St. Patrick’s Says It Was Duped by Transgender Funeral at Cathedral

Mourners gathered for a funeral for transgender activist Cecilia Gentil on Feb. 15th in the most unlikely of places, St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The Archdiocese of New York said it was duped into allowing the service where mourners displayed signs with the Spanish words for “transvestite,” “whore,” “blessed” and “mother” above the text of Psalm 25.

| 18 Feb 2024 | 06:40

A funeral at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a former sex worker and transgender activist on Feb. 15 sparked an outcry from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, which said it was duped into holding the service for Cecilia Gentil.

In her long and outspoken time in the public spotlight, Gentil who died Feb. 6 at the age of 52 had worked to decriminalize sex work sex work and pushed to have “gender identity” as a protected class under NYS human rights laws.

Organizers had not disclosed that the funeral was for Gentil, who had long pushed transgender rights and was a self-proclaimed atheist.

“I kept it under wraps,” the organizer of the funeral Ceyeye Doroshow, told The New York Times. Doroshow told the paper she wanted it to be at St. Patrick’s the seat of the Roman Catholic community in the metropolitan area because “it is an icon, just like her.”

Pope Francis has seemed to relax the Catholic Churches teachings toward transgender people in recent years, saying it would be ok for them to be baptized, or stand up as witnesses at Catholic weddings. But the church is still opposed to gay marriage and most of the ideas that were central to Gentil’s protests over the years.

The Times said over 1,000 mourners turned out but since the cathedral holds about 3,000, it is likely that there were many more than that present. Father Edward Dougherty, the principal celebrant said it was the largest crowd he had seen in the cathedral since Easter.

One mourner on leaving the funeral said he was fine with the Mass at St. Patrick’s.

“It signifies a bit more tolerance on both sides,” Michael Minogue told the Times. But as news of the service spread, it kicked off quite a controversy.

The ceremony has started off fairly low key. Gay activist Bill Porter, in a widely shared video said, “it’s wonderful to see so many of your beautiful faces here.

”Grief is singular, it’s individual. Please know that however you grieve is what’s right. Just make sure that you do grieve, that you allow yourself to do that.”

But Catholic leaders did take exception to many of the words and displays. that played out that day. One mourner reportedly danced in the aisle and praised “St. Cecilia, the mother of all whores,” according to reports.

The New York Times said that among the mass cards near the alter were signs with words in Spanish for “transvestite” “whore” “blessed” and “mother.”

As news of the more outlandish exhibitions spread, it angered many conservative Catholics.

‘This was not a compassionate dignified burial of a sinner, which we all are,” a person identified as Tim Hartig wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “This celebrated sin. Sacred Catholic funeral rites were desecrated. We all should be ashamed.

By Feb. 16, the Archdiocese issued a condemnation of the service.

“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 [on Feb. 15th],” said Rev. Enrique Salvo. “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.”