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Fr. Marcel Guarnizo's Fate... Priestly Faculties Removed.

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PRIEST WHO DENIED LESBIAN COMMUNION HAS FUCULTIES REMOVED BY BISHOP.

The letter dated March 9, 2012 written by Bishop Barry C. Knestout, chief of staff to Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who heads the Archdiocese states as follows:

[i]"Dear Brother Priest,[/i]
[i]I write to inform you that effective today, Father Marcel Guarnizo’s assignment at St. John Neumann Parish is withdrawn and he has been placed on administrative leave with his priestly faculties removed until such time as an inquiry into his actions at the parish is completed,” Bishop Knestout said in his March 9 letter.[/i]
[i]“This action was taken after I received credible allegations that Father Guarnizo has engaged in intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry,”[/i]
[i]“Given the grave nature of these allegations, and in light of the confusion in the parish and the concerns expressed by parishioners, Father Guarnizo is prohibited from exercising any priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Washington until all matters can be appropriately resolved, with the hope that he might return to priestly ministry.”[/i]
[i]Sincerely in Christ
Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout
Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia" [/i]

Does anyone know if this is correct. It seems not to pertain to the previous controversy.

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I don't know if it's 100% confirmed, but a supposed scan of the letter was on a blog post I just read:
[img]http://i.imgur.com/X9yUe.jpg[/img]

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My first thought upon reading this was, who put forward this letter? It seems to be addressed to Fr. Guarnizo's pastor (Dear Brother Priest), so one would assume it was not released publicly.

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[url="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post_now/post/gaithersburg-catholic-priest-suspended-for-intimidating-behavior/2012/03/11/gIQAF4lk5R_blog.html"]http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post_now/post/gaithersburg-catholic-priest-suspended-for-intimidating-behavior/2012/03/11/gIQAF4lk5R_blog.html[/url]

Below is an excerpt from the article. This seemed to be the only updated information as the rest of the article restates what everyone knows.

[quote]
[color=#000000][font=arial][left]The archdiocese on Sunday confirmed Guarnizo's removal, and noted that Knestout's letter was read at all Masses this weekend at [url="http://www.saintjohnneumann.org/"]St. John Neumann.[/url] The pastor there, the Rev. Thomas LaHood, added some additional comments, including noting -- and repeating -- that the removal was not related to the Communion standoff, but "pertains to actions over the past week or two." He did not elaborate.[/left][/font][/color]
[color=#000000][font=arial][left]In announcing the penalty on Sunday, LaHood spoke at some length about the disagreements that have unfolded in the parish because of the funeral Mass scene.

"As we know there’s been disagreement within the parish over how and to whom Communion is distributed. From my perspective this disagreement and related emotions flow from love. Love for Christ, really and truly present in the Eucharist. However, how we live out this love is important. The Scriptures tell us that we are known above all by how we love," he said before reading the letter. After, he said "I realize this letter is hard to hear. Please keep mind that this is a first personnel issue, dealing with issues of ministry in the church. Father Guarnizo will have every opportunity to present his position."[/left][/font][/color]
[color=#000000][font=arial][left]An archdiocesan spokeswoman Sunday would not clarify if LaHood's comments meant that Guarnizo would not be penalized for his handling of Barbara Johnson at the funeral.[/left][/font][/color]
[/quote]



This is a mess for the Church. :amen: I'm afraid of what the other side will take from this. This is awful and will likely send the wrong implications.

Btw- I am [b]not [/b]saying the priest is completely innocent...

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Posted (edited) · Report post

This doesn't seem to be the type of document intended for public release. Which begs the questions: Who leaked it, and [i]why[/i]?

Edit: They actually used the Mass to discuss this and read the above letter? Really? Strange. Edited by penguin31

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Lets see, this priest makes a proper decision concerning the Most Holy Sacrament, the most important part of the Catholic faith and he is reprimanded and removed from his priestly duties and then a letter addressed to his Cardinal is leaked to further bring scandal and attention to the Church, sounds like the deceiver is involved in this. If anyone doubts that evil is present and alive and the Church is under attack in this time they are either naive or part of the problem.

ed

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wow. This looks like a messy situation.

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The letter seems disingenuous, but I agree it is not meant for the media. However it does say that the information was read at the parish.

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smh. They all need prayers, I will definitely keep them in prayers.

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From Ed Peter's Blog: [url="http://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/bp-knestouts-march-9-letter-on-fr-guarnizo/"]http://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/bp-knestouts-march-9-letter-on-fr-guarnizo/[/url]

Bp. Knestout’s March 9 letter on Fr. Guarnizo
March 11, 2012
Most of the lesbian/Communion controversy has been a dis-edifying parade of misleading commentary being proffered about misapplied laws. I don’t write here to correct these many errors, as their partisans (whether ‘left’ or ‘right’) don’t seem especially interested in what the law actually says, but I am happy to offer some observations on Bp. Knestout’s letter of March 9 for those who are trying to understand what is, and is not, at work in this matter.

1. Fr. Guarnizo has not been suspended (suspension is a canonical penalty levied only upon guilt for crimes, per c. 1333), but he has been placed on “administrative leave”, a term not found in the Code, but nevertheless serving as a practical description of a situation in which, usually, one is not permitted to function as a cleric for so long as a wider situation requires resolution. A priest’s faculties for confession, preaching (homilies), witnessing weddings, etc. can be restricted a couple of different ways, and there is no reason to think that those ways were not satisfied in this action (although direct discussion of them is lacking).

From the text of the letter, I cannot tell whether Guarnizo is prohibited from celebrating Mass even in private (he is certainly prohibited from public celebration), although the trend in such cases is to allow for private celebration. This question could easily be addressed between Knestout and Guarnizo, and probably has already been answered.

2. A vicar general almost certainly has sufficient authority to issue such a letter (c. 479 § 1); one may expect the Cardinal to be informed of this action in a timely manner (c. 480).

3. As a parochial vicar, Guarnizo has considerably fewer procedural rights to office than would a pastor. Compare a pastor’s rights under c. 522, etc., and c. 1740 etc., with those of a parochial vicar, per c. 552. All associate pastors know this.

4. Guarnizo is not “incardinated” in the Archdiocese of Washington (c. 265 etc.); the situation of an “extern” priest is inherently more tenuous than is the situation of locally incardinated clergy, it being a function more of contract (express or implied) than of law. All extern priests know this.

5. Little in Knestout’s letter suggests that this action is being taken in response to the lesbian/Communion controversy (though one may be sure that the pro-lesbian camp will claim victory, and the pro-Guarnizo camp will decry the ‘mistreatment’ of the priest).
The allegations of “intimidating behavior” by Guarnizo are not recited in Knestout’s letter, but three questions would occur to me: (a) is this just a pile-on by people looking to kick Guarnizo while he is down?, or (b) are there long-standing legitimate complaints against Guarnizo that the recent controversy made more likely to surface? , or (c) did Guarnizo’s post-controversy conduct in the parish render him intemperate with others, provoking what are really recent complaints? Such are the things that an investigation is designed to, well, investigate.

6. The letter expresses the hope that Guarnizo will be able to return to priestly ministry. + + +
XIX likes this

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I don't have as much a problem at someone self-identifying as a lesbian receiving communion as I do in someone who self-identifies as a Buddhist doing so. Someone with SSA may well be in communion with the church, but Buddhists probably aren't.

I suspect the main issue has nothing whatsoever to do with what happened at this funeral. Believe it or not, priests can have personal issues that can make them make poor interpersonal decisions. The media may well be focusing on just symptoms, whereas his bishop is attempting to deal with the underlying issue. Priestly personnel issues are difficult enough to deal with in an appropriate, compassionate manner without it becoming so public. I don't think any of us would like for a human resources letter from our employer to be made public in this manner.
Adrestia, AnneLine, Annie12 and 2 others like this

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Many prayers for this situation and all involved.

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I was very saddened to read about this. Obviously we don't know the full story but it appears (in my opinion, not knowing all the facts) that the punishment is far greater than the crime. We have fewer and fewer priests available to us.

I will pray for him and all those involved.

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Here's another article about it.

[url="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post_now/post/gaithersburg-catholic-priest-suspended-for-intimidating-behavior/2012/03/11/gIQAF4lk5R_blog.html"]http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post_now/post/gaithersburg-catholic-priest-suspended-for-intimidating-behavior/2012/03/11/gIQAF4lk5R_blog.html[/url]

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I couldn't read all of the comments, but I think this was one of those letters the diocese sends out for parishes to slip into bulletins (at least, it looks like the ones that came from the diocese I used to work in).

Prayers for all involved.

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When it comes to canon law, I'm sticking to Ed Peters. As far as I'm concerned he's the best source when it comes to situations regarding the application of canon law, which is what this is. If he's not concerned, then neither am I.
eagle_eye222001 likes this

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[quote name='Nihil Obstat' timestamp='1331592294' post='2399812']
When it comes to canon law, I'm sticking to Ed Peters. As far as I'm concerned he's the best source when it comes to situations regarding the application of canon law, which is what this is. If he's not concerned, then neither am I.
[/quote]

While I am very concerned, I'm trusting Ed Peters on this one. I really appreciate his calm objective applications of canon law on Catholic news items such as this one. He is very good in commenting on a situation and how it pertains to canon law without allowing emotion to overpower his analysis.

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I especially like Ed Peters because he always ruffles feathers with the question of clerical continence as applied to the permanent diaconate. :evil:

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He wrote a new blog post today.

[url="http://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/three-recent-questions-in-the-wake-of-the-lesbiancommunion-controvery/http://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/three-recent-questions-in-the-wake-of-the-lesbiancommunion-controvery/"]http://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/three-recent-questions-in-the-wake-of-the-lesbiancommunion-controvery/[/url]

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[b] [size=4]Ed Peters:[/size][/b]

[color=#000000][b] Three recent questions in the wake of the lesbian/Communion controvery[/b][/color]

[indent=3][color=#000000]275]March 13, 2012[/color][/indent]
[indent=3][size=1][color=#000000]275]
[size=1][size=4]I get paid to explain canon law in the calm context of the graduate classroom, where things like definitions, nuance, history, and values can be reflected upon by well-informed peers (or at least by students who do the readings!) But I never let my students forget that canon law is fundamentally a [i]legal system[/i], and that legal systems deal with [i]real people[/i], and that real people can make a [i]sorry mess of their lives and the lives of others[/i] in pretty short order. So, if the recent lesbian/Communion controversy affords us an unlooked-for opportunity, perhaps even a necessity, to explain some of the working of canon law, so be it. I’m game.[/size][/size]
[size=1][size=4]Here, I consider the three common questions about this case. Sometimes, yes, the questions are rhetorical and seem designed more to taunt than to inquire, but to the degree they nevertheless help surface issues that others might find instructive, let’s look at them.[/size][/size]
[size=1][size=4][b]Isn’t it just splitting hairs to describe Fr. Guarnizo as being on “administrative leave” when everyone knows he is suspended?[/b][/size][/size]
[size=1][size=4]We are talking canon law, right? Well, canon law is an ancient legal system that, over many centuries, has developed numerous terms of art. Canon law is not secret, but neither is it simple. Those who want to discuss canon law intelligently must understand and observe canonical definitions, or risk talking nonsense. In any case, it is not incumbent on canon lawyers to run around explaining their terms to everyone under the sun who wants to express an opinion about this canonical issue or that. Instead, it is incumbent on those many others to find out (or at least to take some guidance on) how canon law uses certain words before pronouncing judgment.[/size][/size]
[size=1][size=4]The word “suspension” denotes a canonical [i]penalty imposed only upon guilt[/i] for a canonical crime (c. 1333). In the not-too-distant past, some ecclesiastical officials, including bishops, misused the word “suspension” to describe what may be more accurately described as “administrative leave” (more about that in a sec), but when they did so, canonists, publicly and privately, corrected that misuse of terms and, for some time now, the mistaken use of “suspension” seems to have faded out among ecclesiastical leadership.[i] Deo gratias[/i]. Only to reappear now among some bloggers. [i]Sigh.[/i][/size][/size]
[size=1][size=4]But: if you are talking canon law, and you describe a cleric as “suspended”, you have described him as being guilty of a canonical crime. Therefore, those describing Fr. Guarnizo as “suspended” are canonically defaming him. Whether they know it or not.[/size][/size]
[size=1][size=4]Now, about “administrative leave”. Canon law, a living legal system serving a living Church, is trying to catch up to some recent developments in, among other things, the theology of holy Orders, which developments have brought about, among things, the eclipse of the Pio-Benedictine category of “simplex priest”, leaving a hole in the law, or at least in its terminology, to describe a priest who is [i]not[/i] under a penalty (c.o.), [i]nor[/i] irregular for orders (c. 1044), [i]nor[/i] restricted pursuant to a penal process (c. 1722). This category of priest undoubtedly exists (because faculties for preaching, confessions, sacramental acts, and so on, can undoubtedly be restricted or taken away without any suggestion of guilt, etc.), but the 1983 Code does not give us a neat term to denote such priests. Until such time, if any, as the Legislator chooses to give us such a term, the phrase “administrative leave” seems to cover that gap fairly well, or at least, it does so among people who know what they are talking about.[/size][/size]
[size=1][size=4]In short, the phrase “administrative leave” protects the reputation of the cleric in question; the term “suspension” marks him as a canonical criminal.[/size][/size]
[size=1][size=4][b]So, are priests supposed to help lesbian Buddhists commit sacrilege against Our Lord by giving them holy Communion?[/b][/size][/size]
[size=1][size=4]Deep breath, Ed….Okay. Let’s break this down.[/size][/size][/color]
[size=1][size=4][color=#000000][i]Lesbian[/i]. First, [/color][url="http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19861001_homosexual-persons_en.html"][color=#000000]the Church regards the homosexual/lesbian condition as “disordered”[/color][/url][color=#000000] in somewhat the same way that one may regard alcoholism as a “disorder”. According to our tradition, one may[i]not[/i] deny holy Communion to an individual suffering from a “disorder”, so, those Catholics calling for the banning of “a lesbian” from Communion are violating our tradition (not to mention our canon law). That said, however, it [i]is[/i] possible to deprive one of holy Communion who engages in conduct that amounts to canonically verified “obstinate perseverance in manifest grave sin” (c. 915), as canon law uses each of those terms. I have said from the beginning of this mess, verifiable conduct, not asserted status, is the only question relevant here. Now, if someone wants to make the case that [i]all five[/i] (per c. 18) of those banning conditions were canonically satisfied a few minutes before Mass one day, they are free to try. I think they would fail in the attempt, but that’s just my opinion. In any case, at least such persons would be talking about what is relevant here, the law on holy Communion, and not just using rhetorical questions as cudgels.[/color][/size][/size]
[size=1][size=4][color=#000000][i]Buddhists[/i]. Buddhists have no right to holy Communion; baptized persons, in accord with law, have the right to holy Communion (c. 912, etc.). This woman was baptized Catholic. The presumption is, therefore, that she had a right to Communion, and the burden is on those who would deny her same to prove that she is no longer permitted by law to receive holy Communion, here, on the grounds that she is a Buddhist. That is a heavy burden of proof, of course, and one not likely sustainable in a short conversation before Mass one day, and one made even more difficult in the wake of a [/color][url="http://www.canonlaw.info/canonlaw_discus.htm"][color=#000000]Notification handed down in April 2006[/color][/url][color=#000000] regarding the “formal act of defection” and its relation to, among other things, the canonical crime of apostasy (cc. 751, 1364), and in turn its impact on the application of wider canon law to such individuals. In short, canonists know that a Catholic’s[i]claim[/i] to be a Buddhist, and a Catholic’s [i]being canonically recognized[/i]as being a Buddhist, are very distinct things. Those who are not canonists may be excused not being aware of the difference, but not for ignoring it once it is pointed out to them.[/color][/size][/size]
[color=#000000][size=1][size=4][b]Given all the hoopla this lady has generated about herself, wouldn’t it be fair to say that if she presents herself for Communion again, she should be denied?[/b][/size][/size]
[size=1][size=4]Yes. With one caveat common among the doctors who have discussed these situations for several centuries—in contrast to most bloggers who have been aware of these questions for maybe several days.[/size][/size]
[size=1][size=4]Notoriety (of the type needed for denial of the Eucharist) in one place is not necessarily notoriety in another. Like other human communities, the cyber-community exaggerates how widely known are matters of interest to it. I would not want to see a priest unaware of this woman’s profile, etc., and giving her Communion, being torn to shreds by Catholic hotheads for desecrating the Eucharist. This is one more reason why Canon 915 (and a half-dozen other relevant norms) are so narrowly drawn: the primary responsibility for approaching holy Communion worthily rests with the individual (c. 916).[/size][/size][/color]
[size=1][size=4][color=#000000]This, mind, from someone who has labored for years, and who will continue to do so,[/color][url="http://www.canonlaw.info/canonlaw915.htm"][color=#000000] to get Canon 915 enforced properly[/color][/url][color=#000000]. + + +[/color][/size][/size]
[color=#000000][size=1]Ha! That’s the [i]second[/i] time the “s” in “controversy” has dropped out of my title! How funny.[/size][/color][/size]
[/indent] Edited by Nihil Obstat
AnneLine, XIX and penguin31 like this

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Posted · Report post

It's worth mentioning here that he's a priest of Russia and so the Archdiocese has to extend faculties for him to offer Mass and hear confessions regularly in the Archdiocese.

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Score one for the Roman Catholic Church standing behind it's own religious doctrine and priests that impliment it.

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