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Cardinal Dolan’s Epic Fail

By Judie Brown

The topic of much conversation lately has been the recent funeral that took place in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. The funeral has led to heated discussion. Cardinal Dolan, who presides over the Archdiocese of New York, said that nobody knew the background of the person who died and whose funeral was held in the cathedral. His name was Cecilia Gentili—a known LGBT transexual activist who founded the Trans Equity Consulting Group.

It occurs to us that the reputation of Gentili preceded him and that there is little doubt that the cardinal knew who this person was. But what is certain is that the events of that day bred controversy within the Catholic community. According to a New York Post article, “Those who put together the funeral for former sex worker Cecilia Gentili broke state law by duping the famed church into holding the service, wrote Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote, in a letter to New York Attorney General Letitia James.”

Burch wrote, “The outrageous sacrilege perpetrated at St. Patrick’s Cathedral is indeed a hate crime. . . . Video footage shows that transgender activists intentionally used deception to obtain permission to enter St. Patrick’s and the facts show that access was used to desecrate that sacred space and mock Catholic faith and morals.”

Further, it is astounding to read Cardinal Dolan’s response, spoken during a podcast: “We didn’t know the background. We don’t do FBI checks on people who want to be buried.” 

While we can sympathize with Dolan on that point, the reports we have read allude to a slightly different story. According to the Catholic News Agency,

The New York Times reported that the funeral’s organizer did not disclose to the cathedral that Gentili, who died Feb. 6 at age 52, was a biological man who identified as a woman.

“I kept it under wraps,” Ceyeye Doroshow, the service’s organizer, told the outlet.

The organization also suggested that cathedral staff violated the Catholic Church’s law.

“Still reeling from the pain of Cecilia’s loss, community members are asking for an explanation for this decision which seemingly violated Catholic Canon Law governing the denial of funeral [M]asses,” the organization said. “. . . Ms. Gentili’s service ended an hour earlier than had been scheduled, thus denying her the full funeral Mass that was agreed upon.”

If this is indeed the case, then someone at the archdiocese did know and chose to end the Mass earlier than had been agreed upon. As of this writing, that question remains unanswered.

So, you may ask, why bring it up at all? Well, because Cardinal Dolan has a history of doing the politically correct dance when necessary. His apparent view that he must be all things to all people is actually confusing. What would help ameliorate that confusion is strict adherence to Church teaching.

You see, every person—regardless of their sexuality—has a soul, and it is this fact that should be paramount in the mind, heart, and ministry of every man ordained to the Catholic priesthood. So while Gentili may have been an icon in his community, it’s his soul that should have earned words and prayers from the cardinal.

We have scoured the Internet in search of those words from Cardinal Timothy Dolan, but we have not found them. Regardless, at this point in time we have no need to look further because we are simply called to pray to the Lord for His mercy on Gentili’s soul.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.