Communion - photo by Alan Creech

Catholic Priest Who Denied Communion To Lesbian Confirms Bigotry

Human Interest, Intolerance 18

Communion - photo by Alan Creech

Father Marcel Guarnizo, the Catholic priest who denied communion to a lesbian at her mother’s funeral has confirmed his bigotry. For that matter, he has also confirmed the use of religion as a tool to promote and excuse bigotry. In a letter published by CNS News, Guarnizo  says, “A few minutes before the Mass began, Ms. Johnson came into the sacristy with another woman whom she announced as her ‘lover.’ Her revelation was completely unsolicited.”

Let’s stop right there. Heterosexual couples never introduce themselves unsolicited? OK, maybe if she actually used the term ‘lover’ it might be seen by some as inappropriate in that setting but so what?

Guarnizo goes on to explain, “I understand and agree it is the policy of the archdiocese to assume good faith when a Catholic presents himself for communion; like most priests I am not at all eager to withhold communion. But the ideal cannot always be achieved in life.”

Actually, yes it can. It’s fully within your power not to be a bigot.

Guarnizo continues, “If a Quaker, a Lutheran or a Buddhist, desiring communion had introduced himself as such, before Mass, a priest would be obligated to withhold communion. If someone had shown up in my sacristy drunk, or high on drugs, no communion would have been possible either.”

Keep digging Father.

“I am confident that my own view, that I did the only thing a faithful Catholic priest could do in such an awkward situation, quietly, with no intention to hurt or embarrass, will be upheld”, said Guarnizo.

And maybe that’s part of the problem, that your faith makes for an awkward situation that requires you handle it “quietly.”

dks

photo by Alan Creech


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David K. Sutton

Chief Writer and Editor of The Left Call - I'm a full-time IT engineer, part-time political blogger. I founded The Left Call in 2011 because I believe in social justice, economic equality, and the idea of forming a more perfect union. In addition to written content, I also host the LEFT CALL RADIO Podcast.

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  • Doctorbohica

    Presumably, the priest should just distribute communion to anyone who shows up for it, much like a soda machine. In essence, that is you argument.

    • http://leftcall.com/ David K. Sutton

      You presume incorrectly. He can simultaneously believe it is his religious duty to deny communion AND also be a bigot. Those two things are certainly not incompatible. I’m not making a case for whether or not he or the Catholic church should allow or deny communion, I’m simply stating a fact. He is discriminating against someone because or their sexual orientation. He is a bigot. Religion doesn’t get you off the hook.

      • Steve Schuler

        True, but I actually agree with Doctorbohica to an extent.  If the Catholic rules are that you must do X, Y, and Z, and NOT do A, B, or C to get rite “X” then that’s their right.  Basically, it’s their club and they can perform whatever rituals they want for whomever they think follows their rules.  I frankly am surprised by the uproar about this story.  Why are we surprised (more importantly why is SHE surprised) that they wouldn’t give her (a lesibian, which they’re clearly against) communion.  I would’ve been more surprised if they HAD given it to her.  It would devalue the whole rite.  Like he said above, they can’t just give it to anyone.  There are guidelines, and she didn’t follow them, so she’s not in the club anymore.  Seems pretty cut and dry.  

        I don’t endorse this behavior or think it’s right, but I fully support their right to carry it out.  IMO, it’s only discrimination in the loose sense of the word.  If she doesn’t like it, then why is she a member of their church???  Are they discriminating against Satanists when they don’t give them communion?  If so, who cares?  It’s their right.  Maybe if more people who disagreed with Church policies left, instead of tolerating it, the Church would be much less powerful….

        • http://leftcall.com/ David K. Sutton

          I agree it’s their “club” and they can make the rules the way they see fit. My point is that just because this is their club and their rules doesn’t mean that this Catholic priest is not a bigot. That was the point of my article. I’m not saying the Catholic church HAS to change it’s ways, or that we should introduce legislation or anything like that. I’m simply stating a fact. Following a religious doctrine doesn’t absolve someone from being a bigot. I think you might be trying to infer something from my article that is not there.

          More people can learn about and therefore disagree with church policies if they are being highlighted in the first place, like my article is doing. :)

  • Doctorbohica

    “I’m simply stating a fact. He is discriminating against someone because
    or their sexual orientation. He is a bigot. Religion doesn’t get you off
    the hook.”

    No, he withdrew communion because of the woman’s sexual practice, not her sexual orientation. Had she raped children and had he knowingly granted communion to her, you would be outraged and might demand he behave in a much more bigoted manner. Your definition of bigotry is convenient but is ultimately muddled non-sense.

    • http://leftcall.com/ David K. Sutton

      I’m trying to be diplomatic in my responses but you have twisted my position two times now. You are attempting to infer something that simply doesn’t reflect my position. Where did rape and children come into the equation? That’s not coming from my mind, that’s yours.

      It doesn’t matter if it’s sexual practice or sexual orientation, he decided that something related to her sexual preferences was not compatible with Catholic doctrine. I’m saying that might be true, but that doesn’t get him off the hook from being called a bigot.

      Bigot (Free Dictionary) - One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ. 

      • Doctorbohica

        Sorry. My comment was unfair, but the point is that you’ve rendered utterly useless the meaning of the word ‘bigot.’ The reason you have rendered it useless is you’ve conveniently rejected or ignored the concept of ‘sin’, equating the priest’s gesture with, say, denying communion to someone because she happens to be black rather than white. In ignoring or not taking seriously the concept of sin, you are effectively demonstrating your own bigotry. Once again, sorry.

        • http://leftcall.com/ David K. Sutton

          Sin? That’s religion. There’s right and wrong and then there is religious sin. They aren’t the same thing. Declaring something a sin is a tool for discrimination. If you remove religion from this scenario and the “priest” was denying a service (all things other than religion and priesthood being the same) are you saying he wouldn’t be a bigot? It is religion that has rendered the meaning of the word ‘bigot’ useless if we continue to frame things within a religious context.

          The priest is NOT “strongly partial to his own group, religion…”? How did I render that word useless?

          I might be focusing on the priest, but my article is more about religion and how it allows unfettered bigotry to persist.

          It’s like saying, “Well, I know it stinks, but it’s God’s word. So my hands are tied”.

          • Doctorbohica

            “Sin? That’s religion. There’s right and wrong and then there is
            religious sin. They aren’t the same thing. Declaring something a sin is a
            tool for discrimination.”

            Now we’re getting someplace. The fact is you don’t care for the concept of sin. Because you don’t care for it, those who use the term are “bigots” wielding “a tool for discrimination.”

            “It is religion that has rendered the meaning of the word ‘bigot’ useless
            if we continue to frame things within a religious context.”

            I’ve read this sentence multiple times and I still can’t discern its meaning. Although we were talking about the Catholic concept of sin, now it is “religion’s” fault. To go back to our initial point, there is a difference between “sexual orientation” and “sexual practice,” and there is also a difference between being a bigot and performing priestly duties. But a “religious” context, for you, is a context of bigotry. Thus, in helping everyone understand this particular priest’s bigotry, you have revealed that you are, in fact, something of a bigot about religion.

          • http://leftcall.com/ David K. Sutton

            Why do I need to bow to one person’s religious interpretation of sin before I can point out intolerance?

            No, I’m not a religious bigot. I’m a big fan of facts and evidence as well as treating everyone equally and fairly. But this treatment doesn’t extend to intolerance. It doesn’t make me a bigot to reject a person’s religiously fueled intolerance.

            And I’m actually a bigger advocate of religious freedom than many (but not all) religious people. I’m of course generalizing a but here… A lot of religious people talk about religious freedom within the context of only their religion and when they perceive their religion to be persecuted. They usually have less to say on the topic when it’s someone else’s religion being suppressed.

            I’m not about supressing people’s beliefs and religion. But just as they are free to practice their religion, I’m free to point out where they (and their religion) is bigoted towards others.

          • Doctorbohica

            “Why do I need to bow to one person’s religious interpretation of sin before I can point out intolerance?”

            Because if the woman came to the priest prior to the ceremony, introduced her dog Spot to the priest as her lover, and then proceeded to demand communion and was denied, your preferred view demands the priest’s gesture be recognized as an act of “intolerance.”

            What you really want to preach is moral relativism and the meaningless and abolition of sin. And, as mentioned previously, what you really need to confirm if you are to absolve the priest of being a bigot, is he must function just like a soda machine, mindlessly distributing communion to whomever wants it. You prefer this approach because then the rite is rendered meaningless.

            Meaningless Catholic rites suit your carefully cloaked, bigoted position that religion is mindless.

            But the more carefully we scrutinize your position, the more insidiously bigoted and mindless it appears. Your argument ends with you praising yourself for being open-minded and tolerant and a bigger advocate than many religious people for religious tolerance, and all that. GK Chesterton said the mark of the eternal fool is to engage in folly while praising oneself for doing so.

    • http://leftcall.com/ David K. Sutton

      “Because if the woman came to the priest prior to the ceremony, introduced her dog Spot to the priest as her lover, and then proceeded to demand communion and was denied, your preferred view demands the priest’s gesture be recognized as an act of “intolerance.”"

      There you go again. If you insist on using this analogy then I can only conclude that means you equate homosexuality with bestiality. So, in essence you are saying something similar to Rick Santorum’s “man on dog” statement. If you feel that gays and lesbians are equal then you would not make such a comparison.

      I did not say the priest was not allowed to deny communion. So no, I’m not saying he needs to be a “soda machine”. He can do what he wants. It’s his religion. But I don’t have to condone his actions because it is his religious beliefs. The priest is using his religion to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Period.

      So I’m intolerant and a bigot unless I’m willing to overlook the intolerance of others? What if a group of people create a secular group and within that group exists a culture of discrimination…I must be tolerant of their views otherwise I’m a bigot? As I said before, religion doesn’t get you off the hook and it doesn’t receive special treatment or consideration from me. How people treat other people is my consideration. Looking down on someone and treating them as less than equal or less than human is not any less discriminatory because it’s part of someone’s religious belief system. I don’t consider this priest as anything other an equal, but that doesn’t remove my ability to critique the fact that he is treating lesbians and gays as unequal.

      “Your argument ends with you praising yourself for being open-minded and tolerant and a bigger advocate than many religious people for religious tolerance, and all that. GK Chesterton said the mark of the eternal fool is to engage in folly while praising oneself for doing so.”

      We can’t move past discrimination and intolerance if we continue to offer belief systems special consideration. It is not bigoted or intolerant to point out when religious belief is discriminatory.

      I realize I’ve started a dialog about a topic that receives special protection in our society, even from many non-religious people. Because of that, I realize that this argument is not going to be resolved anytime soon, if ever.

      I would like to conclude by saying thanks for visiting my site. I’m being completely sincere. I think this kind of dialog should be more open and while I don’t necessarily agree with some analogies you used, you have kept the conversation reasonably cordial. :) You are free to get your last word in if you want but I think I’ve said what I need to say on this topic for this particular article. Thanks again.

      • Doctorbohica

        “There you go again. If you insist on using this analogy
        then I can only conclude that means you equate homosexuality with bestiality.
        So, in essence you are saying something similar to Rick Santorum’s “man on
        dog” statement. If you feel that gays and lesbians are equal then you
        would not make such a comparison. I did not say the priest was not allowed to
        deny communion. So no, I’m not saying he needs to be a “soda
        machine”. He can do what he wants. It’s his religion. But I don’t have to
        condone his actions because it is his religious beliefs. The priest is using
        his religion to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Period.”

         

        It is cordial of you to say I’ve kept this reasonably
        cordial, as the truth is I haven’t been as cordial as I ought. So, hats off to
        you for emphasizing the importance of cordiality.

        Anyways, we are discussing
        the concept of sin and whether that concept is useful, as I believe it is, or
        useless, as you insist that it isn’t.  Now,
        it sounds like you may have problems with people who engage in bestiality,
        although it isn’t completely clear to me that you’ve thought about why this is
        the case. The bestial aren’t hurting anyone, are they? So, is bestiality to be
        tolerated or not? If not, on what basis can you say it should not be tolerated?
        And shouldn’t the priest readily give communion to the visitor who divulges to
        him beforehand mass that he engages in bestiality and is proud of it?

        • http://leftcall.com/ David K. Sutton

          I know I said I was done but you did pose a question that needs answering.

          First, we all draw lines someplace. Bestiality doesn’t work for me, but if it does for someone else, so be it. Second, I never approved or disapproved of bestiality specifically. I said if you are comparing it to homosexuality then it appears to me you don’t view gays and lesbians as equals. Why can I say this? It’s pretty simple. Both parties involved are HUMAN BEINGS! The same can’t be said for bestiality. Therefore it’s ridiculous to compare. See the difference?

          • Doctorbohica

            “First, we all draw lines someplace.”

            Right. You’ve also established that where the Church chooses to draw the line is different than where you choose to draw the line. However, in your universe, it follows the Church’s line is bigoted and yours is not.

            Regarding the bestiality and homosexuality comparison, your position seems to be this: homosexual sex is aesthetically ok with DK Sutton (there is no morality in DKS’s universe because there is no sin) because it is consensual, whereas bestiality is not aesthetically ok because it is not consensual. However, if bestiality ‘works’ for someone else, that is also ok with DKS.

            We will deal with this in a moment. Back to the case at hand, this woman was not a practicing Catholic, but practices Buddhism and says she “likes to stir the pot a little.” While you overfloweth with open-mindedness, you are headstrong that the priest is behaving as a bigot for not distributing communion to her.

            So, why wouldn’t you encourage the priest to give communion to the proud practitioner of bestiality? And isn’t the priest a bigot in your universe if he refuses communion to the bestial aspirant of communion?

            The point is this: You are calling the priest a bigot for affirming the moral precepts of his Church and exercising his obligation to renounce her flippancy with these precepts, and yet there is a place where even you hesitate to say he is a bigot for affirming a moral precept of his Church. Although it suits your political agenda, you apply the term bigot in a manner that is sloppy, and, ultimately, non-illuminating.

          • http://leftcall.com/ David K. Sutton

            Bestiality is an act. Being gay is a state of being and is NOT a choice. Therefore, discriminating against homosexuals is bigotry. Denying something to a homosexual that you would not deny to a heterosexual (for that distinction only) is why it’s bigotry. Being against the act of bestiality is definitely not bigotry because it is an act, not a state of being. If you try to compare homosexuality with bestiality anymore I will definitely stop responding because it is completely offensive to gays and lesbians that this comparison has continued for several replies.

  • Doctorbohica

    “Bestiality is an act. Being gay is a state of being and is NOT a choice.
    Therefore, discriminating against homosexuals is bigotry. Denying
    something to a homosexual that you would not deny to a heterosexual (for
    that distinction only) is why it’s bigotry. Being against the act of
    bestiality is definitely not bigotry because it is an act, not a state
    of being. If you try to compare homosexuality with bestiality anymore I
    will definitely stop responding because it is completely offensive to
    gays and lesbians that this comparison has continued for several
    replies.”

    I appreciate your inclination to appoint yourself as a temperance preacher, but you’re betraying your ignorance of both the priest’s and Church’s position. As we discussed previously, having a homosexual orientation is to be distinguished from engaging in homosexual acts, and Catholics who have a homosexual orientation are not exempt from communion. What’s additionally lost on you, perhaps because you don’t care a whit about the sacrament of communion and, anyways, it does not serve to advance your argument about this priest’s bigotry, is this woman is not a practicing Catholic. She calls herself a Buddhist. That didn’t preclude her from using her own mother’s funeral as an opportunity to “stir the pot a little” and create a protest posture out of the sacrament. You’ve solemnly declared your preference for facts –those are the facts.

    I find it fascinating that you’ve confirmed bestiality should always be classified as an act rather than a state of being. Is pederasty merely an act rather than a state of being, too? How can others come to know these things as confidently as you do? You’ve made it all too clear I am ignorant about these matters. The simple fact is that Catholics who repent from such sins may receive communion.

    For you, any professed distaste for this woman’s gesture constitutes “intolerance” and suggests “bigotry.” Of course, there is apparently no bigotry in your view of “religion,” which you’ve described as “a tool for discrimination.” That this woman used her former religion’s central sacrament as a tool of her own is an irony that’s mysteriously lost in your bigotry gambit.

    • http://leftcall.com/ David K. Sutton

      It’s been fun, but I’m letting this conversation die because it’s clear nothing will be accomplished by digging further into our respective trenches. Again, thanks for stopping by.

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