Catholics are having a hissy fit over a trans memorial service in a church

On Thursday, over a thousand mourners filled the pews of NYC’s St Patrick’s Cathedral to celebrate the life of trans trailblazer, actress and author Cecilia Gentili. But in response to conservative backlash, the Archdiocese of New York has condemned the funeral it hosted—even holding a Mass of Reparations to atone. Gentili’s family are declaring her a saint anyway.

According to the New York Times, St Patrick’s Cathedral was flooded with people, “many of them transgender, who wore daring high-fashion outfits and cheered as eulogists led them in praying for transgender rights and access to gender-affirming health care.” Family chose St Patrick’s Cathedral, despite its anti-LGBTQ+ reputation, because “it is an icon, just like her.”

But a viral clip, shared by anti-LGBTQ+ group CatholicVote, has enraged conservatives with nothing better to do than lash out at funeral mourners. The video shows one of the eulogizers lovingly remembering Gentili as “Saint Cecilia, the mother of all whores.” Gentili, like Jesus, looked out for sex workers—among many other legacy-defining acts in her all too brief life.

Although the Archdiocese was reportedly informed of who Gentili was, they backtracked after hosting the funeral. “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 Cathedral’s rector, Rev Enrique Salvo, wrote in a statement. “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 and deceptive way.

“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. At the Cardinal’s directive, we have offered an appropriate Mass of Reparation.”

One of the funeral organizers told The Washington Post that they had described Gentili as an activist, particularly for sex workers, and encouraged church leaders to look her up. But because the church did not ask about her gender identity, they did not specify it—just as you wouldn’t for a cisgender person’s funeral.

The family responded to the Archdiocese’s condemnation by illustrating just how much of a gap there is between the church’s professed morals and Gentili’s actions. “We brought precious life and radical joy to the Cathedral in historic defiance of the Church’s hypocrisy and anti-trans hatred,” the family said in a statement, per CNN. “Cecilia Gentili’s funeral service, which filled the pews in ways the Cathedral only can during Easter service and NYPD funerals, was a reflection of the love she had for her community and a testament to the impact of her tireless advocacy.
“We bestow sainthood upon Cecilia, for her life’s work, for how she ministered, mothered, and loved all people regardless of HIV, immigration, or employment status. Her heart and hands reached those the sanctimonious Church continues to belittle, oppress, and chastise, and she changed the material conditions for countless people, including unhoused people and those who needed healthcare.

“The only deception present at St. Patrick’s Cathedral is that it claims to be a welcoming place for all.”

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