MARYLAND: Catholic Priest Suspended After Refusing Communion To Lesbian

The Catholic priest who refused communion to a lesbian at her mother’s funeral has been suspended by the his diocese. But according to a spokesperson, the suspension is not directly related to the communion controversy.

Specific details about why the Rev. Marcel Guarnizo was barred from ministry – a severe penalty – were not immediately available. The Post learned of the action from a letter dated March 9 that is written to other archdiocesan priests. The letter from Bishop Barry Knestout, a top administrator in the archdiocese, which covers Washington and the Maryland suburbs, says the punishment was for “engaging in intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry.” The archdiocese on Sunday confirmed Guarnizo’s removal, and noted that Knestout’s letter was read at all Masses this weekend at St. John Neumann.

Barbara Johnson claims that when she approached the altar, Rev. Guarnizo covered the bread and said, “Because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin.” The Archdiocese has issued Johnson an apology.