Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States
3339 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W
I write to you as a Catholic in the Archdiocese of Washington and as a parishioner of St John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. No doubt you are aware of the matter regarding Father Marcel Guarnizo, former parochial vicar at St John Neumann. On February 25, 2012, Father offered a funeral Mass for one of the parishioners. Shortly before Mass, the daughter of the deceased came into the sacristy while Father was vesting with another woman. The daughter presented the other woman to Father as “her lover”. Father was prevented from addressing the daughter further. When the daughter came forward for Holy Communion, Father discreetly advised her that reception of Holy Communion was impossible due to her ongoing mortal sin of homosexual conduct. Much controversy has erupted over the matter. I have catalogued much of it on my blog http://restore-dc-catholicism.blogspot.com .
I regret to inform you that the behavior of both Cardinal Wuerl and Bishop Knestout towards Father Guarnizo has been rather utterly despicable. They immediately announced that Father Guarnizo had acted improperly and apologized to the woman for not being allowed to commit the sin of sacrilegious Holy Communion reception (In fact, she did receive from another minister who was unaware of her status and previous interactions with Father). When several of us in the blogosphere successfully uncovered facts about the daughter that lessened her credibility as an accuser of Father Guarnizo, charges of “intimidating behavior” were immediately lodged against Father. Needless to say I hold the timing of these charges to be highly suspect.
A week later Father Guarnizo was informed that his assignment at St John Neumann had ended and that his priestly faculties were removed. I think it is only Father’s status as a priest for the Archdiocese of Moscow that shielded him from being suspended as a priest. Two days ago Father released a statement that detailed the February 25 funeral and subsequent events from his perspective. My blog links to the several sources of that statement; it is worthy of your study.
Cardinal Wuerl’s record of obedience to Canon 915 has been deplorable. He himself has made plain that he has no intentions of obeying Canon 915 as plainly written. See http://www.calcatholic.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?id=dbc84fb0-aacd-4dad-bfb5-2b27538150cd for his own admission. Now it seems there is a vendetta against any priest who might take seriously the protection of the Blessed Sacrament from blasphemy, profanation and sacrilege, and his treatment of Father Guarnizo is the latest manifestation of such.
Your Excellency, I hereby request that you commence your own investigation into this disturbing matter. Surely you can see what the treatment of Father Guarnizo will do to the morality of priests not only in this diocese but throughout the world. This matter has garnered much attention. I am copying this letter not only to the Archdiocese of Washington but to my own blog for all to see. Please be advised that I am urging like-minded parties to cease contributions to the Cardinal’s Appeal collection. Whatever else the 6th Precept of the Church means, it does not mean throwing one’s hard-earned money at an organization that is bent on destroying the vocations of good priests such as Father Marcel Guarnizo. Only when I am certain that Father has received justice and yes, his own apology will I consider rescinding my call for a boycott of Archdiocesan collections.
Your Excellency, for the sake of all concerned, I urge your immediate action.