New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral recently found itself at the center of controversy following the funeral service of transgender activist Cecilia Gentili.

The service, intended to honor Gentili’s life, unexpectedly included sacrilegious language and actions, with participants praising Gentili as the “mother of all wh***s.” Organized by Gays & Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society (GLITS), they argue that the cathedral was aware of Gentili’s background and demanding a public apology, citing the abrupt change to the service as hurtful to those mourning Gentili’s death.

The funeral, initially planned as a Mass, was altered to a Liturgy of the Word to prevent further scandal. Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the cathedral’s clergy have since responded, emphasizing the need for respect within the church’s sacred spaces.

Cardinal Dolan supported the cathedral’s clergy for their swift decision, saying that “with behavior like this, we can’t do a Mass. We’ll do the Liturgy of the Word… then we’ll stop it.”

The Archdiocese of New York also expressed its disappointment, pointing out the misleading nature of the funeral’s organization. Father Enrique Salvo, the cathedral’s rector, said the the staff was led to believe the service was for a Catholic, unaware of the sacrilegious elements that would emerge.

“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,” he said.

In response to the incident, a Mass of Reparation was held, with clergy calling for prayer, repentance, and grace. This act signifies the church’s commitment to healing and reaffirms its dedication to maintaining a respectful and sacred space for Catholics.

As the Lenten season continues, the cathedral’s leadership and the Catholic community look to move forward, guided by mercy and grace.

Editorial credit: BorisVetshev /
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