Catholics urge Cardinal Dolan to perform exorcism after 'sacrilegious' funeral at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

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A petition asking the leader of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York to perform an exorcism on St. Patrick’s Cathedral after a funeral service for a trans-identified activist condemned by many as sacrilegious has received over 11,775 signatures.

LifePetitions, a project of the pro-life website LifeSite News, launched a petition over the weekend calling on Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York to perform an “exorcism and reparation” on St. Patrick’s Cathedral after a Feb. 15 funeral mass for trans-identified activist and former prostitute, Cecilia Gentili, generated outrage.

The letter to Dolan accompanying the petition declared that “the sacrilegious funeral of Cecilia Gentili marked a shameful moment in the life of the Catholic Church in the United States, mocking as mourners did the Virgin-Martyr St. Cecilia, and desecrating St. Patrick’s Cathedral with sexual expletives and immodest dress.” 

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Noting that “Jesus was filled with zeal for God’s house when he cast out money-changers from the Temple with a whip,” the petition added, “the least that your eminence can do is make reparation and offer exorcism prayers in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, lest this evil be met with lukewarm indifference.”

The petition elaborated on the offensive exploits at St. Patrick’s Cathedral last Thursday. 

“Catholic saints were mocked and ‘whores’ celebrated during the sacrilegious funeral of a gender-confused Argentine atheist on Thursday in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York,” the petition asserts. “Cecilia Gentili was eulogized as ‘This whore. This great whore. St. Cecilia, Mother of all Whores!’ at his funeral service, with The New York Times celebrating the funeral as ‘an event with no likely precedent in Catholic history.’” 

The so-called paper of record described Gentili as “well known for [his] advocacy on behalf of sex workers, transgender people, and people living with HIV.” While the petition highlighted the publication’s characterization of the funeral as an “exuberant piece of political theater,” it expressed concern that the actions that unfolded in the famous Manhattan cathedral last week dishonored the legacy of a Catholic saint. 

“The blasphemous reference to the true St. Cecilia, who gave her life as a Virgin-Martyr after refusing to renounce the Catholic faith, was cheered by hundreds of LGBT activists,” the petition added. “One of Gentili’s friends prayed to God for access to ‘gender-affirming health care’ during the intercessions, while another participant changed the lyrics of the ‘Ave Maria’ to ‘Ave Cecilia’ and danced through the aisles.” 

The petition also lamented that attendees dressed “without any respect for God’s house” and that “Gentili’s friends placed a picture of him with a halo and the Spanish words for ‘transvestite,’ ‘whore,’ ‘blessed,’ and ‘mother’ near the altar where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered.” The officiant, Rev. Edward Dougherty, was also singled out in the petition for remarking that “except on Easter Sunday, we don’t really have a crowd that is this well turned out.”

The Archdiocese of New York indicated that it had already held a Mass of Reparation in a statement published over the weekend by St. Patrick’s Cathedral pastor, the Rev. Enrique Salvo, who announced: “At the Cardinal’s directive, we have offered an appropriate mass of reparation.”

Salvo insisted that “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.”

According to the Roman Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law, “Sacred places are violated by gravely injurious actions done in them with scandal to the faithful, actions which, in the judgment of the local ordinary, are so grave and contrary to the holiness of that place that it is not permitted to carry on worship in them until the damage is repaired by a penitential rite according to the norm of the liturgical books.” 

A separate passage in the Code of Canon Law lists “manifest sinners” whose funerals would cause “public scandal of the faithful” as those who “must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals” unless “they gave some sign of repentance before death.”

In a statement to the Times, the organizer of Gentili’s funeral admitted to keeping the recently deceased’s background “under wraps” to ensure that the Archdiocese would host the funeral at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The organizer, Cayenne Dorshow, described the house of worship as “an icon,” just like Gentili.

Reacting to the Archdiocese’s condemnation of the funeral over the weekend, Gentili’s family cited Salvo’s statement as an example of “anti-trans hypocrisy and hatred.”

The family maintained that Gentili’s “heart and hands reached those the sanctimonious church continues to belittle, oppress and chastise,” adding: “The only deception present at St. Patrick’s Cathedral is that it claims to be a welcoming place for all.” 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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