Stafford, VA – Self-identified lesbian Barbara Johnson was denied Holy Communion by a Catholic priest at her mother’s funeral. Within two weeks of Johnson taking the story to the media, Father Marcel Guarnizo was relieved of his priestly faculties at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, for reasons that the Archdiocese of Washington claims are unrelated—but also have not explained. Judie Brown, president and cofounder of American Life League, released the following statement:
The only controversy here is that manufactured by Barbara Johnson. The gay-friendly media have painted her the teary-eyed victim with grossly misrepresented and omitted facts about Ms. Johnson and Catholic teaching in order to further attacks on the Catholic Church.
Ms. Johnson knows full well that the Church considers practicing homosexuality as “intrinsically disordered” and a grave sin. This by itself would bar her from presenting herself to receive the blessed sacrament of Communion. Moreover, in an interview just last year, Johnson claimed Buddhism as her way of life, not Catholicism.
Either of these states disqualifies her from Communion. She nevertheless presented herself and then took the denial of the Blessed Sacrament to the liberal media for political purposes where she was welcomed with open arms to conjure yet another anti-Catholic story.
Holy Communion is not some ceremonial wafer as denigrated by gay-friendly liberal media. The Catholic faithful believe the Host to be the true body of Christ. One must be in a state of grace according to Catholic teaching in order to partake this most holy sacrament. The priest has an obligation to make sure that the sacraments are respected and no one is entitled to the Eucharist.
Ms. Johnson selfishly manipulated the funeral of her own mother, a lifelong Catholic, in an attempt to force Father Guarnizo to allow a sacrilege, then accused him of bringing politics into the Church. This selfish anti-Catholic activism shows that Ms. Johnson’s statement that Catholics should put aside “political points of view” is sheer hypocrisy.
So no, it is neither Father Guarnizo nor the Catholic Church that should be contrite. Rather, it is Ms. Johnson’s disgraceful behavior that obliges an apology to both her mother and her mother’s lifelong Church.
Media inquires contact Paul Rondeau at 540.659.4171 or PRondeau@ALL.org
Judie Brown is a three-time appointee to the Pontifical Academy for Life and author of The Broken Path:How Catholic Bishops Got Lost in the Weeds of American Politics.