A Catholic priest in Chillicothe, Missouri abruptly refused to give communion to a lesbian parishioner at her mother’s funeral when he found out that she was in a same-sex relationship.
According to Chillicothe’s Fox 4 News, Carol Parker and her partner of 20 years, Josephine Martin, received word from their longtime priest that he would not allow them to take communion in the church that they have attended for more than 12 years.
Parker’s mother died on December 26. When Father Benjamin Kneib of Saint Columban Catholic Church read that Parker’s mother was survived by a son, a daughter, and her daughter’s partner, Kneib contacted the couple to tell them they were no longer welcome in God’s house.
“He had called me the day of the rosary and said he wouldn’t be able to give us communion because of our same-sex relationship,” Parker told Channel 4.
Parker was very active in church life, singing in the choir and serving as a lector and cantor. Now she and Martin say they will never set foot in Father Kneib’s church again. The priest’s bigotry, she said, deprived her of her last chance to worship serenely alongside her mother.
“It was very important to me, my last opportunity to worship here at the church with her,” she said. “To be singing in the choir and be lectors, and everything, it’s all God. [Kneib] just took it away in a second. I just really don’t understand where his heart is.”
The TV station attempted to contact Kneib, but his secretary told them that he is refusing to comment on the record.
Parker and Martin say that they have found another church in the area that accepts them and are now attending regularly.
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