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St Patrick Cathedral NYC.jpg
St Patrick's Cathedral - Jean-Christophe BENOIST, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
St Patrick Cathedral NYC.jpg
St Patrick's Cathedral - Jean-Christophe BENOIST, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
USA News

'Unbelievable and sick' funeral in cathedral criticised by New York Archdiocese

by Lydia Davies

The New York Archdiocese strongly criticised the funeral service held for transgender activist Cecilia Gentili at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, denouncing the event as "scandalous".

The service, attended by approximately 1,400 mourners, occurred ten days after Gentili's passing at her Brooklyn residence.

Gentili, a prominent advocate for sex workers and author of the book “Faltas: Letters to Everyone in My Hometown Who Isn’t My Rapist’’ was remembered for her activism and theatrical contributions. The cause of her death remains undisclosed.

The Archdiocese expressed dismay over the conduct of some attendees during the service, which included many transgender congregants lavishly dressed for Gentili’s send-off. He likened the crowd's enthusiasm to an Easter mass rather than a typical Thursday service.

In response to the event, the archdiocese released a statement expressing shock over the turn of events, asserting that they were unaware of Gentili's background or beliefs when agreeing to host the service:

“[We had] no idea our welcome and prayer would be degraded in such a sacrilegious and deceptive way.”

The pastor of St Patrick’s, Enrique Salvo, said the church had not known of Gentili’s background or beliefs when it booked the service.

The church said it did not take issue with Gentili’s identity but condemned the actions of certain attendees' behaviour, particularly those who loudly cheered when Gentili was hailed as "Santa Cecilia, la madre de todas las putas" (Saint Cecilia, the mother of all whores).

CatholicVote and other critics condemned the funeral as disrespectful to the Christian faith, calling the funeral “unbelievable and sick” and said it was “a mockery of the Christian faith”.

Among other critics, Nicholas Gregoris of the Priestly Society of Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman called Gentili’s service “revolting” and a “desecration” of the US’s most famous Catholic Church.

On the other hand, catholic liberals praised the church for hosting a service for a transgender woman, framing it as an act of inclusivity. Gentili's family defended the service as a celebration of her life and advocacy, responding to the church's response as hypocritical.

Despite the controversy, supporters hailed the funeral as historic, celebrating Gentili's impact on the transgender and sex worker communities. Gentili's perspective on sex work as a form of labor and survival was reiterated by her admirers, emphasising her resilience and advocacy.

The funeral organiser, Ceyenne Doroshow, revealed that Gentili's family had concealed her background from the church and chose St. Patrick's Cathedral due to its symbolic significance.


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