Same-sex couple says priest denied them communion due to relationship

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CHILLICOTHE, Mo. -- A couple who lives outside of Chillicothe say their priest denied them communion when he discovered they were in a same-sex relationship. Carol Parker and her partner of nearly 20 years, Josephine Martin, say they were good standing members of Saint Columban Catholic Church in Chillicothe for 12 years.

They say that all changed when Parker had her mother's funeral at the church following her death on December 26th. The obituary noted Parker's mother was survived by a son, a daughter and her daughter's partner.

"If that one word had not been in there, he would be fine," said Martin.

Parker said she had been a member since 2001 and served as a lector, a cantor and also sang in the choir.

"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," said Parker.

The couple says they will never step foot in the church again. Parker said it took away a final opportunity.

"It was very important to me, my last opportunity to worship here at the church with her," Parker said. "

Martin said she and Parker don't understand why the priest compounded the pain of a funeral with his decision.

"To be singing in the choir and be lectors, and everything, it's all God. He just took it away in a second," Martin said. "I just really don't understand where his heart is."

FOX 4 did attempt to speak with Father Benjamin Kneib but we were told by his secretary that he did not wish to comment. Parker and Martin say they have found another church that has welcomed them. Parker said even after the experience and with the new church being an hour away, she still wants to worship.

"My faith is strong enough that I wasn't going to let this deter me to go to church," she said.

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  • Maryanne Michele

    Oh no? The priest really did that? How terrible! My goodness does he think he is standing in the place of Jesus and trying to get us to heaven? The audacity of this priest for doing what God calls him to do! Praise God for this priest!

  • Bob Fox

    Father Knieb,

    We are proud of you. Thank you.

    A priest of God following the Magisterium of our church. He is not afraid of offending “the church of nice” that permeates too many of our parishes. A man of God and not a sissy man of society. May God Bless his work and may he continue to stand for our true Catholic Faith.

  • Susan Jungerheld Abel

    Hopefully in time this woman will come to understand this priest lovingly attending to her mother in death is showing her great love as well by rightly directing her to communion through the route of the confessional. He wasn’t denying anything but offering everything. Good for him. We need more priests with this kind of, “not counting the cost,” courage and charity.

      • mary

        You should read what the Bible says about communion before YOU pass judgment. Denying communion to these women had nothing to do with hate. It was instead about the Bible’s teaching and love. The priest would have been wrong to offer them communion, and they would have been wrong to receive it.

  • Christine

    While poking around the Internet a few months ago, I came across the web sites of the two insurance companies whose major business is to insure churches. I found that according to THEIR figures, non-Catholic claims about sexual abuse were running 13% higher than Catholic claims. That does NOT excuse the behavior of our priests nor does it make the activity less criminal or less of a sin. However, it does present a different view of the problem than that which is generally perceived by the public!

    But you are accusing a fine priest of something he has never don. Shame on you

  • JayHobeSound

    How revealing that so many sanctimonious mingers climbed down from their high horses to express contempt for two fellow church members. I don’t believe for one minute that the priest *just* found out they were a longtime couple. Nobody these days is that naive.

    Bring back the lions.

  • Shawn

    Funny, reading all of the “way to go” sanctimonious comments from the bigoted priest’s supporters. This boy priest is judging this elderly couple? What does this boy know of life? He said in an earlier article that he “wanted” to join the Marines. How rich – I guess he wanted to “kill for Jesus”. Did he attend a university or have a career before his seminary? He’s just an uneducated tube from the Midwest. He was appointed by a convicted pedophile – what has he said publicly about that child rapist and all of the other child rapists in his church? Thought so.

  • mary

    It’s interesting to me that most of the people commenting in support of this priest and the church come across in a kind and sane way – even trying to educate and offer facts to dispute the attacks. Yet many of those who want to villify this priest and the church do so in a hateful, rabid way, which is exactly the kind of behavior they are accusing others of displaying!

    • Lizzie giffee bosch

      There is a lot of anger being expressed.
      I am sorry for that and for the whatever hurts have happened to the people behind the anger.
      Jesus loves YOU. HE loves the angry, hurting, victimized and the even people who hate him.
      We are wasting a lot of time and energy fighting while we could be working together to change the lives of the dying, hungry, homeless, diseased people of our world.

  • Jessie

    To all the haters on here. There are laws that prohibit defamation and you could be liable for such with all your hateful comments. Stop bashing the church and this priest.

    Missouri Defamation Law

    Note: This page covers information specific to Missouri. For general information concerning defamation, see the Defamation section of this guide.

    Elements of Defamation
    The elements of defamation in Missouri are:

    1. publication
    2. of a defamatory statement
    3. that identifies the plaintiff
    4. that is false
    5. that is published with the requisite degree of fault, and
    6. damages the plaintiff’s reputation

  • Loretta

    I fail to understand the “judging” part ? What are we judging? As a practicing Catholic you follow the teachings of the church. You don’t pick and choose what you want to follow and you certainly can’t expect the church to change for you. Jesus sat and ate with sinners, he loved them but he also corrected them and told them to go and sin no more.

  • David


    Believing in the need for priests to aid you in communing with the power that creates the world, believing in saviors that die for your sins, and believing in supreme persons — all of this is involved in Catholic worship. And it is all superstitious rubbish!

    Have I offended anyone by stating this truth? I hope so. For I will not have offended anyone anymore than those who spout their religious opinions in comments to stories like this one offend me.

    This report is about how one man hurt the feelings of two women. Comments should confine themselves to how the parties might have avoided the hurt feelings and nothing more. Your opinions on God et al. are irrelevant.

    • Jess

      Your a day late and a dollar short David. And so you are a

      1. A foolish person.

      2. A person of having a mental age below three years and generally being unable to learn connected speech or guard against common dangers.

      [Middle English, ignorant person, from Old French idiote, from Latin idiōta, from Greek idiōtēs, private person, layman, from idios, own, private; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots.]

    • mary

      David, you are so wrong. This is not merely a story about a man who hurt someone’s feelings (although that might have been more newsworthy). At issue is a priest being called out for correctly doing his job.

      You may not believe in God, and that is your right. But I don’t understand why people like you get so upset by those who do. No one is trying to force you to believe. Remember, these women who were denied communion apparently think it’s important, or this wouldn’t be a story.

      • George Waite

        I think that there should be wafers sould on eBay or Amazon; people could have their Jesus-in-bread-form conveniently mailed to them without having to bother anyone else.

  • RB

    They shouldn’t receive communion in any church. They’re living in mortal sin and that excludes you from communion. Anyone that doesn’t know this shouldn’t be receiving communion in the first place. Regardless of what the media has reported Pope Francis as saying, the dogma of the Catholic Church hasn’t and will never change. Unfortunately some of the media has twisted the words of the pope just enough that even some gullible Catholics are believing what they have to say.

  • Kelly

    He should have just kept a couple in his pocket that weren’t blessed and given to them when they came up for Communion. If anyone ever asked him, he would say that he is following Church Doctrine, mind their own business, and NOT GOSSIP. Jesus never has a problem with trying to help people. You’ll help people much more by hugging them and being nice (doesn’t mean you surrender your beliefs at all). Jesus is the Prince of Forgiveness and Love. As a Catholic and plain old human being, I have to ground myself and remind myself of that daily.

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