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Lesbian Communion Priest Suspended

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has suspended the Rev. Marcel Guarnizo, the priest who declined to give an open lesbian communion at her mother’s funeral. In a letter read to parishioners yesterday, an archdiocesan official said that the suspension has nothing to do with the lesbian communion incident, but rather for “engaging in intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry.” The church’s pastor added that it had to do with unspecified things Fr. Guarnizo is supposed to have done over the last couple of weeks.

Since I last blogged about this, a couple of bloggers pointed out that Barbara Johnson, the lesbian who first publicized the complaint against Fr. Guarnizo, openly identifies as a Buddhist.  Note well: she is not even a Roman Catholic any longer, yet she presented herself for communion, knowing perfectly well that communion in the Catholic Church is not given to non-Catholics. This is common knowledge among Catholics, and if that weren’t enough, the reminder that communion is only for Catholics is printed in the missalette at every mass. It is simply not credible that Barbara Johnson, a Buddhist, did not know she was not entitled to receive communion in a Catholic mass.

I’d say she knew exactly what she was doing, though. Lifesitenews unearthed a paper Johnson wrote in which she talked about being a Buddhist and a lesbian teaching in a Catholic school, in which she described gays as fighting a “culture war,” and described herself as a “naturally born agitator who every now and again enjoys challenging the status quo.”

We don’t (yet) know specifically what took down Fr. Marcel Guarnizo. Perhaps it was this, and the Archdiocese is concocting a cover story. Perhaps he really did do things after the Johnson incident that merited this suspension. One way or another, I’m guessing that the naturally born agitator and culture warrior Barbara Johnson took this priest out.

UPDATE: See this comment from DC Catholic:

I’d urge some of Fr. Guarnizo’s defenders to hold back a bit. The diocese of Moscow stuff is the tip of the iceberg. Fr. G took advantage of jurisdictional ambiguities to jet back and forth across the Atlantic while raising money for a supposed educational foundation. Problem is there isn’t much to show for all this fundraising except a lot of weird property investments and a very nice trans-Atlantic lifestyle. Once Fr. G was in his parish, he started fundraising for various other causes and groups that espoused various worthwhile goals but were also under his control and not transparent about where the donations were going. My suspicion is that some rich, conservative donors to the archdiocese have finally had enough. Fr. G may have purposefully picked this fight in order to go out as some sort of martyr.

I’d say DC Catholic has a point. If there is some fundraising funny business going on, it’ll come out.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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