Wow. As Catholic moments go, this one is, well, er:
Deep in grief, Barbara Johnson stood first in the line for Communion at her mother’s funeral Saturday morning. But the priest in front of her immediately made it clear that she would not receive the sacramental bread and wine.
Johnson, an art-studio owner from the District, had come to St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg with her lesbian partner. The Rev. Marcel Guarnizo had learned of their relationship just before the service.
“He put his hand over the body of Christ and looked at me and said, ‘I can’t give you Communion because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin,’” she recalled Tuesday.
At her mother’s funeral. Classy, Fr. Guarnizo.
Now she and her family are trying to get him removed:
“You brought your politics, not your God into that Church yesterday, and you will pay dearly on the day of judgment for judging me,” she wrote in a letter to Guarnizo. “I will pray for your soul, but first I will do everything in my power to see that you are removed from parish life so that you will not be permitted to harm any more families.”
I would never do something like that. The priest was wronger than wrong — unless, of course, he’s also denying communion to the Gingriches — but my instinct in a case like that would always be to turn on my heel and never go back. If the Lord works in mysterious ways, He certainly has his own plans for Fr. McJudgey.
Wednesday nights belong to me, and so this night I shipped myself off to the big Elmore Leonard lecture at the War Memorial (our community center). I don’t often sit in a crowd of people and think, “I’m the youngest person here,” but I did tonight. Well, Leonard is 85 or 86 now, so I guess it all fit. He told all the stories, many of which I’ve heard before, about showbiz, mostly, and why so many of his work’s film adaptations suck. His favorite was “Jackie Brown” (my second-fave). “Out of Sight,” my first-fave, almost fell apart, but didn’t. And now, new life with “Justified,” which won a Peabody last year.
The event was staged as a conversation, with his longtime assistant/researcher, Gregg Sutter, guiding the show. Leonard forgets things from time to time, but the two have a good rhythm, and he (Leonard) always manages to squeeze a laugh out of his senior moments. It was a nice hour or so.
He said he didn’t like the idea of ending “Out of Sight,” the film, with Clooney. “It’s her story,” he told Scott Frank, the screenwriter. “It’s his movie,” Frank replied. Righty-o. That movie made the Cloonster a romantic lead.
Jeez, I’m beat. I’m aware the blog has been suffering of late, but until the end of April, I simply don’t have the time or energy to give it my all. But now that it’s March, that’s only eight weeks away! I will survive!
And now that we’re on the downslope of the week, I’m feeling a lot perkier.