A la carte Catholics need a la carte priests
Or, Doctrinal statements are there for a reason.
Remember the recent incident where a lesbian was denied Holy Communion at her mother’s funeral? From the OC Register comes an example of personal preference attempting to force its way into Christian belief. In Do Catholics love and accept others? Not this priest, we read (emphasis added),
I’m what you’d call an a la carte Catholic.
Too convenient? Maybe.
Especially in times like these, when a priest like Rev. Marcel Guarnizo uses his position in the church to deny someone like Barbara Johnson, who happens to love another woman instead of a man, communion during her own mother’s funeral.
Now, there are many reasons I’m an a la carte Catholic, one of which is that I see nothing wrong with homosexuality; nor do I believe in a God who would turn his back on his own children just because of their sexual orientation. Dare I say that a large portion of the heterosexual marriages among us don’t put the whole man-woman union thing in the best light. Besides, who are we to deny anyone the experience of looking at their husband or wife 10 years in and wondering, “Was I high as a kite the day I committed my life to you?”
And captioning a photo of the Holy Sacraments (emphasis added),
To me, Holy Communion is symbolic of God’s love for us; a priest has no right to deny that to anyone who comes searching for it
Now, the writer of this piece is certainly entitled to her own beliefs. And she’s certainly entitled to attempt to push her beliefs on others. But she’s sorely lacking doctrinal knowledge and clear thinking by proposing that Catholics – or even this particular Catholic priest – do not love others simply because they follow the tenets of their faith. That she disagrees with the tenets of the Catholic faith is irrelevant.
You see, the issue of faith – religious faith – in our culture has become not one of objective reality but of subjective experience. When someone makes claims or statements such as “I see nothing wrong with…” or “nor do I believe in a God who…” or “who are we to deny…” or “To me…” we are seeing the expression of personal preference as the determining factor in one’s belief system. As I stated above, there is nothing inherently wrong with such a worldview and, as the tolerant individual I am, I believe people are certainly free to think that way.
But if they consider themselves to be tolerant, then they need to stop pushing their views into realms that are inconsistent with their own. The Catholic church, via the Word of God, has declarative statements on the meaning of Holy Communion. What you or I happen to want it to mean is irrelevant. Taken a step further, God, through His Word, has made declarative statements regarding His character, who he is, what he is owed, etc. Whether or not you or I agree with him, or would want to believe in a God like him again, is irrelevant.
Lo and behold, the priest in question has come forward with his account of what transpired. From Crisis Magazine (HT: Joe Carter),
A few minutes before the Mass began, Ms. Johnson came into the sacristy with another woman whom she announced as her “lover”. Her revelation was completely unsolicited. As I attempted to follow Ms.Johnson, her lover stood in our narrow sacristy physically blocking my pathway to the door. I politely asked her to move and she refused.
If a Quaker, a Lutheran or a Buddhist, desiring communion had introduced himself as such, before Mass, a priest would be obligated to withhold communion. If someone had shown up in my sacristy drunk, or high on drugs, no communion would have been possible either. If a Catholic, divorced and remarried (without an annulment) would make that known in my sacristy, they too according to Catholic doctrine, would be impeded from receiving communion. This has nothing to do with canon 915. Ms. Johnson’s circumstances are precisely one of those relations which impede her access to communion according to Catholic teaching. Ms. Johnson was a guest in our parish, not the arbitrer of how sacraments are dispensed in the Catholic Church.
And, the rest of the Lesbian vs. Catholic Church story
Not an Only in California story, but related. It seems that the lesbian-denied-holy-communion is a practicing Buddhist as well as a gay rights activist. Hmmm.