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Outrage Over the Desecration of St. Patrick's Cathedral

The sacred confines of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York were recently desecrated during a funeral service. The incident has sparked a wave of indignation across various communities, particularly among the faithful. This article delves into the details of the incident, the reactions it elicited, and the implications for the larger discourse on respect for sacred spaces.

The Unsettling Incident at St. Patrick's Cathedral

On a day that was supposed to be solemn and respectful, the funeral service of a transgender activist took an unexpected turn, leading to what many have termed as a desecration of the renowned St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Cecilia Gentili, a prominent transgender activist, was being honored at the cathedral when the service took an unexpected turn. While Gentili had been a self-proclaimed atheist, the gathering in the cathedral was expected to adhere to the sacredness of the place. However, the service turned into a celebration of the activist's life that many believe disrespected the sanctity of the cathedral.

Funeral Turns Celebratory

The funeral service saw an estimated crowd of over a thousand attendees, some of whom engaged in actions that were deemed inappropriate for the sacred setting. The attendees included a number of transgender rights activists who took the opportunity to speak about transgender rights and access to gender-affirming healthcare.

The eulogists referred to Gentili as a "saint" and compared them to Jesus, who "ministered to all," leading to applause and cheers from the audience. However, it was the repeated celebration of "whores" during the service that drew the ire of many observers.

The Aftermath of the Incident

The uncharacteristic behavior during the service led to a wave of outrage from various quarters. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York condemned the event, terming the mass a scandal within one of the preeminent houses of worship in U.S. Catholicism.

The Church's Response

The church authorities were quick to react to the incident. The Rev. Enrique Salvo, pastor of St. Patrick's, issued a statement expressing outrage over the scandalous behavior and asserting that the church had no prior knowledge of the planned antics.

The church then held a rare "Mass of Reparation" - a service that is meant to make "reparation for sin." This service was an attempt to atone for the disruption and disrespect caused during Gentili's funeral.

Public Outcry

The event also sparked a public outcry. Many, including the conservative group CatholicVote, took to social media to express their disdain and shock at the transpired events. The Rev. Nicholas Gregoris, a co-founder of the Priestly Society of Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman, termed the event a "blasphemous & sacrilegious fiasco... a deplorable desecration of America's most famous Catholic Church."

Catholic Funeral           

The default position in the Catholic Church is that Catholics get a funeral Mass if they or their family asks for one.

“Deceased members of the Christian faithful must be given ecclesiastical funerals according to the norm of law,” canon law (1176) states.

However, there are exceptions.

Current canon law (1184) denies a Church funeral to unrepentant “notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics,” those who choose cremation “for reasons contrary to the Christian faith” (meaning they deny the resurrection), and “other manifest sinners” whose funeral would cause “public scandal of the faithful.”

Cardinal Dolan of New York said in his podcast after the incident, “We didn‘t know the background. We don’t do FBI checks on people who want to be buried.” Though it is true that an FBI check is not necessary, but given that Church law defines those who are to be denied a Catholic funeral, those in charge should at least find out something about the deceased, or else how can the law be applied?

Lessons from John 2:13-25

In the face of such incident, it is worth revisiting today’s Gospel for the Third Sunday of Lent from John 2:13-25. In this passage, Jesus did not react calmly when he found the temple being desecrated. Instead, he made a whip and drove out those who were disrespecting the sacred space. This incident in the Bible serves as an example of righteous anger that I believe should be shown in the face of such sacrilegious acts.

The Larger Discourse on Respect for Sacred Spaces

This incident at St. Patrick's Cathedral raises important questions about the respect accorded to sacred spaces. Irrespective of personal beliefs and values, it is essential to maintain the sanctity of places of worship. A disregard for the sacredness of such spaces not only offends the faithful but also undermines societal norms and values.

This event also highlights the need for a broader discourse on the intersection of human rights activism and religious beliefs. While it is crucial to advocate for the rights of marginalized communities, such advocacy should not come at the cost of disrespecting religious institutions and beliefs.


The incident at St. Patrick's Cathedral serves as a stark reminder of the need for respect and sensitivity towards religious spaces and beliefs. It underscores the need for dialogue and understanding between different communities and ideologies. Ultimately, it calls for a balance between advocacy for rights and respect for religious sentiments.

As the dust settles on this unsettling incident, it is crucial to remember the importance of sacred spaces in society. They are not merely architectural marvels or tourist attractions, but places of worship that deserve reverence and respect. It is incumbent upon everyone, irrespective of their personal beliefs, to uphold the sanctity of these spaces.


( 2023 ) Not to us, LORD, not to us, But to Your name give glory.
Huwag sa amin, Oh Panginoon, huwag sa amin, kundi sa iyong pangalan ay magbigay kang karangalan.
Non a noi, Signore, non a noi, ma al tuo nome dà gloria.
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