The funeral of the Marquess of Marchmain was marred by the refusal of the parish priest, Father Mackay, to give Communion to two of the mourners, Lady Julia Mottram, the Marquess' daughter, and her partner, the artist Charles Ryder. According to Ms. Mottram, the priest refused to give her Communion after he learned that she was living with Charles Ryder even though Ms. Mottram is still married to the Conservative politician, Rex Mottram. Ms. Mottram told Reuters that she was "outraged at this priest's callousness. I am in a loving, committed relationship with Charles. I even introduced Charles to him as my lover. Who are these priests to pass judgment on love? What do they know about love, anyway? This priest was just like my brother, who told me I was living in sin with Charles. How can being intimate with someone you love ever be a sin?"
Charles Ryder, who is not a Catholic, was also denied Communion. Ryder told Reuters that "I thought Jesus welcomed everybody. What difference should it make that I'm not a Catholic? Shouldn't the priest welcome me when I come up for Communion? Isn't that what Jesus would do?"
Both Mottram and Ryder have launched a campaign to have Fr. Mackay removed from his parish. "We don't want anyone else hurt by this priest's arrogance," said Ms. Mottram. "I foolishly let him give my father the Last Rites, which is probably what killed him. But passing judgment on Charles and me was too much."
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.