Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Archdiocese of Washington's Apology

So much error - so little time!  But I'll give it my best shot.  Before I do so, let me state that what I'm writing requires no advanced theology degree - just the common sense that God gave to a billy goat!  Here is the piece of slop so that you can read it for yourselves.

First, I'm under no illusion that Bishop Knestout is solely responsible for this.  I wouldn't be surprised if this was written (or at least inspired) by someone else who then asked Bishop Knestout to put his name to it.  At the very least, Cardinal Wuerl would have at least reviewed and approved this before it was published.

My understanding of the purpose of the Requiem Mass is that it is held to commend the soul of the deceased to God's mercy and to perhaps lessen any time in Purgatory.  A secondary purpose is to encourage all in attendance to consider their final end - to remind them that they need to prepare now for their judgment before God's throne, as none of us knows the hour of our passing.  No where in that "apology" do we see mention of these essential purposes of the Requiem Mass.  Instead, we read of "comfort from the Church", "celebration of your mother's life" and "fond remembrance".  At best, these are ancillary to the proper consideration of the Last Things and for prayers for the deceased.

By her own doing, Father Guarnizo was made very aware of the precarious state of Ms. Johnson's soul.  She unambiguously declared before Father that she was living in a state of mortal sin - one that posed imminent danger of hell to her immortal soul.  Given the nature of the Mass that was about to take place, Father Guarnizo would have been incredibly remiss in his true priestly duties had he pretended that Ms. Johnson's situation was not as grave as it really was (probably still is).  Yet this apology suggests that is what Father should have done for the sake of mere sentimentality.  While Bishop Knestout disingenuously accuses Father Guarnizo of not being "pastoral", it is he (and the ghost writer of the apology) who display their true lack of pastoral sense in suggesting to Father, and to all the readers, that the proper thing to do would have been to ignore the dreadful peril of hell to which Ms Johnson was subjecting herself by her lifestyle.

The final paragraph voices hope for "healing and reconciliation with the Church".  I echo that hope, but realize that such healing and reconciliation will only occur if Ms. Johnson repents of the disordered lesbian lifestyle and avails herself of the Sacrament of Confession.  Nowhere in this "apology" do I see any entreaty for Ms. Johnson to make a good confession, and to do so soon.  Without the Sacrament of Penance, such a wish for "healing and reconciliation" is a siren call to a false and eternally deadly "comfort".  In voicing this baseless false comfort, the bishop is acting as a blind shepherd leading the blind sheep.  Father Guarnizo is the only cleric in this matter who has pointed the way to true healing and reconciliation - and for that he has been slapped down by the very people who should be supporting him.

This "apology" is an insult not only to Father Guarnizo, but to all good Catholics who strive to live by the Church's authentic teachings.  It is Father Guarnizo who deserves a real apology from the chancery.

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