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Video screenshot of the eulogy.

Outrage over behavior at transgender funeral in St. Patrick’s Cathedral

The funeral of Cecilia Gentili, a transgender activist and actress, was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City last week. Now the Archdiocese of New York has denounced the event as “scandalous” and “sacrilegious.”

“Thanks to so many who have let us know they share our outrage over the scandalous behavior at a funeral here at St. Patrick’s Cathedral earlier this week,” the Very Reverend Enrique Salvo wrote. “The cathedral only knew that family and friends were requesting a funeral mass for a Catholic and had no idea our welcome and prayer would be degraded in such a sacrilegious way.”

Videos of the funeral posted on social media show attendees eulogizing Gentili by saying, “This whore. This great whore. St. Cecilia, Mother of all Whores!” This statement mocked the real St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music and musicians, who is recognized in Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and some Lutheran churches.

The profane declarations from the pulpit came as the speakers also said they deserved a right to a life of “dignity.”

Watch the video here:

In another video, Father Edward Dougherty joked that the funeral service, which he officiated, brought in the largest crowd he had seen since Easter Sunday. Gentili was a former prostitute and self-professed atheist, the “New York Times reported. According to the newspaper, many of the service’s attendees wore “daring outfits” and were transgender.

“That such a scandal occurred at ‘America’s Parish Church’ makes it worse; that it took place as Lent was beginning, the annual forty–day struggle with the forces of sin and darkness, is a potent reminder of how much we need the prayer, reparation, repentance, grace and mercy to which this holy season invites us,” Salvo said.

An appropriate mass of reparation was held at the cathedral under New York cardinal Timothy Dolan’s directive, the pastor noted. Archdiocese of New York spokesman Joseph Zwilling confirmed the mass of atonement occurred the same day as the funeral. St. Patrick’s Cathedral has been the site of protests over the church’s position on homosexuality and AIDS in the past.

Funeral organizers are demanding the church apologize to them for criticisms of their actions during the event.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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