On Saturday, Barbara Johnson buried her mother, and attempted to mourn her mother at the service taking place at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, Md. before the priest got in her way. As she attempted to take Communion, the priest “put his hand over the body of Christ and looked at me and said, ‘I can’t give you Communion because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin.”
Come on, Father. You had to know there’d be some kick-back for that.
The priest in question is the Reverend Marcel Guarnizo, who had apparently found out about Johnson’s homosexual relationship that morning when she arrived with her partner of 20 years. The priest also chose to step down from the altar when 51-year-old Johnson delivered a eulogy, and according to family members, he skipped out on the burial completely.
Yesterday, Johnson received a written apology from one of the archdiocese’s top administrators, particularly noting that the “lack of pastoral sensitivity … is a cause of great concern and personal regret to me.” Despite the apology, Johnson wants Guarnizo kicked out of the church, and her brother said that the family’s complaints lie with the priest, not the Catholic church: “We’re not in this to Catholic-bash.” Church officials promised to look into the matter, but noted: “it is not the policy of the Archdiocese of Washington to publicly reprimand the person.”
What say you? Insensitive? Should the priest be booted?