Funerals are supposed to be a time of fellowship and celebration, where people gather together to mourn the loss and/or celebrate the life of a loved one. They're a time for the community to give comfort, consolation, and hope to each other and to the family of the deceased, especially to the immediate family, where the loss is often most sorely felt.
Unfortunately, some in the Catholic Church think that doesn't apply to LGBT people who refuse to submit to celibacy as Catholic teaching (ridiculously, insultingly, delusionally, hypocritically, etc.) demands.
The latest example of this comes from Missouri, where a Catholic lesbian revealed that she was denied communion at her mother's funeral after her parish's new priest learned about her committed same-sex relationship.
The St. Joseph News-Press reports:
Carol Parker and her partner of nearly 20 years, Josie Martin, live in the small town of Chula, Mo., and had been attending St. Columban Catholic Church in Chillicothe, Mo., for 12 years when Ms. Parker's mother passed away on Dec. 26. The obituary listed Ms. Parker as a surviving daughter and also mentioned her partner.
Later that week, Ms. Parker received a call from Father Benjamin Kneib, informing her that she and Ms. Martin would not be allowed to receive Communion at the Dec. 30 funeral. "It was a shock to hear him say that," Ms. Parker said. "I never expected that, especially at my mother's funeral."
Parker (pictured at left in the photo above, along with Martin) said that most of the other funeral attendees refused to take Communion as a show of support for the couple. Still, they left the church to attend another one further away because Kneib made them feel so unwelcome. Kneib has not apologized for excluding the couple from Communion, only for doing so at the funeral.
Parker's story is similar to that of Barbara Johnson, a Maryland woman who was also denied Communion at her mother's 2012 funeral because she is a non-celibate lesbian.
Communion -- known as the Eucharist to Catholics -- is sacred to LGBT and non-LGBT Catholics alike, who believe it to be the body of Christ. Regardless of whether or not one shares that belief, using the Eucharist as a weapon of punishment against LGBT people who have the courage to live and love openly and true to themselves is nothing short of reprehensible.
And to do so to the daughter of a deceased woman at her mother's funeral?!? Words simply cannot convey the depth of my disgust.
Maybe I'm crazy, but in all the Jesus stories I learned as a child I don't remember him ever turning anyone away. I guess "Father" Benjamin Kneib must just think he knows better than the teacher he purports to serve.