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March 2nd, 2012
09:08 AM ET

Lesbian: 'Denied communion' at mom's funeral

(CNN)–CNN's Brooke Baldwin spoke to Barbara Johnson who says a priest denied her communion at her mother's funeral Mass at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland because she is a lesbian.

In response to Johnson's story going public the Archdioceses of Washington responded saying in a statement to CNN:

In matters of faith and morals, the Church has the responsibility of teaching and of bringing the light of the Gospel message to the circumstances of our day. When questions arise about whether or not an individual should present themselves for communion, it is not the 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.

The archdiocese is looking into the incident at a funeral Mass that was celebrated by Fr. Marcel Guarnizo and will handle this as a personnel issue.

Read more about the story from CNN Affiliate WUSA.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Content Partner • Faith Now • Homosexuality • TV-CNN Newsroom

soundoff (413 Responses)
  1. Vimal

    Well, this film is based on a Korean graphic Novel which is cellad Priest (프리스트).Tokyopop is the English publisher for this Korean graphic novel.Google this Priest manhwa you might encounter some volumes being spread around for us to read online. hehe.

    September 7, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  2. free email sites

    I'll right away seize your rss feed as I can't in finding your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you've any? Kindly permit me realize so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

    May 22, 2012 at 4:48 am |
  3. Reality Check Casher

    I feel bad for her. My only advice would be to dump that church & try another say, Episcopal Church...aka Catholic Lite...half the sin...all the forgiveness. For the record...screw the bible. It's an outdated paperback collection of novels written by man about his interpretation of past events..and we all know man can't keep his stories straight to begin with. Faith is personal relationship between you and what you believe your god to be. That's all you need.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  4. ES

    Seperation of church and state. The priest has the right to decide, and that decision should be final in matters of the faith and not dictated by government. The woman is the party in the wrong on this case, or lack of a case.

    March 28, 2012 at 8:20 am |
  5. me

    The article doesnt say, was she a member of the church? If not, then I can understand why the priest denied her Communion. Catholics do not provide Communion for non-Catholics or those who have not been through Communion classes.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  6. Treecie Boix

    Not everyone is eligible for the Eucharist in the Catholic Church. If the priest knows that a person

    is ineligible – and in this case he knew because Barbara Johnson made a point of presenting herself

    and her lover to the priest, who didn't even know them, before Mass – then he is obligated to

    withhold Communion. It would have been the same if she had been living with a male lover or

    divorced and remarried without an annulment or an avowed Lutheran, Buddhist or atheist. A

    Catholic child who has not received his or her first Eucharist does not approach the priest for

    Communion. Many (and ineligible adults do this, too) approach the priest with arms crossed over

    their chest to indicate that they do not expect communion but would like a blessing, which a priest

    will give.

    I believe the woman was attempting to challenge the priest to deny her communion so she could

    make an issue of it. He does not state this, but if you hear his side of the story, you may come to

    this conclusion yourself. Here is the link:

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/priest-removal-from-ministry-was-tied-to-communion-

    incident/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A

    +catholicnewsagency%2Fdailynews+%28CNA+Daily+News%29&utm_term=daily+news

    March 14, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  7. Manny

    Realize that, according to truth as portrayed in scripture and not Catholicism, partaking in communion as a sinner is like drinking damnation to your soul. Communion is an act of remembrance of the work that Jesus performed on the cross. Jesus shed his blood for us all, realize it or not, we are all bought with a price and that was the death of Jesus.

    I agree with the decision made and he is doing this woman a favor.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Anon

      Fck Jesus. The motherfcker is just another mythological farce.

      March 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Debra P

      So let me get this straight you agree with the priest Manny? So all of a sudden you became God?
      Judge not lest ye be judged.
      You had better read your Bible son cause you be needing a lesson in Christianity, Compassion, Grace, Love and a whole list of other things thats too long to mention.
      Not only was this so called advocate of God wrong but the Archdioceses as well.
      If this is what you have been reading then I need to tell you that aint no Bible or do you just get the word of God fed to you by way of deceitful bigoted morons......

      March 12, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  8. Makali

    I'm not Catholic but my parents were so, I was raised with it. I only mention that so it will be obvious that I am familiar with how the Catholics teach the bible and their perspective on faith via the catechism.

    What the priest did was in direct conflict with everything I was taught by two different orders of nuns and more than one Jesuit priest. In short, his actions were very un-Christ-like and not in line with the catechism I was taught for almost 17 years. The archdiocese is correct to say that any such issue is handled away from the mass and in private.

    I wonder if the withholding of communion by the priest against church protocol is a mortal or a menial sin. ;o)

    March 6, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  9. stupid people believe what they don't understand because they don't read, or don't know how - which is worse?

    I may be cruel, but you shall love me as God. In the word of God. Praise be to God. And all that mumbo jumbo. Thanks be to me for reminding you that even God hates you. So smile and remember, under his tyranny you will never be free! Quote any part of the Bible you like, it will make no difference. If you believe in God then the history of God is your basis for belief. How can one make claims to without full knowledge of? With full knowledge how is it that any believe unless they already harbor hatred for a great many? Answer – most have never read the Bible. Those who have made one of two choices – ratiionalize it and believe based on interpretations or deny it and not believe. What do you get from this?

    March 5, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Krasimir

      I had hoped our wedding fatooge would be good but this is exceptional, you are truely talented. We are very lucky to have you and to have this keep sake. Thanks so much.

      September 9, 2012 at 1:09 am |
  10. derp

    Catholicism, infuriating the female population, one person at a time.

    March 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  11. CherryDeZ

    When the pressure is on-NO BACKBONE. Stand up for what you believe, even though the heavens fall

    March 5, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  12. True Point!

    The true point is that she is not turning from her sin, but rather living in it and not wanting to change. this is not acceptable and not confessing in any way. Those who write against it should be ashamed because they do not truly understand the bible. Repentance is an action not a symbol! The church SHOULD refuse it to someone living in sin, and knowing that it is sin. GOOD JOB CHURCH I AM PROUD OF YOU FOR STICKING UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT IN THE EYES OF GOD AND NOT WHAT IS FORMIDABLE IN THE EYES OF THE AMERICAN CHURCH!

    March 4, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • TING

      I wouldn't be shocked to find that this priest is gay himself.

      March 5, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • Paul

      Well said, but it is a shame the church does not stand up and be counted for other very important things. Like loving ones enemies, the church blesses and condones war.

      March 5, 2012 at 3:19 am |
    • Yo!

      "The true point is that she is not turning from her sin, but rather living in it and not wanting to change. this is not acceptable and not confessing in any way. Those who write against it should be ashamed because they do not truly understand the bible."

      LOL! You're the one who doesn't understand the bible idiot. No where does your god condemn the saved loving gay couple. What your bible does condemn is male prostitution, idolatry and selfishness. It's why there are now gay churches, gay pastors, and hundreds of priest apologizing to the gay community.

      March 5, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • momoya

      You can always count on the church to differentiate severity of types of sins even though god supposedly doesn't.

      March 5, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • J.W

      The church should not judge whether someone is doing something sinful or not. That is not really their job. If he felt she was in sin he could have talked with her privately instead of showing judgment in front of a congregation.

      March 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Terri

      Good for you standing up for what is right. The Christian standing up for God is now the condemed just as the bible says will happen in the last days.

      March 7, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • C'mon

      Terri, "Christian standing up for God is now the condemed just as the bible says will happen in the last days."

      Read some history... people have been singing that tune ever since your cult became popular. Every century has had their own assortment of goofy stories of how the "last days" were being fulfilled right before their eyes.

      March 7, 2012 at 3:16 am |
  13. Glenn Baker

    This is outrageous behavior from this priest!

    The receiving and participation in the rite of communion, is not based on our being perfect in the eyes of the Church, whether liturgical or protestant. The basis for being free to participate in the celebration of the Lord's finished work on Calvary is that we recognize that we are all sinners and that Jesus was without blemish and therefore took upon Himself our sins as that perfect sacrifice. In fact, the Bible says, "Once and for all the Lamb was slain." Never to occur again (the Jews do not even offer animal sacrifices anymore! Think about that!). The welcome at the Table of Grace is offered to those who recognize the suffering of Jesus in our stead and that He was resurrected and conquered the sting of death. Further, it doesn't have to be administered by a priest or a pastor. You can do this on your own, in your own home. But it is an awesome experience when you share that remembrance with other believers in Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, Immanuel.
    The priest needs some retraining in how to extend mercy and grace to people who don't measure up to 'his' own standard of deserving. No one is deserving except that Christ has made us worthy. Therefore, we are worthy.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Purpose

      Are Christians not expected to repent and confess their sins and make every effort to live a life pleasing unto the Lord? Is confession not required because Grace abounds ?
      Why did God not only not condem the woman caught in the act of adultery but followed up with a very important statement after that?

      March 4, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  14. Jeepers

    That priest probably prefers men, too...or little boys.

    March 4, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.