Marcel Guarnizo is a sterling example of the priesthood

Guarnizo was asked to officiate at the funeral of a woman in Maryland. They should have got a humanist celebrant, because a humanist wouldn’t do what Guarnizo did next.

My friend Barbara, the daughter of the deceased woman, was denied communion at her mother’s funeral. She was the first in line and Fr. Guarnizo covered the bowl containing the host and said to her, “I cannot give you communion because you live with a woman and that is a sin according to the church.” To add insult to injury, Fr. Guarnizo left the altar when she delivered her eulogy to her mother. When the funeral was finished he informed the funeral director that he could not go to the gravesite to deliver the final blessing because he was sick.

A funeral is an important event: it marks the end of a life, and is a moment when those who loved the deceased gather to share their pain and their good memories. It’s a huge responsibility to stand up and lead one. Guarnizo did not meet the responsibility he owed to that family. He is a disgraceful human being, or if I care to repeat myself, a priest.

He’s also a fanatical anti-choice activist who pretends to care so much about little babies, but when a living, conscious woman stands before him, grieving for her mother, all pretext of compassion abandons him and all he cares about is policing her sexual behavior.

Like I said, a priest.


  1. sumdum says

    At least we can hope now that their entire family has witnessed this behavior, they’ll think about it a little and perhaps even turn their back on the catholic church.

  2. McCthulhu, now with Techroline and Retsyn says

    It still utterly boggles my mind how anyone could be or would want to be a member of the RCC. The headlines, the child rape, the protection of child rapists, the misogyny, patronizing patriarchal snobbery, the culpability in AIDS deaths by making self-protection a sin, the bizarre guilt, the mental self-flagellation….do people’s fears over death overcome their sense of pain avoidance? There is zero reason to be a member of this church. I’m not advocating religion, but fuck, if you’re going to join one, join one of those happy, celebrate life, get a soul singer and a choir and not mope around and cross ourselves at every superstitious imagined portent and event kind of churches.

    If you’re still in this cult, you haven’t even remotely made the slightest attempt to wonder why, or you are certifiably demented.

  3. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    Guarnizo did not meet the responsibility he owed to that family.

    But he did, you must admit, meet the responsibility he owed to the church. A family in grief has been, is, and will continue to be, considered a moment for recruitment (and this is not just the RCC, but any of the myriad Christian sects).

    He is a disgraceful human being, or if I care to repeat myself, a priest.

    And he did what a priest is supposed to do. The priest is no longer there to provide comfort or solace. Today’s priest, just as the priests of the late Roman period, is a recruiter — we must, must, must get more (paying) members!

    He’s also a fanatical anti-choice activist who pretends to care so much about little babies, but when a living, conscious woman stands before him, grieving for her mother, all pretext of compassion abandons him and all he cares about is policing her sexual behavior.

    Well, babies are naturally RCC. They haven’t made the choice to be actual, y’know, humans. Because humans are so full of sin that, without the tithes, they are hopelessly lost.

    Damn, but I feel cynical this morning.

  4. datasolution says

    I can’t feel sorry for that lesbian, it was her choice to indulge in disgusting superstition.

    People like her are deplorable idiots.

  5. Eric R says

    The power of accurate observation is called cynicism, by those who havent got it. Ogvorbis you aren’t being cynical, just observant.

  6. David Marjanović says

    do people’s fears over death overcome their sense of pain avoidance?

    Yes, of course.

  7. madknitter says

    The RCC is far more concerned with foetuses than with living people. Foetuses are easy to project upon, after all, not like living people who have real needs, contrary desires, and in the best cases, minds of their own. Tax the church, and fuck the pope.

  8. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    People like her me are deplorable idiots.

    FIFY. What a homophobic bigot.

  9. grumpy1942 says

    @Nerd #10

    I like your posts, and don’t want to appear critical, but I think datasolution was being satirical. S/he denounce the lady not for having a girlfriend, but for being a catlick.

  10. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    And I suppose Barbara can’t even do anything about it. As Ogvorbis said, the priest followed the teachings of RCC and I doubt he would be reprimanded.

  11. komponist says

    @Nerd #10

    I like your posts, and don’t want to appear critical, but I think datasolution was being satirical. S/he denounce the lady not for having a girlfriend, but for being a catlick.

    That’s the way I read it, too.

  12. Thy Goddess says

    I won’t step on grieving people, but why didn’t the rest of the family stand up for her? That asshole was insulting the deceased’s DAUGHTER.

    I would’ve kicked him out of the funeral right there and finished the job myself. Jesus or no.

  13. Thy Goddess says

    Uuuhh… I think Datasolution was being massively satirical. I could be wrong but it didn’t strike me as he was serious there.

  14. says

    Grumpy and Komponist: No, Datasolution was not being “satirical.” He has proven himself to be a hateful troll in the past. He is claiming without sarcasm or irony that, because this woman is Catholic, she deserved to be shamed at her mother’s funeral.

    I don’t know, but I don’t think being an atheist obliges me to wish that kind of pain on people simply for being religious.

  15. says

    Another example of a Catholic priest acting like a fucking asshole at a funeral:

    A friend of mine at work in Chicago went to Wisconsin for the weekend. On the way home he was killed in a car accident. His mother was an extremely religious Catholic. About five of us went to his funeral. His mother was very upset. Her son was very young. We all agreed he was the nicest person we ever met. The asshole priest spent a lot of time talking about the dead man not going to church very often. His mother became more upset. The despicable priest then walked in a circle around the coffin with some idiotic device that spread smoke into the air. The idea was this hocus pocus was necessary to make up for the obvious fact (to the idiot priest and the brainwashed mother) my friend’s soul was on the way to a magical hell. At this point the mother had a complete breakdown. Uncontrollable sobbing. Everyone in that church wanted to kill the priest.

  16. Thy Goddess says

    @Daisy: Oh shit, he’s serious? See, that was so cartoony hateful it’s easy to mistake it for humor.

  17. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I agree datasolution wasn’t being homophobic in any explicit way that I can pin down.

    However, datasolution is being disgustingly open about victim blaming. How is it clear and/or true that the daughter arranged the ceremony? How is it clear that the daughter chose this priest? Does the deceased’s will specify anything about the ceremony? We don’t know, and datasolution doesn’t care. Whatever family pressure might exist, however going through the motions might help make peace in a family that, with a conservative priest and a lesbian daughter, might actually be all too rare.

    Maybe the daughter did plan everything – while fully aware of this priest’s nature. But maybe not.

    And anyway, why would it matter? This is the same crap that says that we shouldn’t have sympathy for a rape victim b/c ze dated someone who had previously hit a partner or shouldn’t have sympathy or shouldn’t have sympathy for police/ firefighters/ servicemembers who die in the line of duty.

    It’s crap and it’s not needed around here.

  18. Aquaria says

    Why didn’t someone stand up, go to the priest, grab him by the ear, and tell the scumbag, “You’re fired, you hateful piece of shit.”

    And then thrown his sorry ass out of the service, and demanded a priest who wasn’t a bigot.

    But nooooo, they have to “respect” this scumbag because it’s “his” church. But isn’t it their church, too?

    Wait–what am I thinking? This is the RCC. Of course it’s not their church. It’s the RCC’s church.

    The one thing about Protestants that actually makes some sense is that they’re a light years more democratic and people-powered. Most of them can rise up and toss out a minister who does things that are just plain wrong. That isn’t the case with the Catholics.

  19. greame says

    “I barely knew Philip, but as a clergyman I have no problem telling his most intimate friends all about him.”

  20. janine says

    There are some apologetics who love to drag out the “what would you tell your dying grandmother” card; as if the grandmother is a theists and you have never spoken of this with her before. Yeah, that is so insulting in so many ways.

    Remember this story for the next time some brain stem uses that tripe in order to show how lacking in compassion you are. This priest could not even reach the lowest baseline of compassion.

    As for the datacupcake, he is a known shit stain, he has forfeited any benefit of the doubt. Thank you Ms. Daisy Gutter for showing what a waste of meat datacupcake is.

  21. quoderatdemonstrandum says

    datasolution @ 5

    I can’t feel sorry for that lesbian, it was her choice to indulge in disgusting superstition.

    People like her are deplorable idiots.

    If this is satire, its really bad satire. If this is not satire then allow me to prove how datasolution is, like said priest, an arsehole.

    The article states that Mother and Daughter loved each other.

    Mummy was catholic and loved her lesbian daughter in spite of her religion.

    Lesbian daughter did not choose Mummy’s religion.

    Lesbian daughter presumably did not choose rabidly anti gay priest to officiate at the funeral.

    Mummy did a really crap job of planning her funeral.

    Lesbian daughter had a right to grieve for her mother, even in a catholic church, without being humiliated by priest on a point of dogma.

    Priest could easily have avoided a scene by speaking with daughter beforehand and agreeing how they would handle the awkward situation.

    Priest chose to humiliate daughter publicly and intrude on her grief in order to make a religious point.

    Datasolution, like the priest, is an arsehole.


  22. janine says

    People, follow Ms. Daisy Cutter’s second link, the datacupcake claims that women routinely lie on matters of rape and uses something called the false rape society to back it up.

    Being an asshole would be an improvement for the datacupcake.

  23. raven says

    Every time a xian commits an atrocity, an atheist is made.

    Or .1 atheist, or 4 atheists.

    I don’t know whether this is true. It has to be true for some value of X atheists made because the Catholic church has lost 22 million members recently.

    If the churches and the xian religions keep driving away people with their continual atrocities, some day they will be small enough to drown themselves in a bathtub.

  24. raven says

    Vancouver Sun Douglas Todd

    The Catholic church is losing huge numbers of members. If ex-Catholics were their own denomination, they would make up the third largest denomination in the United States, according to The National Catholic Reporter. Canadians have much to learn from a powerful new study released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which shows that one out every 10 Americans is now an ex-Catholic. {Scroll through my take on more Catholic church issues.}

    “Any other institution that lost one-third of its members would want to know why. But the U.S. bishops have never devoted any time at their national meetings to discussing the exodus. Nor have they spent a dime trying to find out why it is happening,” writes Jesuit Father Thomas Reese continues

    I’m baffled by what the RCC is doing lately. They seem to be deliberately driving anyone with a normal mind away. They’ve lost 1/3 of their membership, 22 million people.

    The priests and bishops these days seem to be mostly none too bright, warped old men. I use the word “mostly” in case there a few who are not, but I certainly haven’t heard of any.

    My best guess is that the US RCC wants to gather up the worst of our society, the haters and crazies like Rick Santorum and Bill Donohue. And then launch a crusade against their latest hate target (atheists? gays? Lutherans? Cat minders?) and kill a few million people. Or something.

    Unfortunately, I also realize that besides being my “best guess” it doesn’t make sense and probably isn’t true. I don’t have a “second best guess”. Whatever, maybe the church just decided to downsize or commit suicide.

  25. Gregory Greenwood says

    Catholic priests just never learn, do they? Of all people, they really are the last who should seek to judge anyone else for their sexuality. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with being a homosexual, but child rape and its systemic coverup is another matter.

    I have never understood why bigots like this dog-collar wearing cretin feel such hostility toward homsexuals – in what way are they harmed because two (or more) consenting adults express their sexuality behind closed doors? What possible harm could it cause?

    Ordinarily, if this were a case of priestly bigotry toward a male homosexual, I would suspect that the priest was projecting his own devalued and repressed homosexual tendencies onto the target of his bigotry, and this was the reason why he would behave in such an ugly fashion, but it seems relatively unlikely that this is the case here – the only explanation that I can think of is that this is an instance of straightforward hatred of the mere existence of sexual difference, a knee-jerk discriminatory reflex rooted in toxic religious indoctrination.

    Once again, it seems that the supposed ‘religion of love’ has rather more to do with hatred.

  26. says


    People like her are deplorable idiots.

    I’m surprised you haven’t suffocated yet, considering how far you have your head jammed up your anus.

    I think the daughter in this story was just fine, certainly not an idiot and did not deserve such wretched treatment.

    You, on the other hand, are an idiot, even a deplorable one, and your persistent trolling is much worse than annoying, it’s boring. You’re a toxic douchetart, bereft of intelligence and utterly pointless.

  27. Gregory Greenwood says

    datasolution @ 5;

    I can’t feel sorry for that lesbian…

    So, you feel no empathy for another person who is in pain? Why doesn’t that surprise me?

    … it was her choice to indulge in disgusting superstition.

    On what basis do you assume that she ‘chose’ catholicism? Has it occurred to you that she may have been raised in that faith, and has not yet broken free of it despite its poisonous homophobia? Many of the regulars here are former theists who could easily explain to you just how hard it is to break free of the social conditioning that comes with religion, assuming that you could exit your cloud of judgemental, self-righteous, MRA mental masturbation long enough to actually listen and understand, that is.

    For that matter, we don’t even know if she is a committed catholic, and isn’t simply going through the motions to spare the feelings of others of her family – one’s catholic mother’s funeral may not be the best venue to publicly declare one’s newfound atheism, afterall.

    In any case, the fact that she is a catholic in no way makes what was done to her any less repugnant – that disgusting excuse for a human being deliberately sought to shame her for her sexuality while she was grieving. There is no excuse for that.

    People like her are deplorable idiots.

    Shiny, shiny mirror…

  28. ButchKitties says

    Shit like this is why I took the trouble of ragequitting/Actus Formalis’ing instead of just not going to church anymore. It wasn’t that I thought my baptism really needed undoing. It was mostly about taking the opportunity to tell the RCC just how badly it has failed at being a source of goodness or morality in the world, and a little bit about getting extra insurance that if I died before my SO became my legal next of kin, my parents wouldn’t have the option of a Catholic funeral.

  29. says

    I’m amused at how someone said they saw no homophobia in douchesolution…despite that he refered to her as “that lesbian”. As if her sexuality was the key feature…not the daughter or you know her name. Poor word choice? Maybe but I doubt it

  30. says


    I’m amused at how someone said they saw no homophobia in douchesolution…despite that he refered to her as “that lesbian”.

    Some peoples try waaaaay too hard to be accommodating. They bend over backwards so far they end up being a floor mat.

  31. janine says

    Caine, Crip Dyke is not a person who seems like she would allow to be used as a floor mat. I will give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she has not stepped into the datacupcake’s droppings.

  32. says

    I like to assume the best…but sometimes it pays to assume the worst. If the person was earnest they’d feel bad about being insulting and sounding biggoted appologize and learn an important lesson for later. Coddling people like datasantorum only excuses biggots or harms allies by letting them go off and make an ass of themselves later. Better to firmly yet measuredly call someone out when you see it for a minor embarassment then letting them go on and continue to sound like a twit.

  33. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    despite that he refered to her as “that lesbian”.

    That I why I called it a homophobic bigot. While it may have snarked why didn’t she give up the church, funerals are for the living, and that includes relatives of the deceased who are catholic. There was no need for the priest to be a raving hardass.

  34. Roving Rockhound, collector of dirt says

    Similar thing happened to my mother. RC priest in a almost-exclusively RC Latin American country. When my grandfather died, the priest (who was considered a friend of the family, not some random dude) pulled my mother aside right before the first of the 9 post-death masses and told her that she couldn’t take communion because she was living in sin, being married to a divorced man (my father). When my father died, the same priest pulled my mother aside before the one and only post-death mass (I put my foot down and told her I refused to go to 9 of them) and told her that now that my dad was dead she was not living in sin anymore and was therefore welcome to take communion again.

    I would have told the man that he was a fucking bastard. She didn’t, but she didn’t take communion either. Somehow she still believes in god, although she’s not a huge fan of the RCC anymore and will openly criticize them a bit.

  35. says

    Crip Dyke said Derpsolution “wasn’t being homophobic in any explicit way that I can pin down.” While, obviously, as a straight person I’m not as finely attuned to homophobia as she almost certainly is, the phrasing “that lesbian” flew by me the first time, too. I was too bowled over by his over-the-top victim blaming.

    But, yeah, what Ing said at #39. “That gay,” “that Jew,” or “that black” would sound just as bad. In fact, so would “that gay person,” “that Jewish person,” or “that black person.”

  36. Owlmirror says

    [Comic Sans]“I cannot give you communion because you live with a woman and that is a sin according to the church.”[/Comic Sans]

    Nuns are all sinners?

  37. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    the phrasing “that lesbian” flew by me the first time, too.

    Yeah. I missed it, too.

    Which is one of the reasons I read the comments, even on threads in which I do not participate. It is a rare thread that does not include an “Oh, shit, I really am a moron,” moment for me.

  38. says

    Again I could just be picking at nits…but even if so the response is enlightening and a good barometer of the character of the person in question.

  39. qwerty says

    Wow, as a gay man this could happen to me, but I don’t think it would.

    The priest at my mother’s parish was kind enough to do a mass for my recently deceased father who only attended church for funerals, weddings, and baptisms. He was even kind enough to do a eulogy even though he knew little about my father.

    So, not all priests are assholes, but this one in Maryland is.
    Apparently he didn’t have ANY respect for the deceased mother or he would have given her daughter communion and saved his acidic comments for another day.

    It’s no wonder that when I take my mother to church (then, I leave and return later to pick her up) all I see is mostly the elderly attending mass. As someone posted earlier, 22 million have left the church and insensitive priests like this JERK will keep driving more away from the faith.

  40. kp71 says

    You didn’t quote the rest of the friend’s description in the original article. She turns around and says that Fr. Guarnizo is just not a “real” Christian.

    It is time for Christians of all stripes to stop and think about the teachings of the Jesus they proclaim to love so deeply and revere so much. I spent twelve years in Catholic school and the Jesus I was told about would never have turned away anyone for any reason and certainly not on the occasion of burying a parent. Fr. Guarnizo has a lot to learn about Christianity and the Catholic Church has a lot to learn about the teachings of Jesus if behavior of this sort is tolerated.

  41. interrobang says

    Being an asshole to the decedant’s family is not exclusively reserved for Catholic clergy, either. My great-aunt was murdered a couple of years ago, and the family had to find someone to do the funeral service. I don’t know where they found this guy, some Anglican of some sort or other, but he didn’t have much to say about my great-aunt (he didn’t know her at all), so he made an elaborate and clumsy segue, and spent most of the service talking about his “pilgrimage” he went on, walking between “holy sites” in Spain. He also pointedly did not talk to the family afterward, probably because we were all ready to run him off.

    Nearly every experience I’ve had with clergy and funerals has been bad, and I had to watch a United Church of Canada minister hijack friends’ wedding once.

    More pleasantly, the weirdest experience I’ve ever had with clergy was the time a Catholic priest blessed me (laying on of hands and everything) for being a technical writer. I was so stunned, I didn’t know what to say. (I assure the court that any hypothetical deity had nothing to do with my choice of career.)

  42. bjornbrembs says

    A good friend of mine was buried about fifteen years ago. We were about the same age, in our late 20s when he had a motorbike accident. He left a wife and a toddler daughter. At the funeral, the female priest (protestant) told the attendees that it was his own fault, driving to fast and all that, risking his life and leaving his family. The grieving widow ran out of the church, screaming and crying.

    Nothing political there, just plain old stupidity and lack of compassion.

    I’m glad I was an atheist already then, so there wasn’t much respect lost. It still takes you by surprise when something like that happens, though.

  43. Rich Woods says

    @interrobang #55:

    More pleasantly, the weirdest experience I’ve ever had with clergy was the time a Catholic priest blessed me (laying on of hands and everything) for being a technical writer.

    Maybe he’s one of those priests who really appreciates a good manual.

    Sorry! I’ll get me coat…

  44. Happiestsadist says

    The last experiences I’ve had with Catholic priests: A friend of mine died at 23 of a heart defect. His very Catholic extended family arranged for a funeral Mass (with his mother apologetically explaining to me that it’s pretty much entirely for the family, and yes, she knew that he was an atheist). The priest, knowing only what my friend was studying, went on about how he was an environmentalist for Gaaaaaaaawd blah de blah. It was pretty gross.

    A few months later, my devout-but oddly progressive maternal grandmother passed away. So there I was, standing between my parents at the receiving line by the casket in the funeral home, when up comes the priest who did did the priesting when my grandmother was alive and well (she suffered from Alzheimer’s in the last years). He spends entirely too long telling my parents what an attractive daughter they had and not. letting. go. of. my hands. After he left, I asked my folks “Did that just really happen? Really?”

    Priests: Doing antitheists’ work for them.

  45. unclefrogy says

    not to be in any way “sticking up” for mr solution who is as has been said already at the very least an insensitive self-adsorbed jerk. I do think that the daughter is living in denial if she did not expect to be condemned in some way by the church and the fucking priest it is what they do.
    It was naive to think otherwise it is not some abstract idea they rail about it is the natural behavior of human beings that they condemn in every sermon I remember it is some sin condemned by god, it is all about guilt so advocate and practice repression in life so as to avoid torture in the fucking afterlife.
    The poor fucking priest who lives with his own guilt and personal repression acts like some old testament prophet it helps him assuage his own guilt. If one the characteristics of insanity is irrationality and someone really practices say christianity with all the necessary irrational repression wouldn’t you expect them to be functionally insane?

    I have compassion for the daughter and to some extent the priest who is also a victim but it is true the victims often become victimizes and people have been known to punish themselves for some felt guilt and grief often has an element of guilt mixed in.
    the whole dam mess just sucks!

    uncle frogy

  46. Owlmirror says

    I spent twelve years in Catholic school and the Jesus I was told about would never have turned away anyone for any reason and certainly not on the occasion of burying a parent.

    Alas, she might not have been told about this, but Jesus is on the record as saying, in Matthew 8:21-22 — And another of the disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus saith unto him, Follow me; and leave the dead to bury their own dead.

    Similarly in Luke 9:59-60.

  47. Granny Weatherwax says

    Reminds me a little of when my dad died. He’d turned Seventh Day Adventist some time ago, and his minister came to the visitation. I don’t know what Dad had told him about me (the leftist lesbian witch), but he was clearly not happy to be there talking to me. I didn’t realize it at the moment, being somewhat preoccupied, but my friends said he was fishing to find out if Dad had left the church any more money. When it became clear no money was forthcoming, the minister left in something of a huff…and then mysteriously became too busy to perform the funeral service the next day, which was instead taken on by parishoners who had been Dad’s friends. Dad had been a WWII vet, and the minister didn’t show up at the graveside for the military burial ceremony, either. At the time I was weirdly amused by all the childish bad behavior, but I am angry over the disrespect from a “man of god,” someone my dad believed in and trusted, and who walked away when a gullible old man stopped being useful to him. Sociopath.

  48. says

    Datasolutions continues his track record as a horrible human, I see.

    Last I checked, being catholic is not grounds to be racist, sexist, or anything else. No reason that she ‘deserves’ a jackass priest telling her not to be queer either.

  49. Anri says

    Guarnizo did not meet the responsibility he owed to that family.

    Gonna have to disagree with you on this one, PZ.
    A priest’s responsibility is to enforce a hierarchical, dictatorial, Bronze-Age by way of Middle-Ages set of repulsive, anti-humanistic rules. He did this flawlessly.

    Unfortunately, priestly PR insists that priests are supposed to provide care and comfort, and a worrysome number of people apparently believe it.

  50. kevinalexander says

    The saddest funeral I’ve ever known was for a young man, a friend of the family. He was born into a terrible situation and his life just went downhill from there. He just took all the shit that life gave him until it became too much and he ended it, not twenty five years old.

    The parish priest showed up at the service in the funeral home, it couldn’t be at the church because god can’t tolerate weaklings, and announced to everyone there that Steven was now burning for eternity in hell.

    That’s not the worst part, the worst part was when half the people there nodded their heads.

    The proof that jesus is dead? That his main church is all about sadistic cruelty in the name of love.

  51. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    I’ll be sure to keep this in mind if anyone should ask why people don’t seem to be fond of RCC priests these days, besides the child rape and other shit being covered up.

  52. grumpyoldfart says

    All the Catholics at that funeral service (even those annoyed by the priest) will be back in church next Sunday, plonking wads of cash onto the collection plate and praising Jesus as the greatest moral teacher of all-time.

  53. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies says


    … do people’s fears over death overcome their sense of pain avoidance?

    They don’t ever think about the shit that the Catholic church slings. I can tell you that my Catholic family pretty much ignores everything, except what went on in church last Sunday.

    Is it disgusting? Oh, you betcha. But we aren’t talking about people who are given to critical thought. Plus, there’s a lot of the “it can’t happen to me” sentiment (whether we’re talking about priests being hurtful to parishioners or child rape).

  54. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    In re: Datasolution and floor mats –

    I actually have no problem with being called a floor mat if the warp fits. While I’m not normally a doormat, it’s true that I let “that lesbian” slide because I didn’t want to assume that it constituted an insult. It **could** have been something innocent. Generally I’m not up on others’ posts in other threads. So I looked for something explicit & didn’t find it.

    Since his statement was odious on its face for reasons other than heterosexism, I took him to task for that rather than argue an ambiguous phrase. That’s also why the awkward phrase about no homophobia that I “could pin down”. But, meh, yeah I was being easier on him (people are saying him, am I copying an assumption or do we have info?) than others. I’m okay with that. And if I ever make myself a door mat, I don’t begrudge some tough-minded encouragement.

    So, thanks, Janine, for your defense, but in this case I wasn’t worried about it.

    Okay, gotta go. Enjoyed others’ takedowns of datasolution.

  55. says

    When he was 30, and I was 28, my brother hanged himself. Though my siblings and I had been raised catholic, none of us were any longer. None of us belonged to any church, and several of us were atheists. My mother (never a catholic) had been friends with a lutheran pastor and his wife for most of our lives. We had known their family, and when we were kids, they seemed normal enough.

    He presided at the funeral, and it quickly became clear that he was no longer, or maybe never had been, who we thought he was. Before the service, he shook my hand, and just sort of looked through me as he said, truly in a voice like Reverend Lovejoy on the Simpsons, only more slow and caricatured: ‘The lord be with you!’

    He then gave a sermon in which, in a round-about, but clearly deliberate way, he made it clear that my brother, for committing the unforgivable sin of despair, was now and forever roasting in hell. He never mentioned suicide. He also gave the typical bullshit lecture about understanding why we had all ‘turned away from god,’ and that it was important that we turn back to him.

    I didn’t say or do anything as I sat there enraged. I could tell that most of my siblings were not even listening to the droning voice. We all knew he had nothing to say to us. And I knew, of course, that it had no affect on Phillip; he was dead. But I rode to the cemetery in the hearse, alone with my Dad, and he let me know that he had been listening. He asked, ‘Are you mad, Paul?’ And I said, ‘You’re fucking right, I am. Who does he think he is to say shit like that now?’ My dad was the only catholic in the immediate family. HE believed what the minister had said, and he was devastated enough without this having to be the main point the jerk had to make. He asked me, ‘Are you going to say something at the gravesite?’ I was not close to him, for lots of reasons, but he asked it in a way that made it clear to me that he wanted me to say something, but that he hoped I wouldn’t crush him, and others, any more that day. I said that I was. And I did.

    I said, glaring at the obviously oblivious minister, that wherever Phillip was, we would not see him again, and we could no longer help him. I said that he had killed himself, that he had hanged himself, and that he had been convinced he was alone. Then I asked that none of us do that; that we find help; that help was there.

    Afterwards, the person who was crying the hardest, the funeral director, came to me and said that, of all the funerals she had done for suicides, this was the first one where anyone had said anything about it.

  56. says

    Oh, and one of the songs chosen for the funeral? ‘It Is Well with My Soul’. I certainly heard it as ‘as opposed to Phillip’s damned one’.

  57. Nes says

    My experience with funerals seems to be the complete opposite of every one else. My grandma died a few years ago, had a funeral at the local Lutheran church. The priest had spent a few days with my grandma before the end, and thus was able to share some of her stories (none of which I had heard before, so that was really nice). What little Jesus talk there was was pretty light. Seriously, maybe 2-3 lines about how Jesus loves us and blesses us or something. It was so good that I actually asked for a copy of it afterward.

    Then my uncle got up to speak.

    I don’t remember precisely which denomination he’s from, but I’m pretty certain it’s a born-again evangelical fundamentalist one (the kind that thinks that a board game, and I don’t mean a Ouija board, can conjure demons). He had also planned on being a minister at some point or another, but apparently never went through with it. He was, as I understand it, supposed to share stories about grandma from friends and family; things that we enjoyed doing with her, our favorite memories, and so forth. Instead, he spent 10 minutes telling us to come to Jesus or burn in hell.

    To this day, I wish I had done wanted I wanted to do: stand up and yell “Shut the fuck up!”

  58. Koshka says

    Paul K,

    Thanks for your story. Even if it is a horrible one. People need to talk about mental health and suicidal thoughts. You are right that what the pastor said had no effect on your brother, but it could have an effect on someone else there who may be struggling and certainly wouldn’t encourage them to seek help. This attitude really pisses me off.

  59. says


    Yeah, I didn’t plan ahead about what I was going to say, but I’d been close to where my brother ended up, and I knew the pain of absolute despair, where at least for me, I actually felt guilty for wasting air that others might breathe. I also knew that some of my family members had and were struggling with many things. That’s a big part of where the rage came from. How could this guy think that he was helping, and not just rubbing in the salt?

    He came up to me afterwards, and I could tell he had no idea that I was angry with him. I turned and walked away while he was in mid-word, and he just kept on blathering about ‘the lord’.

    But many have people told me over the years that what I had said was cathartic for them, and, like the funeral director, not all of them were from my family.

  60. says

    One more thing, to tie this to the sliminess that is catholicism: My father wanted my brother’s cremated remains buried near my sister, who had been born prematurely, and only lived a little over a day. She had been baptized several times in the catholic hospital; why, I don’t know. Just to make sure it took? So she was safely inoculated against the debil, anyway.

    The thing is, my sister was buried in a catholic cemetery, so (and my Dad knew this would be the answer) no way was my brother the ever-frying suicide getting put there.

  61. says

    When my grandfather died a few years ago, the funeral service was handled by a Catholic priest who was a close friend of our family.

    While he did go through the rest of the Mass by-the-book, his mood changed entirely when he got to the homily.

    He’d intentionally decided to skip over any direct attempts at preaching or allegories to the bible, and basically spoke about his personal experience with my grandfather as a friend, and about while grieving was a natural way of coping, he was hoping we’d also find strength and inspiration in the way my grandfather was the kind, loving man we remembered him as.

    I was especially touched by this priest’s visit, since he was still recovering from a stroke, and by then was still having a lot of trouble trying to speak, much less read, and volunteered out of a sense of kinship with our family.

    But as I said, he sounded a lot less like a Catholic priest, and more like a man who’d just lost his best friend. Funny how these priests make more sense when they’re not trying to shoehorn religion into their service, no?

  62. julietdefarge says

    Someone should give this priest a rough estimate of how many unconfessed adulterers he’s given communion to. Hopefully, it would make his head explode.

  63. says

    I have seen local Christians who are as outraged by this old codger as we are. I think even the local Bishop has spoken out against this guy’s behavior.