Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
A recently ordained priest from Missouri is under fire for denying Communion to a parishioner last month after he discovered that she was in a long-term lesbian relationship.
LifeSiteNews.com is reporting that Father Benjamin Kneib of St. Columban Catholic Church in Chillicothe did not realize that two women in his parish, Carol Parker and Josephine Martin, had been cohabitating as lesbian partners for 20 years until reading the obituary for Parker’s mother. It said that she was survived by a son, a daughter, and her “daughter’s partner.”
According to Parker, Fr. Kneib called her the day before the funeral to let her know that he could not offer her Communion.
“It was a shock to hear him say that,” Ms. Parker told NewsPressNow.com out of St. Joseph, Missouri. “I never expected that, especially at my mother’s funeral.”
According to Parker, most people at the funeral chose not to take Communion out of respect for her and her partner.
As is becoming the case with any homosexual who is being confronted with authentic Church teaching by a courageous priest, the couple now claims to feel unwelcome at the church and have started to attend another church an hour away.
“That was our faith community. It really took away a lot of things for us,” Parker said. “He (Father Kneib) would still like to see us there, but I don’t feel like I’m welcome if I can’t take part in the main focus of the Mass.”
Fr. Kneib’s follow up letter to Parker stating that “having a same-sex attraction is not sinful in and of itself … it is only when a person moves from attraction to willfully acting upon it that the situation becomes a sinful matter,” was immediately taken to the local gay activist’s office.
In the letter, he also apologized that this had to happen at her mother’s funeral even though it was certainly not the priest’s fault that Parker neglected to confess this sin for 20 years. Perhaps she is just poorly catechized but even that is hardly an excuse when the Church’s position on homosexuality is under constant scrutiny by the media in these days of advancing same-sex “rights”. Surely she could have picked up at least an inkling of the fact that her relationship is in violation of Catholic teaching on same-sex attraction.
At least one parishioner has gone on the record praising Fr. Kneib in the form of a comment posted at the end of a blog about the incident appearing on the Connecticut Catholic Corner blog.
“We are blessed to have Fr. Kneib as our pastor! Stand Strong Fr.!” said the commenter named Cws94family. ” . . . We have not lived here for a very long while, but these two have been seen off and on at Masses over the last several years. We have been told they go back and forth between our parish and the local Episcopal church. Now, while we didn’t really know what was going on, we suspected it, but still hoped for the best…that perhaps they were living as sisters. And as far as we know, only one of them is actually a Catholic.”
Cws goes on to explain that he/she did not go to the funeral, but “I don’t believe many of the parishioners I know would have refused to receive Holy Communion to stand in solidarity either. I think that part is being blown out of proportion, it is obvious these two have been coached by their LGBT group.”
This is just another let’s-try-to-force-the-Church-to-change-her-teaching story, as evidenced by Parker’s expressed hope that the priest might “open his eyes and fully receive the LGBT community into the church.”
The only way Church teaching on this subject will ever change is if the Bible changes – which will never happen.
Let us keep all involved in this incident in our prayers!
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