Priest in lesbian-Communion dispute no longer in Washington ministry
CWN – July 10, 2012
Father Marcel Guarnizo, who became the focus of a nationwide controversy when he refused to administer the Eucharist to an avowed lesbian, is no longer engaged in priestly ministry in the Washington archdiocese.
Barbara Johnson lodged a highly public protest after Father Guarnizo refused to give her Communion at her mother’s funeral. Before the funeral, Johnson had introduced to the priest as a lesbian, also introducing her lover. The Archdiocese of Washington later apologized to Johnson for the priest’s behavior.
In March, Father Guarnizo was placed on administrative leave by the Washington archdiocese. Church spokesmen claimed that the move was prompted not by the incident involving Barbara Johnson, but by the priest’s intimidating behavior toward parishioners. Father Guarnizo denied that charge, insisting that he was being punished for his decision to withhold Communion.
Now the archdiocese has revealed that Father Guarnizo “is no longer in minister in the Archdiocese of Washington.” Officially incardinated as a priest of the Moscow archdiocese (although he is a native of the Washington area), Father Guarnizo had been serving in Washington under a temporary arrangement, and the “assignment period has ended,” the archdiocese explained.
Father Guarnizo reportedly remains in the Washington area. Barbara Johnson said that it “gives me great comfort” that the priest is no longer engaged in public ministry.
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