CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 12 January 2019

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Priest put on leave for denying communion

WASHINGTON DC (SE): Bishop Barry Knestout, the auxiliary in Washington DC in the United States of America, has suspended Father Marcel Guarnizo for denying communion to a same sex attracted woman, Barbara Johnson, at her mother’s funeral Mass.

The diocese announced that Father Guarnizo “has been placed on administrative leave with his priestly faculties removed.”

Bishop Knestout explained to on March 12, “This action was taken after I received credible allegations that Father Guarnizo has engaged in intimidating behaviour toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry.”

Johnson was reported as saying in a statement, “We are hopeful that Bishop Knestout’s decision will ensure that no others will have to undergo the traumatic experience brought upon our family.”

However, Washington-born Father Guarnizo, who is founder of Aid to the Church in Russia and was ordained a priest for the archdiocese of Moscow in 1998, said that the whole thing was a set up.

He said that Johnson made a point of introducing her female lover to him prior to the Mass, which he claims left him with no choice but to refuse.

Meanwhile, Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, a controversial retired bishop from Sydney, Australia, announced that he will join the Catholic governor from Maryland, Martin O’Malley, who signed a bill into law legalising same-sex marriage, at an upcoming conference of New Ways Ministry

The organisation has been censured by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for its dissent from Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

“In no manner is the position proposed by New Ways Ministry in conformity with Catholic teaching and in no manner is this organisation authorised to speak on behalf of the Catholic Church or to identify itself as a Catholic organisation,” Edwin Cardinal O’Brien was quoted by as saying.

Lay speakers slated to appear at the conference include the former Maryland lieutenant governor, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend; Johnson, who was denied communion; Luke Timothy Johnson, a New Testament scholar at Emory University; and Susan Ross, chairperson of the theology department at Loyola University Chicago.

Father Fred Daley, from Syracuse diocese, will speak on Gay Priests: Coming Out While Staying In, and Sister Sandy Yost, of University of Detroit Mercy, will address Lesbian Nuns: Journeys of Integration.

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