Remember Father Marcel Guarnizo, the black-caped Catholic priest who denied a lesbian communion at her mother’s funeral in Gaithersburg in February? Guarnizo became a lightning rod for both sides after that incident; some saw him as a hero of orthodoxy while others found his behavior cruel and un-Catholic.
Guarnizo, who grew up in Northern Virginia but became a priest in the archdiocese of Moscow, Russia, was placed on administrative leave in March by the Washington archdiocese, where he was assigned on a temporary basis. His pastor at St. John Neumann parish and archdiocese officials said at the time that he wasn’t being removed because of the communion controversy but because he engaged “in intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry.”
The archdiocese now confirms that Guarnizo is “no longer in ministry in the Archdiocese of Washington,” according to a spokeswoman.
Guarnizo is still formally part of the Moscow church, but apparently remains in this area and has become a popular speaker in some circles. The weekend before last Guarnizo gave the keynote “Religious Freedom and Democracy” at Patrick Henry College in Purcelville, Va.