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Friday, March 2, 2012

Archdiocese of Washington Clarifies Teaching on Denying Communion

A friend sent the following email today which softens somewhat the Archdiocese's earlier actions. As with my friend, I find it encouraging. Hat tip to Donna for the alert. My comments in red.

On Thursday the Archdiocese of Washington put out another statement that I find somewhat encouraging, from Fr. G's point of view. After recounting Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist and citing c. 915, it says:
"Ideally, the priest will handle such a situation pastorally by discussing the consequences of such sin with the person privately before actually denying them Communion. Fr. Guarnizo did this according to a deacon's report who was in a meeting with Father.
"The Archdiocese of Washington recognizes that the prime obligation to determine one’s preparedness to receive Communion falls to the persons who are presenting themselves for Communion.  In extreme cases where someone has been formally excommunicated or is trying to use the Eucharist to make a political statement This is exactly what happened when Johnson announced to the priest that she introduced her lesbian "lover" in the sacristy. it is appropriate to consider denying Communion. The reception of the Eucharist is a blessing and a grace. We should receive Jesus with the intention of becoming more like him. No one is entitled to the Eucharist. It is a free gift and should be received with humility and reverence. Exactly!
"The Second Vatican Council proclaimed that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. As such it is a sign of unity, but it must be a unity that is based on authentic Church teaching and mutual respect in charity."
This is a welcome if belated balance to the unqualified apology that was issued on Wednesday. I hope it means that the Archdiocese is creating some space to say that ideally Father would have had a conversation with her before Mass, but since that was precluded by her own actions, he acted with good intent in a difficult situation. Above all, it was Ms. Johnson's prime obligation not to present herself for Communion as she evidently knew that she was not prepared in the eyes of the Church.
Well, we can hope.
Amen, Donna. I'm offering my morning Mass for Cardinal Wuerl and Fr. Guarnizo as well as Barbara Johnson and her "lover."


  1. You do relish in insults, don't you. Putting "lover" in quotation marks, show the amount of utter contempt towards this woman, a fellow human being, woman who lost her mother and who was demeaned and humiliated by a priest at the very moment she was most vulnerable.

    But as a "Christian" you applaud thhe cruelty and viciousness of that action that showed no respect towards this owmna, her late mother (and her faith and love for the Church), the mourning of those present and the human dignity and value of the daughter. As a "Christian" you enjoy the mkost whne you get to hurt the most. More cruelty you can show, more "Christian" you feel.

    I do hope that one day you will face equal amount of pain. After all you enjoy causing it, you rejoice when your fellow human beings are being hurt, insulted and adamged in the hands of vicious zealots.

    Enjoy your "christianity". The ability to hurt others must be a great source of joy to you. You would have made a great inquisitor, after all you are showing true talent in your love for torturing other people.

  2. I put it in quotes because that's the way Barbara Johnson introduced her partner to Fr. Guarnizo. She could have introduced her as her "friend," but she chose not to.

    As for insults, you're doing a pretty good job yourself. Not to worry though. Your anonymity protects you from the "inquisitor."

  3. I suppose being reminded that you are a sinner is painful to those who would prefer to harden their hearts and frolic in their sinfulness all the time imagining that a loving God will just give them a pass.

    Perhaps a serious reflection on the crucifixion and the cost of sin would be in order? Anonymous is simply bought into the Zeitgeist. The admonishment of sinners is a Christian duty not something cruel. If you are never reminded of your sinfulness and called to repentance then how can you expect to be forgiven?

    Oh I forgot ... "your God" doesn't punish sinners. Your "Christians" are domesticated and simply accept everyone. Had that been the nature of Christianity then there would be no Christians today because a religion that believes nothing real is really not real itself.

    You need to go to confession Anonymous and maybe take a course in moral theology if you can find a theologian that still remembers what it is.