|Father Marcel Guarnizo|
I think Father Marcel Guarnizo is a complete asshat, as I said--HERE--even after it was pointed out that the Lesbian in question, Barbara Johnson, was a Buddhist and shouldn't be receiving Communion. That didn't explain Father Marcel Guarnizo's other appalling behavior.
And now, the Not-So-Good padre has been been placed on administrative leave from ministry in the Washington archdiocese, though the specific details of his "leave" were not made available.
However, a letter from Bishop Barry Knestout, written to other archdiocesan priests, says the punishment was for “engaging in intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry.”
i.e. He was an asshat.
The archdiocese confirmed Guarnizo's removal, and noted that Knestout's letter was read at all Masses this weekend at St. John Neumann, where the Reverend Thomas LaHood noted that the removal was not related to the Communion standoff, but "pertains to actions over the past week or two." He did not elaborate.
LaHood, though, did speak about the disagreements that have unfolded in the parish because of the funeral Mass scene: "As we know there’s been disagreement within the parish over how and to whom Communion is distributed. From my perspective this disagreement and related emotions flow from love. Love for Christ, really and truly present in the Eucharist. However, how we live out this love is important. The Scriptures tell us that we are known above all by how we love. I realize this letter is hard to hear. Please keep mind that this is a first personnel issue, dealing with issues of ministry in the church. Father Guarnizo will have every opportunity to present his position."
An archdiocesan spokeswoman would not clarify if LaHood's comments meant that Guarnizo would not be penalized for his denying Communion to Barbara Johnson at the funeral.
Johnson has maintained that as she 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.”
Guarnizo has refused to comment on what happened at the Mass.
The interaction between Johnson and Guarnizo has triggered intense debate among Catholics. Some say being in a same-sex relationship makes Barbara Johnson 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 believe the process of determining a person’s “state of grace” is more complex and personal, between God and the Catholic.
Yet, in a public statement, the archdiocese implied that both sides were at fault: “We believe that to receive Communion, a person should be in the state of grace, which means that they are not conscious of having committed a sin serious enough that it ruptures their relationship with God....If a person is conscious of having committed a grave sin, he or she may not receive Communion until they have received absolution in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. A person who is conscious of grave sin but has no opportunity to go to Confession may receive Communion for a serious reason, but first that person must pray to Christ expressing their sorrow, also known as a perfect act of contrition....”
Whatever the case, Father Marcel Guarnizo's behavior was reprehensible. If Barbara Johnson, as a Lesbian, is not to be offered, or ask for, Communion, that's one thing; if she has no right to Communion because she's ALLEGEDLY a Buddhist, that's another thing. But for Father Marcel Guarnizo to leave the altar during the eulogy for one of his parishioners, or even just another Catholic, and for him to refuse to attend the burial service, is despicable.
All in the name of god, no doubt.