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Barbara Johnson was devastated, obviously, when her mother -- "a really cool woman" -- passed away recently at the age of 85. But what really rocked her world -- what really added insult to injury -- was the fact that the priest at the funeral denied her Communion -- because she's a lesbian.
Johnson says that when she went up to receive "the body of Christ," Rev. Marcel Guarnizo flat out told her no. Johnson says, "I went up. I was standing next to my mother’s casket and he covered the bowl, and said, ‘I cannot give you Communion because you are with a woman, and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin.’ I stood there with my mouth open in a state of shock for -- I don’t know how long.” Oh, and this was before Guarnizo walked out of Barbara's eulogy to her mother, and before he skipped out on the burial because he "took ill."
Way to keep it classy, Catholic Church, way to keep it classy.
Before everyone jumps down my throat for making sweeping generalizations, let me say it: Yes, yes, I know that this isn't par for the course with all reverends and churches -- in fact, the Archdiocese of Washington sent Johnson an apology letter after she spoke to a secretary there. But let's not kid anyone here, it's par for the course for plenty. And it's disgusting.
I get that the Catholic Church hates gays, thinks of them as sinners, and wants no part of them getting married, but to abandon someone in her darkest hour, like Guarnizo did to Johnson, is the biggest sin of all. And it shows just how little religion has come. Not to mention, it's just plain -- for lack of a better word -- stupid.
I was raised Catholic. I received my Communion and my Confirmation. I slept through the majority of CCD, think the things the church believes are insane, and never go to church. Except for one day a year: Christmas Eve.
I don't go because I want to -- in fact, quite the contrary; I really don't want to. I go because it's important to my grandmother, and was important to my mother when she was alive. And although I've sat out receiving Communion many years, this past year, after a particularly stern look from ol' Grams, I received it. And, hey, guess what? I'm a sinner!
No need to make a list here, but judging by what I just wrote, I think one can imagine that, by no means, would I be considered the ideal Catholic. But it doesn't matter to them. Because I've got long hair and a husband, so, on the outside, it must look like everything is cool.
There's no doubt in my mind that Barbara Johnson has been a better Catholic than I over the years. I know her relationship with the church must be a confusing one, but it definitely seems more substantial and meaningful than mine. So, can someone please explain to me how I can receive Communion and she can't? Because it really doesn't make any sense to me.
Do you think it was wrong for Johnson to be denied Communion -- at her mother's funeral?
Image via Justin Marty/Flickr