Tuesday, March 13, 2012


The bigoted Rev. Marcel Guarnizo is eating humble pie after refusing to offer communion to a parishioner at a funeral over the weekend.

Barbara Johnson, 51, was grieving at he mother's funeral at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Guarnizo had left the altar when the 51-year-old delivered a eulogy. When she attempted  to take Communion at the service, 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,", she told the Washington Post.

The normal gentle, consoling and compassionate words reserved for such solemn ceremonies were forgotten when Guarnizo  apparently found out that Johnson was a lesbian when she arrived with her partner of 20 years. To further the insult, the idiot skipped out on the burial.

Johnson received a written apology from one of the archdiocese's top administrators yesterday; it noted that the "lack of pastoral sensitivity ... is a cause of great concern and personal regret to me."  

The issue of the official church's position on homosexuality has long been a problem for me. Pope Benedict has long been concerned about the issue.  In 1975 he issued the "Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics" . While he denounced  homosexual behavior, he called for empathy and compassion from followers. He denounced violence of speech and action against homosexuals in "The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons." 

Despite his call for compassion, he has not stepped down from his stance that homosexuality is a moral evil. The Roman Catholic church has strict limitations on allowing homosexuals to become members of the clergy, and it also continues to fight the legal recognition of homosexual couples.

I have dozens of friends that are gay, including my first cousin who is raising two incredible children with her lesbian wife. If a person is gay or not, impacts me as much as the color of their hair. It is an affront to me that people of different sexual persuasions are discriminated against by the church, which is supposed to be compassionate and loving.  Jesus Christ would not have behaved like Guarnizo. It bothers me that laws have had to be put in place to ensure that gay people are not prevented from renting, working in a job, sharing pension and medical benefits because of what they are.

As a struggling Roman Catholic, I find it difficult to embrace a religion that believes that another human being is less human than yourself. 

I am culturally Catholic and do not see that changing.  I do not see another faith that fits,  based on my theological beliefs in the Trinity and universal baptism and forgiveness. In my opinion and my experience, a religion that changes with the times is more generous, more joyful, and better for humanity, not worse. I hoped things will change but it would appear that my hope that the Church’s antipathy to female and openly gay priests would  weaken and dissolve, is misplaced.


Wm. Murphy said...

If you are culturally "Catholic" then a change to the Anglican church is not out of reach. Anglicans are Catholic but not Roman Catholic.

If you say your beliefs are based in the Trinity and universal baptism and forgiveness then what's the issue with the Anglican church?

Peter L. Whittle said...

Wm, like many of the paradoxes in my life, this is one of them.

In fact, there was a period shorty after Bishop Lahey was charged that I did just what you suggested. As a matter of fact, the High Anglican mass was more Catholic than mass at St. Pauls. Incense, lots of ceremonial garb, etc.

However, after a few months, It was not working for me. My family, friends and a lot of social networks are tied to St. Pauls.

Believe me, for the reason that so many Anglicans have turned RC, I do see the Anglican church as an option.

Good point, and thanks for reading. Your thoughts are always helpful!