As a former Catholic, I understand that the church is intolerant of gay people and does not want them to marry or have rights (except for some priests, some of whom I know that welcome everyone), but the following story is disgraceful. In short, during a mother's funeral, the priest learned that the daughter was a lesbian (and a Catholic) and refused her communion, AND didn't show up for the graveside part of the service!
- I had a different experience: When my dad passed in 2008, the priest KNEW that I had a partner, and Tom was with me. The priest didn't care. That's the way it should be. Tom didn't even go for the communion because he wasn't raised Catholic. - Also at my dad's funeral, my older brother, who is not and hasn't been a Catholic in over 25 years was given communion, no questions asked.
My point is, that this hatred and intolerance isn't rampant through the entire religion (aside from Rome and the Archbishops, etc.). Some priests understand that we are all people, we are all God's children, we are all deserving of RESPECT, especially at the funeral of a parent. I applaud them.
The particular priest in this instance should be tossed out of the church and given sensitivity training, and apologize. He should never do this again. He caused more Trauma to this grieving woman who was there to pay her last respects to her mother. It makes me mad to see this behavior, coming from people we are supposed to respect.
- I'm thankful for the priests that DO understand, and DO offer compassion and care to all people without exception. - Rob
Lesbian Denied Communion At Her Mother's Funeral
GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WUSA) -- It's been an extremely difficult week for Barbara Johnson -- perhaps the most difficult week of her life.
It all started on Saturday at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, where friends and family had gathered to say goodbye to Barbara's mother, who died last week after a brief illness.
Just a few minutes before the funeral began, Father Marcel Guarnizo, who was presiding over the service, apparently learned that Barbara was involved in a romantic relationship with another woman.
A lifelong Catholic and former Catholic school teacher, Barbara says she hadn't even considered that her sexual orientation would be a problem with Father Marcel until she stepped forward to take communion.
"He said, 'I can not give you communion because you live with a woman,'" Barbara says.
Though shaken by Father Marcel's actions, Barbara says she tried to compose herself to give her mother the dignified funeral she deserved. So a few minutes later, Barbara began her eulogy. "At which time Father Marcel left the altar and didn't return until I finished my eulogy," Barbara says.
According to Barbara, things got even worse, because after first refusing to give her communion, and then walking off the altar when Barbara was giving her eulogy, Father Marcel refused to go with Barbara's mother's body to the cemetery in Aspen Hill. Barbara says she was told that Father Marcel had suddenly become ill.
In a written statement, the Archdiocese of Washington conceded that Father Marcel had acted improperly, saying, "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."
Barbara Johnson says she's satisfied with the statement, though she adds that the damage done, both to her family and to her mother's memory, could never be repaired.
"We don't get a do-over. This was her one moment to pass from this earth," Barbara says.