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St. Patrick’s Cathedral hosts reparation Mass after ‘scandalous’ funeral for trans activist

February 17, 2024 Catholic News Agency 19
St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. / Richard Trois via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Feb 17, 2024 / 13:56 pm (CNA).

The pastor of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City says the church has offered a Mass of Reparation after a controversial irreverent funeral service was held there this week for a well-known transgender advocate.

The Manhattan cathedral hosted the Feb. 15 funeral service for Cecilia Gentili, an activist who helped to decriminalize sex work in New York, lobbied for “gender identity” to be added as a protected class to the state’s human rights laws, and was a major fundraiser for transgender causes. Gentili was a man who identified as a woman.

Throughout the liturgy, the presider, Father Edward Dougherty, referred to Gentili with feminine pronouns and described the trans-identifying man as “our sister.” Additionally, during the prayers of the faithful, the reader prayed for so-called gender-affirming health care, while attendees frequently and approvingly referred to Gentili as the “mother of whores.”

On Saturday, Rev. Enrique Salvo, the pastor of St. Patrick’s, said in a statement on the website of the Archdiocese of New York that Church officials shared in the “outrage over the scandalous behavior at a funeral here at St. Patrick’s Cathedral earlier this week.”

“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,” Salvo said.

“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,” the priest wrote.

“At [Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s] directive, we have offered an appropriate Mass of Reparation,” Salvo said.

Several mainstream media outlets had framed the event as a breakthrough occasion and a sign of the Catholic Church shifting its teaching — or at least its tone — on sexuality and human anthropology.

Time magazine described the fact that a funeral service for a trans activist was held in a Catholic cathedral as “no small feat,” while The New York Times described the service as “an exuberant piece of political theater.”

Organizers reportedly did not disclose to the cathedral that Gentili, who died Feb. 6 at age 52, was a biological man who identified as a woman.

“I kept it under wraps,” Ceyeye Doroshow, the service’s organizer, told The New York Times.



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News Briefs

Vatican appoints president of foundation overseeing scandal-ridden Italian hospital

November 12, 2020 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, Nov 12, 2020 / 02:00 pm (CNA).- The Vatican announced Thursday that it had appointed an interim president of the foundation which owns and operates a scandal-ridden dermatological hospital in Rome.

Fr. Giuseppe Pusceddu, a member and the superior of the Italian province of the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception, was named Nov. 12 as the interim president of the board of directors of the Luigi Maria Monti Foundation.

The Luigi Maria Monti Foundation owns and manages Rome’s Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata, or IDI, along with other health structures. Pusceddu was also named president of IDI Farmaceutici srl, a pharmaceutical agency connected to the hospital.

Fr. Pusceddu succeeds Antonio Maria Leozappa, a layman, as president of the foundation. Pusceddu’s appointment marks the first time the foundation’s leadership has been returned to a member of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception since Benedict XVI appointed a Vatican commissioner to look into the hospital’s finances in 2013.

The IDI has been plagued by problems for a decade. After years of systematic theft and fraud by hospital administrators, leaving it with 800 million euros in debt, the hospital was declared bankrupt in 2012.

In 2015, the Vatican’s Secretariat of State stepped in, arranging to purchase the hospital out of state-administered bankruptcy through a for-profit partnership with the religious order that owned and managed the hospital — an arrangement which also ended in financial scandal.

The Vatican’s Nov. 12 statement said that “pending the appointment of new management, which will have to guide the foundation in continuing to face the difficult challenges of the moment,” Pusceddu and the other board members are entrusted with adapting the statutes of the foundation to better reflect the charism of its founding influence, Bl. Luigi Maria Monti.

“The Holy See, as before, will not lack its closeness and support to the Foundation and its works,” the statement concluded.

After the IDI was driven into bankruptcy by a series of embezzlement scandals, it was purchased in 2015 by a for-profit partnership created by the Secretariat of State and the religious order that had owned the hospital, the Sons of the Immaculate Conception. 

To carry out the purchase, the partnership received — through a complex series of transactions — 50 million euros, in a loan from the Vatican central bank, APSA, although APSA had agreed with European banking regulators not to make commercial loans. 

In an attempt to take the loan off APSA’s books, officials in the Secretariat of State then asked the Papal Foundation, a U.S.-based charitable foundation, for a $25 million grant. The grant was approved, but subsequent questions from board members led to controversy and opposition. The Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has said that he organized the loan and the grant.