Barbara Johnson says Father Marcel Guarnizo denied her holy communion at her mother’s funeral, in Maryland, because she is a lesbian.
Johnson (51) told CNN news “"I approached [Father Marcel Guarnizo of Gaithersburg's Saint John Neumann Catholic Church] to receive communion, and at that moment, he placed his hand over the bowl containing the Eucharist and looked into my eyes and said, 'I cannot give you Communion because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin.'"
She also said that Marcel left the altar while she was delivering her Mother’s eulogy.
Although she has reached out to the priest he is yet to apologize.
The Archdiocese of Washington responded to CNN with this statement:
“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.”
However for Johnson and her family this is not enough.
She told CNN “My family are very appreciate of all of the outreach we've received. However, we believe the only reason to be talking about this still is because we would not want any other family to go through what was the worst experience on the very worst day of all of our lives...we feel that it is important that Father Marcel is removed from parish life."
Here’s the CNN report on Johnson’s story: