MARYLAND

Father Marcel Guarnizo defends decision to deny communion to lesbian

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Correction:

An earlier version of this story attributed the statement to Barbara Johnson. The statement is from her brother, Larry. This story has been updated.

A Gaithersburg priest is defending his decision to not let a lesbian receive communioncnsnews reports.  

Barbara Johnson was denied communion during a funeral mass for her mother. (Photo: WJLA)

It happened in February at St. John Neumann Church, during a funeral mass for Barabara Johnson’s mother. Father Marcel Guarnizo says by denying Johnson communion, he did the only thing a faithful catholic priest could do.

Johnson says she’s deeply saddened by his actions.

The Archdiocese placed Guarnizo on administrative leave after the incident. It says he was removed because of intimidating behavior toward parish staff members.

In response to Guarnizo's statement, Larry Johnson, Barbara's brother, issued a statement of his own, calling the Father "arrogant, deceitful and repugnant."

"My family had finally hoped some sense of peace regarding my mother’s funeral had been achieved and we could finally grieve her loss," Johnson said in his statement. "The reprehensible Fr. Guarnizo has reinforced and confirmed how egregious his conduct was and how repugnant a person he is."

Read Father Guarnizo’s full statement here.

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