The PJ Tatler

Washington Post Fury Over Denying Buddhist Communion

Today’s front page Washington Post story by Michael S. Rosenwald and Michelle Boorstein explains a lot.  One thing it doesn’t explain well is what happened in one Catholic church in Maryland.


In short, a priest denied communion to a woman at a funeral.  Catholic teaching is very clear on who may receive communion.  Among the people who should not present themselves for communion in a Catholic church are non-Catholics, such as Buddhists. From the Post story:

But Johnson is also a Buddhist who supports gay marriage and other progressive causes. Guarnizo [the priest], by contrast, once signed an elaborate document denouncing Catholic politicians who support “morally repugnant” ideas . . . Guarnizo, with the help of ex-World Bank and State Department officials, travels through Europe promoting free markets via conservative religious values.

When Johnson, who was also openly living with her female partner, presented herself for communion, Father Guarnizo denied it to her.  Rosenwald or Boorstein even bungle this part of the story:


The Rev. Marcel Guarnizo, standing before her, placed his hand over the offering bowl, denying her the sacrament.

The “offering bowl”?   An offering bowl is what is passed around to collect monetary offerings.  A communion bowl holds the Eucharist, or communion hosts.  In this slip up, the Post betrays the recurring ignorance of religious belief which animates not only this story, but also so many stories about religion, such as the Obama administration’s attack on religious liberty in the health care mandate. 

No wonder we find the headline Bleak outlook for US newspapers.”

Join the conversation as a VIP Member