Thursday, March 1, 2012

Washington Post: Statement From Archdiocese On Holy Communion

Father William Byrne is Archdiocesan Secretary for Pastoral Ministry and Social Concerns.  Today the Washington Post published a statement of his regarding the importance of Holy Communion to Catholics.  I commend its reading to you.

A statement from that article, relevant to the situation at St John Neumann last weekend is "The priest has an obligation to make sure that the sacraments are respected, and any person who obstinately perseveres in manifest grave sin is not to be admitted to Holy Communion.  Ideally, the priest will handle such a situation pastorally by discussing the consequences of such sin with the person privately before actually denying them Communion."  Two questions:

  1. Did the daughter "obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin"?  Consider: she introduced herself and the other woman to Father as "lovers".  She certainly had no bones about letting Father know her "orientation" in a most up-front manner.
  2. Did Father have the opportunity to "handle the situation pastorally and privately"?  I suspect he would have wanted to do so, but they hurried away before he had opportunity.  Now consider that the daughter had been a long-time Catholic school teacher; that being said, how could she not have known that homosexual conduct is mortally sinful?  Having lacked such opportunity, Father did what he had to do when he was deliberately set between a rock and a hard place.  He did not want to facilitate the woman's mortal sin of sacrilegious Holy Communion (which would have been sinful for him) and he wanted to protect the Eucharist from being treated disrespectfully.     
I thank Father Byrne for writing this and the Post for publishing it.  These statements make plain that Father Marcel Guarnizo was only fulfilling his duties as a Catholic priest and that the apology issued by Bishop Knestout is a lamentable farce.


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