Catholic Culture Overview
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New York archdiocese decries ‘scandalous behavior’ at funeral

February 19, 2024

» Continue to this story on New York archdiocese

CWN Editor's Note: The New York archdiocese has issued a statement expressing “outrage over the scandalous behavior” at a funeral service held in St. Patrick’s cathedral, and revealed that a Mass of reparation has been offered.

The rowdy service for Cecilia Gentili—who was described by the New York Times as a “transgender activist and actress, former sex worker and self-professed atheist”—was marred by noisy demonstrations, mockery of the Catholic faith, and loud applause when the deceased was identified as “the mother of all whores.”

Organizers of the service boasted that they had hidden their plans from cathedral staff, and a subsequent statement from the cathedral indicated that officials “only knew that family and friends were requesting a funeral Mass for a Catholic.” As the service began, and the cathedral was filled with activists—many in outlandish costumes—a member of the cathedral staff told the presiding priest that the service could not include a Mass.

Father James Martin, SJ, a leading supporter of homosexual Catholics, told the New York Times that it was “wonderful” to celebrate the life of Gentili in the New York cathedral. However he later said that he made that statement without having seen video of the gathering, and conceded that some of the behavior was “disrespectful of the sacred space.”

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  • Posted by: feedback - Feb. 20, 2024 3:20 AM ET USA

    The Code of Canon Law is clear in this matter: Can. 1184 §1. "Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals (...) manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful."