Priest suspended for denying communion to lesbian
A priest in Maryland has been suspended for denying communion to a lesbian.
Barbara Johnson was attending her mother’s funeral at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg on Feb. 25 when Rev. Marcel Guamizo reportedly engaged in intimidating behavior toward her. He stated that only Catholics in a state of grace can receive communion.
She asked that the archdiocese, which has issued an apology to Johnson, remove Guamizo.
“I went up. I was standing next to my mother’s casket and he covered the bowl, and said, ‘I cannot give you communion because you are with a woman, and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin.’ I stood there with my mouth open in a state of shock for – I don’t know how long,” Johnson said.
Guazmizo also refused to appear at the burial of Johnson’s mother. He reportedly had the funeral home director tell the family that he had a migraine and could not accompany the family to the cemetery.
A letter dated March 9 letter and written by Bishop Barry C. Knestout said that action taken against Guarnizo. It stated that Guarnizo engaged in intimidating behavior toward staff members and others at the church. There were no references in the letter to Johnson because the church declared it a personal matter which must be confidential. The letter was read during weekend Mass at area churches.
Guarnizo is a priest of the Archdiocese of Moscow, Russia, and has served at St. John Neumann since March 2011.