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Catholic church tricked into hosting funeral for trans-identifying activist, it claims: 'Sacrilegious and deceptive'
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Catholic church tricked into hosting funeral for trans-identifying activist, it claims: 'Sacrilegious and deceptive'

St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City says that it was tricked into hosting a funeral on Thursday for an atheist, trans-identifying activist, the New York Post reported.

The cathedral hosted a funeral service for Cecilia Gentili, a 52-year-old Argentinian-born activist who advocated for the trans community, sex workers, and HIV/AIDs patients, the New York Times reported.

More than 1,000 people attended the service last week, arriving at the cathedral wearing miniskirts, fishnet stockings, and high-heeled shoes. The event began with a performance of "This Day" by actor Billy Porter. From the pulpit, Gentili's grieving friends called for easier access to so-called gender-affirming health care services. Rowdy attendees also reportedly danced in the aisles of the church to "Ave Maria," during which guests changed the words to "Ave Cecilia." A photo of Gentili was surrounded by the words "transvestite," "whore," "blessed," and "mother," along with text from Psalm 25, the Times reported.

"This great whore, St. Cecelia, mother of all whores," stated one attendee who introduced Gentili. "Today we say we see you soon and that you will give us the strength, the courage to continue your legacy, to continue the challenges ahead."

The funeral service ignited outrage from the Catholic community, who argued that Gentili's family and friends made a mockery of their faith.

Rev. Enrique Salvo claimed that the church was tricked into hosting the funeral service. In a statement on the diocese's website, Salvo said, "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 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 continued. "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 event's organizer, Ceyenne Doroshow, admitted to the Times that she never told the church Gentili identified as trans.

In a statement to the New York Daily News, Gentili's family claimed the service brought "precious life and radical joy to the Cathedral in historic defiance of the Church's hypocrisy and anti-trans hatred."

"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," the family told the news outlet. "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 health care.

"The only deception present at St. Patrick's Cathedral is that it claims to be a welcoming place for all," they added.

At the cardinal's directive, the cathedral held a rare Mass of Reparation on Saturday to atone for the funeral service.

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