Priest Protests Grieving Lesbian’s Existence By Ditching Her Mom’s Funeral, Makes Bad Day Worse

Father Marcel Guarnizo

“Something terrible happened this past weekend in Maryland,” wrote blogger Ann Werner on AddictingInfo.org, “and the fact that it was Maryland, a state that has just proclaimed that all are equal and has enshrined this concept into state law, goes to highlight the lengths to which the right will go [to demonize gay & lesban people].”

This past weekend Werner attended the funeral of a blood relative of Werner’s ex-husband. Also in attendence at the funeral was the deceased’s lesbian daughter, “Barbara.” Werner describes Barbara as kind, smart and funny, a woman who “works hard promoting the arts,” “pays her bills, cares deeply for her family” and “loved her mother and her mother loved her right back.”

Father Marcel Guarnizo was the priest officiating the funeral and thus it was Father Marcel Guarnizo who denied Barbara communion — she was first in line for it.

In fact, Guarnizo covered the bowl and said “I cannot give you communion because you live with a woman and that is a sin according to the church.”

That seems to be roughly the verbal equivalent of pouring the entire world’s salt supply into an open wound, doesn’t it?

Later in the service, when Barbara was delivering her mother’s eulogy, Father Guarnizo actually left the altar lest he be stuck up there with a lesbian. After the church service, Guarnizo told the funeral director that he’d be unable to deliver a final blessing at the gravesite becuase he “felt sick.”

In her post, Werner calls on “Christians of all stripes to stop and think about the teachings of the Jesus they proclaim to love so deeply and reverse so much.” Werner spent twelve years in Catholic school and says “the Jesus I was told about would never have turned away anyone for any reason and certainly not on the occasion of burying a parent. Fr. Guarnizo has a lot to learn about Christianity and the Catholic Church has a lot to learn about the teachings of Jesus if behavior of this sort is tolerated.”

She’s right that the timing of this tragic decision of a religious leader to make what was probably already one of the worst days of Barbara’s life into an even more soul-crushing event is particularly jarring due to Maryland’s recent equality-advancing measures.

See, on Thursday, a week after Maryland’s marriage equality bill was passed by the Senate (25-22), Governor Martin O’Malley will sign the bill into law, making Maryland the eighth state to legalize same-sex marriage. “All children deserve the opportunity to live in a loving, caring, committed, and stable home, protected equally under the law,” said O’Malley, which is a very nice thing to say! (Sidenote: Does marriage automatically produce children? I had no idea!)

The measure is set to go into effect in January 2013, which still gives opponents a chance to challenge the measure via referendum in November, Prop 8-style, which will undoubtedly be a delightful experience for everybody involved. Anti-equality crusaders told the AP that they’ve already begun gathering the nearly 56,000 signatures they’ll need to get their super special amendment onto the ballot.

Because if there’s one thing we know by now it’s that against all odds, there will be haters. Father Marcel Guarinzo is actually a particularly outspoken right-wing religious figure in the area — he is a prominent anti-choice activist who calls abortion clinics “veritable death camps” and lately has been participating in weekly protests at a clinic in Germantown he claims offers “late-term abortions.” He and other anti-choicers harass women visiting the clinic and hope their protest will eventually shut it down. “If Roe v. Wade continued for 20 more years in our community, we still intend to make it impossible for any abortionist to operate,” Guarinzo told CBN News in January.

A blogger at “Les Femmes”, who was not at the funeral and knows nothing about it besides what she read in the news about Guarnizo’s actions, wrote a post in defense of Father Marcel Guarnizo, in which she speculates excessively and declares:

“Obviously the daughter had to be flaunting her relationship. Otherwise, how would Father know she was a lesbian? Was she there holding hands with her lover? Did she talk at the wake about how grateful she was that her mother accepted their relationship? Was the “eulogy” for her mother (when the priest walked out) really a celebration of lesbianism? “Gays” tend to be narcissistic and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the entire funeral became all about celebrating the disordered relationship.”

On February 12th, the Pastor at Saint John Neumann Catholic Church, Reverend Thomas G. LaHood, where Guarnizo is Parochial Vicar, released a newsletter to its parishioners regarding the General Assembly’s latest exercise in what La Hood calls “politicians dabbling in human nature.” The letter categorized same-sex marriage as reflecting a negative view of human nature and characterizes a world where people are unjustly “free to follow his impulses and desires as long as we do not hurt anyone else.”

This kind of thinking has grave consequences, the Pastor explains:

“…. the only moral question anyone has to answer in  regard to a particular action is this: “is this action what I  want to do and will it advance the fulfillment of my desires  without interfering with anyone seeking to fulfill his  desires?” This rule denies that any of us owes anything to  anyone else. This is the moral compass behind  contraception, abortion, no-fault divorce, in-vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cell research, slavery, and same-sex marriage.

The invocation of slavery and same sex marriage in the same category may seem startling. But, they both come under the same moral category.”

It’s true that we do owe things to other people — we owe them kindness and we owe them mercy, and certainly we owe them a respectful passing from this world to the next. After a day of neglect and cruelty, Guarnizo’s refusal to deliver Barbara’s mother her final blessings was simply the last nail in the coffin, so to speak. Shame on him.

Riese is the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2645 articles for us.

154 Comments

  1. Everything about this makes me sick, and at the same time incredibly grateful that I’ve finally found a church where I don’t have to give up one integral part of my being for another.

    • AMEN! I sing in an lgbt welcoming and affirming church — not all christians are cray cray, some people really just want to love their neighbor and be good to people without throwing up some other agenda on it. 🙂

        • All Christians are absolutely NOT like that!! My wife and I go to a United Church of Christ and it’s wonderful. We actually just became members over the weekend. 🙂 It’s in the Portland area and it’s so absolutely fab. It is an opening and affirming church, which means gay people are 100% welcome and equal in all aspects, which is just how it should be. The congregation isn’t made up of lots of queers (maybe a dozen couples or so) but it is incredibly accepting and friendly. In fact, Valentine’s Day weekend, the entire sermon was about gay marriage, in a very, very positive way. I am very pleased we found it. I grew up in a Catholic church in the Midwest and was not ever impressed. Finding a church that doesn’t require hiding or make me homicidal is wonderful.

        • Hey Morimori, a lot of Episcopalian churches are LGBT-affirming. You could look for ones close by, and if you really want to make sure, email someone from the church organisation to get a sense of how the congregration feels about the issue.

          The Metropolitan Community Church is most definitely LGBT friendly, too, so that could be an option.

          A lot of Quaker meetings will be very welcoming, but the worship style is not for everyone (silent worship) and some meetings aren’t predominantly Christian anymore, so it’s not for everyone.

          Good luck finding somewhere that works for you!

        • Hi Morimori! Have you tried Googling “[your area] LGBT friendly churches”? If you have, it probably seems really obvious to you, but I just mention it because it didn’t occur to me to do until about a half a year after I started looking.
          Anyway, good luck. <3

        • Many denominations are welcoming to the queer community and, as others have said, it often just takes a Google search to find them. I know the Episcopal Diocese of Washington DC has a list of welcoming and affirming churches on their website (the Diocese here is notoriously liberal – I go to an Episcopal church led by gay clergy. If you’re in Washington DC, I’d be happy to tell you more about it). I’ve also never been to a Unitarian Universalist church that was not welcoming.

        • I go to a Disciple of Christ Church, and my church is pretty chill (mostly because it’s vehemently anti-political). No ones’ ever been anything but friendly to the people I bring, (including a hipster-ass self-described “twink”), which says a lot considering my congregation is 75% white, and 50% Korean war vet. Mind you, Disciples of Christ is a really delineated denomination, so it kind of varies. Still, might be worth a shot.

          • YESSS I love the ELCA churches, they’re perfect for people who like traditional-style church services with hymns/choirs/etc but don’t want the conservative theology that often comes with it. Plus Lutherans Concerned North America (LCNA), an organization of ELCA Lutherans, has been pushing for LGBTQ+ inclusion in the Christian church since 1974. Their website, lcna.org (sorry I don’t know how to make fancy links), has some awesome free resources on the topic.

  2. Does anyone else find it interesting that the Les Femmes blogger made negative comments about the daughter drawing attention to her same-sex relationship when it seems the priest drew way more attention to it with his actions?

  3. I just had my own experiences with a catholic berevement committee from HELL while burying two close relatives less than two weeks apart. I’m so sorry for Barbara and am keeping her in the light after her recent loss.

  4. “This rule denies that any of us owes anything to anyone else. This is the moral compass behind contraception, abortion, no-fault divorce, in-vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cell research, slavery, and same-sex marriage.”

    First of all, living life in a way that’s true to yourself without harming others is the very definition of recognizing that we “owe” one another – respect, compassion, etc.

    Secondly, did this guy just put SLAVERY on the same list as contraception and gay marriage? Because jfcidek WTF?!

  5. My, but he’s a charming fellow..What say a bunch of us head over to that clinic in Germantown where Father Douche-bag has been protesting weekly and force him to share the sidewalk with some lesbians..Perhaps a “kiss-in” could be arranged..I wonder if one of those babies he’s working so hard to save were to grow up to be gay..Would he still fight for his/her rights?

  6. “…. the only moral question anyone has to answer in regard to a particular action is this: “is this action what I want to do and will it advance the fulfillment of my desires without interfering with anyone seeking to fulfill his desires?” This rule denies that any of us owes anything to anyone else. This is the moral compass behind contraception, abortion, no-fault divorce, in-vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cell research, slavery, and same-sex marriage.
    HEY CATHOLIC CHURCH WHAT ABOUT PEDOPHILIA!!

  7. Such a fucking douchebag. How big of an asshole do you have to be to put salt in the wound like that and make an already hard day that much worse.

    And that blogger at Les Femmes can skip heaven and purgatory and go straight to hell, holding hands is not fucking flaunting a relationship, talking about being accepted is not celebrating being in a disordered relationship.

    • In such a terrible day i’d like my partner to hold my hand, hug me, dry my tears… That’s not flaunting a relationship, that’s “i love you and i’m here for you”… These people really need love in their life, they’re consumed for all that hate! It makes me sad/angry/… Idk, i’m having a lot of feeling right now…

      In going to a church ceremony (im not sure that the correct wat to say it) right now in order to ask for our President’s health (Chavez), not that i like him that much but its a human being, so…

  8. The defense by “les femmes” made my blood boil. So fucking what if she WAS holding hands with her lover? Her mom just died. She has every right to get support from her partner during the service. I’m sure there were straighties there holding hands too.
    I just heard an amazing talk about how kids can change the world and got home to see this article, it just sucks.

  9. The blatant hypocrisy of these so called christians is just almost too much to comprehend anymore, that poor woman must have felt so much worse because of this excuse for a man. And there seems to be no end to the number of heartless idiots the various churches can churn out, goodness sake!! Im looking forward to people mounting some sort of protest here for when (herr) pope visits in the summer….something spectacularly gay seems appropriate, aside from that I feel pretty powerless to stop them, which is terrible!

  10. This is horrifying, and yet, I know there are members of my family who believe in all of this.

    Also also also, NOTHING pisses me off faster than the ol’ “They’re flaunting it!” bullshit. Seriously, if your mother had died wouldn’t you want to be holding hands with your S.O. for some extra support during one of the most tumultuous moments of your life? Just like stealing a kiss in public after getting some good news or even just putting your head on their shoulder when you’re a little tired, it doesn’t mean you’re FLAUNTING YOUR GAYNESS. It means you’re human, and you’re in a loving relationship and therefore you are partaking in the affection and communication that goes on in all loving relationships.

    My condolences to the daughter. No one should ever be treated like that, especially on a day when they’re at their most vulnerable.

  11. Equating same -sex marriage to slavery? A Catholic Priest doing so? I guess this means that same-sex marriage is a moral neutral with only requirements that we treat each other kindly, as the Church felt that slavery was a moral neutral and in fact the only nation on earth to recognise the Confederacy was the Papal States.

  12. I myself am Catholic and I understand that she was grieving over her mother, but you have to realize that it is against the Catholic religion to be gay and I personally think that if she would have just came in and grieved then the priest would not have done anything, but you can not resive the Holy body of Christ in for in a state of Mortal sin!! And yes to the Catholic religion this is a sin!! I myself can not judge anyone I don’t have the right to do so!! I myself have been in a state of sin and have not went to resive the body of Christ!! I do not believe he would have said anything to her otherwise but it would be a sin on his soul if he gave her the body of Christ. This is not only being gay its adultery, lust, murder, stealing, and other things.

    • “if she would have just came in and grieved then the priest would not have done anything”… are you basing the idea that she ‘did something’ on the complete speculation made by a blogger who wasn’t even there?

    • I absolutely disagree. Not only are many priests accepting of homosexuality (there are several variations on Catholic theology, all priests are not the same), but they should absolutely not refuse to give communion to a woman simply because she was gay and that goes against their interpretation of Catholic doctrine. And by your logic, because birth control is a sin under that strict Catholic theology designated by the Vatican, the 98% of Catholic women that use it should also be refused communion. Ultimately, the Bible says that judgement is Christ’s job, and not that of any mortal. And in all honesty, if God believed gay people were going to hell, why the fuck would he create so many of them?

      Also, you probably shouldn’t be an autostraddle if you think being a lesbian is a sin. Just saying, I love having a queer-friendly space that doesn’t have intolerant bigots.

    • Teresa, nothing you’ve said (with poor grammar and spelling, at that) is something we haven’t heard before. I wish people would stop telling us what a sin it is to be gay, and start having the courage to get to know gay people. Jesus wanted to know everyone, and wanted to love everyone. I challenge you to put aside your fear of those unlike you and do what Jesus did.

    • The Catholic Church considers homosexuality a sin, which is upsetting enough on its own, but that’s another argument for another time. Therefore it doesn’t surprise me that the priest didn’t give her communion because she, in the Church’s eyes, is a sinner who hasn’t asked for forgiveness. The part that I can’t remotely comprehend is the priest not giving the final blessing. The Church believes all people sin, so presumably he delivers blessings around sinners regularly. Why was her “sin” so bad?

      • Exactly my thought, wasteunit. I do kind-of get the communion, thing, though I think it was mean-spirited of him to make an issue of it in the circumstances: I would have thought he could just give it to her, and it would be her personal ‘moral’ responsibility for accepting it. Honestly, priests must give communion to sinners all the time: how would they know, after all, unless they were omnipresent, who has ‘sinned’ or not?

        But the *mother* was, presumably, a Catholic in good standing, so what reason did he have to mess up her funeral? Her funeral was not about her daughter, but about her own soul’s rest supposedly. That can’t be right, whatever his opinion of her daughter. It was up to him to make the service a dignified and healing one, not to throw a tantrum and stomp off in a huff. The funeral was about the dead woman, not about him and his need to make a stand.

    • so anyhow, i have a story, which is that i didn’t really know anything about communion, but then my best friend, he was gay, when we were in boarding school he would make me go to church with him every sunday, and would buy me breakfast to go with him and he got SUPER emo during church and i got to wear my lavender veronica sweater from The Gap, anyhow, they took communion and i was like wtf is up with these crackers, and then he told me, but i refused to take it b/c i am jewish. but he took it. and he’s gay! but now so am i. SO, there you go.

      • the first time i went to a catholic church, no one warned me about the communion thing and the priest placed the wafer right on my tongue and his fingers smelled terrible and i’ve always wished since then that communion wafers came in little plastic baggies like those oyster crackers that you get at restaurants to put on top of your clam chowder.

      • Here before you get in line to take the communion the priest tells you: if you live with a man or a woman and you haven’t married you can’t take it (and here you can’t have a same-sex marriage so therefore you’re in sin), if you haven’t confess with a priest in more than 6 months, you can’t take it, if you don’t regret your sins, you can’t take it… If after all that you get in line, then he gives the communion to you… Is his duty, he’s not there to say “You liar!! I saw you going into a gay bar the other day! No communion for you!!” like he’s the Soup Nazi from Seinfield… I personally don’t take it because I don’t believe in church and its rituals… But if would want to take it he has no right to deny it to me, he’s just a man, only God can judge me.

    • The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines grave matter as:
      1858. Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: “Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother.” The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.[2]
      This would also include worshiping other gods, not respecting the Sabbath, covetous behaviour; and the Catechism quotes the Biblical prohibition against blasphemy.[3] The Church itself does not provide a precise list of sins, subdivided into the mortal and venial categories. However, many sins are described as “grave sins” or “grave offenses” in the Catechism such as extramarital sex,[4] divorce[5] and masturbation.[6] These sins must be specifically confessed and named, giving details about the context of each sin: what sin, why, against what or whom, the number and type of occurrences, and any other factors that may exacerbate or lessen one’s responsibility and culpability that the person confessing remembers.

      Soooo…. Before communion every member of the congregation has to tell the priest exactly how they whacked it. Bravo. Oh hey, I don’t see gayness listed under grave seriousness…?

    • homosexuality is a mortal sin, divorce is a mortal sin, according to catholicism both acts are ‘adultery.’ would the priest have given the communion to a divorced member of his church? i’m guessing he would, no questions asked. and yet, that person is knowingly and deliberately committing a grave sin. fucking catholics/christians/MOST religious folk are hypocrites. get your shit straight. it sickens me that so much of the christian community is up in arms about gays getting married, but divorce is just fine. it’s EXACTLY the same sin, with exactly the same degree of gravity.

      and just to clarify, i come from a catholic family, i was baptised catholic, and then i read some science books. i have difficulty accepting the opinions/beliefs of any person of faith when those opinions/beliefs are based on their faith, but this particular issue is especially ass.

  13. Yeah Teresa! It doesn’t matter that the Father was socially (and possibly legally) obligated to show some human kindness or at least equal treatment to those who attended his service. Even though he has probably given countless communions to rapists, adulterers, kiddy fiddlers, thieves and liars…. that’s just because they weren’t ‘flaunting’ it. And anyway, all those things can be washed away in confession. But a LESBIAN asking to be involved in the service conducted for the death of her mother. OVER MY DEAD BODY! But.. er… not her mother’s… because that is a SIN!

  14. KayBee Thanks for pointing out my mistakes that’s sooo nice of you!!! But I will just say this Jesus said “go and sin no more” he will forgive anyone that asks of him and is truly sorry! But if they keep sining than they do not want to be forgivein! Oh and btw if I didnt spell something correctly please let me know 😉

  15. Hi Ladies,

    I’m a Catholic lesbian and would I love to throw down my 2 cents.

    He denied her the right to receive communion (bread & wine)because of her “sin”.
    Catholics believe the bread & wine is the body & blood of Christ. In order to receive the Christ (holy communion) one must be without sin. HOWEVER, before you take the holy communion you must be without sin. And so you must go to confession. There you confess all your sins, say a million Hail Mary’s & off you go; Sinless.

    He denied her communion because she’s living with a woman. He didn’t say because she was a lesbian. But because she’s living with a woman. Since when does living with a woman a sin? Also, even if her eulogy was 1 line & that 1 line was “I’M A LESBIAN!” He did not have the right to deny her because…

    Being gay is not a sin the “act” is.
    (Important Sidenote: I do not agree with the above statement that the “act” is a sin.)

    Continuing on…
    1. Did he know if “Barbara” went to confession prior to?
    2. Does he know for a fact that “Barbara” & her partner even have a sexual relationship (commiting the “act”)?

    If No, then I rest my case. He had no right.
    If Yes, then proceed to the following….

    1. Did he deny all the other “sinners”?
    For example: people who are divorced, have pre-marital sex, use contraceptives, had impured or evil thoughts, broke 1 or all 10 commandments, blah blah blah… You get where I’m going here.
    —-NO

    2. Did he deny all those who did not go to confession(which is probably 80% of those who attended)? —-NO

    Given what I’ve read & using my 29 years of Catholic knowledge he was in the wrong for denying her the right to the holy communion. And at her mother’s funeral… Sigh… I’m so sorry for her loss & the trouble she had to endure.

    Fr. Gaurnizo, the bishop, the church, and the followers that agree with Fr. Gaurnizo’s desicion owe “Barbara” an apology. Also, she deserves an apology from the Pope. If he wasn’t busy getting his Prada shoes shined he’d have time to educate himself & his members of these loopholes I pointed out that the Catholic church has.
    Yes, I said loopholes.
    FUCKING LOOPHOLES.

    I suppose I threw down 2 dollars instead of 2 cents.

  16. “‘Gays’ tend to be narcissistic and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the entire funeral became all about celebrating the disordered relationship.”

    Oh, scare quotes, what a delight it always is to see you. Those pesky alleged “gays!” With their alleged “relationships” and alleged “kissing in line when buying tomatoes at the farmer’s market!”

  17. “‘Gays’ tend to be narcissistic and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the entire funeral became all about celebrating the disordered relationship.”

    First of all, what’s with the quotation marks around ‘gays’? Second of all, how can people suck so bad? Seriously, I want to punch a wall right now.

    • I found the use of “narcissistic” amusing coming from a Catholic since as Catholics we are raised to be both self-loving and self-loathing..It’s no wonder so many grow up to be bat-shit crazy

      • yeah, because following the words of a guy who says he’s infallible and wears insane gold outfits that’d make Liberace jealous and has his own city and denies women the use of contraceptives ISN’T narcissistic, but a woman (who loves another woman) attending her mother’s funeral is??

  18. “Is this action what I want to do and will it advance the fulfillment of my desires without interfering with anyone seeking to fulfill his desires?” What is wrong with this? This sounds a lot like consent to me. What kind of a world would we be living in, if consent were the only thing that mattered?! Two or more consenting adults could have sex in any way they want!! Madness!! Also: slavery!! (wtf? how did we get there? that’s definitely interfering with someone seeking to fulfill their desires)

  19. I tried to post this on the Les Femmes blog but I apparently can’t type the gobbly gook words.

    This is why the Catholic Church might die off in the coming decades in the US. What compassionate person can stand to witness such utter prejudice and disgusting behavior? I grew up Catholic and was educated by numerous nuns and lay people. I respect them and am thankful because I was never taught to hate. But it is obvious so many are, or somehow twist their teachings. From what I can tell and have heard: my peers feel as I do thus we don’t warm any pews or give our hard-earned money. Third Vatican Council coming in 20 years? It’s that or irrelevancy.

    • all religions will go extinct in time. it’s called progression. the most progressive countries also tend to be the most secular. seriously, how long can we really believe stories like “moses spoke to a bush. the bush was burning, but was not consumed” or “noah put 2 of every animal on a boat” or “jesus walked on water.” seriously, if anybody i know tried to fill me with bullshit lines like that nowadays, i’d ask what drugs s/he was on and if i could please have some.

  20. It’s totally bullshit. I am really curious to know what she did to blatantly “out” herself by “flaunting” her sexuality during a funeral. You know, her mother just died. I seriously doubt that she was making out with her partner in the front pew or whispering sweet, dirty nothings in her ear. If anything, maybe a little hand holding or hugging or supportive arm around her… which, honestly, could have been done by a straight female friend or a cousin or an aunt or ANYONE ELSE. I don’t see how that would be enough to consider it blatant flaunting. It’s completely unreasonable.

  21. I’m surprised no one’s speculated yet as to whether the priest is in fact, himself a gay man. It would explain the exaggerated and unnecessary – indeed, almost hysterical – response to the situation.

    I was in Rome once when a crowd of young priests, obviously from all over the world, flooded into my subway car. I was surrounded by a group of incredibly fey, closeted gay men, in their dresses and necklaces, all hugging and touching each other with huge shit-eating grins. I wanted to scream at them – how can you sell gay people out for a living when this is clearly the biggest gay men’s club since the days of the ancient Romans?

    No, seriously – how does the world not realize that the Catholic Church is run by gay people? I’ve never met a priest who didn’t set off bells. I’m actually curious as to whether other gay people feel this is true.

    • We really can’t paint them all as gay, because that’s just ridiculous. Some people are just homophobic, there’s not always some sort of self hate going on.

      Unfortunately, from the people I’ve talked to who worked with the church, they seem to really want to blame gay priests for all of the child molestation cases that have marred their image. My CCD teacher did anyways, and it seemed as though she was speaking from some sort of rehearsed story told to her by higher up, and by higher up, I don’t mean God.

    • The priest that did my sisters wedding showed up at the party the night before and drank 8 cosmos and showed everyone his toy poodle. He seriously want even trying…

  22. Oh, Father Guarnizo. You’re happy to dedicate your life to an organisation that signed the Concordat with Hitler. That coerced single mothers into giving up their babies. That imprisoned Aboriginal people in your ‘missions’ and tried to wipe their culture off the earth. That still protects paedophiles from the law. And that’s just for starts.

    Yet you still consider yourself in a position to say that the sins of another are such that she doesn’t belong in the Church.

    As someone much wiser than I once said, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.

  23. This is official catholic policy, surely no one was surprised? This shithead clearly acted the way he did to garner attention to himself and his views though, which is contemptible in every aspect of the word. Much like the church itself.

    The catholic church as an organisation is historically the single biggest retardant on human development. Why people subscribe to it still, I have no idea.

    In conclusion, what a wanker.

  24. This guy makes me whole soul sad. Losing your ma is one of the most profoundly sad moments in your whole life. If a serial killer lost his mum, and for whatever reason I was at the funeral, I’d still be all “Fair play, he’s lost his mum 🙁 ”

    So treating someone like they don’t belong at their mums funeral, because they are happy, open and in love….I just can’t even.

  25. This is exactly what I wanted to read first thing in the morning! All right!

    Werner is so right to say that the priest is not acting as Jesus would. Even supposing that loving someone who happened to be of the same gender was a sin (which it isn’t, but supposing), Jesus wouldn’t DENY a follower His love in order to convert her. Or shame her. Or make a frickin’ example of her.

    And upon very stupidly visiting the les-femmes site, I would like to add that if I see one more instance of homophobic bigots patting each other on the back for “standing up for their principles” and being homophobic bigots like they’re doing something noble, I’m going to… something. I don’t know. I can’t deal with this.

  26. This is outrageous, In claiming to be upholding the Catechism, Fr Guarnizo is displaying woeful ignorance ot it, on at least three counts. (See http://queeringthechurch.com/2012/02/28/in-denying-communion-at-mothers-funeral-priest-contravened-the-catechism/ for an explanation)

    If acting contrary to the Catechism is necessarily sinful, then by his own standards he is himself in sin. That is why he needs to apologize. The theory of confession states that not only must we repent and confess our sins – but also that for absolution, we must make reparation to those we have injured. The hurt in this case cannot be undone – the least that will suffice is a public apology.

  27. If this guy had such a problem with showing this woman any kind of compassion let alone sharing air with her then why did he even agree to participate in the funeral in the first place? That says to me that he WANTED to make an example of her on one of the worst days of her life and in front of her entire family and friends. What a mean-spirited little asshole! I bet he’d have no problem giving communion to any of the pedophiles the church employs and routinely looks the other way for.

  28. The priest at my brother’s christening was an old jamaican guy who came to the party afterwards and got completely wasted before being half carried out to a taxi blessing everyone as he went…
    Why can’t we have more party priests?

  29. Wow. Okay. I’m going to go see if my soon-to-be Catholic nun friend, who actually rants about gay rights equally as often as I do, has any anti-nausea medicine to help squelch the urge to vomit all over this man and his hateful behavior.

    • So this is Elisabeth’s nun friend. What this priest did is wrong, and is completely uncharitable and unChristian. It’s not his place to decide whether or not she is in a state of mortal sin. Being gay is NOT A MORAL SIN. IT IS NOT. It’s not even a sin. At all. I know this. It’s actually my job to know this. The Archdiocese of Washington even said “It is NOT e policy of the Archdiocese of Washington to publicly reprimand the person. Any issues regarding the suitability of an individual to receive communion should be addressed by the priest with that person in a private, pastoral setting.”

      It is NOT THE JOB OF THE PRIEST to tell someone when they are in the state of mortal sin. That is between her conscience and God. Period.

      This is not the position of the Church. If you really want to know more, please find a priest or read up on the Church document “Always Our Children” which states: “Every person has an inherent dignity because he or she is created in God’s image….and like all gifts from God, the power and freedom of sexuality can be channeled toward good or evil.”

        • There are nuns like her! Most nuns are really queer positive and awesome!

          I’m Catholic too and queer, and I have to give props to the Archdiocese for stepping up and apologizing on behalf of this really terrible priest.

          There were some awesome things that happened behind the scenes though. A retired priest stepped in and completed the mass and burial, and lay people stepped up and gave communion to Barbara instead.

          When Catholics get it together, we are in fact, really awesome.

          Catholic Queers Keep On Truckin’!

  30. Honestly, how can you take a religion seriously if it can’t even get its basic teachings right? You know, the 10 commandments, so aptly distilled down to love thyself and love thy neighbour by that one guy they all profess to love.

    Oh, and a souvenir stand right on top of your most important religious building?

  31. http://www.catholic.com/documents/gay-marriage

    What good comes out of this? (don’t say love because you know that’s not true) I’m just a person trying to live my life and do the right thing, as I said before I do not have the right to judge anyone I have committed many sins. I’m far from being perfect, I’ve never claimed to be. This is what I believe in and if it offends you than that’s just you. But I see the preist’s point and support it. If she want to be gay than she can live her life the way she wants to live it, but don’t come in a catholic church and try to receive communion and expect him to disregard everything that he believes in just so he don’t hurt her feelings! He didn’t go to her and bash her for nothing, she came to him! And for all those who said that they give communion to sinners all the time the answer is no they do not! If they know that you are divorced or committing aldultery they will refuse you and bless you! You shouldn’t say things you do not have a clue about! God bless you all. And I hope you find peace, because I have, I found it in Jesus.

  32. Thank you so much for writing about this! Barbara Johnson was my high school sculpture teacher and she did so much for me. She’s an amazing person and has always been an inspiration. I can’t even stand that she has to go through this while mourning her mother’s death. love your support, autostraddle.

  33. I think it’s inevitable that most voices against marriage equality are those against abortion. Being against abortion, it puts me in an awkward situation since I can find value in some pro-life propaganda but find the anti marriage rhetoric pure bullshit. How can you compare decisions made by two grown adults as how they want to live their lives the same as taking a decision that may involve a third voiceless party?

  34. This broke my heart. Every person in this world deserves a proper funeral. I don’t care what his views are but as a person who is supposed to work in the name of God is acting that way, its just wrong. I felt nausea afterwards :/

  35. Update: this priest’s boss, the bishop, reprimanded the priest, and told him that his conduct was improper. The bishop then wrote a letter of apology to this lesbian.

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