Once you start expecting a Catholic Priest to be Catholic when will it end?

Father Z post on the story of Fr. Marcel Guarnizo who has apparently been suspended for respecting the sacraments and the rules of confession:

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.

Or to put it another way. If I present myself for communion as a Catholic knowing I need confession I am committing mortal sin, but the priest has no way of knowing that. If the priest however knew that was the case, then he is ethically obliged to withhold communion to not be complicit in Mortal Sin.

So what did Fr. Guarnizo know and when did he know it concerning the lady in question? Funny you should ask…

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.

and was not all that polite about it either:

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.

It sounds to me like we have another Sandra Fluke, a person who was looking for confrontation and even worse, was using the occasion of a death of her mother to do so.

Fr. Guarnizo nails it here:

Ms. Johnson was a guest in our parish, not the arbitrer of how sacraments are dispensed in the Catholic Church.

Fr. Z in charity to the diocese says this:

Fr. G was subsequently put on administrative leave in that Archdiocese for reasons, so it seems, other than the lesbian/Communion event. More information is forthcoming and in justice I need to post it

I would be interested in hearing exactly what they are claiming is the cause but my first thought is this: The diocese is making the same kind of mistake that the Bishops did 15 years ago and more during the sexual scandals. They are making a decision based on fear of what people would think. In the previous example they hid illegal behavior to prevent the embarrassment of scandal what people would say or think and it led to disaster . While the is no civil crime or physical harm in play, absent evidence to the contrary (which I’ll post if it becomes available) one must assume that the administration is once again acting in fear.

One must never forget that there is only one reason to be Catholic, because it is true. And what does Christ say about that:

Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”

Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.

And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

John 6:60-66

Christ never based truth on popularity, neither should his Archdiocese.

Update: Via commentator Lionel Andrades Ed Peters, who knows Canon Law a lot better than me, thinks I’m wrong here:

The chief norm requiring the faithful to prepare well for the worthy reception of holy Communion is Canon 916. Of its nature, however, Canon 916, dealing essentially with internal forum matters, does not (any more than do several other canons in the Code) lend itself to exterior enforcement by ecclesiastical authority. Canon 916 binds gravely in conscience and an accounting to God of one’s conduct under that canon (or at any rate, under the values it protects) will be owed by each Catholic at Judgment. But Canon 916 itself is not regarded as an object of external-forum enforcement by ministers of holy Communion.

In contrast, Canon 915 binds ministers, not recipients. Prescinding from rarely encountered excommunication and interdict situations, Canon 915 lays out several distinct conditions that must be simultaneously satisfied before a minister of Holy Communion may (and indeed, should) withhold the Eucharist from a member of the faithful. To justify withholding the Eucharist under Canon 915 according to its plain terms, the conduct in which a communicant perseveres must be obstinate, manifest, grave, and sinful. These conditions must be understood and assessed according to the Church’s canonical tradition, else, one is no longer talking about the law of the Catholic Church.

The whole thing is kind of a heavy read but the gist is that in this particular case the decision belongs to the recipient even if it involves sin, rather than the priest.

Read the whole thing but bottom line I’m certainly going to defer to Mr. Peters in a case like this.