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US: Washington priest who denied communion to lesbian leaves diocese

PinkNews Staff Writer July 9, 2012
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A priest who told a lesbian she could not receive communion at her mother’s funeral has left the Archdiocese of Washington.

Rev Marcel Guarnizo officiated at the February funeral of Barbara Johnson’s mother at St John Neumann parish in Gaithersburg.

Ms Johnson, who attended the funeral with her partner, said that when the time for communion came, Rec Guarnizo told her: “I cannot give you communion because you are with a woman, and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin.”

Rev Guarnizo was placed on leave in March for “intimidating behaviour”.

Today, archdiocese officials said he was leaving for good.

Chieko Noguchi Scheve, director of media and public relations at the Archdiocese of Washington, told “Fr Marcel Guarnizo is a priest of the Archdiocese of Moscow, Russia, who was given a temporary assignment at St. John Neumann parish.

“That assignment period has ended and Father Guarnizo is no longer in ministry in the Archdiocese of Washington.”

Ms Johnson told that she was “comforted” by the news.

She said: “It gives me great comfort to see that the Archdiocese of Washington acted swiftly initially not only to point out that his behavior was wrong and not in accordance with their policy but then to suspend him.”

More: Americas, Catholic, Communion, priest, Washington

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