Deep in grief, Barbara Johnson stood first in the line for Communion at her mother’s funeral Saturday morning. But the priest in front of her immediately made it clear that she would not receive the sacramental bread and wine.I won't get into whether Ms. Johnson, Fr. Guarnizo, or both acted inappropriately under Catholic canon law or whether the Archdiocese of Washington did the right thing by apologizing to her. I will say, however, that by caring whether a church will let us partake of its sacraments or ordinances, we give it a power over our lives that it neither necessarily has nor deserves to have. Instead, it makes more sense for all concerned if we shake off the very dust from our feet. While I don't lightly agree with a source like this, he has a point when he writes the following:
Johnson, an art-studio owner from the District, had come to St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg with her lesbian partner. The Rev. Marcel Guarnizo had learned of their relationship just before the service.
“He put his hand over the body of Christ and looked at me and said, ‘I can’t give you Communion because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin,’ ” she recalled Tuesday.
4. * * * If you don't like the Catholic church, don't become Catholic and don't come to our Mass and other events. Isn't that what you tell those who oppose abortion (Don't get one.)?
5. Please remember, no one forces you to be a Catholic or take Communion in our Churches. If you do, then you should respect our requirements. I have been to churches and synagoges for funerals, weddings and other occassions. I will stand, sit and even kneel when it is appropriate. I will not say their prayers or receive their "communion." I will not make a scene when they say or do something that I do not agree with. It is their faith, and that is fine with me. I am there as a guest.