Ben Johnson

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Lesbian denied Communion at her mother’s funeral is also a Buddhist

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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GAITHERSBURG, MARYLAND, March 8, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The lesbian who is attempting to get a Catholic priest removed from his parish for denying her Holy Communion at her mother’s funeral is a Buddhist who describes herself as a “naturally born agitator” committed to a “culture war.”

Barbara Johnson created a national feeding frenzy after alerting the media that Fr. Marcel Guarnizo had refused to give her the Eucharist because she is a sexually active homosexual.

On February 26, Fr. Marcel Guarnizo of St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, covered the ciborium containing the Host as Johnson approached and whispered, “I can’t give you Communion because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the Church, that is a sin.”

In the ensuing national media coverage, Johnson was repeatedly painted as the victim of prejudice, while the priest was lambasted as a bigot, even being censured by his own diocese.

But in the days following the incident, new information has emerged about the woman at the center of the controversy that raises questions about why she presented herself for Communion in the first place. The priest had publicly explained the conditions for receiving Communion during the funeral mass.

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Johnson published a paper on Academia.edu entitled “Coming Out in the Heteronormative and Homophobic World of Education” that discussed her sexual and religion identification.

When taking a job as an art teacher in a Catholic high school, she wrote, “I felt I couldn’t allow myself to be put into a position to be closeted, even for a few months,” because doing so would leave her “feeling invisible and unworthy of knowing.”

“So in my interview with the principal we talked openly about my being a lesbian and a Buddhist.”

In a second paper she wrote, “As a Buddhist, my role model of an enlightened, highly realized, and happy human being is Gautama Buddha.”

Under canon law, only Roman Catholics are permitted to receive the Eucharist at a Catholic Mass.

In her paper about her experiences in Catholic education, Johnson portrays herself as committed to a “culture war,” insisting it is “important to note the place in which the issue exists in our society, a place of deep and historically violent conflict – war…Ironically, the group who most often portray LGBT people as a menace is the same group responsible for ‘virtually all rape, assault, murder, theft, child abuse, spouse abuse, and war.’”

She complained that her principal told her, “I’m no bigot” but warned her that some Catholic school parents object to teachers discussing their homosexual sex lives in class.

“I was forewarned, and now any problems I might have would surely be of my own making, and most likely, in need of my own solutions,” she wrote. “The decision was mine to make, and I made it with all the zeal and enthusiasm of any naturally born agitator who every now and again enjoys challenging the status quo. And how could I not take this opportunity to challenge this status quo where our laws ‘facilitate and nurture an educational system where schools are able to use tax money [or in this case government voucher money] to speak about respect while modeling bigotry’?”

In her paper, posted online “about a year ago” as a graduate student at Kutztown University, Johnson quoted John Howard Griffin’s statement that he wrote Black Like Me to show “the white majority how a small but powerful group of whites viciously oppressed blacks [while] well-meaning whites looked the other way.” She asked, “Isn’t it time the well-meaning heterosexual majority looked this issue straight in the eye?” 

She went on to liken societal “heterosexism” to the Jewish blood libel and the lynching of blacks, and hoped her words would “propel all educators out of our comfort zones and into action.”

Decrying “the false sexual binaries of mascule/feminine and heterosexual/homosexual,” she wrote LGBT people must be “embraced as part of a new, more expansive definition of normal.”

“The next step must be for the public school system” to “celebrate both LGBT faculty and students for the unique perspectives and experiences we can provide the greater school community,” she wrote.

Johnson says she facilitated this celebration in her career by teaching “a project based on Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party,” which is “based on tikkun olam...the Jewish concept behind much of Chicago’s work.” Students were asked to discuss “discrimination,” then create art projects, displayed throughout the school, “to honor…marginalized groups.”

Joshua Bowman, who runs the blog the “Prolix Patriot,” wrote, “a quick glance at the Facebook and Twitter pages of [Johnson’s] art school (for children!) reveals a series of pro-abortion and pro-[gay] links which are clearly and explicitly at odds with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Canon 915 of the Roman Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law states those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” However, canon lawyers disagree about how much interaction is necessary before a priest may deny someone Communion in practice.

A source close to the incident, Diego von Stauffenberg, told LifeSiteNews.com exclusively that Johnson introduced herself and her “lover” to Fr. Guarnizo before the ceremony. She then reportedly stormed out, with her lesbian partner blocking the door. After being denied the Eucharist by Fr. Guarnizo, Johnson went into another line and received Holy Communion from an Extraordinary Minister.

Von Stauffenberg’s account calls several aspects of Johnson’s story into question.

After the ceremony, Johnson wrote a complaint, leading to Archdiocese of Washington Auxiliary Bishop Barry Knestout penning a formal letter of apology blasting Fr. Guarnizo’s “lack of pastoral sensitivity.”

Popular Catholic clogger Thomas Peters writes at CatholicVote.org that, in light of Johnson’s history of activism, the entire ordeal constitutes “a blatantly political attempt by Johnson to generate sympathy and support for gay marriage and to foment public judgment against the Church.”

“The liberal narrative is that the Catholic Church is oppressing women,” Bowman wrote at Prolix Patriot, “but the truth is that radical liberals who do not believe in the Church’s teachings are manufacturing controversy with the help of manipulative media elites.”

Contact:
To email the Archdiocese: chancery@adw.org.
Communication should be directed to Bishop Barry Knestout.

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Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
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Vatican pressing forward with reform of US feminist nuns: Cardinal Müller

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says the Vatican is pressing forward with plans to reform the U.S.-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

In an interview published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the cardinal said that the reform of the LCWR, which was undertaken after an assessment of the group found serious doctrinal problems, will be carried out with the goal of helping them "rediscover their identity.”

“Congregations have no more vocations and risk dying out," Müller said. "We have first of all tried to reduce hostility and tensions, partly thanks to Bishop Sartain whom we sent to negotiate with them; he is a very gentle man. We wish to stress that we are not misogynists, we are not women gobblers! Of course we have a different concept of religious life but we hope to help them rediscover their identity.”

Moreover, the cardinal said that problems specific to the LCWR are not a reflection of all the women religious in the US.

"We need to bear in mind that they do not represent all US nuns, but just a group of nuns who form part of an association,” Müller said.

“We have received many distressed letters from other nuns belonging to the same congregations, who are suffering a great deal because of the direction in which the LCWR is steering their mission.”

Cardinal Müller's remarks confirmed the assertion he and the Holy See’s delegate to the LCWR, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, made in an address to LCWR officials in Rome on April 30, that the theological drift the feminist nuns are taking constitutes a radical departure from the foundational theological concepts of Catholicism.

The Holy See “believes that the charismatic vitality of religious life can only flourish within the ecclesial faith of the Church,” Müller said in the address.

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“The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration,” he stated.

The LCWR has openly defied the mandate of reform intended to bring their organization into line with basic Catholic doctrine on the nature of God, the Church, and sexual morality.

Among the CDF’s directives, to which LCWR has strenuously objected, is the requirement that “speakers and presenters at major programs” be approved by Archbishop Sartain. This, Müller has explained, was decided in order to “avoid difficult and embarrassing situations wherein speakers use an LCWR forum to advance positions at odds with the teaching of the Church.”

The LCWR has invited speakers to their Annual Assembly such as New Age guru Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Sr. Laurie Brink, who is particularly noted for flagrantly denying the Divinity of Christ and telling the sisters that to maintain their “prophetic” place in society they need to “go beyond” the Church and even “go beyond Jesus.”

In one of the first public statements of his pontificate, Pope Francis affirmed that the investigation and reform of the LCWR must continue.

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Brian Fisher

Birth mothers: real heroes of the pro-life movement

Brian Fisher
By Brian Fisher
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What does it mean to be brave? Is it the doctor who dedicates himself to improving the health of a third-world nation? Is it the woman who faces her third round of chemotherapy to fight the progression of cancer? Is it the teacher who forgoes the comforts of a suburban school to reach minorities in the inner city? All of these are examples of bravery demonstrated in exceedingly challenging circumstances. And our society longs for stories of bravery to inspire us and fill us with hope.

As someone who works day in and day out with those on the front lines of helping rescue babies from abortion, I’m no stranger to stories of bravery. I see courage every day in the eyes of the men and women who sacrifice their time and energy to help women facing unplanned pregnancies. I see it every time a young mom — despite being pressured by her parents or significant other to get an abortion — chooses LIFE. And perhaps more profoundly than in any other situation, I see it when an expectant mom with no relational support, job, or income chooses to place her baby for adoption rather than abort her son or daughter.

This was Nicky’s situation.

When Nicky found herself pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, her life was already in shambles. During her 26 years, Nicky had already given birth to and surrendered sole custody of a little girl, committed several felonies, lived in her car, lost several jobs, and barely subsisted on minimum wage. So when she met up with an old boyfriend, Brandon, Nicky believed she was being given a second chance at happiness. “Our first year together was beautiful. We were getting to know each other and deciding if we would stay together forever.” Unfortunately, a positive pregnancy test result changed everything.

“When I told him I was pregnant, Brandon sat down on the bed, looked me in the eyes, and told me to ‘get an abortion’.” Nicky says those three little words changed everything for her. “I became depressed living with someone who wanted his child ‘dealt with.’”  Like thousands of women every day, Nicky began searching online for information on abortion, hoping her boyfriend would eventually change his mind. Through our strategic marketing methods, Online for Life was able to guide Nicky to a life-affirming pregnancy center where she received grace-filled counsel. “The woman I sat with was beyond wonderful. She helped me to just breathe and ask God what to do….And so I did.”

Nicky left the pregnancy center that day with a new resolve to choose life for her child, even though she still wasn’t sure how she’d financially support a child. “I was alone with just $10 in my pocket…and without any type of plan for what I was going to do.” So Nicky relied on the support of the staff she met at the life-affirming pregnancy center. With their help and through a chain of fortunate events, Nicky was put in contact with the couple who would eventually become her daughter’s adoptive parents.

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After meeting this couple face to face and coming to terms with her own desperate situation, Nicky conceded that the best thing for her unborn child would be to place her in someone else’s loving home. She told Brandon about her plans and he agreed that adoption would give their child the best chance at a happy and secure future. He even returned home to help Nicky prepare for the birth of their child. “The weeks leading up to my delivery were filled with a mixture of laughter, tears, protectiveness and sadness,” Nicky recalls. But one sentiment continued to be shared with her. “Brave…so brave.” That’s what everyone from the life-affirming pregnancy center to the adoption agency to the birthing center kept calling Nicky. “The nurses kept coming up to me and telling me they were honored to care for and treat someone like me.” After several weeks of preparation, Nicky finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she made the dreams of a couple from the other side of the country come true.

Nicky’s adoption story continues to be riddled with a strange combination of pain and joy. “I cry every day, but I know my baby, who came out of a very bad time, ended up being loved by people from across the country.” When asked what message she’d like to share with the world about her decision to give up her child for adoption, Nicky responds, The voice of the mother who gives up a baby for adoption isn’t heard. We need to change that.”

To learn more about Online for Life and how we’re helping to make stories like Nicky and her daughter’s story a possibility, please visit OnlineforLife.org.

Author, speaker, and business leader Brian Fisher is the President and Co-Founder of Online for Life, a transparent, metric-oriented, compassion-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rescue babies and their families from abortion through technology and grace.

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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New York farmers stop hosting weddings after $13,000 fine for declining lesbian ceremony

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By Dustin Siggins

New York farmers Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who were ordered last week to pay $13,000 for not hosting a same-sex "wedding," say they are closing that part of their operation.

"Going forward, the Giffords have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their farm, other than the ones already under contract," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyer James Trainor. ADF represented the Giffords in their legal fight against New York's non-discrimination law.

Last week, the Giffords were ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to the state of New York and $3,000 in damages to a lesbian couple, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, who approached them in 2012 about hosting their "wedding." The Giffords, who are Roman Catholic, said their religious convictions would not let them host the ceremony, but that McCarthy and Erwin could hold their reception on their property.

Unbeknownst to the Giffords, the lesbian couple recorded the two-to-three minute conversation. After declining to hold the reception on the Giffords' farm, on which they live and rent property, the lesbian couple decided to make a formal complaint to the state's Division of Human Rights.

Eventually, Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that the Giffords' farm, Liberty Ridge Farm, constitutes a public accommodation because space is rented on the grounds and fees are collected from the public. The Giffords argued that because they live on the property with their children, they should be exempt from the state law, but Pares said that this does not mean their business is private.

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Trainor told TheBlaze that the Giffords' decision to end wedding ceremonies at Liberty Ridge “will hurt their business in the short run," but that was preferable to violating their religious beliefs.

“The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples,” he said.

However, "since the state of New York has essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions," Trainor explained to LifeSiteNews. "No American should be forced by the government to choose between their livelihood and their faith, but that’s exactly the choice the state of New York has forced upon the Giffords."

"They will continue to host wedding receptions," said Trainor.

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