Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Lesbian in Maryland denied communion at her mother's funeral service
There was a flap over the way a woman was treated at her mother’s funeral at a Catholic church (St. John Neumann Catholic Church) in Gaithersburg, MD. The woman, Barbara Johnson, was denied communion by Rev. Marvin Garizino, after he found out she was a lesbian. “I cannot give you communion because you were with a woman, and that is a sin.”
The archdiocese of Washington apologized to the woman and says it treat this as a “personnel issue”.
It strikes me that the teachings of the Church would mean that a woman is in sin if she will not give herself to a man or take a vow of poverty.
I looked through some more literature for rationalization of this sort of thinking, and the first thing that popped up was a paper (Andrew J. Sodegren) that doesn’t deny immutability (in fact, it welcomes the notion that immutability of many situations is a necessary part of creation) but goes back to “original sin” to justify all individual hardships and challenges, link here. In Vatican thinking there seems to be a notion that everyone must accept the sacrifices that come from the hand that he or she is dealt,, so as to show that he or she “needs God”. (I didn't see the Santorum-like argument about society's "future" here that I would have expected.) One could make more of the argument that one needs a social context and identification for one’s life, because at the individual granular level, life is “unfair”.
The WJLA news story is here.
My own mother died in December 2010, and in my protestant practice there was no communion at the memorial service. There were testimonials and music.