Trans activists accused of ‘hate crime’ for allegedly tricking Catholic church into hosting funeral for former sex worker

News & Politics

A Catholic organization is accusing a group of trans activists of committing a “hate crime” after they allegedly tricked a New York City cathedral into hosting a funeral service for a trans-identifying atheist, the New York Post reported.

CatholicVote, a nonprofit group, penned a letter last week to New York State Attorney General Letitia James urging her to investigate the circumstances surrounding a funeral that was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral earlier this month.

The church came under fire after it hosted a funeral service for Cecilia Gentili, a 52-year-old trans-identifying activist and former sex worker, Blaze News previously reported. More than 1,000 people attended the service, which featured a performance of “This Day” by actor Billy Porter. Gentili’s family referred to the activist as “St. Cecilia, mother of all whores” and a photograph of the deceased included the words “transvestite” and “whore.”

Some of those in attendance used the funeral service as an opportunity to advocate for so-called gender-affirming health care services. Attendees reportedly sang “Ave Maria” but changed the lyrics to “Ave Cecilia” and danced through the cathedral’s aisles.

Brian Burch, the president of CatholicVote, wrote in the letter to James that the activists “deceptively” gained access to the cathedral to “advance ideas and beliefs hostile to doctrines of the Catholic Church.”

“Importantly, according to both media reports and video footage readily available online, activists admit to withholding from cathedral administrators the full intent and purpose of their gathering,” the letter continued. “The deception employed to gain access to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in order to hold a ceremony that profaned that holy place and mocked the Catholic religion cries out for justice.”

According to the organization, the funeral service was an “outrageous sacrilege” and “a hate crime.”

“I urge you to defend the rights and dignity of Catholic New Yorkers and the tens of thousand of Catholics from throughout this great nation who visit St. Patrick’s to honor the saint and practice their faith each year,” the letter concluded.

In a statement following the controversial funeral service, Rev. Enrique Salvo said, “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,” he added.

Ceyenne Doroshow, the event’s organizer, previously told the New York Times that she intentionally did not inform the church that Gentili was a man who identified as a woman, stating she “kept it under wraps.”

Gentili’s family demanded an apology from the archdiocese for cutting the service short, claiming that they never tricked the cathedral into hosting the gathering, Blaze News previously reported. The funeral ended an hour early after priests made the determination to forgo a Mass, a decision supported by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York.

Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society also argued that it is “simply not true” that the church’s leadership was manipulated into hosting the service.

“Funeral organizers advised cathedral staff to look up Cecilia Gentili, her work, and the community she served. To now place responsibility on the funeral organizers to have affirmatively disclosed the gender identity of their loved one is imposing a burden upon the mourners that would not be expected of a non-transgender person,” the organization contended.

According to Burch, the controversy surrounding the event was regarding the disrespectful behavior of the attendees and not that the church held a funeral service for a trans-identifying individual.

“It’s pretty clear here they chose St. Patrick’s not because it’s big and beautiful and on Fifth Avenue — they singled it out explicitly because of the Church’s position on human sexuality,” Burch told the Post. “If they would have had the funeral service and not put on the blasphemous circus, then no one would have said anything.”

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