A lesbian woman, Carol Parker, and her partner were denied Holy Communion at Parker's mother’s funeral by a priest who was taking a stand against same-sex relationships.
Carol Parker has been with her partner, Josie Martin, for 20 years in the small town of Chula, Mo. She had been active in her church for 12 years as a lector, cantor, and choir singer. After her mother’s recent passing, she received a surprising call from Father Benjamin Kneib, the church priest, informing her that he had learned of her same-sex relationship from her mother’s obituary — and that she and Martin would not be allowed to receive Communion at the funeral.
“If that one word [partner] had not been in there, he would be fine,” Martin told Fox 4kc.
“It was a shock to hear him say that,” Parker told the St. Joseph Press-News. “I never expected that, especially at my mother’s funeral."
At the ceremony, most of the women in the church voluntarily passed up Communion out of solidarity with the couple. But Parker and Martin still won't be going back to St. Columban Catholic Church.
“That was our faith community," Parker said. "It really took away a lot of things for us. 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.”
“To be singing in the choir and be lectors and everything, it’s all God,” Martin told Fox News. "He just took it away in a second. I just really don’t understand where his heart is.”
According to the Huffington Post, Kneib apologized to the couple but said in a statement to Kansas City LGBT rights group PROMO 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.”
Parker hopes that Kneib will “open his eyes and fully receive the LGBT community into the church.”
She pointed to Pope Francis’ comments about the gay community.
“We’re all God’s children, and we have every right to receive Communion,” she said. “Even the Pope has said, ‘Who am I to judge?’”