Father Guarnizo Speaks
This man is good, and he clearly lost patience with being both misinterpreted in public, and mistreated from the auxiliary bishop.
On Saturday February 25th I showed up to officiate at a funeral Mass for Mrs. Loetta Johnson. The arrangements for the Mass were also not my own. I wish to clarify that Ms. Barbara Johnson (the woman who has since complained to the press), has never been a parishioner of mine. In fact I had never met her or her family until that morning.
The funeral celebration was to commence at 10:30a.m. From 9:30 to 10:20, I was assigned to hear confessions for the parish and anyone in the funeral party who would have chosen to receive the sacrament.
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. As I attempted to follow Ms.Johnson, her lover stood in our narrow sacristy physically blocking my pathway to the door. I politely asked her to move and she refused.
The brazenness of the fat, ugly lesbian and her (allegedly, as she can block an entrance with her mere presence) not entirely slender “lover” is beyond contempt. But most importantly, the woman throws her lesbianism in the Father’s face.
Father Guarnizo again:
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.
In the past ten days, many Catholics have referenced canon 915 in regard to this specific circumstance. There are other reasons for denying communion which neither meet the threshold of canon 915 or have any explicit connection to the discipline stated in that canon.
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. If a Catholic, divorced and remarried (without an annulment) would make that known in my sacristy, they too according to Catholic doctrine, would be impeded from receiving communion. This has nothing to do with canon 915. Ms. Johnson’s circumstances are precisely one of those relations which impede her access to communion according to Catholic teaching. Ms. Johnson was a guest in our parish, not the arbiter of how sacraments are dispensed in the Catholic Church.
This man is full of common sense. If you say yourself you can’t receive, then you can’t receive, full stop.In this case, the lady had openly admitted to be in mortal sin, and to give scandal with her openly admitted perverted “relationship”. Truly, either this is the end of the discussion of we must wonder what is wrong with us.
Note Father says confession was open to the lady on the morning. I doubt in case of serious confession and sincere intent to reform her life, Father Guarnizo would have refused communion. But she didn’t, so he did. Good man.
Under these circumstances, I quietly withheld communion, so quietly that even the Eucharistic Minister standing four feet from me was not aware I had done so. (In fact Ms. Johnson promptly chose to go to the Eucharistic minister to receive communion and did so.) There was no scandal, no “public reprimand” and no small lecture as some have reported.
If there were more like Father Guarnizo and less like Bishop Knestout, the Church in the US would be in much better shape.