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Priest Denying Communion to Active Lesbian Somehow Front Page News for WaPo

Matthew Balan's picture

Just days after Maryland's state legislature passed same-sex "marriage," the Washington Post trumpeted on its front page how a "deep in grief" woman in a long-term lesbian relationship had been denied Communion by a Catholic priest during her mother's funeral in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The woman accused the cleric of playing "politics...and you will pay dearly on the day of judgment for judging me."

It took writer Michelle Boorstein seven paragraphs to finally give a statement from a representative of the Archdiocese of Washington, who criticized the pastoral approach of the priest, but not necessarily his defense of Catholic teaching, which states that those living in mortal sin cannot approach the Eucharist. It took the journalist another four paragraphs to reproduce a comment defending the priest's actions from an anonymous blogger.

CBS's local affiliate in DC, WUSA9, also covered the controversy, but gave a completely one-sided story about the lesbian, supposedly a "lifelong Catholic and former Catholic school teacher" named Barbara Johnson, who is also calling for the removal of the cleric, Father Marcel Guarnizo, from parish life. In his write-up summarizing their on-air story, writer Matt Jablow omitted Johnson's call for Father Gurnizo's removal.

Boorstein front-loaded the first six paragraphs of her article, titled "Seeking Communion, finding rejection" on the front page (titled differently online), with a florid and sympathetic account of Johnson's mother's funeral, and included her fire-and-brimstone condemnation of the priest who officiated. A misleading subtitle, "During mother's funeral service in Md., lesbian is told by priest her orientation is a sin," accompanied the article, though the writer noted that Father Guarnizo took issue with her relationship specifically. Boorstein also disclosed that Johnson's lesbian "partner of 20 years" was present at the funeral:

Deep in grief, Barbara Johnson stood first in the line for Communion at her mother's funeral Saturday morning. But the priest in front of her immediately made it clear that she would not receive the sacramental bread and wine.

Johnson, an art-studio owner from the District, had come to St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg with her lesbian partner. The Rev. Marcel Guarnizo had learned of their relationship just before the service.

"He 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 recalled Tuesday.

She reacted with stunned silence. Her anger and outrage have now led her and members of her family to demand that Guarnizo be removed from his ministry.

Family members said the priest left the altar while Johnson, 51, was delivering a eulogy and did not attend the burial or find another priest to be there.

"You brought your politics, not your God into that Church yesterday, and you will pay dearly on the day of judgment for judging me," she wrote in a letter to Guarnizo. "I will pray for your soul, but first I will do everything in my power to see that you are removed from parish life so that you will not be permitted to harm any more families."

Though the Washington Post journalist did indirectly point out the central Catholic belief that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ, through her quote of Johnson in the third paragraph, she didn't explain this belief in her article, even downplaying it as "sacramental bread and wine." The anonymous pro-Father Guarnizo blogger cited Canon 915 in the Code of Canon Law for the Catholic Church, which states that "those...obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion." Johnson certainly is someone "persevering in manifest grave sin," given her admitted 20-year relationship with another woman, but Boorstein didn't explain what Canon 915 was.

More fundamentally, the eleventh chapter of St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians makes it clear that "he that eateth and drinketh [the Eucharist] unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord." It doesn't get more clear than that in Catholic dogma, and by his action, Father Guarnizo was sparing her from the grave sin of sacrilege.

But there is a split in the Catholic hierarchy as to how to heed this age-old warning, as well as enforce the relevant part of canon law. Boorstein noted later in her article that "Guarnizo's refusal...seemed at odds with the strong stand against denial of Communion to Catholics enunciated by the archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl." However, other high-ranking American clerics have denied Communion to not only those "persevering in manifest grave sin," but also those who materially support sins. Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis denied the Eucharist to supporters of same-sex "marriage" during a Mass in 2010. The writer omitted any discussion of these details from her article.

In the online version, Boorstein linked to her colleague Michael S. Rosenwald's Wednesday article about Father Guarnizo. After gushing over her "gripping story," Rosenwald detailed how he tried to find the priest at his Gaithersburg parish, St. John Neumann to ask him to obviously slanted question, "'Do you regret not offering her Communion? I mean, her mother just died. Why did you do this?" He added, "The church's Web site, after all, mentions a mural 'that adorns our sanctuary depicts Christ as the Savior of ALL People."

After not being able to track down the cleric, Rosenwald related that he "wonder how old Guarnizo is....whether he was a rigid man, or a forgiving one. I found him on YouTube. He seems to be...relatively young...thin...and well spoken, and in the video...he took an extremely hardline stand against abortion last year in Germantown at a rally...[where] he calls a doctor who performs abortions...[and] compares the act of abortion to the crimes and criminals of Nazi Germany during the Holocaust." In the writer's obviously left-leaning view, a Catholic priest telling the truth about abortion and defending his Church's teaching on the gravely evil act at a pro-life rally is "extremely hardline." He urged his readers to view the "remarkable video," and embedded it near the end of his article.

Yet again, the Washington Post revealed the complete misunderstanding of Christianity in general, and Catholicism specifically, and through their overblown coverage of this controversy, showed that they are completely in the tank for far-left homosexual activists.


#1 One can say any number of

One can say any number of things about the terrible way this was handled, and in particular I find it unconscionable that the priest left the altar while she gave a eulogy and then declined to go to the cemetery.

But why characterize the priest's actions as political?

#2 The Funeral Mass can be a

The Funeral Mass can be a circus at times due to the fact that you just don't know what is going to come out of the mouth of the person(s) doing the eulogy. There have been some dandies.

'One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church'

#3 No euologies

This is why I follow the bishops' advice and do not allow euologies at funeral Masses. Too many folks with too many axes to grind.

Fr. Philip, OP

#4 Well that doesn't mean the

Well that doesn't mean the priest should leave at that time.
If he allowed her to do a eulogy he should have stayed.

#5 That's just how they do things, MB

It's a combination of their sensationalizing everything and their believe that one bad apple doesn't merely spoil the bunch, but indicates that there isn't a single good apple anywhere to be found in the barrel.

Because one person at a Tea Party rally supposedly had racist signs, obviously everyone in the TP MUST be a rabid, "kill all the negroes" lunatic. If one priest does something like this, then obviously every single member of the Catholic Church wants to pick up a gun and kill every non-heteronormative person on the planet and claim it was "God's work".

(And of course, when who-knows-how-many Islamists strap bombs to their bodies and blow up anybody the slightest bit different from them, that has nothing to do whatsoever with the Muslim faith and its commandment that you must kill anyone who doesn't convert to your way of thinking. Funny old world we live in, innit?)

#6 On this matter

On this matter, people have to decide whether politicians are bringing religion into politics, or priests are bringing politics into religion. It can't be both.

#7 If she is offended by the

If she is offended by the church's principles, why go to church?

Can you imagine if I as a pastor went to a gay convention and complained when they refused to accept me for disagreeing with homosexuality?

What really frustrates homosexuals is the fact that they can NOT change the words of the Bible to accept homosexuality as a normal, acceptable, and moral lifestyle. The Bible clearly says that it is the opposite.

#8 Flaw

I doubt a Priest would offer communion to her if she confessed to adultery and then showed up for Sunday mass with her adulterous lover...


#9 Only if the Priest had full

Only if the Priest had full knowledge of the presence of the 'lover'.

If she had gone to Confession and confessed this sin and made a true act of contrition, she could then receive Holy Communion if she had not committed the adulteress sin in the meantime since her confession.

'One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church'

#10 This is why priests don't

This is why priests don't routinely refuse Holy Communion, even to public dissenters with the Church's teachings, like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden.
It is the responsibility of the communicant to present him/herself in a proper state of grace. The priest has no way of knowing that last night or this morning that person didn't make a good confession, and thus has to give the benefit of the doubt.

#11 I'm wondering if this woman made an issue of her sexual

orientation to the priest before the Mass. I agree that usually priest's don't refuse Holy Communion, so I can't help but wonder if she didn't create this situation somehow.

Or I could be wrong.

Proud member of the 53%!

#12 I don't know if she did it

I don't know if she did it intentionally, but she has probably been receiving Communion right along, even though she knew she shouldn't. She probably expected that even if the priest knew he wouldn't make an issue of it.

#13 If she is offended by the

If she is offended by the church's principles, why go to church?

Can you imagine if I as a pastor went to a gay convention and complained when they refused to accept me for disagreeing with homosexuality?

What really frustrates homosexuals is the fact that they can NOT change the words of the Bible to accept homosexuality as a normal, acceptable, and moral lifestyle. The Bible clearly says that it is not!

if she was seeking repentance and forgiveness she should receive it. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" -Romans 3:23 we all falter and fail that is why God gave us Jesus. All he asks is we believe in him. And that belief is being criticized ever day. God won't submit to mans version of what is right or wrong we must submit to his. No matter what man does He can never change the truth of these three words: Jesus. Loves. You.

#14 Would you please understand

Would you please understand that this is a spiritual battle being waged in human flesh between Satan and Jesus. And that if the Church does not defend the Biblical model for marriage and family countless generations of children are going to be spiritually defiled. Homosexuality is a Satanic madness.


#15 Another example of a depraved

Another example of a depraved part of our society trying to impose their radical definitions and immoral behaviour on us, and then using the MSM SOBs to trumpet "the unfairness of it all" for not immediately accepting their wrong-headed attempts to force us to accept unacceptable behaviour. I, for one, have had it. These people are wrong. Period. And any attempt to see it "their way" is wrong. Queers are sexual deviants. Their behaviour and thinking is way wrong, for themselves and for society. It's time people began to understand that accepting this stuff will break down our society. Because once you start accepting their definitions, you have absolutely no foundation left to stand on, and the line between "wrong" and "right" becomes so blurred as to be useless. And you simply end up with chaos. Don't fall for it, people.

Didn't win the Medal of Honor? Didn't even serve? Then lie about it. We'll support you." — 9th Circuit Court

#16 Choices have consequenses,

Either choose to live and have relations with a woman or be a Catholic. It can't be both.

***************************************************************************************** T.V. I love my country, it's my government I don't trust.

#17 Let's get down to the nitty-gritty

The Church sets out specific guidelines regarding how we should prepare ourselves to receive the Lord’s body and blood in Communion. To receive Communion worthily, you must be in a state of grace, have made a good confession since your last mortal sin, believe in transubstantiation, observe the Eucharistic fast, and, finally, not be under an ecclesiastical censure such as excommunication. A mortal sin is any sin whose matter is grave and which has been committed willfully and with knowledge of its seriousness. Grave matter includes, but is not limited to, murder, receiving or participating in an abortion, homosexual acts, having sexual intercourse outside of marriage or in an invalid marriage, and deliberately engaging in impure thoughts (Matt. 5:28–29). Scripture contains lists of mortal sins (for example, 1 Cor. 6:9–10 and Gal. 5:19–21). For further information on what constitutes a mortal sin, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

This HOMOSEXUAL woman is not entitled to Communion based on THE BIBLE, not based on politics. SHE'S the one bringing politics into it. And for the church to back down to the point of disparaging how the priest "handled" the situation is BS. This unrepentant lesbian sinner, having sexual intercourse outside of marriage (since she has a "partner" and so apparently isn't "married", making no attempt to renounce her sins, should be excommunicated, not just denied Communion.

#18 Communion

I've been to some Protestant church's where they are restrictive on who can take Communion. I've also been to some Protestant church's where they say that anybody who want's to can come forward and take Communion. I'm guessing that most Protestants would be denied taking Catholic Communion.

This lady doesn't want to take Catholic Communion.  She wants to change the Catholic Church.  That's been done already.


"You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas...on the taxpayer’s dime." Barack Obama

#19 You are correct.

Non-Catholics are not invited to partake of Communion.

#20 As a born again Christian I

As a born again Christian I do not consider the Catholic faith a legitimate sect of Christianity. It is more cult then actual religion.


#21 (yawn)


#22 Don't hold your mouth open to

Don't hold your mouth open to long a priest may stick some thing in it.


#23 In all things, charity

Watch yourself, newbie. You don't want to act like a troll too often.

#24 Self destruction*

neripowell is a priest, and if you knock him again, I will fight to get you "access denied".

#25 Matthew: Who the hell are you

Matthew: Who the hell are you to threaten me? If you do not like criticism then get another job. Or better yet, become a man.


#26 ⇒ Self Destructo

Why Matthew lets you stay on is beyond me.

I hope your wish to be banned is fulfilled.

#27 Stevie

Could you be a retread? Doesn't matter, by the way your speakIng to Matthew you might not be here long enough for is tell.

Proud member of the 53%!

#28 Who the "hell" am I?

I've been working at the Media Research Center for 5 years. I watch the media so you don't have to. We provide a service for YOU, a member of the conservative movement. In other words, YOU are our guest, and if you come into our house making a ruckus, don't be surprised if we don't start laying down the law. If you don't abide by our rules, you can find another place to scribble your anti-Catholic rants.

#29 Mr Balan*

This self destructive idiot has been warned by admins several times and he's still  trolling with his tripe.

Cajun has had about enough, how about you Matthew?

#30 Not my call

I'm not the managing editor, so the call is not mine. But the m.e. (who is a Calvinist, by the way), did warn him below.

#31 That's not just trolling. It's posting bigoted filth.

Commenters have been smoked for far less offensive remarks. And "steve" then doubles down with in-your-face taunting of a staff member and is still here? Something is wrong with this picture.


#32 Sorry Mr Balan*

I did not realize that you did not have access to the "ban button".. Not to worry,  search in progress.

#33 Woot woot

CD is Access Denied

Proud member of the 53%!

#34 ⇒ Self-Destructo is Tango-Uniform


#35 Awwwww....

is that what happened to you??? Suddenly, things become a little clearer......

#36 Born again?

Scripture isn't where you think it is.

Born Again in Water Baptism; "Born Again" Means Water Baptism

#37 matthew I have know idea what

matthew I have know idea what your implication is?


#38 well cd*

Dont know what Mathew meant but here is my take.

You say you have been born again yet you spew bigotry and intolerance. Not very Christian of you.   Try, try, try to be born again.

We evil cultists will pray for you.

#39 Cajun: I stand on Biblical

Cajun: I stand on Biblical truth. The Catholic church does not. I do not remember calling you evil. Lost , deceived yes, but not evil. Now if I had time to evaluate your soul I could make that determination.


#40 To be judged by self destruct*

Amazing ego, when did God die and you were appointed God?

#41 ~steve05, anyone?

"Born again" must be what trolls call being a retread, nowadays.

Obama's WTF 2012 campaign slogan: "A dog in every pot"

#42 creative_destruction

Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven".
Mark 9:38 " And John answered him saying. 'Master we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us, and we forbade him because he followeth not us. But Jesus said forbid him not for there is no man which can do a miracle in my name \, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part."

Your comment indicates that you believe that you are without sin. Better go check the birth certificate you got from your church, I don't think it's legit.


Jesus Loves You so much He died for you

#43 Never said I was with out

Never said I was with out sin, but my sins are "cover" by the blood of Christ. What are the Catholic faithfuls sins covered by the tears of Mary and the saints? Think about what I just wrote.


#44 For Catholics communion is

For Catholics communion is Holy Communion.

We Catholics believe in the True Presence of Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the consecrated bread and wine which becomes His Body and Blood, respectively.

Protestants do not.

'One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church'

#45 That's always been my understanding.....

....of one of the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. Catholics and non-Catholics should respect that difference.


"You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas...on the taxpayer’s dime." Barack Obama

#46 Kingfish: Catholics should

Kingfish: Catholics should respect Christians. For we practice the true faith.


#47 I don't know how we got along without you for the first 1400 yrs


#48 CD

You must have navigated here by mistake. This is a website about media bias. The Catholic bashing website is over on HuffPo.

Proud member of the 53%!

#49 Exactly, if creative wants to

Exactly, if creative wants to have a theological debate, go to a forum thread and work it out there, not the comments thread. My patience is limited with them on comments threads in blogs.


#50 Agreed Ken

My initial thread was to highlight that this woman had no right to communion, and the priest had no obligation to offer it to her. Indeed, he was obligated NOT to. This wasn't intended as a theological debate between different sects of Christianity. The basic story here is that she wanted the publicity she has received, and offered the LSM another chance to bash the Catholic church.

#51 Cappmann

And it's convenient how the media has this opportunity to bash the Catholic church while the church is fighting the dear leader's insurance coverage of birth control isn't it? Timing is everything they say...

Proud member of the 53%!

#52 Yeah,

The libs are getting better at their timing. If there isn't something they can make a ruckus about, they create something. I just can't wrap my head around so many people buying this tripe...

#53 delete double

delete double

#54 Hmmm ...

Did this same author cover the video of the 'sisters of perpetual indulgance' desecrating communion in San Francisco?

Gay people are actively attacking religous people and this is just another example. This gay woman was simply trying to pull a stunt to mock the church. She chose to use her own mothers funeral as an excuse. What a wretched child she truely is. This author knows this and is trying to impose his values on that church.

This is exactly the time that people of faith need to call out this attack as an attack and not compromise their long term beliefs with the demands of the athiests that want their church destroyed!

#55 God that is one butt ugly

God that is one butt ugly woman. I commend the priest for defending the doctrines of the faith. I wonder when his church will be fire bombed?


#56 Anyone else see anything green and leafy about this guy?


Proud member of the 53%!

#57 Note to liberal "Christians":

Note to liberal "Christians": That whole not judging thing is not a free pass for you to indulge in whatever sinful lifestyles you want to. Rather, it applies to your eternal destination. Only God can judge where we go when we die, but we can still call someone out for their sin. But you liberals will never understand that, because you don't want to.

Also, she thinks the priest should be removed for following the teachings of the Church!? Liberals...

"Life imitates art, and morons imitate parodies of themselves." --Me

#58 Every institution has its rules. Don't like 'em, don't join!

The Catholic Church is like any other institution with voluntary membership: There are rules you must obey to remain a member in good standing.  Don't like the rules?  There's the door!

Ms. Johnson made a conscious decision to be in a 20-year homosexual relationship.  Whether homosexuality is the result of genetics, environmental factors, or a lifestyle choice is a topic for another discussion, but if Ms. Johnson wanted to remain in the Catholic faith and attend Mass, she could have abstained from a behavior that the Church is pretty clear on being against their rules. 

I, as a Catholic, don't adhere to all the rules, either.  If, as a result of any behaviors in violation of the rules, I was ever denied Communion, I wouldn't be happy about it, but I would acknowledge that it's the Church's rules, and the Church's call.  I'd have a choice:  Adjust those offensive behaviors to once again become a "member in good standing", or part ways with the Church and find an institution with principles in line with my own.  Then again, from the article, it sounds like I'm a little less self-centered and narcissistic than Ms. Johnson.

Expecting the Catholic Church to validate your behavior is selfish, and a form of this nauseating New-Age spiritualism.  You have to wonder about people who need a religion that repeatedly tells them they are perfect just as they are, rather than the more traditional concept of serving something larger than yourself and having standards that you need to spend your life to strive to live up to.  The latter actually encourages spiritual growth.  The former does not.

That being said, Father Guarnizo probably should not have left the altar.  The funeral service was for Ms. Johnson's mother, and despite Ms. Johnson's rule-breaking, her mother shouldn't be punished for that.


Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.  -- Ronald Wilson Reagan

#59 This should be happening all the time

Why is it not? Why is the Catholic church so afraid to stand by it's principles and deny communion to those that they know are not worthy of it? It's news because it happens so rarely.


Madison and Jefferson and Franklin built a Republic - Roberts killed it! 

#60 I agree...

And as I linked to above, more and more bishops are getting tough.

#61 Matthew

It's not just the bishops...

This happened because of parents of students and alumni calling and writing asking Villanova to keep it's identity as a Catholic college by upholding the Catholic religion.

Proud member of the 53%!

#62 The Catholic church is like

The Catholic church is like the Jewish Temple in Jesus time. Money is the driving motivator, not fidelity to the laws of God.


#63 You're on notice.

If you keep this up, you risk the wrath of our Calvinist editor. Just saying...

#64 Wondering.

In the Catholic Church, is it a mortal sin to merely identify as homosexual or be one who is non-celibate?

#65 Well Shreve*

Ask self destruction, he seems to the resident expert on the Catholic Church.

#66 I like the cut of your jib...

Ask self destruction, he seems to the resident expert on the Catholic Church.


#67 Thank you Matthew*

And I hope you assist  self destruction's  wish come true.

#68 No one is born homosexual

The sin of homosexuality is not a sin of what you *are* but a sin of what you *do*... Repent and stop doing it.

Here is a thought exercise for you. If a man is born, grows up into adulthood and, whether or not marries, never commits a homosexual act. Was he born gay?

No, because no one is. Homosexuals are heterosexuals committing homosexual acts.

Once you repent of your sins asking God's forgiveness they are washed away by the blood of the Lamb. Never repeat this sin again and you will not have a problem with the Righteousness of God at the Final Judgement.

#69 Jesus said : Go and sin no

Jesus said : Go and sin no more.


#70 Stating that God is Love is not a license to sin.

The anti-Fr. Guarnizo posts are by people that have created a God in their own image, labeled it ‘Christian,’ and now are trying to force this upon those of us that read the Bible and respect cannon law.

We pray for the souls of homosexuals because we ‘love the sinner but hate the sin.’ However, unless you repent in the living years you are dammed to hell.

Remember, we are judged by God’s rules, not those we fabricate in our minds.

And because you ignore or rationalize your sin does not stop God from damming you to hell for it.

#71 excellent post.

excellent post.


#73 ~God doesn't "damn people to hell"

If He did, there'd be no need for a devil, because God would be one.

He left people free to make their own choices, and they can choose to love Him or reject Him.
"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell." -- C.S. Lewis

Obama's WTF 2012 campaign slogan: "A dog in every pot"

#74 Yesterday's above the fold story in the WaPo

was about how black women feel about being larger than other women. You'll be relieved to know that they are OK with it.

#75 Talking Heads

Why do the MSM never ask a Muslim cleric for his take on an issue like this? Do Muslims have a special prayer rug for homosexuals? Perhaps the Catholic Church could get lessons on tolerance from them.

Still Learning

#76 Sounds like an opportunity for a new Obama mandate:

The Catholic Church now has to provide the Eucharist for everyone, espcially those who hate her. (FYI, the Catholic Church is assigned the feminine pronoun as she is the Bride of Christ.)

"Unfortunately, some people use belief-based facts rather than fact-based beliefs." -Par for the Course on Wed, 04/18/2012 - 5:38pm

#77 ~No church official

Catholic or Protestant, should allow an unrepentant sinner whose lifestyle is in direct contradiction to the teaching of the Bible to take communion on his watch.
This lesbian obviously does not follow the tenets of her mother's Catholic faith, and since she is an unbeliever she had no reason for trying to take communion, other than to spit in the face of the Deity she openly flouts.

Obama's WTF 2012 campaign slogan: "A dog in every pot"

#78 Priest on leave

Of concern...

The priest has been relieved of his duties.


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