Trans advocate’s funeral service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral draws criticism from Church

The funeral service held at St. Patrick's Cathedral was attended by many of the LGBT community in honor of Cecilia Gentili. Photo lifted from Twitter.
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Controversy enveloped St. Patrick’s Cathedral on the first Sunday of Lent, stemming from a funeral service held there last Thursday. The cathedral’s pastor conducted a reparative mass over the weekend in response to the service for Cecilia Gentili, a well-known transgender advocate, now described by church leaders as ‘sacrilegious and deceptive.’

Thursday’s funeral drew a substantial crowd, filling the cathedral with friends and community members expressing gratitude for Gentili’s advocacy. However, questions have emerged about the appropriateness of holding a funeral for a trans activist and self-proclaimed atheist at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The New York Archdiocese released a statement, stating, ‘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.’

In response, Gentili’s family emphasized the importance of inclusivity in their statement, declaring, “We brought precious life and radical joy to the Cathedral in historic defiance of the Church’s hypocrisy and anti-trans hatred.”

New York’s Catholic League also weighed in, deeming the event ‘profane’ and characterizing its supporters as ‘rank anti-Catholic bigots.’ They expressed concern about a Catholic priest leading the funeral and referring to Gentili as a woman.

Meanwhile, Fr. Eric Andrews, a pastor at the nearby St. Paul the Apostle Church, known for its Catholic and LGBTQ-friendly stance, shared advice on social media. He wrote, “Pro Tip: It is good pastoral practice to reach out to the family of the deceased directly to express condolences and to plan a funeral liturgy–and by all means, Google the name of the person to learn as much as you can about their life.”

Gentili, an icon in the LGBTQ community, was celebrated for her decades of advocacy and activism. Actor Billy Porter attended Thursday’s service to bid farewell.

Despite being officiated by Catholic priests, the funeral initially raised few questions. Gentili’s family declined on-camera interviews, citing their grieving process.

About Korina Estrada 173 Articles
A writer and an advocate of self-love and body positivity. She loves baking cookies, practicing her calligraphy, and creating short stories of local folklore.

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