GAITHERSBURG, Md. (CBSDC) Father Marcel Guarnizo is facing backlash this week after questionable behavior at a funeral this weekend.
Barbara Johnson says she was denied communion by Father Guarnizo because the priest learned of her sexual orientation shortly before her own mother’s funeral at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, Saturday.
Johnson, a lifelong Catholic, says when she stepped forward to receive the Eucharist, Father Guarnizo covered the plate and said “‘I can not give you communion because you live with a woman.”
According to Johnson, after communion the priest also left the altar during her eulogy and didn’t return until she was finished.
To make matters more difficult, Johnson claims that Father Guarnizo did not escort her mother’s body to the cemetery after the service, which is customary. Johnson says she was told that the priest had suddenly become ill.
The Archdiocese of Washington wrote in a statement that Father Guarnizo acted improperly during the funeral. “Any issues regarding the suitability of an individual to receive communion should be addressed by the priest with that person in a private, pastoral setting.”