Was Fr. Guarnizo thrown under the bus by the Archdiocese of Washington?
He makes his statement here, and most importantly, contends that his 'suspension', which the Archdiocese said was due to 'intimidating behavior' was connected with the funeral-lesbian incident after all.
If this is true, is justice being done? Can an Archdiocese withdraw faculties from a priest simply for 'intimidating behavior'? What on earth does that mean? Any kind of conflict in a parish in which a priest asserts himself might be construed as "intimidating behavior". For goodness sake, I can name half a dozen priests off the top of my head about whom reports of "intimidating behavior" are reported weekly.
Even if Fr Guarnizo is guilty of "intimidating behavior" what did he actually do? Did he hit someone? Did he threaten them with violence? Did he threaten to blackmail them? What did the "intimidating behavior" consist of? Were there witnesses? What actually happened?
Will "intimidating behavior" become the new "abuse". Increasingly we hear charges against people of "abuse". "Abuse" used to mean that a man came home, kicked his kids down the stairs, punched his wife and raped his daughter. "Abuse" used to mean a woman got drunk, burned her kids with cigarettes, tortured the dog and locked her son in a cupboard. "Abuse" used to mean a priest was a drunkard, raped little boys and stole the collection money.
Now the term "abuse" is thrown at people, damning them with a vague and unproved accusation. "My husband was abusive!" I hear a woman complain, and it turns out he didn't listen to her enough and forgot to take out the trash on a Tuesday. "My mom is abusive!" a high school kid wails, and it turns out she yelled at him to clean up his room and grounded him because his grades were lousy.
This is the heresy of sentimentalism turned violent. The play is on a supposed victim's feelings. So-and-so was "abusive" or "intimidating" and I'm feeling wounded so the accusation is made, the "abusive" or "intimidating" person is accused, assumed guilty and executed without trial.
I don't know Fr Guarnizo and I don't have enough facts either way to make the judgment in this case, and anyway it's not my job. It's easy to jump to Fr Guarnizo's defense and view the Archdiocese as the Big Bad Wolf (in sheep's clothing) when the fact is, we really don't know all the facts and so we can't make a judgment one way or the other. We have to give both Fr Guranizo and the Archdiocese the benefit of the doubt.
However, in the midst of this fuss, I'm making the more general point that accusations of "abuse" and "intimidating behavior" should not be enough.
Everyone deserves justice and fair play and not only must there be justice, but justice must also be seen to delivered. Let's hope that is what prevails in the conflict between the Archdiocese and Fr Guarnizo.