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March 12th, 2012
01:06 PM ET

Priest who allegedly denied Communion to lesbian placed on leave

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – A Roman Catholic priest who allegedly denied Holy Communion to a lesbian at her mother’s Maryland funeral has been placed on administrative leave, the Archdiocese of Washington said.

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese said the suspension was not triggered by last month’s alleged Communion denial, but by events involving the Rev. Marcel Guarnizo in the days since.

The archdiocese “received credible allegations that Father Guarnizo had engaged in intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry,” the archdiocese said in a Friday statement.

“Given the grave nature of these allegations, and in light of the confusion in the parish and the concerns expressed by parishioners,” the statement continued, “Father Guarnizo is prohibited from exercising any priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Washington until all matters can be appropriately resolved with the hope that he might return to priestly ministry.”

Barbara Johnson told The Washington Post that Guarnizo denied her the sacrament of Communion at her mother's funeral Mass in February, allegedly telling her it was “because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin.”

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The archdiocese said Guarnizo also allegedly declined to go with Johnson to her mother’s grave site.

In an earlier statement responding to news accounts of the alleged funeral incident, the archdiocese said it was inappropriate for a priest in its diocese to deny someone Communion.

“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,” the archdiocese said in a February 27 statement.

“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.”

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Johnson, a 51-year-old Washington-area artist, could not immediately be reached for comment. The Washington Post reported that her family issued a statement Sunday saying that it “continues to pray for the Archdiocese of Washington, Father Guarnizo, and all Catholics during this time of upheaval.”

“While we understand this letter does not pertain to the events that occurred at our mother's funeral, we are hopeful that Bishop Knestout's decision will ensure that no others will have to undergo the traumatic experiences brought upon our family,” the statement said, referring to a letter from Washington Bishop Barry C. Knestout that was read at the Gaithersburg, Maryland, church where Guarnizo had been serving.

In receiving Communion, the Catholic Church teaches that Catholics are eating the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ. The church teaches that Jesus instituted the sacrament at the Last Supper.

Guarnizo is officially attached to the archdiocese of Moscow. Washington Archdiocese spokeswoman Brie Hall said the priest had been an assistant to the parish priest in Gaithersburg since last March. She said that it was unclear how long Guarnizo was planning to stay but that the nature of his duties – performing Masses, baptisms, weddings and funerals – suggested he would be there for the long term.

A receptionist at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, where Guarnizo was serving, said she didn’t have contact information for him.  Guarnizo's name and number are not listed in the area.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Homosexuality

soundoff (799 Responses)
  1. Jo Gordon

    So a lesbian can't have communion but it's healthy for priests to be celebate? Who is the unhealthy one here? I left the church two years ago because of their arrogant ways. They teach hate. They make you think your mental. Communion is accepting Christ no matter who you are. This priest needs to be castrated.

    March 12, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Rick

      I hope their hate didn't rub off. Because one might be forgiven for assuming it did.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  2. THE PHOTO ABOVE THE ARTICLE IS STUPID

    The photo is not of a Catholic priest, CNN, you fools. Catholic priest do not get married, and thus do not wear rings on their ring fingers!

    March 12, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      maybe it's just an altar boy's promise ring?

      March 12, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Smell_This

      um, actually many Roman Catholic priests wear a band on their wedding finger. It varies from diocese to diocese and from religious ordere to religious order. just letting you know.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  3. AdmrlAckbar

    Let's look at the facts (P.S.of course like all posters I don't need to back up these facts at all!):

    1. Science is mainly a fairytale.. I mean come on chemistry is just fancy alchemy. Biology is just an excuse for perverted science teachers to tell children about s-e-x. There's no way any of it could be true! It’s all a system designed to manipulate sheep into becoming mindless followers. “Thank you sir! May I pay you for another Flu shot!”

    2. Science is responsible for nothing but evil in the world, e.g. The atom bomb, biological warfare, Carrot Top etc... Ok well, maybe the devil is responsible for the last one..

    3. By NOT believing in science you are automatically somehow a better, more ethical and more intelligent person. That's right all you have to do is not believe and POOF! That said, all believers in science are automatically idiots and hicks.. every one of em. I mean after all, they all look alike and I can’t tell a physicist from a molecular biologist in their posh white lab coats and conformist safety goggles! Which is more proof they wish to indoctrinate you.. they all dress alike!

    4. Science has done nothing but hold back the progress of belief and spirituality... It's an active agenda people! Sir M.C. Hammer once said we just have to pray to make it today, but now science is trying to make you buy apples everyday or else they will send their doctors after you!! Yeah science, I know where your agenda is based.. In the biggest global corporate economic power in the world.. Apple!

    5. I am somehow claiming to backup all my comments with an implied knowledge of religion and faith, but most likely the last class I took on religion was in high school and even then I was too busy writing the names of bands like Wynger on my Trapper-keeper to have been paying attention. Still it's a cool word to throw around “Religion”!

    6. And remember simply NOT believing in science isn’t enough! One must repeatedly insult, mock and belittle the followers of science at every chance given, whilst all the while implying #3 on the list above. Go thee forth to the street or forums of internets and shout: LOOK AT ME!! LISTEN TO MY OPIN.. I MEAN FACTS! SURE I CAN’T DISPROVE THE NULL HYPOTHESIS ON WHICH MY BELIEFS ARE FOUNDED, BUT I AM A BETTER PERSON THAN YOU AND GOSH DARN IT PEOPLE LIKE ME!

    March 12, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @AdmrlAckbar

      Phew, dude at first I thought that you were completely serious, then got to the end and was super relieved LOL.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  4. Yohannon

    This whole religion is a Joke

    March 12, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • TREer20

      haha – YOU WISH it was.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  5. Sending A Bad Message

    It is truly sad that those who should be bringing more people to Christ and into the church and actively offering His Body and His Blood to those who feel called to receive it are instead sending them away empty-handed. That should not be the role of any priest or Christian denomination. I can now better understand why so many have already left Catholicism due to its divisive policies and more are leaving every day.

    March 12, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      Well people that do NOT agree with the core values of the RCC should leave. The RCC is NOT a lay church. A group of males decide the churches values. So those that don't agree need to find a church that is more consistent with their values. Yes, mommy and daddy may be upset by that but it is the mature thing to do. Expecting the church to change is folly.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Beth

      Your statement shows your lack of knowledge of the Holy Sacrament of the Eurcharist (communion). In order for a person to receive the sacrament, he or she has to be in unity with The Church. This person isn't in unity with The Church living as a lesbian. It was wrong of the priest to do this publically but I do agree with him. Times change but that does not mean that The Roman Catholic Church (with all of its faults and failings) should.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Man Follows God Not Man

      Beth, for your information, The Holy Sacrament (Eucharist) is from God not from the RCC or the priests. It is God who ordains a person to receive it as a right and the priests as well as the higher ups are very mistaken and going against God's will by interfering in that right. People do not have to be in unity with the church. They only have to be in unity with God, again for your information. God supersedes the church, lady, or haven't you heard? God does not create mistakes. Lesbians are just as human with human feelings and emotions just as you or I. We were ALL Created EQUAL in God's eyes therefore, no man can divide that equality to suit their particular political tastes or their poorly informed church's. The fact that the RCC does not change is the main reason why good sensible people are leaving it as fast as they can. The church is at the point of begging for them to stay as they see the collection boxes beginning to decline. But in the end, they will have no one else to blame for that but themselves. I pray they accept Everyone whom God created and that includes those they may not like or understand.

      March 13, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  6. Free

    I am not sure if this is right but...... FEED ALL THE PEOPLE!

    March 12, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  7. Haitianus

    Release the priest back to his job and mission!

    March 12, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  8. Blessed Geek

    The Flying Spaghetti hereby denies you holey communion because you partake your pasta with soy sauce rather than good ol pasta sauce. That is unnatural and sinful.

    March 12, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Free

      Eat pasta you dirty lesbian

      March 12, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i love getting touched by his noodley appendage.

      Ramen!

      March 12, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  9. Colin

    Christianity is the belief that an infinitely old, all-knowing immortal being, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies (each with billions of stars and planets) has a personal interest in my s.ex life.

    Atheism is the belief that the above belief is ludicrous.

    March 12, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Veronica13

      Thanks for breaking that down for everybody Colin. Perhaps you could do some research and get back to us with more information. Knowledge is power Colin.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Colin

      So Veronica, what did I get wrong?

      March 12, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Colin

      I wouldn't expect a response. Half the people on here just say stuff and leave so they can't see any contradictions to their posts. About 95% of the other half will merely say random things, yet contribute nothing at all. A very small amount of people are actually open to full discourse here.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      the guiding light of knowledge has pushed christianity into a shadowy corner. sure there used to be a time christians could lock people of for being jewish or pagan or for saying the sun was the center of our galaxy. but that time has passed, at least in this country. religion is going away and the religious just can't stand it. education is the enemy of religion. bye-bye.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  10. JPX

    What, a priest who is intolerant? Gee what a surprise. Isn't it amazing that the most hateful, intolerant individuals are the religious.

    March 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • humberto

      like your mother .

      March 12, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • northern light

      Play nice now humberto ......otherwise people will think you are religious

      March 12, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • HONESTLY!

      Humberto!
      you're a perfect example of a Christian (or any religious nut for that matter) when they know they're wrong!

      March 12, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • humberto

      honesty, Did you know undercooked collards give you high bloodpressure scientist ?

      March 12, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • HONESTLY!

      Humberto, did you know that?

      March 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • HONESTLY!

      Humberto
      That doesn't seem like something your god will tell.

      Sounds more like something my god will tell you through trial and error. Not through prayer!

      And if it does, and you figured it out... Then you've communicated with my god! congratulations!

      March 12, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  11. Colin

    There are some pretty fundamental objections to Christianity that are hard to get around. Now before some believer rants back at me that I am evil, an “angry atheist”, or going to burn for all eternity in hell, please take the time to actually read and cogitate the objections. If you have a disagreement with a point I make, post it. However, if you only object to the fact that I said it, please understand that I do not buy into the whole “it is immoral to be skeptical of the Catholic religion” argument.

    1. At its most fundamental level, Catholicism requires a belief that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,700,000,000 years ago (the age of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,700,000,000 years for human beings to gradually evolve, then, at some point gave them eternal life and sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.

    While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Iron Age Middle East, including the other continents, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies.

    Either that, or it all started 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a talking snake. Either way “oh come on” just doesn’t quite capture it.

    2. This ‘all loving’ god spends his time running the Universe and spying on the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic telepathic powers. He also keeps his telepathic eye on them when they are not praying, so as to know if they think bad thoughts (such as coveting their neighbor) so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.

    3. Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is harbor an honest, reasonable and rational disbelieve in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me.

    4. The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze and Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, that was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages.

    5. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Ho.rus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).

    6. The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, r.a..p.e and the complete subjugation of women. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.

    7. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Christianity does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent we reject Christian morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $eksual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – we just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral.

    Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.

    8. We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.

    9. When backed into a corner, Christianity admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. However, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not, any more than “faith” that pixies exist is) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Christian based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. In a dark room without features, any guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 360 degrees.

    Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Faith is not belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, a wish for a god, no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

    March 12, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • HONESTLY!

      Colin!
      Exceptionally well crafted! Great job!

      March 12, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • humberto

      Whats the difference of telling a person who never saw fire before not to put their hand in it ?

      March 12, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • HONESTLY!

      The true god, give the child logic! So when he puts his hand in the fire, his body instinctively will tell him to pull his hand out of the fire.
      Your fairytale has nothing to do with it. He doesn't need a book of lies to tell him fire is hot.
      God gave home the ability to figure that out for himself!
      Get it?

      March 12, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • chris

      That must have taken you a long time to write. Which is more irrational: to believe in God – or to deny the existence of God and yet spend your entire life attacking those who do? Imagine that – its like claiming that the Flying Spagetti Monster does not exist and then suiting up for battle just in case he does. You fool. You yourself admit that you only have 1 life. Why waste such a precious resource on so much anger. What saddens me is how unhappy most atheists are. Meanwhile – 'idiotic' religious people live out happy lives with hope.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Justice

      I am not even going to pretend that I read all of this nonsensical crap.

      You bore the educated in using what you consider your "logic" (which is only in fact a limited view of a minimallyeducated modernist's rambling thoughts).

      You are questioning a Scripture's veracity because of the "person" it written in...seriously? Have you no knowledge of how writing has changed over the centuries, or knowledge of even English literature, for starters?

      You are posting spam. Get over yourself, get an education, then figure a more relevant place to post your drivel.

      Thanks!

      Oh and by the way you can't begin to understand the wisdom of God, because that is the way He designed things:
      "For since, in the Wisdom of God the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.[...]Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and weakness of God is stronger than men." 1 Corinthians 1:13, 25

      March 12, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • HONESTLY!

      Home=him. Oops! Sorry!

      March 12, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • humberto

      people get sunburned everyday, what happened to your logic ?

      March 12, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Colin, speak the truth, brother!

      March 12, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • fred

      Colin
      Of course our view of God reflects our culture and time because it is a personal belief and personal relationship. We change over time and location which changes how we express God it never changes who God it. That is the difference between a manmade god and God. This is why believers refer to God as a living God or God with us.
      You are correct in that it is a hope. Just like the big names of old Abraham, Moses etc. all died in hope of the promise none saw it while alive.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Awesome

      I honestly tried to read all the way through, but I just got irritated. There is not enough time to correspond to all that you have on there. Also responding to you would not be positive because it looks like you have already made up your mind. I feel bad that you have given up all hope and have turned you back on all that is true.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • HONESTLY!

      Humberto

      They are probably religious. And believe some sky daddy will protect them..

      But to confirm the belief in my god, I can tell you I don't get sunburned!

      March 12, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Sean

      Colin,
      A well crafted post. One thing I'd like to point out is that faith is less about things that can be proven and facts that can be verified, it's about being a person that is worthy of respect, of things about that person that can be verified, facts that check out.

      Gandhi once said "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ."

      Far too many people use religion to excuse or absolve their behavior. They fool only themselves.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • northern light

      To Humberto

      Reason, like heat, carries it own signature in terms of what consequences may be presented.
      Go near anything hot and your sense, if you have any, will tell you danger is there.
      The same applies to any form of religion.......except the danger is not physial....but mental.....religion cannot stand up yo reason.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • northern light

      To Awesome,

      "honestly tried to read all the way through, but I just got irritated."

      Yes the truth can be irriating at times, howver the irritation does not make it any less true.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Rick

      Read C.S. Lewis. Mere Christianity, The Problem with Pain, and The Four Loves. Adequately answers every one of your points in layman's terms.

      I sincerely hope you adequately explore and understand (as well as a human can, I guess) these issues from a variety of perspectives before making a decision for your soul.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Dannyboy

      Justice and Chris; right on! Well said, and Colin, well brother man, stop the HATER stuff. It's so boring, self indulgent, and old....Peace.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • humberto

      @northern light, If you had any sense, you would notice the hate toward a man crusified on the cross .

      March 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Rick

      I was wrong. Lewis does not address #8.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • CN

      justice–it is your reply that is uneducated. in a wordy way, you merely restated, "god works in mysterious ways." the feebleness of your response comes from the fact that, until recently, your kind merely burned people like colin at the stake if he dared to voice his opinion. or worse, you subjected him to "the boots." the first amendment forbidding this evil is a bear, isn't it?

      March 12, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • momoya

      Really fantastic, Colin.. I find the negative comments quite funny, since none of them bring up an objection or argument you've not already dealt with in your list..

      March 12, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Rick

      CN, please enlighten us with the most "recent" burning at the stake.
      Did any burnings occur in America?

      March 12, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Judith

      I agree that you have written that well. However did you really expect to get any knowlegible replies from people who think they are superior and that they shall habe eternal salvation because a book tells them that; though the book was not even written by the people it is claimed to have been written about.

      My religion is simple and is called "Moralistic Logic," I do not need any formal religion to tell me that most of the things in the commandments are simply a statement of moral values and not a religious statement.

      Christianity says that there is only one god, therefore why have a commanment that says "I am the Lord thy God and you shall have no other Gods before me."

      March 12, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Oj Zontua

      Colin, good job! I was once a catholic and I am telling you that I was a Jesus freak. Nothing can convince me that the christian god or any god, does not exist. Until I studied history, physics and biology. Then, I decided to find the truth. My journey brought me to the points that you have just written. Peace brother.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Justice

      CN- This is the first and last time I will address you OR anyone who "thinks" like you.

      Colin's response demonstrated clearly that he was uneducated (particularly about the topics that I mentioned in my reply) , but yours trumps his in the illogical aspect.

      It's a common trend that those who have very little understanding of science put it on a undeserved pedestal.

      I am a scientist myself, and I am a Christian. Scientists know we don't have the answers to everything.

      We've studied the human brain and mind, yet we do not understand how they work in their entirety. That does not mean we are uneducated about them. Similarly, may scholars of different belief (Christians and atheists) & academic (theologians & historians) backgrounds have studied Christianity, but have not come up with all the answers. That does not mean they are uneducated.

      We are limited in our understanding, and, as I said in my previous statement, that is the way God designed things.

      And to address your more childish "points":

      I do not espouse myself with the types of people who "burn people at the stake", as you can see from my other, previous comments below disagreeing with those that are supporting this priest's behavior in question.

      Try not to generalize about people in general and Christians specifically, CN; otherwise you are proving yourself to be a fool of limited intellectual capacity.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Justice

      If anyone is actually interested in educating themselves on the historical aspect (timing, authorship, etc) of the Christian New Testament Gospels, one good starting point is to read the Case of Christ by Lee Strobel, who was an avid atheist before he started doing his research into this book, but later converted to Christianity as he began to discover the Truth behind the gospels during his research.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Greg

      Colin – very well written. Fairly well thought out. I enjoy having an intelligent "discussion" with someone who is willing to speak with logic, not just emotion, especially on the topic of religion.

      Although well thought out, much of what you have said is bad information when talking about the Catholic Church. It applies much more to fundamentalist protestant believers, but not to the true teaching of the Catholic Church. I will try to explain point by point as you did.

      1) This statement is mostly false when talking about the Catholic Church. We do not have to believe in Creationism as you detail it. We are free to believe in evolution. The Church always teaches that science and religion cannot be at odds. If that were so, the Catholic Religion would cease to be true. If science is able to prove evolution without a doubt, then the Catholic Church must adhere to it. With that being said, the Bible must be read in the manner for which it was written, not as a literal history book, but as Jesus taught, in parables. The Creation story may be believed as the world being created in 7 days or it could be believed that is was created over millions of years. Ultimately though, something created the world. The Big Bang has to come from something. Could the "Big Bang" and "Let there be light" be the same thing??? Both would create a flash of light! As Max Planck, a noble prize winner in physics stated: “All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force… We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.” We choose to call this intelligent Mind God.

      I could go into to this much further, but it would take way too long.

      2) This thought was really not very well thought out, but I will accept it as someone who really does not understand God as I know him. This is less logic and more just ranting... You almost lost my attention with this one.

      3) Again, this is not the Catholic teaching. This would be a fundamentalist teaching. Catholics should believe that you can go to heaven based on living a good life if you have not chosen to deny Christ. If he has revealed himself to you and you choose to say "I will not believe", then you probably won't go to heaven. If you desire to be good to your fellow man, which we refer to as "the body of Christ", then you are choosing what we would call a "baptism of desire" and will have the opportunity to stand before God.

      4 & 5) I will admit these peaked an interest in me that will cause me to investigate your claims.

      6) The Bible, when read as it was meant to be read (which is not always literally) is really not full of contradictions. This is usually a misconception from people who want to make it a history book or something else that it is not. I would be happy to discuss any contradictions you would like to pose.

      This point is also where the Catholic Church truly shines. The Bible and it writings needed to speak to the people in their time and in their lives. The Church is to develop these teachings and apply them to today. At one time stoning was fully permitted. Today it is not. This is not a religious statement, it is as much a legal statement. The Church was to become development of the teachings of Christ, not allow His teaching to be stuck in the time he was present on the earth.

      7) I agree that many atheists, etc have great moral values. What they often fail to acknowledge those is the bases for some of those "secular" moral beliefs, such as "Though shalt not kill". Was that considered wrong before "religion" declared it to be wrong? I believe history would prove it was not considered wrong many years ago, although it is now universally accepted as wrong. I believe history would prove that "religion" has influence on these beliefs.

      8) Saying these writings are wrong because "we don't know who wrote them or they used 3rd person" is a pretty weak argument.

      9) If religion did not require at least some "leap of faith" it would have no value. If everyone has the evidence to prove on religion was completely right, what value is there in that. If Jesus left everyone with iron clad proof, then there would really be no free will per say. The Church teaches that God want you to find him, to show that you care enough to search for him. No difference than showing the person you love that you care by doing things for that person.

      Your statement that "Faith is not a belief in a god, it is a mere hope for a god" is what really separates a believer and a non-believer. I do not hope there is a god, I know in every ounce of my body that God exists. I feel His presence every day in my life. Someone who has a true belief knows what I am talking about. It is kind of like the "zone" that sports players feel when everything is going right. They say the "game slows down for them". Life is like that for me. I know when my connection with God is strong. Life slows and down. I truly wish everyone could experience this.

      I will never pretend to know everything, but as Einstein said "I just wish one day to think like God, everything else is just details!" When someone can tell me how the very first molecule was created, how it just came into being, I will step back and evaluate my beliefs, because science and religion cannot be separated. But until then, I believe their is an intelligent being that has created it, and I call that intelligent being God.

      Good luck on your journey in life. – Greg

      March 12, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  12. Your Panties in Texas

    Release that priest.

    March 12, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Leslie B.

      "Release" him as in "free him for these constraints," or as in de-frocking him (throwing him out of the priesthoold?

      March 12, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  13. Justice

    Good.

    Who did he think he was?

    Aren't even pedophile priests allowed to continue working since colleagues of theirs, like this guy for example, aide and abet hiding their crimes?

    Wasn't it Jesus Christ who said is better for one who suffers the children to throw himself in the sea with a rock around his neck, than to endure the righteous judgment of Christ for abusing his innocent flock?

    March 12, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  14. Marcus

    Why would an out spoken LESBIAN go and receive CATHOLIC communion?! Get over it! The priest has all right to not give her communion!

    March 12, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Rbudlm

      thank you

      March 12, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Justice

      Bull. Is he not a sinner too?

      And what gives for his intimidation of staff?

      Who is he to judge?

      And why did he decide to DO IT A THE WOMAN'S MOTHER'S FUNERAL, which is WHY she was there in the first place????

      March 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Mike

      Just as the Church has a right to protect pedophiles who victimize members of their flock? Your Church is hypocritical.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Leslie B.

      I'm with Justice. Did the priest have some way of knowing that everyone else was sinless? (We won't even get into the issue of being gay being a sin.) And at the woman's funeral, for heaven's sake? Is that the way he thinks Jesus would have acted?

      Yes, Catholics communion is only supposed to be given to those who believe the Catholic theology about it, but I knew a priest years ago who gave a Protestant minister Communion because it was a spiritual and family celebration, and he felt it was more appropriate at the time then turning him away.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • northern light

      Marcus old boy.......don't you think it odd that Jesus had only....male.....deciples?

      Oh and is this god fellow not the god of "all" his/her people meaning communion with him/her is for ....."all"

      March 12, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Bob Knippel

      I believe you are incorrect, that is, if you profess to be a Christian. I am not personally much of a believer, however I am familiar with, as you should be, the verse in which Jesus states, regarding a woman who had committed adultery, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Based on that statement, I would have to presume the priest was clearly in violation of Christs' teachings, and therefore wrong. As you might recall, no one was willing to throw a stone, and neither, then, did Christ condemn the woman.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  15. anonymous

    The Catholic church is nothing more than a corporate bully, who believes they have the right to instill their distorted views onto the rest of mankind. A church mind you, who allows their priests to molest little children, deny the sacrament to a lesbian, as well as other outrageous acts. Why follow a church who is willing to hurt your spirit, and deny who you are as an individual?

    March 12, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Rbudlm

      why no name not proud of your views

      March 12, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Mike

      I agree with the sentiment behind the post. My name is included, not out of pride in my stance but rather to show the narrowness of yours....

      March 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 12, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • HONESTLY!

      Atheist children are protected from church going pedophiles!
      So I guess it's very healthy for children!
      And that would make you 100% wrong!

      March 12, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Observer

      Please explain why atheism is not healthy for plants.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  17. James

    Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

    (Matthew 7)

    My take: First, we are all sinners and we are not to judge. Second, it is not up to us sinners to define who is a dog or a swine. The grieving daughter who accepted Christ is closer to Christ than those who deny her what is sacred.

    March 12, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • northern light

      James

      Have you forgotten to take your medication again??
      Get those pills in you right now ....there's a good lad.....we will wake you when this episode has past and your more yourself.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  18. Lola

    Seems to me that people are missing the point. The Eucharist is only given to those who are "Pure of Heart" and "Without Blemish" (After receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and ensuring one is not in state of Mortal Sin)

    Now, EVERY Catholic knows this! It's no secret that the Eucharist is an exclusive right given to faithful Catholics. So it seems to me that this was a set-up. If the priest knows one is in a state of mortal sin, or is not a Catholic, and goes to receive Communion (Communion = Eucharist), then they cannot give Communion to that person. It looks like if he gave her the Eucharist, then she might have reported him for not properly performing his priestly duties. If she had not received the Eucharist, she would go public and say it was "because I was g@y." So, before you start bashing the Catholic Church, or the Priest for that matter, make sure you know the traditions, beliefs, and doctrines of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

    You may not agree with me, you may not believe what I believe and I respect that. However, I kindly ask you to educate yourselves before speaking out on an issue. Otherwise, you're pretty much pi$$ing in the wind.

    March 12, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Observer

      Nobody believes every word of the Bible. They just pick and choose what they like and ignor the rest. It doesn't look like anyone would qualify as "pure of heart".

      March 12, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • N. Guidry

      Pure, without blemish–pretty much leaves out everyone then, including that priest. I know the "rules" but so must this lady.
      Divorced people can't get communion, either. I know this because I could not have communion at my mother's funeral or the funeral of my best friend's son–in fact neither she nor her husband could have communion because they had not been in regular attendance at church, according to the priest–nice-their 19 year-old son and couldn't take communion at his funeral. That is not from God that is from the church. God will deal with them as he sees fit once they pass from this world to wherever they are going. I would be curious to know if he will find them in a state of grace at that time.

      March 12, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Lola

      @Observer, I know plenty of people who are "Pure of Heart" and "Without Blemish." They are not asked to be perfect 24/7, rather they are to be perfect at the time of mass. The Holy Water in a bowl at Mass is to remove all venial and lesser sins while the mortal sins are to be taken away after performing the penance given while in Reconciliation. Yes, people will be hypocrites... That is inherit in our nature, as we are (afterall) human. We are not to be perfect 24/7, to believe so is completely missing the point! Rather, faith is an individual journey in which only you and the Lord is able to judge fairly, despite the blessing of community. The Priest does give penance, but it is all done as acts to further develop your faith life and not meant to leave you in a state of perfection forever.

      @N. Guidry, I agree that faith (as stated above) is an individual journey in which only you and the Lord is able to judge fairly, despite the blessing of community. In your case, the Priest was just following Church protocol. Now, note that the Priest is human as well so he may have made a decision to be safe as opposed to sorry by not giving you the Eucharist. If you wish to participate in the Eucharist, I suggest that you go to Reconciliation and say you were divorced, then contact all the Priests whom you personally know and inform them that you are reconciled. It's not a difficult or a time-consuming process, Priests generally are not judgmental (though they may be as they are human after-all). The thing with Sin is that you commit sin to both God and Man, you talk to God through prayer and reconcile with him, but you also may need to reconcile with man by going to reconciliation depending on the severity of the sin. I do not know you personally, so I cannot make that call for you.

      March 12, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Observer

      "They are not asked to be perfect 24/7, rather they are to be perfect at the time of mass.'

      That explains the hypocrisy.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • N. Guidry

      Thank you for your kind and considered response. I was told I should seek annulment but I cannot in good conscience do this to receive communion. It would be like erasing my marriage in the eyes of the church. This sounds like a lie to me because my truth is that I chose to get married, I chose that person–doesn't matter how much time I have spent in various stages of regret. I always come back to reason and say how can I regret something that yielded the greatest blessing of my life through my daughter? When I look at it this way, I cannot and I can't go back and change something that occurred or a choice that I made just so I am okay to receive communion. I respect your view of people being pure of heart, etc...but I know people who receive communion without problem who live poor spiritual lives and think of church as a way to forgive them for what they just did so they can go out and do it all again–then go back the following Sunday, giving the appearance of being pure and without blemish at the time of mass. I simply never have gotten the reconciliation with man
      beyond God principle. To me, if I feel I have gotten right with God, that should be the ultimate reconciliation. I accept what is right for me and gives me peace is not right for you or others. I have long gotten over not receiving communion in the Catholic church but I made the decision not to actively worship in church. I try to be a good person in my life and help others where I can and pray directly. Attending church will not make me a better person. I have to make that determination through how I live my life each day. I do thank you for responding in such a thoughtful way. There is no way for you to know me but I am not such a bad person on the whole, even with my blemishes. Have a blessed day.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Leslie B.

      N. Guidry, I believe either you or the priest(s) in question are misinformed. Unless thing have changed, the Catholic church doesn't LIKE divorce, but what it forbids is divorce and remarriage. I didn't think they could withhold it on those grounds alone. I could be wrong, but there an awful lot of 1950's mentality priests out there, too.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • northern light

      To Observer...

      They are called .....bufet belivers .....they pick here and there selecting what suits them or what they can digest as partly rational. That is why there are so many branches of the Christian faith.....they all pick the bits they like leave the rest.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Beth

      Thank you Lola–very well said.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
  19. JoeM

    Catholic church behaving like a corporate? Someone is stupid enough to do the right thing, just wait until he screws up and he is gone.

    March 12, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  20. Bootyfunk

    this kind disgusting prejudice and bigotry is exactly why christianity is on the way out.

    on the other side of it, why do g_a_y_s and l_e_s_b_i_a_n_s want to be in a club with a rule book that says they should be killed? check out humanism if you want a much better ethical system and to commune with your fellow man.

    March 12, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • bcinwi

      lol you hit it right on the head

      March 12, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Rbudlm

      killed why do you feel the need to exagerate

      March 12, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      I'm with you on the g.ay thing. I have a friend who is both g.ay and christian (and 1 of those 2 things IS actually a choice and is also pretty disgusting.) He's actually getting married, but on his facebook page talks about being a "soldier for the lord." So like you said, a) why do you want to be in the club with that rulebook, but also b) why would you want to be in a group that spent the vast majority of its existence rejecting you and thinks you're an abomination?

      Well, this only scratches the surfaces of confusing dichotomies in the world of religion.

      March 12, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      killed, yes. it's not an exaggeration. christians don't know anything about the book that supposedly holds their life's philosophical/ethical/moral system, as studies show.

      King James Version
      If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

      March 12, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • For Clarification and Then Parity

      Bootyfunk, the Key in the Scripture of a man also lying down with a man as he does with a woman is obviously making reference to a straight man going against his own orientation to be with a man rather than with a woman which he is predisposed to do. This verse does not, however, speak to those who are not straight such as gays and lesbians. In addition and for parity, the following Scripture should also be brought out. "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman." - 1 CORINTHIANS 7:1 King James Version

      March 13, 2012 at 12:32 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.