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Father Marcel Guarnizo: 'I Did The Only Thing a Faithful Catholic Priest Could Do' (Ecumenical)
CNS News ^ | 03/14/2012 | Father Marcel Guarnizo

Posted on 03/14/2012 2:13:02 PM PDT by Pyro7480

I would like to begin by once again sending my condolences to the Johnson family on the death of Mrs. Loetta Johnson.

I also feel obliged to answer questions from my parishioners, as well as from the public, about the incident on February 25th.

Here are the facts: On Saturday, February 25th I showed up to officiate at a funeral Mass for Mrs. Loetta Johnson. The arrangements for the Mass were also not my own. I wish to clarify that Ms. Barbara Johnson (the woman who has since complained to the press), has never been a parishioner of mine. In fact, I had never met her or her family until that morning.

The funeral celebration was to commence at 10:30a.m.

From 9:30 to 10:20, I was assigned to hear confessions for the parish and anyone in the funeral party who would have chosen to receive the sacrament.

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.

I understand and agree it is the policy of the archdiocese to assume good faith when a Catholic presents himself for communion; like most priests I am not at all eager to withhold communion. But the ideal cannot always be achieved in life.

In the past ten days, many Catholics have referenced Canon 915 in regard to this specific circumstance. There are other reasons for denying communion which neither meet the threshold of Canon 915 or have any explicit connection to the discipline stated in that canon.

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.

During the two eulogies (nearly 25 minutes long), I quietly slipped for some minutes into the sacristy lavatory to recover from the migraine that was coming on. I never walked out on Mrs. Loetta Johnson’s funeral and the liturgy was carried out with the same reverence and care that I celebrate every Mass. I finished the Mass and accompanied the body of the deceased in formal procession to the hearse, which was headed to the cemetery. I am subject to occasional severe migraines, and because the pain at that point was becoming disabling, I communicated to our funeral director that I was incapacitated and he arranged one of my brother priests to be present at the cemetery to preside over the rite of burial.

Furthermore, as the testimony of the priest that was at the cemetery conveys, he was present when the Johnson family arrived, and in fact mentioned that being called to cover the burial rite is quite normal, as many priests for reasons much less significant than mine (rush hour traffic, for example) do not make the voyage to the cemetery. He routinely covers for them. This change in plans, was also invisible to the rest of the entourage. Regrets and information about my incapacitating migraine were duly conveyed to the Johnson family.

I have thanked the funeral director and the priest at the burial site, for their assistance that day. Mrs. Loetta Johnson was properly buried with every witness and ceremony a Catholic funeral can offer. I did not and would not refuse to accompany Barbara Johnson and her mother to the cemetery because she is gay or lives with a woman. I did not in any way seek to dishonor her memory, and my homily at the funeral should have made that quite evident to all in the pews, including the Johnson family.

I would like to extend again to Ms. Johnson and her family, my sincerest condolences on her mother’s death. I would never intentionally want or seek to embarrass anyone publicly or increase anyone’s emotional distress during such a difficult time. I did not seek or contrive these circumstances.

But I am going to defend my conduct in these instances, because what happened I believe contains a warning to the church. Such circumstances can and will be repeated multiple times over if the local church does not make clear to all Catholics that openly confessing sin is something one does to a priest in the confessional, not minutes before the Mass in which the Holy Eucharist is given.

I am confident that my own view, that I did the only thing a faithful Catholic priest could do in such an awkward situation, quietly, with no intention to hurt or embarrass, will be upheld.

Otherwise, any priest could--and many will--face the cruelest crisis of conscience that can be imposed. It seems to me, the lack of clarity on this most basic issue puts at risk other priests who wish to serve the Catholic Church in Washington D.C.

As to the latest allegations, I feel obliged to alleviate unnecessary suffering for the faithful at St. John Neumann and others who are following the case.

I wish to state that in conversation with Bishop Barry Knestout on the morning of March 13, he made it very clear that the whole of the case regarding the allegations of “intimidation” are circumscribed to two conversations; one with the funeral director and the other with a parish staff member present at the funeral. These conversations took place on March 7th and 8th, one day before the archdiocese’s latest decision to withdraw faculties (not suspend, since Cardinal Wuerl is not my bishop) on the 9th of March. I am fully aware of both meetings. And indeed contrary to the statement read on Sunday, March 11th during all Masses at St. John Neumann, both instances have everything to do with the Eucharistic incident. There is no hidden other sin or “intimidation” allegations that they are working on, outside of these two meetings.

The meetings in question, occurred in our effort to document from people at the funeral Mass in written form a few facts about the nature of the incident. We have collected more than a few testimonies and affidavits, testifying to what really took place during the funeral liturgy.

My personal conversation with both parties in question were in my view civil, professional and in no way hostile. I respect both individuals in question and really do not know the nature of their grievance.

On March 13, I asked Bishop Knestout about detail on this matter but he stated that he was not at liberty to discuss the matter. I would only add for the record, that the letter removing me from pastoral work in the Archdiocese of Washington, was already signed and sealed and on the table when I met with Bishop Knestout on March 9, even before he asked me the first question about the alleged clash.

In the days to come I look forward to addressing any confusion about the above conversations if the archdiocese or the persons involved wish to talk about it publicly or privately.

I am grateful for all the good wishes and prayers I have received. And sincerely, having lost my own mother not long ago, I again extend my condolences to the Johnson family. I finally wish for the good of the Universal Church, the archdiocese, my parish and the peace of friends and strangers around the world, that the archdiocese would cease resolving what they call internal personnel matters of which they cannot speak, through the public media.

I remain my bishop’s and my Church’s, and above all Christ Jesus’ obedient servant,

Very truly yours,

Father Marcel Guarnizo


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: christophobia; communion; eucharist; frguarnizo; guarnizo; holycommunion; homosexualagenda; lesbianbuddhist; lesbians; religiousleft
Pray for all parties involved!
1 posted on 03/14/2012 2:13:05 PM PDT by Pyro7480
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To: Siobhan; Canticle_of_Deborah; NYer; Salvation; american colleen; Desdemona; StAthanasiustheGreat; ..

Catholic ping!


2 posted on 03/14/2012 2:14:01 PM PDT by Pyro7480 (Viva Cristo Rey!)
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To: Pyro7480

That poor priest had to waste an hour of his life writing that letter, as if he’s not busy enough.


3 posted on 03/14/2012 2:20:16 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (If knowledge puffs up, information positively deludes.)
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To: Pyro7480

I believe these types of occurances are going to increase.
Its a full frontal assault on the Catholic church. Tell me how this ends?


4 posted on 03/14/2012 2:27:35 PM PDT by americas.best.days...
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To: the invisib1e hand

Block my Pastor in the Sanctuary and meet the curb outside.


5 posted on 03/14/2012 2:28:00 PM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: Pyro7480

I’m not Catholic, but this Priest is the real deal!

Remember the words of Jesus John 7:7 as he spoke to the Jewish leaders: “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil.”

The world hates those who point the light of Christ on their sin.


6 posted on 03/14/2012 2:28:37 PM PDT by The Unknown Republican
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To: Pyro7480

This priest is a good, honorable priest.

Compromise exists when both sides argue from a state of righteousness. But when one is righteousness, and one is not, there can be no compromise, as it would be a betrayal of the righteous.


7 posted on 03/14/2012 2:29:52 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy ("Raising Public Awareness" means "I'm a scoundrel selling snake oil.")
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To: Pyro7480

I believe these types of occurances are going to increase.
Its a full frontal assault on the Catholic church. Tell me how this ends?


8 posted on 03/14/2012 2:30:02 PM PDT by americas.best.days...
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To: Pyro7480
The whole incident is the most glaring example of lies and unfair treatment I have ever seen in my life. Father Marcel has been continually lied about by an anti-Catholic lesbian activist who used her own mother's funeral as an opportunity to provoke an event to attack Father Marcel and the Catholic Church. The media made no attempt to print he truth but instead labeled the lesbian a lifelong Catholic and pretended she had been humiliated and her mother had not been given a Catholic funeral.

Lie after lie from the media.

9 posted on 03/14/2012 2:32:11 PM PDT by detective
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To: Pyro7480; narses

I’m waiting for Wiccans and Satanists to show up for Communion. If a Lesbian Buddhist is entitled, why not everyone else?

As a Baptist and former Catholic, I did not attempt to participate in the Communion service at my Mother’s funeral. I sat quietly and showed respect while my sisters and others partook.


10 posted on 03/14/2012 2:36:54 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear (No More RINOS!)
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To: Pyro7480

It has also been revealed that this lesbian woman has elsewhere claimed to be a “Buddhist.”

Having grown up nominally “Catholic” she would have known every clearly what she was doing.

Sounds to me like an angry, mentally unstable dyke (sorry, but I have found most lesbians are) was looking for a fight.


11 posted on 03/14/2012 2:39:03 PM PDT by PGR88
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks Pyro7480.
Here are the facts: On Saturday, February 25th I showed up to officiate at a funeral Mass for Mrs. Loetta Johnson. The arrangements for the Mass were also not my own. I wish to clarify that Ms. Barbara Johnson (the woman who has since complained to the press), has never been a parishioner of mine. In fact, I had never met her or her family until that morning. The funeral celebration was to commence at 10:30a.m... 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.

12 posted on 03/14/2012 2:39:25 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
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To: The Unknown Republican

Thank you for your very inciteful post. How appropo and encouraging.
Speaking Truth is like that.


13 posted on 03/14/2012 2:40:46 PM PDT by RitaOK (LET 'ER RIP, NEWT. Newt knows where all the bodies are buried, because he buried them.)
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To: Pyro7480

The root cause of confusion and distrust in this matter is Cardinal Wuerl’s longstanding, notorious intellectual dishonesty on the matter of Canon 915. As long as Wuerl remains dishonest on this matter, his priests will be at risk of being set up as was Fr. Guarnizo—and of being defamed by the Archdiocese.


14 posted on 03/14/2012 2:46:16 PM PDT by Arthur McGowan (In Edward Kennedy's America, federal funding of brothels is a right, not a privilege.)
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To: Pyro7480

God bless Father Marcel Guarnizo for having the backbone to stand by his principles, and those of His once-great church.


15 posted on 03/14/2012 2:47:45 PM PDT by Rapscallion (The best way to enforceObama's "fairness" is Socialist tyranny.)
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To: Pyro7480
Excellent letter from Fr. Guarnizo.

This is the letter I sent right afer the story broke:

Sent to:
chancery@adw.org

His Excellency, Bishop Barry Knestout
5001 Eastern Avenue
Hyattsville MD 20782-3447

Copy to:
Fr. Marcel Guarnizo
St. John Neumann Catholic Church
9000 Warfeld Road
Gaithersburg, MD 20882

Your Excellency:

I was disturbed when I read that Fr. Guarnizo had rudely refused Holy Communion to a woman at her mother’s funeral. It was only later that I realized that I had misjudged the situation by letting anti-Catholic secular press define it for me; that there was a lot more to the story; and that the lesbian Buddhist, Ms. Johnson, actually set a trap which many, including you, your Excellency, fell into.

Ms. Johnson announced her unrepentant grave sin in a challenging way: not only to Fr. Guarnizo, but to the public at large.

She put Fr. Guarnizo into a situation that could not be handled in a quiet, private manner: she herself made every effort to make it a public issue.

Fr. Guarnizo, for the good of this woman’s soul (1 Corin. 11:29) chose to do what he could to prevent sacrilege. This is his duty as a priest.

The spectacular success of Ms. Johnson’s ploy guarantees that the sacrilege will be repeated again and again; in your Archdiocese, and in others.

This should have been a positive “teachable moment”. Upholding Fr. Guarnizo, the Archdiocese could have said that the Eucharist must never be profaned by being received unworthily, but that any repentant person can be received back into the Church by the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Instead, Fr. Guarnizo has been maligned and slandered. This is scandalous. He ought now to be restored by a public affirmation of his innocence.

If I have misconstrued what happened because of faulty and tendentious reporting, I would gladly be corrected.

Yours in Christ our Lord,

[signed]

16 posted on 03/14/2012 2:48:51 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("The first duty of intelligent men of our day is the restatement of the obvious." George Orwell)
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To: Pyro7480

Is it any wonder the ADW needs to borrow priests to conduct funerals.

Heretics


17 posted on 03/14/2012 2:55:04 PM PDT by rwilson99 (Please tell me how the words "shall not perish and have everlasting life" would NOT apply to Mary.)
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To: Pyro7480

Unfairness and obtuseness from Weurl don’t link up exactly, do they? The other Bishop over Father G should be a little more forthcoming, unless these unfortunate migraines are somehow becoming a private health problem deserving of attention, perhaps a cause for incidents.

I am reaching here, I know, on behalf of the odd actions of the Bishop. Otherwise, the Bishop’s behavior has the appearance of one who is apostate!


18 posted on 03/14/2012 2:57:54 PM PDT by RitaOK (LET 'ER RIP, NEWT. Newt knows where all the bodies are buried, because he buried them.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
“Fr. Guarnizo, for the good of this woman’s soul (1 Corin. 11:29) chose to do what he could to prevent sacrilege. This is his duty as a priest.”

Father very quietly and discreetly refused to give communion. It didn't matter, Ms. Johnson went into the other line and took communion from the Eucharistic minister. He hadn't heard Father refuse communion because he had done it so quietly and discreetly.

This woman is not a Catholic. She is a self-proclaimed Buddhist and lesbian activist.

19 posted on 03/14/2012 3:02:55 PM PDT by detective
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To: Grizzled Bear

As a former Baptist and Catholic, I fear for all of us. The church stands in the way of the “fundamentally transformed” US, and no demomination will be spared the wrath of the secular anti-Christian radicals. They simply go after the Catholics because they are the largest group. And you can bet they will receive plenty of press coverage when things like this occur. These folks pledge no allegiance to anyone except their anti-Christian president. He is, after all, the one they’ve been waiting for.


20 posted on 03/14/2012 3:07:55 PM PDT by NotTallTex
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To: americas.best.days...
Tell me how this ends?

For such a time as this: http://www.patburt.com

21 posted on 03/14/2012 3:08:14 PM PDT by stars & stripes forever (Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!)
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To: Grizzled Bear

And you sir, will receive blessings in return. Thank you for your respect. It is appreciated.


22 posted on 03/14/2012 3:16:36 PM PDT by JCBreckenridge
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To: Pyro7480

He should have himself properly ordained (subconditional)
and go “independent”.


23 posted on 03/14/2012 3:26:44 PM PDT by BonRad (Ut Roma cadit, sic omnis terra -As Rome falls, so the entire world)
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To: Pyro7480; All

The full on assault against the Church is upon us.

I was driving to work this morning listening to talk radio when the conservative host mentioned that the Obama administration has placed the Catholic Church on a money laundering watch list. Does anyone know anything about this?


24 posted on 03/14/2012 3:29:32 PM PDT by surroundedbyblue (Live the message of Fatima - pray & do penance!)
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To: Pyro7480

Quite a risk to publish this. The local bishop will not be happy! I will pray for the priest.


25 posted on 03/14/2012 3:38:49 PM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: surroundedbyblue
Yes, the Obama admin. did do that: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2856922/posts
26 posted on 03/14/2012 3:41:11 PM PDT by Pyro7480 (Viva Cristo Rey!)
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To: Pyro7480

This was an attack from an angry and unhappy person. She deserves no respect and is not “entitled” to special treatment. The Catholics in Congress who voted to support funding of Planned Parenthood need to be excommunicated. There are no issues here that have gone unanswered, this was simply an attack on the Catholic Church and as others have said, correctly, this is just the beginning. I will pray for Father Guarnizo he is a good man blindsided by the army of Christ haters who have taken over the public airways and newspapers in order to destroy Christianity.


27 posted on 03/14/2012 3:50:02 PM PDT by Rockiette (Democrats are not intelligent)
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To: Pyro7480

Oh thank you.....I’ve been away on vacation & am just returning to work and my “normal” life so I guess I’m a bit behind on FR as well as the news.


28 posted on 03/14/2012 4:34:15 PM PDT by surroundedbyblue (Live the message of Fatima - pray & do penance!)
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To: redgolum

My four year old offered a decade for this priest tonight, as well as all priests who are weak, tempted, persecuted, sick, lonely, or dying.

I love our priests & pray for them all, but Fr Marcel is in special need of prayer right now. May God bless him & keep him.


29 posted on 03/14/2012 4:35:52 PM PDT by surroundedbyblue (Live the message of Fatima - pray & do penance!)
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To: massgopguy

talk about your basic pushy broad.


30 posted on 03/14/2012 4:40:00 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (If knowledge puffs up, information positively deludes.)
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To: Pyro7480

Wow! Well said, Father.

Prayers up for this priest and for all faithful priests targeted in the persecution that will soon be full on.


31 posted on 03/14/2012 4:42:04 PM PDT by Bigg Red (Pray for our republic.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Excellent letter.


32 posted on 03/14/2012 4:46:01 PM PDT by Bigg Red (Pray for our republic.)
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To: Pyro7480

He did what every catholic priest should do. What is the problem with that?


33 posted on 03/14/2012 5:24:36 PM PDT by maxwellsmart_agent
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To: Mrs. Don-o
Good letter, Mrs. Don-o! I was talking to my co-workers about this today, one a lapsed Catholic, another an Episcopalian of dubious conviction, one a Protestant and the fourth whose beliefs are unknown to me. None of them have any concept of what the Real Presence means and none of them see anything wrong with non-believers receiving the Catholic Eucharist.

I believe that Fr. Guarnizo handled the matter correctly, particularly considering the offhand and late in time way the woman's orientation was disclosed to hm. It is clear to me that he had a duty to prevent sacrilege which he discharged correctly.

I am appalled at the way my Bishop has handled this matter. Fr. Guarzino, IMHO, deserves accolades for his steadfast adherence to his priestly obligations.



Nos genuflectitur ad non princeps sed Princeps Pacem!

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. (Isaiah 49:1 KJV)

34 posted on 03/14/2012 7:22:16 PM PDT by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines RVN 1969 - St. Michael the Archangel defend us in Battle!)
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To: redgolum
Yep, this statement is the "nuclear option". He is refusing to grovel and apologize, he has publicly defended himself AND he has contradicted the word of the auxiliary bishop (Knestout) in the most adamant and unambiguous way.

As a result, his ministry in the Archdiocese of Washington is almost certainly at an end and he may have to look out for incoming from his own bishop, also.

35 posted on 03/14/2012 7:41:54 PM PDT by marshmallow (.)
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To: Pyro7480

He was fluked.

Set up start to finish.

Punished for his fidelity.


36 posted on 03/14/2012 7:43:22 PM PDT by TASMANIANRED (We kneel to no prince but the Prince of Peace)
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To: marshmallow

Yup, bishops don’t like anyone to see a priest forging upstream when they are floating on past. We’ll see what happens. Seems like if what he said is true about having eye witnesses then he can burn them pretty good for looking so foolish.

Who is is this guy’s bishop? It’s not C. Wuerl, is it someone in Maryland? Or am I missing something and it is the aux. bishop?

Freegards


37 posted on 03/14/2012 8:39:48 PM PDT by Ransomed
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To: Ransomed

Wish I knew who his bishop is. I believe it’s someone outside the Archdiocese but aside from that, I’m clueless.........


38 posted on 03/15/2012 7:02:31 AM PDT by marshmallow (.)
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To: marshmallow

IIRC he is incardinated in Moscow. How he got to DC might be an interesting story.


39 posted on 03/15/2012 7:18:06 AM PDT by pbear8 (the Lord is my light and my salvation)
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To: Ransomed

Ping to post #39.


40 posted on 03/15/2012 7:20:50 AM PDT by marshmallow (.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Good letter!


41 posted on 03/15/2012 10:07:40 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To: Pyro7480; NYer; Mrs. Don-o; holdonnow; rush; narses; Salvation

Things you need to know:

Read under the click to support life re: academia papers written and subjects:

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/lesbian-denied-communion-at-her-mothers-funeral-is-also-a-buddhist

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/exclusive-inside-sources-provide-new-info-on-priest-censured-for-denying-le

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-03-14/news/bs-md-new-ways-20120314_1_new-ways-ministry-catholic-bishop-lesbian

Outside Maryland, Catholics may not know what has been going on re: push for same-sex marriage

http://queeringthechurch.com/2011/02/20/the-catholic-push-for-maryland-equality/#more-15067

http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/engel/110401

Other reads you may explore:

***Follow the timeline:

http://newwaysministry.org/

http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otn.cfm?id=897

For those in the parish, see comment #1 here, for some info to consider:

http://awashingtondccatholic.blogspot.com/2012/03/should-you-cancel-your-cardinals-appeal.html

I’m driving down to D.C. after we do St. Pat’s this weekend. Emailed friends there who are on top of it.

Pray and Fast. Thank the Lord for this opportunity to sweep the threshing room floor. He has made the two ways clear for those with eyes to see. Pray for faithful priests. I pray also for the dissenters and that Ms. Johnson will soon realize it was for HER soul and not taking damnation unto herself (see Paul), that she was refused communion (note he gave the ‘who should come up for communion re: preparation’ before they came up).

We have created monsters by not teaching, preaching, living our faith; Many will have to answer to God... including myself, for not speaking enough when I should.


42 posted on 03/16/2012 6:28:49 AM PDT by AliVeritas (God's will be done. Pray, Pray, Pray, Penance, Penance, Penance.)
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To: massgopguy
Ditto. My version is dubbled, the laying on of hands, both ways.

We'll need more combines, there's a lot of threshing to be done. Maranatha!

Let the priests preach the truth, soon will be the time of martyrs in this country.

43 posted on 03/16/2012 6:48:10 AM PDT by AliVeritas (God's will be done. Pray, Pray, Pray, Penance, Penance, Penance.)
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To: Pyro7480

More prayers for a good an holy priest, suffering as his Lord did.

This verse comes to mind: “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” JN 18:23


44 posted on 03/16/2012 10:13:23 AM PDT by jjm2111
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