Loetta Johnson died recently and, at her funeral, her daughter Barbara Johnson went up to receive communion from Rev. Marcel Guarnizo. What happened next made national news:
The priest refused Johnson, who is gay, the sacramental bread and wine.
“He covered the bowl with the Eucharist with his hand and looked at me, and said I cannot give you communion because you live with a woman and that is a sin in the eyes of the church,” Johnson told ABC News affiliate WJLA.
To make things worse, the priest later left the altar when Johnson delivered her eulogy and then said he couldn’t deliver the final blessing at the mother’s gravesite.
Johnson and her brother want the priest “removed from dealings with parishioners.” There are additional complaints that this priest didn’t do his job, that he is a disgraceful human being, that he should’ve dismissed Johnson privately instead of publicly — but all of that misses the point.
He did what he did because it’s what the Catholic Church demands.
He won’t be reprimanded; he’ll be given a pat on his back.
Don’t blame the priest. Blame the Church.
The Atheist Pig says it well:
Personally, I don’t want the church (or religion in general) to change to accommodate everyone’s particular beliefs because that would imply that religion still has worth and relevance in today’s world. In my opinion, it doesn’t. I’d rather that people throw of the shackles of religion and superstition and embrace truly secular society.
… I’m sorry, Barbara, I sympathize with your situation, but I do not support your effort here. If you’re unhappy with your current club, I would suggest joining ours. We’ve got a wonderful membership that’s growing every day. We don’t ask you to tithe. We don’t ask you to get up early on Sunday. And we don’t ask you to change. We’re fine with you just the way you are.
This funeral ought to serve as just another reason you should abandon Catholicism. This priest wasn’t the problem. He was taught to act this way by his superiors. Blame them. Your family deserved more respect than the Church could offer and your mother deserved a better sendoff than the one she received. When the grief begins to subside, I hope you can muster the courage to leave that faith.
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