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Fr. Marcel Guarnizo Defends Himself Against Accusers (Why he denied Communion to a Lesbian)
Crisis ^ | 03/15/2012

Posted on 03/15/2012 3:05:11 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

Marcel_Guiz-192x192
Many Crisis readers are concerned at the reports that have begun to emerge regarding Fr. Marcel Guarnizo's denial of Communion to the alleged lesbian Barbara Johnson and the subsequent loss of his priestly faculties upon the authority of Cardinal Wuerl and communicated through a letter by Bishop Knestout, the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.. Crisis has been granted permission by Fr. Marcel Guarnizo to publish his account of the event in the hopes that this may help Catholics discern with charity what has happened.

Fr. Marcel Guarnizo's Statement of March 14, 2012:

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.

In all of the above circumstances, I would have been placed in a similar uncomfortable position. Under these circumstances, I quietly withheld communion, so quietly that even the Eucharistic Minister standing four feet from me was not aware I had done so. (In fact Ms. Johnson promptly chose to go to the Eucharistic minister to receive communion and did so.) There was no scandal, no “public reprimand” and no small lecture as some have reported.

Details matter. Ms. Johnson was not kneeling when she approached for communion, she did not receive the cup as the press has reported she has stated. It is the policy of St. John Neumann parish never to distribute under both species during funerals.

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 Mrs. Johnson’s 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 theCatholic 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; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture; Worship
KEYWORDS: communion; homosexuality; lesbian; mass

1 posted on 03/15/2012 3:05:17 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I’m reformed not RC, but in the spirit of Ambrose I applaud the excommunication of those who publicly flaunt their defiance to repent. No church can make righteous what God has already declared an abomination. Now the RCC should publicly and officially excommunicate Pelosi and all other RCs who support baby killing or homosexuality. Don’t give me the “they excommunicated themselves” line, they cannot baptize themselves into the church and they cannot excommunicate themselves either.


2 posted on 03/15/2012 3:18:19 PM PDT by DaveyB (Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. -John Adams)
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To: SeekAndFind

great letter


3 posted on 03/15/2012 3:22:09 PM PDT by MNDude
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To: SeekAndFind

Good to see that word is spreading.

This guy, Auxiliary Bishop Knestout, is clearly either an idiot or a malignant trouble-maker. His actions show no willingness even to investigate the case or interview the priest in question before acting.

Given what actually happened, with witnesses to support it, the decision makes absolutely no sense. It is contrary to Catholic teaching, and it invites the Gay Mafia to mount further deliberate attacks on the Church, as this lesbian clearly did. It is not the priest’s fault if she and her girlfriend decided to make her own mother’s funeral into a political incident.

I hope Archbishop Wuerl acts quickly to intervene in this mess. The longer he waits, the more blame will attach itself to him. Maybe he’s too busy making nice with Nancy Pelosi. I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but this is intolerable.


4 posted on 03/15/2012 3:25:07 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: SeekAndFind

Barbara Johnson is known to be a Buddhist, and marching in and declaring that the woman accompanying her was her lover purposefully set up a situation where the priest had every right to refuse her communion.

Her only reason for committing such a scene at her mother’s funeral was to embarrass and discredit the Roman Catholic Church AND I suspect to childishly and horribly disrespect the memory of her deceased mother.

This was a full-on assault on religious and conservative culture - Barbara Johnson displayed no tolerance for the dignity or feelings of others and reminds me of my own experience with radical homosexuals 35-years ago.

I was walking on a city street in Portland, Oregon, near the Pioneer Courthouse when accosted by two men. They crowded me agaisnt a store front, spit on me and shouted that I was “breeder shit”.

From the incident with Barbara Johnson, it is clear that radical queers haven’t changed at all.


5 posted on 03/15/2012 3:25:32 PM PDT by SatinDoll (No Foreign Nationals as our President!)
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To: SeekAndFind

I am a Catholic and this Priest did what I have always been taught was the correct thing to do. The Bishop should get his head out and fix this. How in the hell did he and the Cardinal get in their positions.


6 posted on 03/15/2012 3:34:54 PM PDT by mortal19440
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To: Cicero

“I hope Archbishop Wuerl acts quickly to intervene in this mess. The longer he waits, the more blame will attach itself to him. Maybe he’s too busy making nice with Nancy Pelosi. I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but this is intolerable.”

“Our primary job is to teach and try to convince people. The tradition in our country has not been in the direction of refusing Communion, and I think it’s served us well.”

—Cardinal Wuerl, of Washington

Oh yes, it’s just working out smashingly, Cardinal. Look at all the public Catholics that have been convinced.

Another opportunity seized to let everyone know the Eucharists isn’t really a big deal when you get right down to it. One can’t teach without discipline, any sane first grade teacher could tell the Cardinal that.

Freegards


7 posted on 03/15/2012 3:37:51 PM PDT by Ransomed
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To: SatinDoll

I’m sorry for your attack.

The Washington Post featured this today. The first half was Guarnizo’s account: He has been put on admin leave because of the incident. The Church is saying that is not the case, but there can be no other reason. He has been accused of some questionable behavior when all he wanted to do was get written corroborative accounts from two individuals from the funeral home who might have witnessed the event. He also said that he had to temporarily excuse himself from part of the service because he had a migraine attack.

The last half of the article was Johnson’s brother slamming the good priest and demanding his head for Guarnizo’s treatment of his sister.

I saw a picture today of Martin O’Malley, Maryland’s guv, reaching out and shaking Johnson’s hand. O’Malley pushed for a gay marriage bill here. His wife is a judge and was quoted in the press calling opponents of the gay marriage “cowards”. Clearly they are all activists.

I sure hope that Dolan puts the fear of God on Wuerl to do the right thing on this.


8 posted on 03/15/2012 3:52:50 PM PDT by battlecry
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To: battlecry
I sure hope that Dolan puts the fear of God on Wuerl to do the right thing on this.

Don't hold your breath. Dolan has apparently been a little over-tolerant toward gays himself.

Wuerl is going to jettison any priest, however brilliant, talented, and holy, who runs afoul of the gay lobby. He doesn't want anybody in his archdiocese, including himself, to be outed.

9 posted on 03/15/2012 4:18:10 PM PDT by ottbmare (The OTTB Mare)
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To: SeekAndFind

I am a Presbyterian Elder, and the way I see it, this woman was and is an unrepentant sinner, and thus not acceptable to come to the table. I applaud this Priest who was doing his job in protecting the sacrament.


10 posted on 03/15/2012 4:35:24 PM PDT by irishtenor (Everything in moderation, however, too much whiskey is just enough... Mark Twain)
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To: irishtenor

Well, this makes me wonder what Fr. Guarnizo would do if Nancy Pelosi, a vocal supporter of a woman’s right to have an abortion ( and in fact a supporter of Obama’s mandates), were to come to Communion...


11 posted on 03/15/2012 4:47:35 PM PDT by SeekAndFind (question)
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To: SatinDoll

RE: Barbara Johnson is known to be a Buddhist,

Then what business does she have demanding to receive communion?

This is not very different from Sandra Fluke demanding that a Catholic institution offer contraceptives to fornicating students.


12 posted on 03/15/2012 4:54:10 PM PDT by SeekAndFind (question)
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To: SeekAndFind

I know what would happen in my church.


13 posted on 03/15/2012 4:55:51 PM PDT by irishtenor (Everything in moderation, however, too much whiskey is just enough... Mark Twain)
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To: SeekAndFind

In these cases, certain bishops have proven to be enemies of The Church and the faithful every bit as much as any self-professed secularist or atheist.


14 posted on 03/15/2012 5:03:37 PM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by nature not nurture TM)
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To: SeekAndFind
To: Father Marcel Guarnizo

Dear Sir,

"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Timothy 3:12)

regards, HFR
15 posted on 03/15/2012 5:34:14 PM PDT by hfr (Liberalism is a moral disorder that leads to mental disorder (actually it's sin))
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To: irishtenor

Amen elder brother.


16 posted on 03/15/2012 5:36:19 PM PDT by hfr (Liberalism is a moral disorder that leads to mental disorder (actually it's sin))
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To: SeekAndFind

Barbara Johnson wanted to create controversy.

Barbara Johnson had an agenda.

Barbara Johnson succeeded in her trouble making.

Barbara Johnson is probably quite proud of herself.


17 posted on 03/15/2012 5:50:51 PM PDT by Mears (Alcohol. Tobacco. Firearms. What's not to like?)
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To: SeekAndFind
This impels me to respond at length.

Last Sunday our sermon was on: Timothy 4:1-5.

The pertinent verse I want to point out is verse 3:

"Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." (1 Timothy 4:3)

As to forbidding to marry, consider Ephesians 5:22-33. The verse that is important to note for our purposes here is verse 32:

"This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. " (Ephesians 5:32)

An attack upon marriage is an attack upon the relationship of the Church to Christ. But as we know, Jesus is building His Church and,

"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18)

Next, the commanding to abstain from meats should be seen in light of the passage in Acts chapter 10,

"On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. " (Acts 10:9-15)

To forbid the eating of meat is in effect to teach that what God has called clean is actually unclean. So it means to teach rebellion against God. It is but a short step from there to teach unbelievers that something is clean even if God has called it unclean (think abortion for example).

What we are witnessing in our days is just what Paul said to Timothy:

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;" (1 Timothy 4:1)

18 posted on 03/15/2012 5:54:38 PM PDT by hfr (Liberalism is a moral disorder that leads to mental disorder (actually it's sin))
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To: DaveyB
No church can make righteous what God has already declared an abomination. Now the RCC should publicly and officially excommunicate Pelosi and all other RCs who support baby killing or homosexuality. Don’t give me the “they excommunicated themselves” line, they cannot baptize themselves into the church and they cannot excommunicate themselves either.

No argument here. I have stood face to face with the bishop of my diocese and called him out in public. The history of the Church shows that it moves slowly. Never enough to satisfy you or me.

I'll bet anything that 20 years from now, we'll have an entirely different perspective. Look how long it took to canonize Scripture, for instance, or to formally declare just what the Trinity means.

19 posted on 03/15/2012 6:15:40 PM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: irishtenor
I am a Presbyterian Elder, and the way I see it, this woman was and is an unrepentant sinner, and thus not acceptable to come to the table. I applaud this Priest who was doing his job in protecting the sacrament.

Amen, brother.

I trust that the good padre is buoyed by the Lord and support from all. I know that he is getting torrents of support from some unexpected allies. Reminds me of Theoden seeing the Elves marching up to Helm's Deep to be in on the fight...

20 posted on 03/15/2012 6:21:06 PM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: battlecry

Thanks for your sympathy. The fact is, I’ve known many homosexuals of both sexes and find they are no better or worse than any run-of-the-mill human beings.

Stories like this one make me suspect that the world is upside down and the Roman Catholic church is on the slide.


21 posted on 03/15/2012 7:21:17 PM PDT by SatinDoll (No Foreign Nationals as our President!)
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To: MarkBsnr
The history of the Church shows that it moves slowly. Never enough to satisfy you or me.
I'll bet anything that 20 years from now, we'll have an entirely different perspective. Look how long it took to canonize Scripture, for instance, or to formally declare just what the Trinity means.

I agree with you 100%. However, I DO applaud the Catholic Church's slowness. It works for me, now that I am old and my brain has cleared up a bit from its fog of the early years of life. I think that the deliberation is one of the strong "selling" points for the Church. Nothing happens without a whole lot of deliberation, prayer and consultations. The bishops of the world have to be consulted when anything of doctrine and morals come up in the way of change.

I think that the unity of the Church is what Jesus wanted. I think division only weakens all of us Christians. There ARE divisions in Islam but darn few (less that five, I believe).

My prayers for this priest. He's taken a lot of heat. He knows he's right. I know he's right. God bless him.

22 posted on 03/15/2012 8:55:21 PM PDT by cloudmountain
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To: SatinDoll
Barbara Johnson is known to be a Buddhist, and marching in and declaring that the woman accompanying her was her lover purposefully set up a situation where the priest had every right to refuse her communion.
Her only reason for committing such a scene at her mother’s funeral was to embarrass and discredit the Roman Catholic Church AND I suspect to childishly and horribly disrespect the memory of her deceased mother.
This was a full-on assault on religious and conservative culture - Barbara Johnson displayed no tolerance for the dignity or feelings of others and reminds me of my own experience with radical homosexuals 35-years ago.
I was walking on a city street in Portland, Oregon, near the Pioneer Courthouse when accosted by two men. They crowded me agaisnt a store front, spit on me and shouted that I was “breeder shit”.
From the incident with Barbara Johnson, it is clear that radical queers haven’t changed at all.

You are 100% right about Johnson's probable motives. She was cruising for her cause, deliberately setting up the priest for that confrontation. Homosexuality ISN'T ever going to be normalized...because it IS abnormal, down to the bones of our human DNA.

As for the two men who accosted you, they deserved to be reported to the police, charged with assault. With THEIR attitude they would end up in the POKEY, where they deserve to be for their assault on you.

Radicals of any ilk are scarey. Part of the scarey is that they are emotional retards who can be swayed with the emotion of the moment. That's how lynch mobs start.

The next time you feel a scarey moment, get outta Dodge...hit the road and run. Discretion IS the better part of valor.

23 posted on 03/15/2012 9:15:23 PM PDT by cloudmountain
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To: cloudmountain

Actually it wasn’t a scarey moment, because I probably could’ve kicked both their arses!

I’ve known for a very long time that homosexuality is a personality disorder with sexual identity as a fixation. Most homosexual men are, deep down, terrified of women. I pity them. The present attempt to force others to accept their mental and emotional disorder as normal is pathetic and doomed to failure.

It takes real courage to look deep inside and face one’s demons.


24 posted on 03/15/2012 9:21:36 PM PDT by SatinDoll (No Foreign Nationals as our President!)
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To: SeekAndFind
I'll take Father Marcel Guarnizo’s word about what really happened over Ms. Johnson's any day. That he was suspended is outrageous! That fact alone will spur more rabble-rousers to test the limits and intimidate ALL upstanding Christian congregations. We MUST be prepared. Forewarned is forearmed.
25 posted on 03/15/2012 9:46:53 PM PDT by boatbums (Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us. Titus 3:5)
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To: SatinDoll
Barbara Johnson is known to be a Buddhist, and marching in and declaring that the woman accompanying her was her lover purposefully set up a situation where the priest had every right to refuse her communion.

You've erred a bit here. It isn't that he had a *right* to refuse the Eucharist, he had an *OBLIGATION* to do so...

the infowarrior

26 posted on 03/16/2012 2:21:01 AM PDT by infowarrior
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To: infowarrior

Yes. I knew that. Slip of the tongue, er, fingers.


27 posted on 03/16/2012 2:55:46 AM PDT by SatinDoll (No Foreign Nationals as our President!)
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To: SeekAndFind

The Pope needs to intervene in this as it seems his Bishops are either unconcerned or “too busy” with other matters.

But he won’t. Fine church this RCC.


28 posted on 03/16/2012 7:37:21 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: SeekAndFind

The persecution is going to get so much worse. Stand up
for the Truth. Father was right in what he did.

It’s up at http://www.spiritdaily.com

Father Guarnizo is no longer with the Archdiocese.

“I saw souls falling into hell like snowflakes.”
St. Teresa of Avila


29 posted on 07/12/2012 12:46:04 PM PDT by stpio
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