Lesbian Seeks To Defrock Priest Who Denied Her Communion

Father Marcel Guarnizo was officiating at a funeral service for Loetta Johnson in a D.C. suburb Saturday when he decided that it was his duty to deny Loetta’s daughter Barbara communion. Because Barbara is a lesbian—and not just any lesbian, either—a lesbian with a live-in girlfriend.

According to Reuters, Barbara said the priest told her “I cannot give you communion because you live with a woman… in the eyes of the church, that is a sin.”

The Catholic Church says that it does indeed consider homosexuality a sin, but it does not permit priests to “publicly reprimand” worshipers during communion.

Plus, this was a service for Barbara’s dead mother. We’d recommend some sensitivity training for Father Guarnizo.

Now Barbara isn’t just looking for an apology from the priest or from the Catholic Church. She wants him fired—defrocked. “We’re urging the church to make that decision, so that this doesn’t happen to anyone else, to any other families,” Johnson said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Just to add a little touch of gay sass, Barbara added: “I think everyone has their gifts, and my family believes performing the responsibilities of a parish priest does not fall under his list of gifts.”


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  • Christopher

    I hate to say this, but this is a losing battle. The priest will probably be promoted to monsignor or bishop in short order, as reward for what he did to her.

    As a recovering Catholic myself, I always wonder why gay people stay in the Catholic Church. When my father died, I did have his funeral in the Catholic Church because that was his faith, not mine.

  • Miss Understood

    I feel for her, it was absolutely disgusting behavior. I hope this will help to
    motivate gay and free-thinking people to stop supporting the Catholic Church. Every
    penny in that collection plate serves to support a bigoted organization which is
    responsible for countless crimes against children. If the current Pope were treated
    the same as an ordinary citizen he would be in prison.

  • Kirk

    I cannot believe any inteligent gay person would be an active member of the Catholic Church.

  • Stefan

    Intelligent gay people can be members of the Catholic Church because they recognize that the church is a human institution, and in the last 30 years laypeople have significantly more power to create positive change than ever before. Not all parishes are the same. Many are not only gay tolerant but gay positive and have important outreach ministries. Many help fight for gay marriage as a social justice issue. So, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater or think of this horrible action as the norm. If all the tolerant, intelligent people left the church, you’d be left with a still-powerful institution that was dominated by those who are like this misguided, bigoted man. As it is, all polls of Catholics show that of the major religions and of all Christian denominations, they are the most supportive of gay rights and gay marriage, and this support is especially high among young Catholics. What this priest did was terrible and was not in line with Catholic teaching or Catholic canon law, and you can condemn this without universally condemning catholicism or Catholic homosexuals.

  • Pete

    The priest, Marcel Guarnizo, is a TOTAL TURD. This was a front page story in yesterday’s Washington Post, because it is really much worse that Queerty reports.
    After humiliating the daughter (WHOM HE HAD NEVER BEFORE MET) in front of the whole church by denying her communion, he then stormed off of the altar when the daughter proceeded to give the eulogy. Then he returned when the eulogy was done, and then pulled a No-Show at the cemetery for the blessing at the burial.

    The priest is a total QUEEN who flaunts around in huge capes and other attire from yesteryear that priests do not normally wear anymore. He is most likely GAY GAY GAY and had a homosexual panic response when he saw a well adjusted lesbian living openly. His likely reaction is called Kempfer’s Disease, and involves a deeply closeted gay freaking out when encountering other homosexuals who are not burdened by their sexuality. It then drudges up in the closet case all his unresolved sexual issues which are supposedly too much to handle. In an extreme case, the closet case gets violent or kills the other party.

    The priest is only about 40 years old and really wussy. The front page coverage in the Post generated over 4000 comments (the overwhelming majority supporting the lesbian) on the Post’s web site.

    Queerty also fails to mention that the Catholic Archdiocese issued a statement that the priest was wrong in the way it was handled, and that he should not have done it at all. In a terribly homophobic institution, this is an incredible admission.

  • Richard Ford

    I heard an interview with Barbara Johnson on TV, and it was my distinct impression from her comments that she did not want Marcel Guarnizo defrocked–she just wanted him relieved of his pastoral duties, meaning he would not be allowed to minister to members of a congregation, to people. This would avert a repeat of the type of incident Johnson was subjected to.

  • Ty Nolan

    Just for the record–it’s Kempf’s Disease, not “Kempfer’s Disease.”

  • Robert in NYC

    Good luck with that, not going to happen. The priest was within his rights to refuse her communion, like it or not. His bishop will support him in this. I don’t know why any gay man or woman would want to remain in the Catholic church, arguably one of the most oppressive denominations out there. Wouldn’t it be delicious if all catholic women using birth control publicly declared it before communion and see the reaction on this priest’s face.

  • axona

    “Hiss”, Evan? What’s that supposed to mean?

    @Stefan: “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”, you say, referring to the Catholic Church. And I have to ask – what represents “the baby”? Why should sane people stay in a bigot organization, just so it will not be totally devoid of even the slightest measure of common sense? Why not just let it wither and die? A male chauvinist, backwards hierarchy seeking world domination in order to cause harm to women, kids and gays, has nothing to do with the Christian message anyway. I’m pretty sure Jesus himself wouldn’t join.

  • DLPM

    If Barbara is a good Catholic, she knows the rules. You must be in a “State of Grace” to receive Communion. Being in an active gay relationship means, by Church Law, she is in a State of Sin and should not have gone to receive Communion. Since the priest knew her living situation, he was OBLIGATED by Church Law to refuse her the Sacrament. By Church Law, she’s not in a State of Grace. Going forward to receive Communion, Barbara put the priest in a position where he had to publicly refuse her.

    If she thinks this Church Law is wrong, she needs to find another Church.

  • Mr. Robertson

    So she’s pissed she didn’t get to eat some cookie? Her fault for buying into Catholic bullshit.

  • axon

    @DLPM: Getting your point, but should a church have laws like that? Very manmade laws. At the first communion, were all participants really in a state of Grace? Who decides what that even is? Isn’t the clergy putting themselves between people and God, and who (the heck) asked them to do that? For sure not their religion’s instigator, who said: “No one of you should be the other’s rabbi.” (Not verbatim, I don’t have an English Bible here.)

    I’m not even religious, and I wonder how Christian people can come to those outlandish conclusions?

  • cwm

    while other churches (such as the MoronsMormons) are notorious for shunning and/or excommunicating people merely for being LGBT? the Catholic church rarely does.

    have they excommunicated Sinéad O’Connor? even though–what with her being a woman ordained as a priest–that’s a case in which there’d be precedent for it.

    however, for an everyday person seeking communion? almost unheard of.

    Guarnizo shouldn’t have been such a reptile. unlikely he’d be defrocked for it, though.

    Barbara Johnson can seek communion at a different Catholic church. I admire her for raising a stink. but I doubt she’ll get anywhere.

  • cwm

    having now read the details which Pete paraphrased from the Washington Post, I regret having suggested Ms. Johnson should simply have gone to another church. in the immediate situation–which demanded redress–she handled herself admirably.

    BTW I’m fairly certain Sinéad O’Connor is an out lesbian, in addition to being a female priest (the latter being something few Catholics recognize as legitimate, admittedly…but that’s their problem)

  • Richard Ford

    In response to DLPM, comment no. 10:

    The Spanish Inquisition, a Catholic institution, operated for about four centuries and was one of the top ten calamities of human history. Even though the Inquisition, which epitomized the perversity of supposed virtue, officially ended nearly two centuries ago, the Catholic church continues in this mentality, discovering “evil” nearly everywhere it looks, torturing and demonizing transgressors, some of whom have, as their only sin, their love of a person of their same sex and their desire to be free to express that sentiment. A “good Catholic” is, to this day, a tyrant and an enemy of reason and tolerance.

    So yes, find another Church.

  • cwm

    @Richard Ford: Cardinal Ratzi (aka the pope) served the Vatican for nearly 25 years as Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    What, some may ask, is the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith?

    The Inquisition never went away. Just got a more impressively-sounding title.

  • Alan down in Florida

    I’m a little confused. Where in the Bible is there even a mention of lesbianism much less a prohibition? I’m a first booker and Ruth & Naomi always sounded like “family”.

    To Barbara I say “You go girl!”

  • nokkonwud

    I haven’t been a follower of Cathol for some 30+ years, but I have gone to mass for weddings and my last “closeted” boyfriend used to go occasionally with his mom and sister. I went, too, which surprised him as I am not shy when it comes to my vocal distaste for some Catholic doctrine and some of it’s officiants.

    But I loved him, and I believe that everyone must make their own choices. As long as they are not personally hurting anyone, then it isn’t anyone’s business.

    That being said, it could be that Ms. Johnson is also not a follower of Cathol but was honoring her mother as her mother would have wished or as her family had decided – in church.

  • randy

    @DLPM: You missed the part that the priest refused to attend the service for the burial of her mother. What was the justication for that?

  • Abel

    So does that mean that Papa Ratzi used to be the Grand Inquisitor?

  • cwm

    @Abel: not Dostoyevsky’s but close enough.

    Clever post, and I mean that sincerely.

    But could you please avoid evoking atrocious thoughts such as Cardinal Ratzinger remixed by Lady Gaga, or vice-versa?

  • Pat Duffy

    Sadly, she doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Them’s “Da Rules”(ala ‘Fairly Godparents’) of the Catholic Church. Just because most priests figure the chunk of blood-soaked Human flesh automaticallt turns back into a cheap wine soaked paste wafer in an Undeserving Person’s mouth doesn’t mean he wasin the wrong by his Faith.
    It’s why at Catholic and other Christian denomination where they have a Communion-like rite at a funeral that I stay in my SEAT….

  • Joseph

    I am probably not one to say anything about this as a recovering Catholic I never understood the eating bodies and drinking blood ritual, but, this priest will probably be promoted. The Catholic Church has a history of priests who abuse their flock and when exposed the church does nothing. The real issue is: why would someone who is gay want to be a part of this very homophobic institution? There are plenty of churches out their that welcome gay people but the Catholic Church calls us “intrinsically evil.”

  • Mastik8

    “The Catholic Church says that it does indeed consider homosexuality a sin, but it does not permit priests to “publicly reprimand” worshipers during communion.”

    – I wonder what Sen. Kerry would think of that given that they denied him communion.

  • Pete

    @Robert in NYC: The Cardinal issued a statement saying the priest was WRONG.Incredible adsmission by the normaqlly homophobic church.

  • Pete

    @nokkonwud: You are mistaken. The lesbian is a former Catholic school teacher, and Catholic.

    For those who say why stay in the Church: There are different answers for different people. Many refuse to be forced to give up part of their personal history. Others want to fight and reform. Barbara Johnson did an incredible service to gays and lesbians by going public. There have been 3 public apologies by the Archdiocese. It was a FRONT PAGE story in The Washington Post, one of the most influential newspapers in the world. It was picked up by the NY Daily News. It has been on TV and radio all over the country,including NPR. This is great for gays and lesbians, because most of the public finds this type of conduct against the lgbt community outrageous. It also puts other homophobic priests on notice to stop this kind of crap.

  • Pete

    @DLPM: I see the feminarians studying for priesthood follow Queerty.

  • Monica

    The priest stopped the woman from making a sacrilegious communion which would be a mortal sin. He knew she was an active homosexual because she had introduced him to her partner before the funeral. He did the right thing even though he will have hell to pay for it.

    For those of you who believe it’s just bread google Eucharistic Miracles…It’s the body of Christ.

    Jesus said, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt.7:14)

  • Mr. Robertson

    @Monica: Well, you’re right about one thing. The priest was only following the ridiculous rules of his ridiculous religion. If the woman felt humiliated or excluded, it’s her fault for even wanting to eat the magical cannibal cookie in the first place.

  • Fr. Bailey

    @DLPM: As a Roman Catholic priest I find this cleric’s behavior reprehensible. It sickens me. And for all you “lay theologians” out there get your facts straight before you make statements in favor of the priest. You are ignorant of Scripture, Canon Law, and Catholic theology (but then most hard-liners are). That priest acted contrary to Canon Law. No priest may ever take it upon himself to refuse a person communion. He has caused grave scandal, a crime for a priest according to Church law. He has also acted contrary to one of our Lord’s commands: Judge not. He acted like judge, jury and executioner. Priests like him shame the Priesthood of Jesus Christ and the Church. He should be removed from public ministry. God save us from judgemental un-Christlike Catholics.

  • monica

    @Fr. Bailey: Aren’t you being judgemental calling others Ignorant,shameful “hard-liners”and un-Christlike. You have judged the priest saying he has caused scandal and should be removed from ministry. Talk about judge, jury and executioner. The “scandal” was made worse by the woman going to the media with the story.

  • cwm

    @monica: You’re even more judgmental than Father Marcel Guarnizo was. Not only to everyone here: but also in response to Father Bailey, a Catholic priest.

    You know of He who spoke the words, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

    One day you will hear the words, “Depart from me, for I never knew you.”

  • Mr. Robertson

    @cwm: So, you’re calling other people judgmental, but at the same time you’re actually telling them what God’s final judgment on them will be — and verbatim, no less?

  • cwm

    @Mr. Robertson: No, that was my judgment, with words chosen for maximum impact.

    I know the difference. Didn’t seem as if Monica does, though.

    My post was intended more as a reminder. Sadly if one wants to call out hypocrisy, it’s difficult to do so without being at least somewhat judgmental. That goes for all of us.

    There are times it’s best to be silent. But silence can be interpreted as assent.

    I admit: I’m not always able to be as wise as Christ and peaceful as Gandhi, when dealing with those like Monica.

    I’m like the Taoist who can remember how the Tao te Ching teaches, “The good man does not argue.” But also sometimes feels he’d rather argue than be good.

  • Mr. Robertson

    @cwm: Fair enough :-)

  • Carlton W

    As a full fledged atheist this is difficult for me to understand why she would be upset that some guy standing in an evening gown didn’t give her a stale wafer. Why not just go to the grocery store and on her way stop at Barnes and Nobel and pick up a copy of Aesop’s Fables? Everything about churches and religion is nonsensical. But that’s my opinion.

  • Carlton W

    “For those of you who believe it’s just bread google Eucharistic Miracles…It’s the body of Christ.”

    Oh my…….cannibalism. Seriously??? LOL!!!

  • Mr. Robertson

    @Carlton W: I wonder if you can choose beforehand what part of the body you get. I’m OK with a bit of bicep or maybe some calf muscle. But I would NOT want to eat the Son of God’s rectum, or his bladder. And I hate liver.

  • Carlton W

    @Mr. Robertson: I would like his liver with some fava beans and a little chianti

  • Mr. Robertson

    @Carlton W: Jesus liver paired with a nice chianti? Mr. Lecter, that meal sounds divine!

  • Carlton W

    @Mr. Robertson: Oh no you are going to hell!!! I think that’s located somewhere east of LA.

    And I quote……from the good book “After breakfast they went whooping and prancing out on the bar, and chased each other round and round, shedding clothes as they went, until they were naked, and then continued the frolic far away up the shoal water of the bar, against the stiff current, which latter tripped their legs from under them from time to time and greatly increased the fun.” Pg 45 Tom Sawyer

    Did you shed your clothes after breakfast? No? Heathen!! The good book says so!

  • Rainbow Crossroads

    @DLPM: If you want this to be about technicalities rather than compassion, then tell me how he knew for sure that she hadn’t given a confession since her last “transgression” (not saying that it is in my eyes). I doubt he asked her. The church only has rule against the acts, not the identification as homosexual. Can you imagine if priests turned away everyone they suspected of “not being in a state of grace”? Don’t forget that deliberately engaging in impure thoughts is a mortal sin and if you haven’t gone to confession since you had that sinful thought, you’re not eligible for communion. I wonder how many Catholics are really in a state of grace as defined by their church.

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