowing the particulars of the case there are a few comments pastorally that could have been done better it seems. This comes from 15 years of parish experience.

    (1) A simple meeting with the deceased’s family to plan the liturgy a few days before the funeral often times reveals these things and a pastoral discussion can take place

    (2) Read the obituary, that can always will clue you in to some of these issues

    (3) A brief announcement at Communion time such as “We invite all those Catholics who have prepared themselves by fasting and sacramental confession if necessary to come forward at this time to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord”

    Unless the person is actually walking off with the Blessed Sacrament I wouldn’t make an issue during the liturgy itself.

    Additionally, could we also say that while the reasons the Archdiocese gave might be true there is the reality that in keeping Fr in public ministry there is the possibility of more disruptions to his life and the life of the parish should the actions of the woman in question be the tip of the iceburg as to activists taking up this cause.

  94. Henry Karlson says:


    BTW, so in other words, I think we are in agreement, but I am dealing with a different issue, the gossip which is being said about her and her religion. My point is it is too easy to take “I study Buddhism” to mean a repudiation of one’s Catholic faith; it doesn’t, and I think you would agree. So it is interesting, and to one point I was trying to address: gossip and the way people misconstrue the words of others. It is also here where I said we need to be careful with the situation with the priest and not assume what happened with Barbara Johnson, of itself, is the cause of him being put on leave.

  95. Henry Karlson says:

    It doesn’t show her denying being Catholic…

  96. Henry Karlson says:

    Right, father. As I said, we don’t know the events, and it is speculation going on right now. It’s not good for anyone.

  97. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Thank you, Father.

    All very sound observations.

    I note that the parish web site shows that they have a ministry, the Arimatheans. There was a group by that name at my mother’s parish, and they helped plan and execute her funeral when she died. The priest’s involvement was minimal. That may be part of the problem.

    Dcn . G.

  98. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    We need to be careful with the situation with the priest and not assume what happened with Barbara Johnson, of itself, is the cause of him being put on leave.

    Amen. The pastor has reportedly indicated as much, when he made the announcement at the Masses. I can’t help but think there is much more to this than any of us know.

    Dcn. G.

  99. That assumption would be charitable until someone removes all reason to hold that assumption, such as when a woman admits immediately before communion that she is a practicing lesbian. At that point, charity requires that communion be withheld to protect that person’s soul and encourage repentance.

  100. The person you’ve mentioned in the link has violated the 1st Commandment and his superiors need to take immediate actions to correct this grave and sinful situation.

    This individual is a “poster child” for a complete and utter misunderstanding of the Second Vatican Council.

    First Commandment:
    “You shall worship the LORD your GOD and HIM only shall you serve”

    “Can. 1364 §1. Without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 194, §1, n. 2, an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication; in addition, a cleric can be punished with the penalties mentioned in ⇒ can. 1336, §1, nn. 1, 2, and 3.

    §2. If contumacy of long duration or the gravity of scandal demands it, other penalties can be added, including dismissal from the clerical state.”

  101. I pray the priest in question will have the good sense to get himself a canon lawyer just as soon as possible. The letter from the Archdiocese of Washington leaves a lot to be desired! And to think the Pastor read it at Mass! Yuk!!! What a way to put a damper on the celebration of the Eucharist!!! I’d also like to know more about the ‘parish staff’ who was given such a rough time by the priest.

  102. I am still not clear on how the priest acted wrongly. The woman in question told him she was gay and living with a “partner.” The priest told her before hand she could not receive communion. So where’s the error on his part?

  103. I don’t want to rain on Henry’s Buddhism parade, but to suggest that it is compatible with Catholicism and the worship of Christ has been criticized by JP II and Romano Guardini among many others. Now I’m also reading Ed Peters to say that there must be some “formal act of defection” to become an apostate or heretic; this is news to me. The Catechism defines heresy as any obstinate, post-baptismal denial of any truth of the faith. What is this formal act of defection?

    “Romano Guardini, in his classic work The Lord, stated that Buddha would be the greatest challenge to Christ in the modern age. In an age of terrorism, such a statement may appear to be an exaggerated concern, but Buddhism offers Christianity serious and subtle challenges. Because it appears to be peaceful, non-judgmental, and inclusive, its appeal will undoubtedly continue to grow. Because it offers a spirituality that is supposedly free of doctrine and authority, it will attract hungry souls looking for fulfillment and meaning. “For this reason,” the Holy Father states, “it is not inappropriate to caution those Christians who enthusiastically welcome certain ideas originating in the religious traditions of the Far East — for example, techniques and methods of meditation and ascetical practice.” As he correctly observes, “In some quarters these have become fashionable, and are accepted rather uncritically.”

  104. Thanks, Father Paul, for your observations,

    However, it strikes me that they contain a lot of the same kind of speculation (“there is always the possibility,” “not knowing the particulars,” “could we also say,” “the possibility or more disruptions to..”) that we’ve all been discouraged from making on this blog regarding this matter.

    Thanks for your vocation and your service to the Church.

  105. This situation is con=mplicated, and getting more so, not less. As Deacon Greg says, we just don’t have all the facts.

    From my point of view, it seems that Barbara Johnson was out to pick a fight, or used a convenient opportunity to pick one. I say this because she ran to the press with her story. Had it been me in her position, I would have gone to the priest, not the press.

    I don’t envy priests these days. They must see people presenting themselves for Communion every Sunday who shouldn’t be. They must know that if they preached the teachings of the Catholic church unfiltered they’d lose parishoners in droves. How many people who make the effort to go to Mass each Sunday want to leave disturbed? Jesus’ teaching disturbed people and they killed him for it. They didn’t want to be disturbed, either.

    All of this reminds me how important it is to put God’s will above our own, always, and it also rimnds me of how extraordinarily difficult it is to do that.

  106. Henry Karlson says:

    Like your reading of Supreme Court cases, your reading of the Pope is incomplete. Yes, there is to be a warning, just as there should be a warning for those who engage Aristotle. However, the challenge of Buddhism is looked at by many similar to the challenge of Platonism. And like the ancient fathers were able to see a Socrates as a pre-Christian Christian following the Logos, the holiness of the Buddha (which is a separate issue to the question of Buddhism) certainly can be recognized (and historically, under the guise of St Josaphat, was recognized). So, to recognize caution is not the same thing as you make it out to be, as can be found in the in-depth explorations on the subject (where, if you explore further, many have said that Buddhism would be the new Platonism for Christendom).

  107. Clare Krishan says:

    Be careful using C.S.Lewis in disputes over the Eucharist, especially in the context of ‘social martyrdom’ – as an Oxford movement hold-out, he resisted to the bitter end that peculiarly English-anglo-saxon (I’m British I know of what I speak) kind of trial that his fellow Anglican Bl John Henry Newman underwent, joining the plebian masses ‘the great unwashed’ ie the proles, in the Catholic Church, see Anglican convert J.R.R.Tolkein’s take on why Narnia may well be gnostic dissociative AngloCatholic but its NOT mysterious incarnational RomanCatholic (sacrificial humility born of self-emptying love),+J.R.R….-a0171579958

    Singling one member of the funeral party out for groundless approbrium (not having polled the degree of chasteness of his other congregants the celebrant had only prejudicial conjecture to go on, contrary to right reason and absent charity as I have remarked elsewhere in earlier threads) is “people like us” dissociative gnosis of psychological projection, a falsehood unfitting for the Real Presence.

  108. There is simply no way that the combination of Buddhism and Catholicsm is not the dangerous heresy of syncretism.

  109. ” The priest told her before hand she could not receive communion. So where’s the error on his part?”

    He had no error Brian, this good priest did nothing wrong. The slippery tongued devils will try to complicate and confuse the issue, but it really is very simple…

  110. “You have eyes, but you can not see.” (Jer 5:21; Mk 8:18)

  111. Deacon Greg,

    Nothing to do with the funeral Mass issue, but could you help me with a few questions?

    I am a contributor to the CNEWA. Is ‘Aid to the Church in Russia’ a group CNEWA colaborates with? Are they semi-defunct?

    It seems Fr. G. entered seminary for the Latin Diocese of Moscow and the same year founded the charity “Aid to the Church in Russia.” While ordained for Moscow, it seems he never had a pastoral assginment in Russia, but simply worked from the Washington, DC area (and Rome) to raise money. I don’t have a problem with a bishop of a poor and struggling diocese far away telling a young man that he will ordain him a priest and he can stay in an affluent part of the world, raising resourses very much needed by the far way diocese. The part I find puzzling is how a kid in his 20s has the kinds of connections to be successful at this ministry. From your work at CNEWA, did Fr. M have a rep as sort of a whiz=kid at fundraising?

  112. Henry, with all due respect, you are mixing apples (Buddhism, a faith) with oranges (Platonism, a philosophical system). The Church has always found uses in a variety of philosophical systems (see JP II’s 1998 encyclical, “Fides et Ratio”) to help explain the faith, but it has scrupulously avoided syncretism (the mixing or combining of often contradictory religious beliefs taken from other faiths, such as Buddhism).

  113. HK, right. I think we agree, and we are talking two different issues. All these folks running around claiming she was Buddhist,etc etc., they need to udnerstand, that claiming something, and having that claim count canonically, are two very very different things. Since April 2006, as I have pointed out elsewhere. But, then, this whole matter has not been marked by careful reading on the part of most comboxers. Best, edp.

  114. “Now I’m also reading Ed Peters to say that there must be some ‘formal act of defection’ to become an apostate or heretic; this is news to me.”

    No, kevin. you really do write before you understand what was said. but, it’s not for me to walk one thru every such example.

  115. My understanding is that Fr/Bishop Neumann used the Anglicized pronunciation of his name, so if “Newman” was good enough for him, it ought to be good enough for us. That’s how we pronounce his name here in Western New York, where he worked before joining the Redemptorists.

  116. Ed, these were your words which I read: “Since April 2006, the actions taken by this woman would not suffice for a formal act of defection under canon law.” So rather than sniping maybe enlighten us as to what formal act of defection is necessary.

  117. Oh Lord Henry are you a lawyer now too? I guess that Minor case just drives you up the wall. But it says what it says and no amount of scrubbing will ever get rid of it.

  118. Wonderful words of wisdom, Henry.
    Thank you.

  119. Jeff Lozier says:

    I was very dissapointed with Archbishop Wuerl, when he allowed our so called catholic politicians who support abortion and other anti Catholic policies to receive communion during the Popes visit to his Diocese. I see he has not changed. We must pray for our Bishops and Priests. His priest did the right thing and should have been commended not chastised.

  120. Henry Karlson says:


    Platonism was a religious tradition. But from that religious tradition, one could develop philosophical tools for “philosophical Platonism.” The same, it is noted, with Buddhism. Indeed, many Buddhists think of Buddhism as a philosophy, not a religion. Of course I won’t have that — just as I won’t have the “Christianity is not a religion” claims accepted either. But — to go back to what I said– Platonism was also a religion.

  121. Henry Karlson says:

    Minor did not define natural born citizen, just as saying “a dog is a mammal” does not define mammals. Enough, simple logic really.

  122. Clare Krishan says:

    Lets all take a deep breath now – “old world” is not THE only “correct way” for since Babel there are a number of ways to use tongues, but the question is really, since Samuel learned to listened to the still small voice, about how we use our ears

    We can all speak and some of us articulate LOUDLY, but do we HEAR each other speaking? The miracle of the Church’s birth at Pentecost should tell us that the communio of the Holy Spirit is sent amongst us to heal mans’ wounded/handicapped senses, so that we may process the Word, the Logos, in truth within our minds and in charity in our hearts. So many of us are talking past each other. Take a moment and reflect on our incoherence. If it were Noyman then if you were a fellow Austrian (not a fellow American immigrant) it would also be Johannes (Yohan-nez) Nepomuk (Nehpo-mook) BUT if you were a fellow Czech, it would be Jan (Yann) Nepomucký (Naypohmutchee). His parish (St Peter’s here in Philly)
    was a German national (native German speakers, not a German Nation-state) parish until the 1920s. My dear heart’s grandpapa was baptized there (Krishan is how the illiterate Ellis Island bureaucrats heard and then erroneously transliterated the Transylvanian patronymic Cruşan meaning ‘golden’ and horseradish in slavic languages).

    But its not is it? It’s St. JOHN NEPOMUCENE, so its noo man, as in our local Neuman College.

  123. Clare Krishan says:

    and the mortal remains of my dear heart’s Catholic father rest in an Episcopalian cemetry since as a thrice-married twice-divorced lapsed Catholic he was refused a Catholic burial. My husband needless to say will have nothing to do our ‘sacraments’ and takes a very dim view of hypocrisy. Pray for all those afflicted by hardened Catholic hearts.

  124. Fr. Deacon Daniel says:

    Makes me want to pick up Dom Aelred Graham’s “Zen Catholicism: A Suggestion” again, as well as revisit some of the interesting tales of the first Jesuit missionary excursions into Japan…

  125. Fr. Deacon Daniel says:

    I also believe that the late great theologian, Fr. Henri DeLubac also did quite a bit of research into Buddhism during his period of forced theological exile by the uber-Romanitas.

  126. Plato was viewed in the same way as Buddha is today? As a religious figure? I don’t think so?

  127. Kevin Luttrell says:

    As a new Catholic, I am wondering the Church policy on withholding the Eucharist from somone who approaches during mass. I understand its painful for the faithful to witness such a disrespectful act toward God, but also are we called not to pass judgement? It might have been more prudent for the priest to allow the most disrespectful act and approach her after Mass for discussion.
    This method would have both, protected the priest from an agenda that undermines Natural Law. There are many people who have infiltrated the Church body and Clergy with the intent to manipulate the church in order to push an Agenda that brings the followers of Christ into conflict with what the World views as acceptable behavior….as Christians we are commissioned to declare the truth of the Good news but also warned that we should be Charitable in word and deed, so that the children of God can excercise free will to work out their salvation. As a new Catholic, Im sure to make mistakes and While I appreciate the teaching and guidence to following scripture, I would not appreciate being publicly degraded or embarrassed because of my shortcomings. While I dont agree that what the priest has done might be inappropriate under the circumstances, I also understand how painful it would be to be party to such a disrespectful act on the part of Ms. Johnson whether a part of her agenda or not.
    How we bear witness to Christ in our words and actions, can be injurous to the witness, and can lead people away from the Christian Community. We also must consider that IF this was her agenda…..she accomplished her mission.
    I believe the priest should be admonished in his methods but his position should be protected and should not be dismissed permanently.

  128. Clare Krishan says:

    see my earlier comment on tongues and ears… and the enkindling flame of Pentecost, the Lord will not quench any of us ‘smouldering wick’s and that includes Ms Johnson and Fr Marcel.

  129. At the risk of joining a conversation in the middle, I might be able to offer some insight into “formal defection” as I completed the process myself about three years ago. Prior to 2006, it was something of a hazy area as to what actions amounted to a person “quitting” the Church. The concern was mostly around Canon law regarding marriage. It has to do with whether a person was bound by Catholic marriage forms at the time they were married, was it a valid marriage for purposes of annulment etc.?
    In Germany and maybe some other countries, you were considered to have defected of you gave notice to the government that part of your taxes should no longer go to the Church. Around 2006, Rome decided that wasn’t enough. To quit, they said, you had to do something more specific and definite – write your local bishop to tell him you quit and that you understand the implications etc. If you sound serious and reasonably lucid in your letter, they send you back a letter acknowledging that, and they’re supposed to put a stamp or note in your baptism record indicating the defection. Canonically, it doesn’t undo baptism or “un-Catholic” you in any way. The only thing it legally did was to exempt you from the marriage forms.
    In 2008-09, when the Irish abuse scandal blew up, people learned of this defection process and upwards of 12,000 apparently used it in Ireland alone. I don’t think the process ever caught on in a big way here. CNN found their way to me when they covered the story, so there couldn’t have been too many “Yanks” who used the process. Just about the time that peaked, Rome rethought the matter and decided formal defection wasn’t such a cool thing after all and abolished it. Canon lawyers and the Irish defection website people are questioning whether defection itself was abolished or just the sole canonical consequence involving marriage. In either case its sort of moot.
    Defection I would think has little or nothing to do with this communion case. A true defector considers themselves ex-Catholic and would not present themselves for Communion. When I attend Mass these days on a Christmas or funeral out of respect to family members, I attend as an outside visitor. This controversy has much more to do with the regulations surrounding how a priest is supposed to refuse or not refuse communion. It sounds like the regs want priests to exercise that authority with some care and a minimum of presumption. The way I read it, a priest has to know you’re ineligible and talk with you about it before turning you away. The benefit of the doubt is apparently supposed to go to the communicant, along with the primary responsibility if they abuse it.

  130. Henry Karlson says:

    Platonism was religious. Platonism is more than the (divine!) Plato. The whole system was called a theology (see Proclus). Metaphysics was theology. This is basic to the study of Platonism — it was a religious system. Indeed, it became the primary defense of classical paganism against Christianity (see Iamblichus).

  131. Clare Krishan says:

    as I noted in an earlier thread SJN’s Bulletin published online the week of the funeral containing prayer requests for a still-sick Mrs Johnson had a big blooper re: Ash Wednesday being a Holy Day of Obligation. imagine you’re the DRE or the Parish secretary having to argue with a man who “marches to the beat of a different drummer. He speaks the truth boldly and he seems not to care if such words sometimes offend” when he’s not speaking the truth (Ash Wednesday is NOT a holy day of obligation) but won’t LISTEN.

  132. Clare Krishan says:

    well said

  133. It was Ms Johnson who mentioned ‘politics’ and assumed that she could read that priest’s soul. She has been allowed to speak in the court of public opinion, he has not. If it is true that she told him about her relationship before hand, that the witness who heard this will come forward.

  134. In a church-sponsored poll taken back in 2005, as Catholics were leaving Mass on Sunday, it was discovered that 80% of CAtholics in the U.S. do NOT believe in the real presence! Perhaps this woman, Johnson thinks that the HOST is simply a piece of bread? Have Catholics improved in almost 7 years?

    I help with lessons at my church, as part of preparation for the sacrament of confirmation, which is in addition to preparation done in school. To my horror, I discovered that more than half the children (in a class of 25) did not know that once the consecration has taken place, the bread and wine is now the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Many of these children attended Sunday Mass occasionally, and many of them had not been to confession since their first holy communion! Which means that their parents do the same. If something is not done immediately, the faith will be completely lost in the United States.

    We have lost two generations, and are rushing headlong to the loss of the third. What is needed is more catechisis, and support for our good priests; the priests who tell us what we do not want to hear but which we must hear.

  135. Priests have died to protect the Eucharist. Someone who is in grave sin and waving it in a priests face prior to Mass should be denied the Eucharist. The priest did not know she was not a Catholic, but she made it clear she was at her mother’s funearl Mass with her lover. The Eucharist is the body of Christ. The body of God. If one does not understand this, then they need to educate themselves on the Catholic faith. I am thinking that maybe the Bishop should have his faculties removed for a while so he can ponder and renew the obligations a priest should have toward the Eucharist. May God have mercy upon everyone involved, especially on the young woman, who obviously isn’t the least bit penitent about receiving the Eucharist unworthily.

  136. Jem,

    Thank you for saying what needed to be said. 1 Corinthians 5 is a rather harsh read, but it is said that such drastic action is required sometimes for the sake of one’s immortal soul – not unlike Jesus’ admonishment to remove an offending “member” (arm, hand, eye) if it is the cause of sin. Repentance is required of all Christians and practically daily! I will say, however, that a Catholic funeral or wedding Mass that serves communion must take into consideration that non-Catholics will also be present. Right off the bat it puts the priest into judgment mode and ultimately in an awkward position that will be shared by all non-Catholics unless the Eucharist is open to all.

  137. Brenda Sparks says:

    Agree with Deb ^^^^

  138. Clare,

    Fr. Marcel is the associate pastor of SJN – I doubt he was responsible for editing the bulletin. And knowing both the pastor and the associate pastor, I can assure you that they both are fully aware that Ash Wednesday is not holy day of obligation – I’m sure it was just an honest mistake by someone who wrote the bulletin (it probably meant to say that Ash Wednesday is NOT a holy day of obligation).

    And please don’t twist my words to malign a priest. Nothing I said should suggest that Fr. Marcel doesn’t listen to others, or refuse to admit when he is wrong.

  139. Larry Coty says:

    Amen to that! We are a nation of weaklings.

  140. Larry, go and google the movie Priest–the Disney production from the mid 90′s. You’ll get your answer.

  141. I really can’t wait for the real story to be reported by a real journalist.

  142. So they are now saying that this priest committed actions that caused such grave offense among those with whom he worked he must be placed on administrative leave ( a term that cannot be defined by Canon Law) and his faculities restricted.
    ( I thought once a priest always a priest so should not the term removed be more correctly expressed as restricted?) Further they say none of this has anything to do with the dust-up with the lesbian Buddhist, known to be an activist for such things
    as this…and has publically stated that she wanted this “priest to be removed so that no one else had to go through what she endured”! All just a timely coincidence!
    Pray, pay and obey ….and all will be well! Wacky! Wacky! Wacky!

  143. Well said, Mark.

  144. Louis B. Rizzo says:

    Alan, Be careful who you judge as a disgrace. In the light of the published facts that the person in question is a practicing Buddhist should mitigate your judgement to something like uncharatable. I think there is a bigger question in the reception of a non-catholic receiving communion. If the person to receive communion believes the host is truly the body of Christ, denying communion could reflect adversely on the priest, because he is denying salvation by refusing to give communion. “Unless you eat my body and drink my blood you will not have life in you.” to quote St. John. If the communicant does not believe that the host is the body of Christ then denying communion is justified. It is unknown if Fr. Marcel had this information. I suggest we withold judgement and leave it in the hands of God.

  145. k, that’s actually pretty right. not entirely, but close enuf to show why I, for one, did not say ANYTHING about apostasy, heresy, etc, when discussing “f.a.d.”, but wrote more carefully than some others read.

  146. Sounds like this woman was just trying to see how far she could “push the envelope” in the Catholic church. If she was not a practicing Catholic, a practicing lesbian and a practicing Buddhist then why was she taking communion at a Catholic mass??? Seems to me she was trying to see how far she could go. I’m glad this priest did the right thing, why all the fuss about? Are we not following the Catholic church’s teaching on homosexuality and being in the state of “grace” when we receive the eucharist, of which she was NOT.

  147. Alan G Yost says:

    Don’t assume that, Larry. I am a Catholic priest in good standing in the Society of Jesus. And you may know that one element of our spirituality involves learning to find God in all things, including what you call Hollywood schlock. (Actually, it was a British film.) Finally, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to explain how exactly I deprecated the Church.

  148. Who is and isn’t in a state of grace cannot be judged from the outside. And that applies even to “a homosexual or heterosexual in an adulterous situation”. Also, if Ms. Johnson “lives” with a woman of the same sex whom she “loves”, I could not tell from that if she’s “celibate” or not, as it’s rather vague. There are many “LGBT” people who live together chastely.

  149. What part of ‘we talked openly about my being a Buddhist’ shows her to be Catholic?

  150. Fr. Neil Buchlein says:

    I think it is absolutely amazing that very little has been said that she is also a Buddhist. I guess we can now “officially” discontinue the RCIA program and also the need for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. . .my job just got easier! Like the song goes by Don Henley (Dirty Laundry) “Kick’em when their up, kick’em when their down. . .”

  151. Seeing the amazing rapidity with which this priest was removed in relation to this incident, and the nonstop insinuations that he did something improper canonically without knowing all the facts, you do stop and wonder how any young male with orthodox beliefs would be willing to become a priest. There was a book written on this topic once I believe, Good Bye, Good Men. Maybe this priest is guilty of some intimidating and “grave” actions, but the whole thing smells bad as they say.

  152. What a terrible movie that was. Talk about watering down teaching just keep the money coming in. It promoted homsexuality. Not something I would use for my formation. Really, we take a movie and use it to instruct us? Your a priest?

  153. Everyone is assuming this suspension had everything to do with the communion incident because of their close proximity in time. The vicar is saying otherwise. It’s very hard to imagine any of today’s bishops taking marching orders from the gay lobby or mainstream media. Virtually all of today’s serving bishops were appointed by staunchly conservative popes and chosen in large part for their emphasis on orthodoxy in doctrine.
    The priest is accused of intimidating parish staff. Unless you really think a bishop would trump up such a thing to appease the lesbians, this is a serious deal that needs investigation independently of the other incident. This priest may well just be a highly confrontational character. The fact that his actions in the communion incident may have been in the right, or at least defensible, does not mean he always knows when to reign himself in in other confrontations.
    The timing of these two events in fact suggests that the intimidation allegation is indeed serious. The bishop is no fool. He knows full well the suspension or administrative leave would be interpreted by all sides as a gay rights victory of some sort. The fact that he chose to move ahead with it means it was serious enough to demand attention regardless of the negative political consequences.

  154. “If you eat of the body or blood of Christ unworthily, you eat your condemnation.” St. Paul

  155. A priest who speaks Latin in the LATIN RITE CHURCH. Oh, the humanity! He must be unstable. Get rid of him. But priests, sisters and bishops who openly defy Church teaching are praised and welcomed. I know Jesus won’t let the gates of hell prevail, but the way the Church is run in America, I think those gates are pretty close.

    BTW, for those who may not know, Corpus Christi means Body of Christ, so the problem is………..?

  156. pagansister says:

    IMO Manny, I don’t see any connection between Johnson and Fluke.

  157. Gonzalo Palacios says:

    Please join me in meditating the following:
    “Posted by Jon Mark on February 26, 2012
    Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. – The Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians 5: 25-6: 2″
    Have we accepted the law of Christ? Thank You, Gonzalo T. Palacios.

  158. Give me a stinking break! Leading prayers in Latin, saying “Corpus Christi,” and saying “Noy-man” instead of “New-man” is reason to speculate on this priests psychological stability? And, regarding his ordination and incardination — why don’t you just say “I wonder what the story is behind that…” His being trained in a Vatican seminary shouldn’t be cause of such suspicion.

  159. I just went back to check the story that brought this priest to public attention. It was about the lesbian Buddhist whom this priest refused to give The Sacred Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ after she informed him that she was a practicing homosexual …in the Church a grave and serious sin. I wanted to recall how the Church protected and defended this priest then for his courage and bravery. They did not! In fact the Church Authorities seemed to “censure” his actions on the spot….and apologized(?) to the woman in question.( whom we find out is a local activist for all kinds of mayhem).
    Ok! So right from the start this priest was ” in violation ” according to what we read.
    From this I am to understand his offending this woman was a greater offense in the eyes of the prelates in charge than her desecrating the Body and Blood???????
    Oh, and yes there was some procedural question regarding Canon law whether he went about protecting the Sacred Species according to script while being careful not to violate her rights, etc. Now I quess after all this we find out he has also offended the “help” but we have not been informed how …or even when in relation to the first incident..
    Of course there will be the investigation…which if we judge from past such procedures will be a very long drawn out affair at the end of which most likely no one will be either informed …or happy.
    There might be some inkling of what is going on in the book suggested in a comment above, GOODBYE GOOD MEN! in which the tragic state of priesthood in the Catholic Church is exposed! Pay, pray and obey!

  160. Gonzalo Palacios says:

    The manner in which the communicant was denied the Eucharist and the manner in which the Archidiocese has acted regarding the priest involved is not a matter of Cannon Law but of the Law of Christ. Part of the problem seems to be our inability to tell one from the other, Gonzalo T. Palacios, Ph.D. Philosophy Instructor.

  161. Henry Karlson says:

    Once again, we have not seen indication that she is no longer Catholic. The “Buddhist” connection is not so simple to discern from what is available online. And even though the priest became known through this event, it does not mean this is the source of the questions around him.

    Once again, I would recommend stepping back and stop assuming things. He could be a good priest who will be vindicated. Or, he could be someone with problems which came to light at this time. Consider the fact you don’t know the whole story as a reason to stop making assertions about the case and let a cool, reasonable investigation be done.

    We don’t need another Fr. Corapi.

  162. Several years ago I went to midnight Mass with some members of the family who are Protestant. Attending the Mass was a man whom my sister-in-law, one of the Protestants, knew to be a very vocal practicing homosexual. She was scandalized to see this man taking communion with no questions asked. I thought that the risk of giving scandal was one of the reasons for withholding communion. Apparently Cardinal Wuerl doesn’t see it that way. Even if there were other reasons for placing this priest on administrative leave, it would seem as if prudent thing to do would have been to wait until the current upset died down before acting. By placing this priest on administrative leave so quickly after this incident the impression is given that the lavender Mafia is still alive and functioning and that it is cowtowing to the complaints of a lesbian activist.

    I know at least one person who would see herself as a former Catholic. She is a member of a Protestant congregation now. However, when she goes to Mass with her husband (who remains a Catholic) she still receives communion because as she put it to me “I refuse to allow the Catholic Church to own communion.” She is very vocal about not believing what the Church teaches, and was very sarcastic about the Church when she heard that I’d converted. However, she continues to present herself for communion when she happens to go to Mass with her husband (for unity’s sake). So is she in, or is she out according to canon law?

    We need to be teaching our children what a grave sin it is to communicate without believing what the Church teaches or when in grave sin. St. Paul was very clear that there are consequences for receiving communion when you have mortal sin on your soul. A pastor may not always know the state of the person in front of them, but in this particular case he apparently had been approached prior to Mass and been advised about the person’s state of life. Assuming that other family members were also aware of this, wouldn’t it indeed cause grave scandal to faithful Catholics among them if she were to have been given communion with no questions asked? Her loving mother may well have died heartbroken over her daughter’s lifestyle. I have a friend whose daughter has chosen to embrace a homosexual lifestyle and she told me today that this was the biggest heartache of her life. I sincerely suspect that this woman’s mother would have been as upset about her presenting herself for communion without first abandoning her homosexual lifestyle as the priest was. I may be wrong, perhaps the mother was brainwashed into thinking this was simply a lifestyle choice. In either case, the Church certainly doesn’t see it as simply a lifestyle choice.

    The sad fact is that the things that Pope Paul VI warned about in Humane Vitae have come to pass. Abortion, divorce, homosexuality, promiscuity, all have derived from an attitude towards the marriage act that is self-centered instead of self-giving I suspect this priest might well be better able to function in Moscow than in metropolitan U.S.A. Priests from Africa frequently get shuttled into tiny parishes or sent back to Africa for being too orthodox, I suspect this priest may end up in the same straits. I suggest he do what St. Paul did and appeal to Rome.

  163. Denial of Holy Comunion is a silent but hugely significant bugaboo in the Archdioce of Washington (ADW). This stems in part from the (convenient?) ambiguity of Ordinarial authority over Representatives, Senators, Justices, Vice Presidents and senior Administration officials who are Catholic, who are parishioners back home, and who frequent Catholic Churches in the ADW. An easy example is Sec. Sebelius: Catholic? Yes. Asked in writing by her Bishop in Kansas City, Kansas to not present herself for Holy Communion, she is subsequently asked to not present herself for Holy Communion in ADW. Here, ADW follows the courageous lead of the “Home Bishop”, as it should, and as it is easy to do. A more difficult example is Nancy Pelosi, a frequently-self-described Catholic and representative from California. Communion in the ADW? Anytime, unless and until her Bishop back home has something different to say about it. The list of public Catholics that fall into this “Pelosi category” is loooooooong.
    There is a hesitancy ingrained in the ADW to teach, remonstrate, warn and sanction those many public Catholics who publically voice opinions, develop policies and enact legislation directly contrary to the faith and morals of Catholic teaching. This, even though these public Catholics do so while publically claiming their Catholicism. While there very well may be quiet responses from the ADW to individual public Catholics in one-off efforts to return the lamb to the fold, the consistent lack of the ADW’s PUBLIC defense of the Faith has emerged as an unspoken but real fault line among the Faithful of the ADW, and the Cardinal ArchBishop and his Auxilary Bishops know it.
    Hence, at least in part, the hair trigger with the Muscovite Priest. His actions in the Sanctuary (not to speak of the actions for which he has been removed by Bishop Knestout) provided too strong a profile-in-courage for the sensibilities of the ADW.
    I am no canonist, but there may be solid ground from which the Cardinal Archbishop and his Auxillaries could, should and must teach transient Catholics in the ADW: When a Bishop, say from Kansas City, Kansas intends to offer a public Mass in the ADW, he properly gives notice and seeks permission from his Brother Bishop, the Archbishop of the ADW. Is not this correct deference acknowledgement of the fact of the local Bishop’s sole authority and responsibilty to teach in the local diocese? Is the visiting Bishop’s deference analagous to the deference his own Faithful must acknowledge when presenting themselves as Catholic in the ADW? Does not the responsibility to instruct transient Catholics belong to the local Archbishop?

  164. Well, Cardinal O’Boyle of Washington threw out about 130 priests in 1968 after the firestorm of Humane Vitae. Don’t you think that this action by a Cardinal left a discouraging scar on future vocations in the Archdiocese of Washington? The Catholic Church supposedly has a doctrine of conscience and dissent, but evidently, there is no acceptable opportunity that it ever be exercised.

  165. St John Parishioner says:

    Thank you Francis,

    You are correct it was an honest mistake. When I showed the Director of Religious Formation the bulletin announcement she immediately said it was incorrect and stated that Ash Wednesday is NOT a holy day of obligation. She said that the mistake somehow passed through the editing process. Clare, I’ll assume your calling her the DRE rather than DRF, as it clearly states on the first page of the bulletin, was simply a typo.

  166. Kit Tambo says:

    If the priests are corrected for not giving communion to those who have apostasized into Buddhism and lesbiansism, then there will a a chastisement from above.

  167. The statement by the priest was absolutely horrible. In our complex society, there are a great many issues on which Catholics need to concern themselves. During the course of the republican debates, the candidates have: 1) advocated more WARS (against Iran); 2. come out against minimum wage; 3. spoken against social security;4)attacked medicare and medicaid, and promised to end them;5) attacked the extension of health care for tens of millions of more Americans. Yet, your argument, and evidently the homilist’s, is that there is only one issue to consider, and nothing more, so vote MY way, or else it’s a sin. Well this is a simplistic attitude. What ever happened to social justice in this country, and the church aligning itself strongly with sharing economic opportunities, and helping the oppressed find justice? I think it is totally wrong for Catholics to think “I am a good Catholic because I hate our President and I hate gays and I vote that way.” We are hearing too much of this today. A significant reason of why the churches in Europe are EMPTY today is because of the Church bludgeoning its way into politics. Christ said “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s…” Let’s get back to loving our neighbor, feeding the poor. Young Catholics today would be shocked to learn that once the Catholic Church was able to do this on a massive scale from the donations of its faithful who believed in its work. Today, it does a fraction of these works, and often with PUBLIC FUNDS from government contracts. The faithful have left the pews and have stopped trusting the hierarchical management that paid out billions in court judgments and settlements rather than responsibly deal with this and many other problems. No, that priest was gravely wrong in labeling people who voted for the current President as sinners.

  168. Unfortunately it seems that there is a lot of misinformation and confusion everywhere, and I feel compelled to add a few nuggets of real truth. With all due respect to Dr. Edward Peters and some other experts, I think they need to hold their judgments. The information that the media and Internet are feeding us is selective at best.

    I do know Fr. Guarnizo personally. In all of my interactions with him, I have found him a good and edifying priest. As a priest myself, I write that with a certain amount of humility but also experience of the clerical world. He is undoubtedly a conservative priest, but I have not detected a harsh or “unpastoral” side to him.

    Whether he did the right thing with regard to Barbara Johnson, I cannot say. I was not there. And almost all of the information that we have is coming from Johnson herself. I would hope that everyone would note that Fr. Guarnizo has not said a word publicly in his defense. He’s tried to lay low, which is probably smart on his part. It would have been good if all parties did the same.

    The greater Washington DC area has a lot of international families. Fr. Guarnizo’s was one. I know several priests from such backgrounds. No big deal.

    After the fall of communism in Europe, Fr. Guarnizo wanted to help serve the Church rebuild in that region. Hence, his desire to be incardinated and to work in the Moscow Archdiocese. And, again, remember he’s from an international background already–another move is no big deal. Additionally, he’s not exceptional in this; I know other such “missionary” priests from the USA who had the same desire. Yes, Fr. Guarnizo does speak Russian; his bishop (who at that point was only an apostolic administrator, if I remember correctly) wouldn’t even talk to him about being a seminarian with the diocese until he learned Russian, which he did.

    And speaking about languages, Fr. Guarnizo speaks German too, hence his correct German (not American) pronunciation of Neumann.

    There is no doubt that Fr. Guarnizo has incredible organizational and fundraising skills. Good for him, but also good for the Church.

    I knew Bishop Knestout when he was a parish pastor. He seemed a good man.

    All in all, I imagine that there are incredible pressures on both Bishop Knestout and Fr. Guarnizo. Unfortunately in this fallen world, accidents (and worse!) happen, and even good people can be pitted against each other, even if there is no sin involved. I’d ask all of us to be very careful about what we say, hopefully allowing the issue to calm down a bit so that cool heads can prevail, especially for both clerics’ sake. And we pray as always…

  169. Richard M says:

    I couldn’t help but think that Priest (1994) was a one-sided hit job on the Church’s teachings on sexuality.

    There’s something true and thoughtful about that quote, but the movie I can do without. There are enough movies dismissing the Church as hidebound and destructive on anything related to sex already.

  170. I hope this is not the case of a faithful priest getting in trouble because he denies communion to an open lesbian, and while the priest is reprimended the open lesbian is given an apology. Contrast this apparent behavior by the Diocese of Washington with what, distressfully, we have seen too often in the past, and perhaps still see today in some dioceses, of a homosexual priest abusing a boy and while the homosexual priest is protected the boy and his family are reprimended. If that is the case, we should paraphrase the words of Pope Paul VI about the smoke of Satan entering the vestibule of the Church, in this case the Diocese of Washington.

  171. I don’t think it’s all that amazing. After all, Gandhi already said he’s a Hindu, a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew.

  172. Teilard de Chardin and Thomas Merton, both priests, were deeply involved with eastern religions and its mysticism. Many today read their works on these subjects and find it very complementary with the Catholic faith. We have recently had several bishops criticizing yoga, now practiced by millions in the US. I do not think there is a good basis for such criticism. Most view it as exercise or a discipline. Here in Washington, our own Cardinal Wuerl was on the committee of the Catholic Bishops Conference that came out and denounced reiki !!! Half the reiki practitioners around are nuns ! The people who I know who do reiki seek it for pain relief or relaxation. Likewise, Buddhism is viewed by a great many as not even a religion, but a philosophy, a discipline, a set of aesthetics. Barbara Johnson is an artist, and a former Catholic School teacher. I am sure that she loves teaching, students, and the Church to take on that job, in the challenging school in which she worked with a large student body of African American and Latina students. I find it natural that an artist is attracted to Buddhism for its aesthetics. It helps complete our own vast glorious history of art in the Catholic Church. I heard a member of he theology department at Catholic University of America once mention in passing from the pulpit at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception that he is buddhist. No one fussed about that statement.

  173. Baltimore Catechesis says:

    I am struck by Gonazalo Palacio’s magnificently apt misspelling. For too many on this blog, the Church should be governed by “Cannon Law”, and the bigger caliber cannon the better! We will fire away at the woman who complained, at Bishop Knestout and, even the Cardinal. We will hint darkly at deeper motives from all involved. We forget the very basis of all our Catholic teaching. “Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I build my Church” From Jesus to Peter, from Peter to the Popes, from the Popes to the Bishops. Our poor shepherds have quite a flock, bleating and scattering in every direction, while the wolves gather around us.
    In these weeks, I see one redeeming thing: Father Guarnizo himself has followed the path of Wisdom, and possibly of sanctity, uttering not one word despite the abuse heaped upon him. God bless him, and guide him and those who investigate and counsel him. God bless our bishops who must shelter us from the rising storm against our Church, while seeking justice and charity for all. And may we not add our breath to the winds that batter our Church!
    By the way do not think I’m naive. I don’t doubt that Ms. Johnson and her supporters weren’t ready to exploit any opening given her, but poor Father didn’t have to be quite so obliging.

  174. Where does the doctrine of conscience and dissent by the communicant fit into the situation? How does one who administers communion know what pastoral counseling the communicant has had over the years? Let’s add a new twist- what are lay communion ministers supposed to do? They more likely than many priests know who is cohabiting without marriage, who talks about their birth control, etc. ? Is this really a good idea to have a priest or communion minister conduct the spiritual equivalent to prospective communicants of the searches we get at airports before boarding planes?

  175. In the end God will prevail. The righteous will receive his blessings and those who seek opposition to His will will be enlightend, hopefully sooner rather than too late. In His time He will confirm the answers we need, until then we are commanded to love as He loves us, seek His counsel, and to spread His Good News.

  176. Klaire, your comments ring true in Washington.

    In this town, it’s always been about the money: (1) The continuing refusal of Cardinal Wuerl to confront Nancy Pelosi, whose disdain for the Magisterium’s teaching is becoming more and more blatant. (2) Cardinal McCarrick’s carrying Ted Kennedy’s deathbed letter to Rome, and returning with soothing words, albeit carefully chosen. (3) Chris Mathews chosen to emcee the annual Cardinal’s dinner until someone thought better of the choice.

  177. The woman is not only a lesbian but a Buddhist and a gay rights activist! There is something terribly wrong going on in the Archdiocese of Washington. They should be investigated. Please see:
    News Outlets Failed to Reveal Lesbian Denied Communion at Mother’s Funeral … is a Buddhist and Gay Rights Activist

  178. Correct, correct, correct. There is much more to the store.

  179. Actually, I am beginning to wonder if the move by Bishop Knestout on behalf of the Archdiocese of Washington DC to sack and humiliate priests who deny publicly self-announced sexually active lesbian buddhists the Blessed Sacrament is some sort of clever new vocations program that is beyond our understanding.

  180. “Defection I would think has little or nothing to do with this communion case. A true defector considers themselves ex-Catholic and would not present themselves for Communion. When I attend Mass these days on a Christmas or funeral out of respect to family members, I attend as an outside visitor. This controversy has much more to do with the regulations surrounding how a priest is supposed to refuse or not refuse communion. It sounds like the regs want priests to exercise that authority with some care and a minimum of presumption. The way I read it, a priest has to know you’re ineligible and talk with you about it before turning you away. The benefit of the doubt is apparently supposed to go to the communicant, along with the primary responsibility if they abuse it.”

    Greetings, Kenneth:
    Allow me to challenge a few things from your statement quoted above to see if you can appreciate a difficulty I am having with many aspects of this controversy.
    1. How do you know what motivates a “true defector” in terms of approaching communion? Isn’t this prejudging without really knowing? Are you not guilty of making an assumption without any real facts?
    2. Should the rest of us follow your lead and assume that everyone who approaches communion is not a “true defector”?
    3. What actually constitutes a “true defector”?
    Did Father G. speak with the Mass attendee prior to the ceremony or not? Do we know all of the information that was presented to him, or should we assume once again that the attendee only presented “vague” information that Father G. could not reasonably draw a conclusion from…except to assume that she was not a “true defector”?


  181. naturgesetz says:

    I’m beginning to wonder if the balance which the Church has struck between the obligations of potential communicants and those of ministers of the sacrament is beyond your understanding.

  182. naturgesetz says:

    The problem is that this is so abnormal (different from the normal behavior of priests) as to raise questions about his psychological condition.

    IOW, it suggests that he’s a kook.

  183. The seminary in Washington DC, known as Theological College (but referred to as “the theological closet by anyone who has been there), has long been considered one of the very worse examples in the U.S. of seminaries where the majority of students and staff are of homosexual orientation. Personally I find it hard to imagine that the Archdiocese of Washington would have run a predominately homosexual seminary (and one widely known as that) for decades unless they were completely ok with it.

    [Comment edited to remove offensive content. -- Dcn. G]

  184. naturgesetz says:

    In everything I have read here, I have seen nothing to indicate that the priest told her beforehand that she could not receive Communion. It was when she presented herself in the Communion line that he told her. And the error is that to deny people when they present themselves, you have to have talked with them about it beforehand.

  185. Fr. John,

    Thank you for that information, Father. Maybe I am ignorant on the use of terms but I thought incardinated meant tranfered canonically from one diocese to another. Didn’t Father M. enter seminary for the Apostolic Adm. of Moscow immediately after he graduated college in 1994? I assume he was interested in this work while an undergrad and studied Russian then.

    And certainly it is good for the Church that he even during his early 20s had incredible organizational and fundraising skills. The Church in Russia is in sore need for assistance.

    There are going to be (well, already have been) questions about how a college undergraduate has such fundraising skills that an overseas bishop agrees to make him a priest and let him stay in in the Washington area to raise money. Some young people are very talented. But there needs to be a response to the accusation that Fr. G is connected to wealthy members of “Tradition, Family, Property”, falangist elements or the anti-communist paramilitary “United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia.”

  186. It looks as though this poor man has been rairoaded and hung out to dry. This for simply serving Our Lord in the way that is becoming of a priest. May God have mercy on them.

  187. “Giving scandal” has always struck me as a strange matter, and I am surprised that the Church has always placed so much emphasis on it, since it involves what is in the (petty?) minds and (impure?) hearts of those who claim to be scandalized, rather than the heart, mind soul of the alleged scandaler, and what that person knows to be his or her own relationship with God. Of all those who are quoting chapters and verses, no one seems to be familiar with Matthew 7:1, “Judge not that you not be judged.” What an irony that the Catholic Church (hierarchy and faithful) is among the most judgmental in actual practice .
    I remember growing up in the ’50′s and ’60′s, when the Church and its most strict faithful, were persuing those with marital problems with a vengeance. Many priests were advising spouses in abusive marriages to remain married, and the petty among us were ever on the watch for anyone separating or divorcing. This information was passed on to the rectory by the righteous immediately ! I know of instances in which a mother was told her kids had to get out of the parish school, another in which the woman was told she must quit her parish sodality. There were hundreds of thousands of instances such as this. It was the rage, literally. It was the ecclesiastical equivalent of McCarthy-ism, that was occurring in the ’50′s. Now, a similar thing is occurring with gays. No one seems to recall that Vatican pronouncements besides condemning gays, also say that parishes are to minister to their spiritual needs. The Church has itself painted into a corner. Its reluctance to accept a science until 500-700 years after its publication has frozen its truths in too much ignorance on too many subjects. With all the discrimination faced by gays and lesbians, I can not believe that it is a voluntary decision. I think that we should all be too busy during mass in our own prayers, participating in the liturgy, and searching our own souls for the instances in which we are failing to live the Two Great Commandments articulated by Jesus, to have any time to be scandalized, or to be superimposing our own judgments on the state of another’s soul and relationship to God. One of my favorite post Vatican II church songs had a joyful refrain: “They’ll know we are Christian by our love….” Instead, today they’ll know we are Catholic by our 850 page Catechism and our complex Canon law.

  188. Jim from Utah says:


    Hiding behind their lavender curtains.

  189. Thanks for the edit, and apologies for any offensive content. My point was solely that if in fact, as we see might be the case, the Archdiocese is at various levels of administration staffed by a large percentage, even perhaps a majority, of those who themselves are of homosexual orientation, it might offer an explanation as to the very quick, very public, and even humiliating, actions taken against Fr. Guarnizo on behalf of a publicly professed sexually active lesbian.

  190. All I’m doing is drawing a distinction between formal defection and the eligibility to receive communion. When I say “true defector” I am referring to someone who has formally left the Church. There is no indication this woman has done so. Very few have, because the procedure only existed for three years and very few understood how to use it. The fact that someone may profess Buddhist beliefs may or may not constitute defection. What I mean to say is that most people who would be ineligible for communion, who would still seek communion, are not defectors. They are Catholics who for one reason or another are not held to be in a sufficient state of grace to receive it.

  191. If I were a priest I hope I would assume the same. I would hope to realize that a Buddhist lesbian is not one of the faithful.

  192. Both are activist supporting grave evil and both are openly attacking the Catholic Church and Her teaching.

  193. Back in the day, you folks will never believe this, people were lauded for protecting the Sacred Eucharist from desecration (isn’t that goofy?)-I know it’s hard to believe, may all those misguided souls who did so be forgiven by those they offended. And so we now find ourselves faced with the religious equivalent of a misguided, jack booted, thug of a priest who witholds the Eucharist from an offended pagan, active lesbian. He should be sent to the Gulag.

    Excuse me, does anyone have an airsick bag I can borrow?

  194. Drake, where is this “doctrine of conscience and dissent” on issues that have been labeled as those we are not allowed to dissent on because they are intrinically grave evil and ruled as such by the Church. If only other Bishops had done the same and stuck with it after Humanae Vitae, things might have been far different today. It would have shown the Bishops are ready and willing to go to war to fight for the teaching of the Church. It would have also sent a strong signal to politicans claiming to be Catholic who support and nuture the killing of millions of babies that the two cannot coexist.

    I think we would have seen a strong influx of priests knowing that the Bishops were serious about Catholic teaching and would not allow what developed in many of the seminaries. I also think Bishops with spines would have not tolerated child abuse. Following Christ and doing so but picking up the Cross to battle the secular culture is inspiring and draws many to want to join. We had a Pope in JPII who went all over the world standing tall for Church teaching and saying “Don’t be Afraid” and we now have an influx of what are called JPII priests. Look for more inspired by Pope Benedict XVI. If you are going to give you life to Christ which means going to war with those who want to tear down the Church, you like to have Bishops worth being in the foxhole with you.

    What I hated about this entire story from the minute the Archdiocese started to jump down to bow to the secular world distorted view of morality is that it apperared they were throwing this priest to the wolves. As I said above, it did not take the evil group Dignity long to jump on the bashing bandwagon out of their hatred for Catholic teaching and the Church.

  195. So naturgesetz, you think this was handled properly by the archdiocese? If you were thinking of being a priest in this archdiocese, would this give you a warm feeling that it would support you or leve you out to dry. At a minimum, the wording and timing are horrible.

    As to the issue for Eucharistic ministers, I think the USCCB should step forward and make a clear and definitive statement on this issue standing solidly behind Canon Law and Church teaching. You can expect any priest who defies the secular world desires to get tested in this same way by those determined to drive grave evil into Church teaching or destroy the Church and they don’t care which.

  196. It appears that no one finds this archdiocese communication believable.

    The homosexual activist community is certainly claiming victory and I’m sure lining up their next victim.

  197. Manny, do you really think Barbara Johnson would have used her mother’s funeral as an occasion to “intentionally undermine the Church”? Come on.

  198. Seems to me like that should be part of his being allowed to come into the archdiocese and assigned a parish should be some form of screening process. So his background in my mind does not come into play after he was accepted in this archdiocese. Can anyone enlighten me on what happens when he comes into the archdiocese from outside before being given a parish?

  199. Thank you, Henry. I’m more than sick of the demonization going on, from all sides.

  200. pagansister says:

    Though I disagree with you, Mark, I would expect no other answer from you. :o)

  201. In my 55 years, I’ve seen people use the death of a close relative as an excuse to act out all sorts of internal dramas a number of times. These people were often in my own family so I don’t think anyone’s immune. As much as anything else, the shock and grief of losing a loved one often causes the internal filter to dissolve.

  202. pagansister says:

    Mark, “claiming victory” and “lining up their next victim?” Really? This isn’t a war. The priest in this case was placed on leave—-and according to the article not due to his refusal to refuse communion to a woman who happend to live with another woman. And according to a previous article a few days ago, the person coming up to receive communion is the one who makes that decision—if they are worthy to receive it—not the priest. (if I remember correctly what that post said).

  203. pagansister says:

    OK, I blew that line! Trying again. “——-and according to the article not due to his refusing communion to a woman who happened to live with another woman”.

  204. If you do not see what is going on in this country between good and evil, between secular humanist godless state religion and the Catholic Church and all other Christians, between big government controlling every aspect of our lives and the Constitution, you are not paying attention.

    Certainly those working in the homoseuxal activist and pro abortion groups are fighting like it is war.

    Kind of like many in the US after about 1000 attacks on the West over decades by Islamst still can’t seem to understand those sickos are serious and it is war to them.

    I also see Cardnial Dolan as having some very strong words about the battle we face as Catholics lately. He spoke about his seeing his new red hat as the same color as blood and our long history of martyrs.

    Those who support the homosexual agenda and are pro abortion might not want the Church to see their ongoing activities as serious prefering to see the enemy in slumber.

  205. pagansister says:

    Kenneth, I agree. This priest knows the reason(s) he is on leave—-as does the person who decided to put him on leave. The real reasons may not be known— as said in the article—supposedly has nothing to do with Johnson.

  206. pagansister says:

    Mark, with respect, there have been homosexuals since the beginning of time, and women have had abortions since the beginning of time. The Catholic Church (and perhaps others) had many men (and women) who were attracted to the same gender, and joined a convent of monastary. Armys have had many men who were homosexuals. They fought and died just like the heterosexuals. None of this is new. Due to many, many reasons, there is no reason to sweep same gender relationships under the rug, or to deny women control over their bodies.

  207. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    This is straying into another tangent. Ladies and gentlemen: please stay on topic. Thank you.

    Dcn. G.

  208. pagansister says:

    Peter, how do you know she is a Pagan? A Pagan woudn’t have gone up to receive communion—-believe me.

  209. pagansister says:

    Message received, Deacon G.! :o)

  210. Drake besides being wrong, you are off topic.

    I hope Deacon doesn’t want this topic on Catholic teaching and Eucharist to turn into a Republican Democrat debate.

  211. naturgesetz says:

    No. It was addressed to the priests of the diocese. Each is Bp. Knestout’s brother in the order of priests.

  212. I don’t really know much about Can. Law. But, I do know the simple exercise of charity which doesn’t abandon the truth. And I know humility which abandons neither. The exertion of Can. Law in some, and perhaps many, cases has had the common worn-down tendency to run into legalistic modes of evaluation rather than being pursued by its’ very core and foundation in the Sacramental life of the Church. Sadly, every bad circumstance for the very Bride of Christ gets publicized with legalistic experts tending to gather with their pursuit to use it for purposes to quiet (and hush) the person being accused (usually the priest) to avoid further scandal.

    But, let’s observe something perhaps extraordinary. The rift which is between a person not being the state of Grace and Christ present has become incidentally and quite accidentally clearly visible to the general public. Consider what the Holy Spirit could be and actually may be doiong. Take a look at inquiring minds who will read into the issue and have an honest desire to know the facts, may indeed be evangelized. If the faithful avoid evangelizing, then God can make the situation where evangelizing lacks and turn it around for the better (to follow the pursuit of salvation.) In this particular case, people must now inquire as to why the lady was not permitted the Sacrament (see the apparent rift and know the significance and why it’s important.) Then, they will have to inquire as to what and Who is present in the Sacrament. Following from that, all the public inquiry will need to – by virtue of inquiry – to know what the Church teaches and why. So, the outcry from the lady, the letter and action from the Bishop, and the situation of Fr. Gaurzino are now going to to be clear illustrations of what the Church teaches and why the reception of the Sacrament is so important. Just like the Magi, you may have people who merely honest seekers of truth and an honest inquiry for truth drawn and converted by the Holy Spirit.

  213. I might not agree with what Father Yost posted earlier up the page, but I have to say that ad hominem attacks against him because of his stance get us no closer to heaven or to each other. Christ wants us all to be as one. It saddens me to see brothers and sisters in Christ saying such negative things about each other on both sides of this discussion. I would guess that most of us who take the time to read a blog of this type are probably pretty serious about our commitment to the Lord, and it is important that we work out our differences in a spirit of love. Satan is always ready to attack any opening we give him, and when we let a spirit of anger determine our words we are providing such an opening.

  214. You know, much of what you’re saying about this priest could have been said about Jesus. He didn’t beat around the bush much either. His words to the willful and stubborn sinner were usually quite pointed–in fact, he made many of them so angry they tried to kill him.

  215. Article from Catholic News Agency that sheds some light on the Buddhism issue:
    I agree that studying a philosophy certainly doesn’t make you a member of that religion. I try to adopt many of the ideas of stoicism into my life, but I’m certainly not a pagan.

  216. naturgesetz says:

    I have no good reason to think that it was not properly handled by the archdiocese.

    If I were considering a possible vocation to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Washington, I hope being warmly supported if I made an error in judgment would be pretty far down in the list of my concerns.

    I don’t know who gave Bishop Knestout’s letter to the press, but as a letter to the priests of the archdiocese, it looks like something that gives a brief explanation without going into unnecessary detail.

  217. Well, some within the Church have, but please, pray for this priest! He’s being unjustly persecuted by the flock he serves!

  218. Too many armchair bishops here.

    The priests may have issues with his temper, impatience, etc., that run deep and that have been a scandal for years. Sometimes it takes an eruption such as what happens in this case to be the final straw breaking the camel’s back.

    Give it time and wait for the whole story to come out. Dr. Peters’ predicted this response so well: orthodox Catholics will decry the “mistreatment” of the priest – and I would add, without knowing the facts.

  219. That’s stupid of you calling the young man a disgrace. I am priest like you. If you think that an issue of external forum should not be meted with such discipline, then you Alan G are a disgrace to the priesthood. A Buddhist and lesbian should be barred from receiving communion. QED. If she tries it in Nigeria, she will be bundled out of the Church.

  220. Mike, just read Johnson’s speech on that fateful day before posting junks.

  221. God bless you Fr. Deacon Daniel

  222. How can a priest be barred from acting as a priest and the document read in the Church even when the people are oblivious of what he did? Why should this come when the dust is alredy troubled and yet tagged unconnected to the dainting of a
    poor priest’s image? A lesbian and a Budhist controlling a red cap chief in Washington. Tufiakwa! Lord have mercy on the Archdiocese of Washington.

  223. Suzy, 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.” Thus, the pastor is not in a position to judge whether the person is in a state of grace, not even if the pastor and the person had some discussion beforehand. Instead, Pope John Paul II went on to explain why a priest might choose to not admit the person to communion, not based on a judgment of the state of the person’s soul but instead of obstinate persistent outward gravely immoral conduct. He said, “However, in cases of outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm, the Church, in her pastoral concern for the good order of the community and out of respect for the sacrament, cannot fail to feel directly involved. The Code of Canon Law refers to the situation of a manifest lack of proper moral disposition when it states that those who ‘obstinately persist in manifest grave sin’ are not to be admitted to Eucharistic communion.”

    You seem to be under an impression that the priest was privately informed beforehand that a woman was living a “lifestyle” of mortal sin, but based on what? Because she perhaps referred to another woman as her “partner” or “lover” or that she’s reportedly “lesbian” and “lives with another woman”? If so, none of that is intrinsically sinful and does not per se constitute mortal sin. Of course, one might interpret any words in a mortally sinful way, and in so doing, perhaps even commit mortal sin oneself, but that doesn’t make it right. A lesbian woman can be chaste/celibate and “live” with a “partner” or “lover”, and for that matter, not even be in a “near occasion of sin”. Merely being a “lesbian” woman and “living with” another woman, whether that other woman be called a “partner” or “lover”, even if “other family members were also aware of this”, does not justify judging that the woman’s conduct was “seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm”, that she “obstinately persists in manifest grave sin”. Rather, the Church teaches that “To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way.” And there are favorable ways to interpret such words. Even if more often than not we’d be wrong by interpreting them in a favorable way, St. Thomas Aquinas reminds, “He who interprets doubtful matters for the best, may happen to be deceived more often than not; yet it is better to err frequently through thinking well of a wicked man, than to err less frequently through having an evil opinion of a good man.”

    And rather than just “a” “homosexual lifestyle”, there are many different “homosexual lifestyles”, including chaste and unchaste “homosexual lifestyles”. Every homosexual person, whether chaste of unchaste, lives a life that is affected by homosexual attraction. Their way of life is affected. Thus, every homosexual person has a “homosexual lifestyle” and it cannot be totally “abandoned”. Indeed, rather than “abandoned”, the Church teaches that “the difficulties they may encounter from their condition” are to be united with the Cross “if they are Christians” and carried.

  224. Even the Catholic Church is a “gay rights activist” when, for example, she teaches that “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided”, and “The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined.”

    As to being a “Buddhist”, even self-described “Biddhists” do not agree what it means. There are Catholics who may refer to themselves as “Buddhist” just as there are Catholics who may refer to themselves as Republican or Democrat. While there are Republican and Democratic parties and they have adopted platforms, there are many people who would profess to be members who do not agree with the platforms. So too, there are many people who may refer to themselves as “Buddhist” who may do their own thing.

    And it’s not a sin to be “a lesbian”.

    And so, even a lesbian Buddhist gay rights activist can be a practicing Catholic in a state of grace.

  225. Would a “pagan” release a statement calling on “[Catholics to] pray that our Church will remain in Christ’s love”?

  226. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

  227. I bet you he would have never been removed it this whole incident had not taken place! Very sad situation. Now, the militant lesbian, Buddhist, former Catholic has won. She said that his suspension has noting to do with what happened at the funeral. I bet! So, do that mean that any priest who stands up for their “conscience” (that’s a big word today in the US), will be under the scrutiny of the diocese until they find something? Come on, where is the Christian charity toward the priest. Don’t we believe in innocent until proven guilty. Right, that doesn’t apply to a priest. If he is faithful to the Church, we will dig until we find something that can destroy him.

  228. Henry Karlson says:

    You “bet” based upon what knowledge? How do you know what is involved with the discipline? Seriously, you don’t know, you are presuming based upon post hoc ergo propter hoc, a fallacious way of presuming indeed.

  229. Henry Karlson says:

    And if there was something serious, and it was stated, the same people would probably be decrying “Why are they making such statements before the investigation is done.”

    Seriously, didn’t people learn anything from the Corapi affair?

    Again, nowhere has it been shown that the discipline enacted has to do with the funeral. Please, stop making fools of yourselves and wait to see. Prudence.

  230. Wasn’t St. Teresa of Avila denied Holy Communion by St. John of the Cross to test her faith?

  231. Drake, Teilhard’s writings were condemned by the Holy See. That he attracted such a cult following was because he was the latest thing. In any event, Teilhard’s notion that the world is on a constant course of self-improvement toward the “Omega point,” when the world’s transformation will “reach its fullness,” and Christ will then suddenly appear, has absolutely no biblical or theological foundation. Unless someone is going to claim that Chardin was receiving private revelations – - which I’ve never heard, his prediction about the end of the world is interesting (when it is “finally perfected”), but at odds with Christ’s own words, e.g., “when the Son of Man returns, will he find even ten men of faith?” He did not say that He would be coming back when the world was finally perfected. The notion that fallen mankind can ever be perfected this side of the grave is of course naive nonsense.

    Here is what one world class theologian had to say about Teilhard: “You can’t get any benefit or enlightenment from thinking about Teilhard. The ravages that he has wrought that I have witnessed are horrifying. I do everything I can to avoid having to talk about him. People are not content with just teaching him, they preach him. They use him like a siege engine to undermine the Church from within (I am not kidding) and I, for one, want no part of this destructive scheme.” — Etienne Gilson

  232. Don’t we believe in innocent until proven guilty.

    This is a principle of secular English Common Law. It is not a principle of Canon law. Take this complaint to Rome and suggest they be more anglo-american in their principles of justice.

  233. She stated in a previous interview that she is a Buddhist and is an open lesbian (i.e. does not follow Christian precepts). Does she have to light a pyre to Zeus to be a Pagan?

  234. You are deceived and need to reserach the Church’s teachings on homosexuality. Your last statement is wrong in every way.

  235. Alan G Yost says:

    Yes, I am. And as I said above, we can find God and truth anywhere if we just take the time to open our eyes and look. There are several good books as well as some retreats that take pop culture and use it as a reflection on Christ’s message.

    And I think you meant to say, “You’re a priest?”

  236. Lori Payne says:

    To whom it may concern,
    Shame on whomever made the decision to put Fr. Marcel on a leave of absence for just defending the Catholic Faith and Catholic morals. “Blessed are those who suffer persecution for justice’s sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of God” Fr. Marcel did right by refusing someone communion if they were living a public scandalous life, in the state of public mortal sin.. God bless Fr. Marcel and give him the strength to hold on to his Catholic beliefs, for his will be the Kingdom of God.

  237. Alan G Yost says:

    Then I suppose it’s a blessing she isn’t in Nigeria, isn’t it? And btw, the fact that she’s a Buddhist was not public knowledge when I posted.

    QED? I’m not sure you’re using that term correctly. Do you know what it means? Do they provide priestly formation in Nigeria?

  238. Which in this case seems as applicable to the woman as it is to the archdiocese of Washington DC.

  239. The Diocese of Washington needs to hire a PR department. This was grossly mishandled. The letters are the only press I’ve seen. Pathetically mishandled. Nobody knows anything and we all deserve more.

  240. How about simply not being sacked and publicly humiliated for doing what was, at the very least arguably, the right thing to do?

    Many are aware that Cardinal Ratzinger informed Cardinal McCarrick that pro-abortion politicians are not to receive Holy Communion. McCarrick’s response was that following those instructions made him “uncomfortable” and thus he chose to completely ignore them. In like fashion Cardinal Wuerl has followed suit. Where does that leave the priest? I for one have no doubt whatsoever that if every single Canon lawyer in the Church said the priest acted accordingly, the Archdiocese of Washington would still have moved against him.

  241. Henry Karlson says:

    Maybe it is not unrelated. Maybe the priest knew it was coming and gave a culture-warrior action to encourage defense? Maybe not, but we don’t know! Post hoc ergo propter hoc is a fallacy.

  242. No one “just happens” to decide to live in a state of perpetual sin, or “just happens” to decide to engage in acts of homosexual sodomy. In fact, the deliberate choice to engage in homosexual sodomy, as well as the deliberate choice to mercilessly terminate the life of an unborn human being, are two of the 4 great sins that “cry out to Heaven for vengeance”. And, yes, there has been murder and sexual perversion from the beginning, and will be until the end, but what of it? The point being, and to pull this back on topic, is that this woman without any doubt knew that she had decided to live in what the Church founded by Christ says is a state of serious and perpetual sin. If priests are simply to give the Blessed Sacrament to anyone who approaches, then why are there any rules and regulations about it in the Code of Canon Law to begin with?

  243. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    Is there really any sin that is “perpetual”?

    God’s mercy, and the sacrament of reconciliation, both tell me otherwise.

    Dcn. G.

  244. Alan G Yost says:

    Thank you, jem, for a beacon of reason and charity in here. I would like to apologize for anything inflammatory I may have said.

    But this is my line of thinking: when exactly in the gospels did Jesus do anything analogous to what Guarnizo did? Did he treat sinners that way in public? The only times I can think of are when those sinners were pointing fingers at other sinners, i.e., the religious leaders, the Pharisees, Sadduccees, etc. Them, he publicly humiliated, as they constantly did to the people they judged and perceived to be sinners, as this guy did to Ms. Johnson. What about the rest of the sinners in the Scriptures? Jesus did not publicly humiliate them; he called them to follow him, he ate with them, he spent time with them. He even gave 2 of them the very first Eucharist, knowing they were about to commit two of the arguably worst sins of all history, according to us Christians: denial of Christ and betrayal of Christ. Now the archdiocese is doing to this priest what Jesus did to the judgmental and cruel religious leaders of his day, and half of you are up in arms about it, as if the archdiocese has no right to do so. So who here’s deprecating the church?

    Before anyone sins, while he or she is sinning, and forever afterward, he or she is first and foremost a child of God. As a priest, if I ever treat any other human being disgracefully, regardless of their sin, then I hope I get called on the carpet, because then I will have departed from the teachings of Christ.

    Again, thank you, jem, for calling us back to charity and civility. And God bless us all.

  245. “It is not a principle of Canon law.”


  246. Greetings, P-s:

    Many a pagan and others will approach communion so they can take a host, not consume it (or all of it) right away, but take part of it or all of it to use in an evil manner, such as a black mass.


  247. Thanks for your reply, Kenneth. Do you really think a so-called “formal defection” is an important thing to consider?

    Is not the “essence” (or one of the “essences”) of this case the judgment made by Fr. G, and whether or not it is supported by Church law?

    If so, then the information presented to Fr. G and/or what he knew prior to the Mass is a key concern. Do we have all of the facts?

    Moreover, I note that Canon Lawyer Peters has mentioned something about obstinate behavior, and he deems his judgment of what this constitutes as the more reasonable position. However, has the Church ever placed a specific time range for what constitutes obstinate behavior? If not, then it’s open to interpretation regarding the length and/or intensity of such behavior. I don’t believe there is a time frame for what constitutes obstinate behavior.

    Let’s look at a clearly stated defintions of obstinat:

    From the American Heritage Dictionary:

    1. Stubbornly adhering to an attitude, an opinion, or a course of action; obdurate. 2. Difficult to manage, control, or subdue; refractory.

    Note that no time frame is set forth. As such, if I speak with a Priest, and he explains to me a particular thing, and I stubbornly adhere to my unorthodox opinion in response, I am being obstinate.

    Unless Canon Lawyer Peters or anyone else can demonstrate definitively that the applicable canon laws involving the priests actions are not open to some interpretation along the lines set forth above, I suggest that interpretions err more on the side of protecting the integrity and sacredness of the Body of Christ than on causing potential embarrassment to an unworthy recipient who obstinately defied a Priestly order to not approach communion.

    God Bless!


  248. I think that has been a good event overall for the Church and it’s gratifying to see so many Catholics expressing such profound regard for the sacredness of holy communion. There will always be elites with little specialized areas of knowledge trying to portray this broader group as rubes but that has probably always been the case. After years and years of neglect or amnesia regarding the doctrine of the real presence, it’s great to see the truth get circulated on what holy communion really is.

  249. I need to add more to my previous statement, because I now see that “obstinate” alone is not the key, but “obstinate perseverance in grave sin” is the crucial aspect.

    So we need to look up perseverance to see if there is a definitive time frame involved, etc.

    Back to the American Heritage Dictionary.
    Perseverance is defined as:
    1. Steady persistence in adhering to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose; steadfastness.

    Not good enough. We need to go to persistance, which is the state of being persistent, so Persistent means:
    1.Refusing to give up or let go; persevering obstinately. 2. Insistently repetitive or continuous. 3. Existing or remaining in the same state for an indefinitely long time; enduring.

    We should also add Steadfast:
    1. Fixed or unchanging; steady. 2. Firmly loyal or constant; unswerving.
    Put all of the above together, and you will find no time limits per se, though to be clear, many understandings of the terms do include passages of time that suggest more than a brief period.

    BUT not all of them, and the first understandings/definitions of most of the terms (include obstinate) do not reflect x amount of time that needs to be involved. Hone in on the following:

    “Fixed or Unchanging.”
    Can this be immediate? Absolutely.

    “Refusing to Let Go.”
    Can this be immediate? Absolutely, and if a person is advised to not do X, yet they do X, they have refused to let go.

    Now bring back obstinate:
    1. Stubbornly adhering to an attitude, an opinion, or a course of action; obdurate. 2. Difficult to manage, control, or subdue; refractory.


    So we can now get to the real nitty-gritty, and that is whether or not a priest can make a decision in accordance with Can. 915 that satisfies the understanding of the Canon… after meeting with a party for even a few minutes.

    This goes back to the information communicated to the priest, his responses, other knowledge he may possess, and whether or not it is possible to make the judgment along the lines of Fr. G., even without a greater passage of time.

    And based upon the definitions of all terms involved, I believe it is possible, so I don’t believe that Dr. Peters’ view is necessarily correct, though it would be if his interpretation of the terms involved Must be construed to include X amount of passage of time, but then we are back to what constitutes a sufficient passage of time, etc.

    Even if Dr. Peters’ interpretation would constitute the majority view, is it possible for Fr. G’s interpretation to also satisfy what might be called the minority view?

    If so, Dr. Peters is in error by calling for Fr. G to be corrected as if Dr. Peters’ majority view is the only possible interpretation that is reasonable, etc.
    What would be called for is to simply advise Fr. G that the broader interpretation of Canon 915 is the course to be followed by the priests of the archdiocese unless directed otherwise.

    Furthermore, if there is/was no definitive statement, etc., made by the archdiocese to the priests of the archdiocese regarding Canon 915 and how it is to be interpreted, then any reprimanding of Fr. G for his interpretation is unjust on its face unless it can be definitively shown that Fr. G’s interpretation is simply not possible.

    Onward and Upward and God Bless!


  250. Certainly, such as living perpetually (very long, even life long) in an adulterous (or homosexual) relationship, as for example the governor of New York. I recently tried to explain to a woman who was a bit perturbed that the new english translation went from “all” to “many” that not everyone wants, or even believes that they need, God’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness, and that Christ of course knew this full well. I am one who believes C.S. Lewis was on to something when he wrote the door to Hell is locked from the inside.

    Truly I am sorry for the loss of the mother of this woman, but that does not, and must not, distract from what seems to be the truly sad and tragic reality, namely that this woman, along with the entire homosexual agenda movement, is apparently a volcano of hate, bile, and rage, so much so that in fact she is working feverishly to clamp on as many padlocks and deadbolts on the inside of the door to Hell as her time on this earth allows.

    And from here things will only spiral down further I’m afraid:

  251. I stand by my statement. I encourage you to continue your research, and to comprehend in the spirit of Christ. Here is a Church teaching for you: “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…” (CCC#2478)

  252. Bellow is the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal McCarrick.

    Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion. General Principles
    Issued June 2004

    1. Presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion should be a conscious decision, based on a reasoned judgement regarding one’s worthiness to do so, according to the Church’s objective criteria, asking such questions as: “Am I in full communion with the Catholic Church? Am I guilty of grave sin? Have I incurred a penalty (e.g. excommunication, interdict) that forbids me to receive Holy Communion? Have I prepared myself by fasting for at least an hour?” The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected (cf. Instruction “Redemptionis Sacramentum,” nos. 81, 83).

    2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorise or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a “grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. [...] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propoganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it’” (no. 73). Christians have a “grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. [...] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it” (no. 74).

    3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

    4. Apart from an individuals’s judgement about his worthiness to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915).

    5. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

    6. When “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,” and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it” (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics” [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgement on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.

    [N.B. A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.]

  253. So my question is this: where these just simple suggestions from Cardinal Ratzinger that any individual Bishop was well within his right to ignore?

  254. Your “i.e. does not follow Christian precepts” are your words, your interpretation. The Church does not teach that she “does not follow Christian precepts” more so than you or sinners do not follow them. According to the update posted in the article, the “Johnson family” (which would apparently include Ms. Johnson as she is a member of the Johnson family) “pray[s] that our Church will remain in Christ’s love”.

  255. Well, Pope Benedict, like Pope John Paul II has given communion from his own hand to pro-choice politicans. Watch what they do.

  256. Ted Seeber says:

    What is scarier to me is that a priest is taking “pop culture” over Chesterton’s “Democracy of the Dead” for spiritual formation.

  257. Ted Seeber says:

    So you routinely give communion to people you know are in violation of the Catechism? Because “Pop culture” told you to?

    I have to wonder about the priestly formation you’ve received from the culture of death.

  258. Ted Seeber says:

    Ok, so how the hell do you understand Lesbianism in a way that does NOT directly conflict with CCC #2357? It seems quite clear to me that homosexuality is a sin against chastity as great as extramarital heterosexuality is or obtaining an abortion is; all three are episodes for autoexcommunication.

  259. So the church goes on and on and on —-what a mess it presents itself with—–so its a wonder why people leave the church or just stop going to mass—-Every good Priest, Father Guarnizo , that calls a SIN a SIN AND DOES WHAT HE IS SUPPOSED TO DO AND DENIES A NON CATHOLIC ,A BUDDHIST , A LESBIAN ,THE MOST HOLY BODY OF JESUS CHRIST AND HE TURNS OUT TO BE THE VICTIM . The gates of hell will not prevail—Only in Bishop Knestout Diocese.–I am sick and tired ,tired and sick of the crap that the left wing Bishops do to GOOD PRIESTS. I pray the day of retirement for them.—–and an extra prayer that they make Purgatory–If they beleive that there is one–

  260. If by “homosexual relationship” you mean sinful homosexual acts, there are no “perpetual (very long, even life long)” homosexual relationships. Likewise, relationships “between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward [some] persons of the same sex” who live together over a “very long, even life long” time period can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist term such as “homosexual relationship”.

    I note that the Church teaches that “Chastity has laws of growth which progress through stages marked by imperfection and too often by sin”, and thus, even people who sin may be practicing chastity. I further note that chastity is not all up to the individual person but “also involves a cultural effort” and “presupposes respect for the rights of the person”, which is often not the case, especially towards despised minorities.

    You say that “this woman, along with the entire homosexual agenda movement, is apparently a volcano of hate, bile, and rage”, but Jesus said “Stop judging by appearances”. Indeed, what authority do you have to speak for “the entire homosexual agenda movement” unless your alleged “movement” is “entirely” yours?

  261. Max, the Church teaches that “it can HAPPEN that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.” (CCC#1790) The Church does not teach that the “choice” to engage in a homosexual act necessarily removes the person from a state of grace. Not all “choice” is with “full knowledge” and “deliberate” consent. Sometimes ignorance can be imputed to personal responsibility and sometimes not. You allege that “this woman without any doubt knew that she had decided to live in what the Church founded by Christ says is a state of serious and perpetual sin” but the Church teaches that the judgment belongs to God. St. Thomas Aquinas cautioned that “when a man, from slight indications, esteems another man’s wickedness as certain. This is a mortal sin, if it be about a grave matter”.

  262. Peter Domingo says:

    A culture war they say; but, we mostly fight ourselves! Like Pope Paul VI said in the the early 70′s, ““from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.”

  263. Ted Seeber, the answer to your question is that being “lesbian” does not necessitate that the person engage in a homosexual act. Rather, “lesbian” can and generally does refer to the inclination of the person. As Cardinal Ratzinger has said as prefect for the CDF, “the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin”. Thus, it is not a sin for a woman to be lesbian, i.e. for her to have an inclination to engage in a homosexual act.

    And if you believe that a homosexual act automatically incurs a penalty of excommunication, please identify the exact Canon law(s) that states such a thing. Otherwise, please refrain from alleging it to be fact.

  264. You are correct in that while the Church teaches that all homosexual conduct is depraved and a grave evil, and the orientation itself intrinsically disordered, as with all sins, the level of culpability depends on the commitment of the free will to engage in that evil. You are incorrect however in that freely choosing (whatever the reason you decided to add parentheses is known but to you) to deliberately engage in acts of homosexual sodomy does not put one outside the state of grace. I would also caution you to revisit whatever you presume St. Thomas meant by “slight indication” for to anyone with eyes and ears this woman has gone out of her way to give more than “slight indication”. And I never claimed to “speak for the entire homosexual agenda movement” but only speak about it, and the spat out of Hell itself filth and depravity it has unleashed upon the nations and our children.

  265. The scriptures are simply not clear as to whether or not Judas was present to receive the first Holy Eucharist. And in any case, while Christ knows what sins I will commit this week, or next week, that does not mean I cannot be in a state of grace now and thus able to worthily receive the Blessed Sacrament. Also, while Peter denied Jesus, it doesn’t seem to have been a premeditated or deliberated act, but a rash spontaneous act made while he was racked with fear.

    You seem to be unwilling for even a moment and in the fullness of charity to entertain the possibility that Fr. Guarnizo was attempting to act in the best interest of the woman who according to some reports may have announced to him right before Holy Mass that she was in a lesbian relationship. What choice did Fr. Guarnizo have but to take her at her word?

  266. pagansister says:

    DB: That is an outrageous assumption! I attend the church I grew up in when I visit my sister. I DO NOT go up to receive communion, as I have respect for my former faith. I also do not know any Pagans who would do as you describe —taking the host to use in a “black mass” or any “evil manner.”

  267. Max, you wrote that “You are incorrect however in that freely choosing… to deliberately engage in acts of homosexual sodomy does not put one outside the state of grace.” But what you label “incorrect” is actually your strawman, your erroneous interpretation. My post did not limit to “freely choosing to deliberately” engage in homosexual acts. Instead, my post addressed the wider truth that “Not all ‘choice’ [to engage in a homosexual act] is with ‘full knowledge’ and ‘deliberate consent’”, and therefore not all ‘choice’ [to engage in a homosexual act] would satisfy all three conditions necessary for mortal sin, to “put one outside the state of grace.” Indeed, the fact that you yourself qualified “choosing” with the additional terms “freely” and “deliberately” supports what I have said.

    You allege that “to anyone with eyes and ears this woman has gone out of her way to give more than ‘slight indication’”, but the discussion was in regard to what the priest knew, not what you subsequently fancy. A published account alleged that “[Fr.] asked her if she was in charge, and she said, ‘no.’ He then asked: ‘Then who are you?’ and she replied, ‘I’m her partner.’” I’ve also read another account that alleged that she said “lover” rather than “partner”. Either way, and prescinding from whether any of the alleged accounts are true or not, such accounts are vague and insufficient to conclude from such scant information that “this woman without any doubt knew that she had decided to live in what the Church founded by Christ says is a state of serious and perpetual sin.” Indeed, even after reading the additional scanty information about her, and considering her reported condition and the circumstances of the day to include that it was a funeral for her mother, not to mention consideration of the fact that there remain many things that we are not aware of, it remains that there are reasonable doubts (rather than “without any doubt”) as to what she “knew” at that moment in time.

    You say you “never claimed to ‘speak for the entire homosexual agenda movement’”, and actually, it can also be said that I too never claimed that you did. Rather, I asked “what authority do you have to speak for ‘the entire homosexual agenda movement’”. Nevertheless, you did speak in regard to / with disregard for “the entire homosexual agenda movement”, and it is reasonable to inquire as to your authority, if you have one.

  268. Already acknowledged that yes in fact culpability in sin requires the free consent of the will. But I get the sense that you are trying to stretch that into a “they can’t help themselves” defense. What is true, again as already pointed out, is that all homosexual conduct is, and recognized as, gravely evil and a serious perversion. What is also undoubtedly true is that this woman knows full well that this is the teaching of the Church she chose to abandon for buddhism, and of the priest she is now seeking to destroy and ruin.

    Now, as to the various accounts of the woman for many years identifying herself as an active lesbian which you can chose to doubt if you wish, what I was actually referring to was that she certainly at this point knows full well the teaching of the Church here. In fact the rage, bile, and hatred from the entire homosexual agenda movement in general is rather because they know the teachings of the Church.

    And I suppose I am simply misunderstanding your last question. I would imagine that you condemn the beliefs and agenda of the KKK, or the Nazi Party, or NAMBLA, etc, but by what “authority” to you have to speak on them? Simple. We all have been given the “authority”, indeed the responsibility, to speak out against evil and condemn it in the public square. That the homosexual lobby would one day begin its assault on our institutions of government and the innocence of children is something anyone with eyes saw coming decades ago. Evil always seeks to grow, always seeks to destroy all innocence, decency, and goodness.

  269. [Comment deleted for offensive content -- Ed.]

  270. He is being justifiably taken out of the serving priesthood to re-evaluate his commitment to the first law of the priesthood — to demonstrate God’s love and mercy.

    [Comment has been edited. -- Ed.]

  271. Alan G Yost says:

    Wonder all you like. Just don’t bother me with your random musings.

  272. Alan G Yost says:

    Then be afraid.

  273. pagansister says:

    Nope, most likely not.

  274. The problem here is that homosexuality is a disorder, not an ontology, and heterosexuality is not some sort of “condition”. Nor is homosexuality the “other side of the coin” (if you will) of heterosexuality for the same reason, and in like fashion, that no sexual perversion is simply the opposite of heterosexuality. There is heterosexuality, and then there is everything else, all of which are degrees of perversion of it.

  275. No, Max, I do not “try to stretch that into a ‘they can’t help themselves’ defense”. You allege various things as “undoubtedly true” about the woman, as for example, you allege that “she certainly at this point knows full well the teaching of the Church here”, but your allegation is not Church teaching. I doubt that even you know “full well” the teaching of the Church, even on this wee subject. Even if one were to recite the few words available backward and forward, I do not accept that as “certainly” “without any doubt” “knowing full well”. I’m reminded of the prayer, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” The pope said he believes it applies to us as well. Including Ms. Johnson. And you.

    As to your imaginings, e.g. “I would imagine that you condemn the beliefs and agenda of the KKK, or the Nazi Party, or NAMBLA, etc”, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t claim authority on the subject. I don’t know the minds of others. I’ve not met the alleged members nor even know who they all were. The groups you named would apparently have consisted of many individual people and I doubt they all agreed. Even as to whatever beliefs they may have agreed upon to some extent or another, it would seem to me that it would have been a mixed bag as it seems to be with everyone. And so, simply put, I don’t imagine that I’d condemn the beliefs of the KKK, the Nazi Party or NAMBLA **any more** than perhaps l’d condemn your beliefs or anyone else’s. And I don’t condemn your beliefs. I don’t claim to know what they are. I’m not sure that you do either. Your alleged “homosexual agenda movement” and “homosexual lobby” are vague, ill-defined strawmen to me. For all I can tell, your alleged “rage, bile, and hatred” may actually be yours. You can condemn your strawmen all you want, along with your “rage, bile and hatred”. Maybe it will do you some good. Or maybe not.

  276. Caalixtus says:

    The only reason a lesbian pagan would be in a Catholic church would be to disrupt what is Holy. As for the Vicar General, whatever that is, throw out the people who threw out the Priest for doing his duty. This nonsense reminds me of my own diocese where the Bishop and his staff are so far left they are ready to fall off the earth. I have never been so discouraged and afraid for my watered down Church in all my life. However, if you leave Holy Church there is nowhere to go. What are we to do?

  277. “Heterosexuality” and “homosexuality” are made- up words of relatively recent invention that in practice may, and often do, mean whatever anyone means them to mean. For example, some people may say, in keeping with Church teaching, that all “heterosexual” persons suffer from a disordered inclination/condition, and that their “heterosexuality” is disordered. Fornication, adultery, rape, lust, masturbation and the many sexual sins including even homosexual acts are all widely considered by many people, including even by many “experts” in their various fields, to be disordered forms/expressions/inclinations of heterosexuality. There are, of course, other experts, however, who view homosexuality not as a disordered form of heterosexuality but separately as a natural variant of human sexuality. And, of course, in the general fields of study where the terms “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality” originated — in a sense the owners of the technical/clinical terms, neither “homosexuality” nor “heterosexuality” are generally considered to be (medical/psychological) disorders today. Whether one agrees or disagrees with these views and/or meanings or uses of the terms, they are all part of the understanding of the term “heterosexuality” in the English language today. And we are reminded by Church teaching that the Church “speaks all tongues, understands and accepts all tongues in her love, and so supersedes the divisiveness of Babel.”

  278. Vickie and Stan, neither of you have answered my question: what evidence do you have that Ms. Johnson was on a “crusade” to have Father Guarnizo removed?

    A crusade would mean that she was continuing a series of long, predetermined actions against Father Guarnizo, with the goal to have him removed. If you read all the info on this issue, you will find that:
    a) Barbara Johnson wanted an apology from Father Guarnizo, not necessarily his removal
    b) It was not Ms Johnson who reported the incident, but a friend/former family member (divorced from her brother, I believe).

    Do you see anywhere that Ms. Johnson had some long-standing issue with Father Guarnizo?

    Also: if you can point me to the link where a tape of her eulogy and/or a written transcript can be found, I’ll gladly read it. But I’ve not seen it anywhere on the net.

    And Stan: referring to someone’s post as “junk” or implying that someone is acting stupid is not what I would expect of a priest involved in a dialogue on sensitive social issue. Priests – at least the ones I know – rise above name-calling and rhetoric.

  279. IN my post below, I should have said…

    “b) It was not Ms Johnson who INITIALLY reported the incident, but a friend/former family member (divorced from her brother, I believe).”

    The word in caps was missing. My apologies.

  280. Fr. Guarnizo has issued his own statement of events. It would seem that he had confessions prior to the funeral Mass for the woman’s mother. Instead, this woman took the time to bring her partner to meet the priest. When he tried to speak privately with Barbara Johnson, the partner blocked him. Afterall, we don’t bring people to confession with us — so why was the partner there in the first place when it was the hour for confession before the funeral?

    He did not deny her communion based upon a guess that she was gay or living in an illicit relationship. She and her partner used the opportunity to tell him.

    It seems his relief from priestly duties took place because of interviews of witnesses. Though he has many affidavits from people who witnessed some of the events, the allegations are now that he was “harsh” with the funeral director and with one parish staff member.

  281. The address for the Papal Nuncio is:
    Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano
    Apostolic Nuncio to the United States
    3339 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
    Washington, D.C. USA

  282. The very obvious difference of course is that all forms of expression of homosexual conduct are depraved and disordered.

  283. Jeanne Trego Smith says:

    I don’t see how anyone could expect the priest to act differently. He knew the woman was living in mortal sin. I think he showed a great act of love and concern
    by not allowing her to commit a sacrilege. By giving her communion knowing she
    was not in a “state of grace” would have forced him to “violate his own conscience”.
    He did the right thing.

    I found it interesting that in the course of one or two weeks in March, the issue of homosexuality has challenged three sacraments in the Catholic Church: Marriage,
    Eucharist, and Holy Orders (Priesthood). Anyone else noticed that?

  284. At this link is a new ariticle at!


    A Canonical Defense of Father Marcel Guarnizo

    As a priest and canon lawyer, I’d like in canonical terms, to revisit the controversial events surrounding the denial of Holy Communion to Barbara Johnson by Father Marcel Guarnizo. First of all, while I agree with many of the points by the very well-respected canonist Dr. Ed Peters, I believe that even with the rather limited information currently available, Father Guarnizo very possibly and correctly satisfied the conditions of canon 915 in denying Holy Communion to Barbara Johnson. Secondly, I would like to comment on Father Guarnizo’s unjust “administrative leave” in light of the Code of Canon Law.

    [Comment has been edited for excessive length. -- Ed.]

  285. Malachi Martin in his many writings was very succinct in his opinion of Archbishop (now Cardinal) Donald Wuerl. It was anything but a flattering opinion. He felt even worse about Cardinal Bernardin. You connect the dots. The Reverend Gaurnizo was following the Gospel. The liberals in the Catholic Church, according to Malachi Martin (advisor ot Popes) have adopted a “social justice model” which is abjectively opposed to the morality of the Gospel.

  286. D Paul:
    I know that Fr. Malachi Martin had been a Jesuit and worked in Rome, but “adviser to popes”, I don’t know about that. Do you have a source for that statement?

  287. I want to respond particularly to a post by Alan G. Yost earlier on in the column; but this applies to everything said here about Fr. Guarnizo.
    I have here a copy of your quote. In it you say,

    “Good! The man is a disgrace. He certainly does not reflect Christ as I know him from the gospels and from my own life of prayer and priestly formation. I love the quote from a movie named “Priest,” which I paraphrase:”

    “I always assume the faithful are much more worthy to receive the sacrament than I am to administer it.”

    I have read elsewhere in the posts that this quote is thought to show a “humble attitude”. Perhaps it is, but your interpretation is certainly flawed!
    It would be best to begin making one point clear. If a person is in the state of mortal sin they are prohibited from receiving the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Our Lord under pain of sacrilege! This is no religious fanaticism. This is a law of the Church. Indeed this sin of unworthy reception of the host is so serious that absolution in the Sacrament of Penance can only be granted by the Pope himself!
    A priest, ordinarily, cannot tell if the recipient of the host is in the state of mortal sin. However, in the case we are speaking of, the recipient was a known Lesbian. This is a sin so repugnant to God that we read in the Old Testament of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone; both two cities infested with this disgusted manner of living.
    How is it that in your knowledge of Christ you claim to have gleaned from the Gospels you do not count this sin of any consequence? Had you truly sought to know God and found Him by mental prayer you would not treat this matter so flippantly. The “life of prayer” that you claim to have can be nothing but a sham if you can ignore the most blatant offenses to the God you claim to adore.
    The purpose of this quote is not, however, to discuss your personal spiritual life. Rather it is to speak of a holy and courageous priest enduring the most outrageous slander because he was willing to fulfill his duty before God. Chastisement of the sinner, a category under which denial of communion falls quite easily as it is done so as to prevent that soul from adding sacrilege to its’ list of sins, is a work of Charity. This was his duty and is also the duty of all who call themselves Catholic. Consider what those of you who disagree with this priest are doing by sitting on a blog destroying this holy man’s reputation. You are endangering your own souls because you are not standing up for the Faith, and you are endangering his by putting pressure on him and maligning his good name. Were you Catholic men and women, you would give this priest who is standing up for his Faith your support and not bash him; you would also speak out against the errors of our modern world. The tragedy of today’s world is that most of us believe in nothing or practically nothing. Now we have a man, a priest, who is making a stand against a world which believes in nothing, which holds nothing sacred, which despises those who still fight for the Truth, and most of us are not fighting for him, we are slamming him.
    I pray for you all and for this priest. Viva Christo Rey!


  1. [...] who denied communion to lesbian Buddhist placed on leave Posted on March 12, 2012 by Mark Sheaand his faculties are removed. What gives? Ed Peters comments and he knows more than I do, so I’ll defer to him. This entry [...]

  2. [...] Priest who refused Communion to lesbian Buddhist placed on leave, faculties removed… __________________ Your socks stink. To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts. Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2 _qoptions={ qacct:"p-61p7v5crX5G-6" }; var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); try { var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-1870794-7"); pageTracker._trackPageview(); } catch(err) {} [...]

  3. [...] You can read much more about it at The Deacon’s Bench. [...]

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