Missouri priest under fire for denying Communion to lesbian couple
CHILLICOTHE, MO, February 3, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Missouri priest ordained last May is being raked over the media coals for upholding Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality after he denied Communion to a woman that he discovered has been in a long-term lesbian relationship.
Father Benjamin Kneib of Saint Columban Catholic Church in Chillicothe found out that two women in his parish, Carol Parker and Josephine Martin, were lesbians and had cohabited for nearly twenty years when he saw the obituary notice for Parker’s mother. The obituary said she was survived by a son, a daughter and her “daughter’s partner.”
Parker told a local TV station that Father Kneib had called her the day before the funeral to tell her he could not offer her Communion.“ He had called me the day of the rosary and said he wouldn’t be able to give us communion because of our same-sex relationship,” Parker told Fox4KC.
Parker said that as a result she and her partner "will never step (sic) foot in the church again," though they have another church to attend.
The story is strikingly similar to the high profile case of Fr. Marcel Guarnizo, a parish priest in Maryland who made headlines in 2012 after denying Communion to a lesbian, Barbara Johnson, at her mother's funeral.
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The Archdiocese of Washington sent an apology to Johnson, and eventually placed Guarnizo on administrative leave.
Father Kneib declined to comment on the situation to LifeSiteNews.com.
In a short biography describing his decision to enter the priesthood published by Catholic Key, Kneib says he had considered a career in the US Marine Corps.
“I thought I might have a vocation to the priesthood, but was willing to consider this other path also,” Father Kneib said. “I didn’t see the two to be that distinct foundationally."
“I was raised to hold the priesthood in high regard and came to know many good priests growing up,” he said, adding that, “both pursuits are performed best when done for the sake of others."
“From a spiritual warfare standpoint, priesthood is like serving on the front lines of society,” Father Kneib said.
Father Kneib was one of six men ordained to the priesthood May 19, 2013, by Bishop Robert W. Finn in the diocese’s largest single ordination since 1982.