New York, transgender icon's funeral becomes an issue.  Parish Priest: “For sacrilege, we will have a forced Mass.”

In New York, there is controversy over the funeral of Cecilia Gentile, 52 and an icon of the LGBTQ+ community. The ceremony was held on Thursday, February 15, at St. Patrick's Cathedral, a jewel of neo-Gothic architecture nestled among the skyscrapers of the Big Apple. Gentile's funeral, according to the Rev. Enrique Salvo, St. Patrick's parish priest, was to include only family and some close acquaintances. However, about a thousand people attended the ceremony, including some journalists from major American newspapers. A fact that didn't really sit well with Rev. Salvo: The parish priest of St. Patrick's Cathedral said: “Thank you to all the people, there are many who have told us that they share our discontent.”


What sparked outrage were the fanciful outfits of about a thousand guests who turned up to bid their final farewell to “Santa Cecilia,” as the former transgender community has been renamed. Cecilia Gentile was born in Argentina in 1972 but has lived in New York for more than twenty years. A former prostitute and actress, over the years she has become an icon for the transgender community. At her funeral, some fans showed up carrying a banner that read: “Santa Cecilia, madre de todas las putas.” In Italian: “Saint Cecilia, mother of all whores.” It was precisely these signs that angered the parish priest of San Patrizio, as well as the clothes of those who came to church in short skirts and fishnet stockings or with images of Cecilia Gentile with a halo above her head.


“The cathedral only knew that family and friends were requesting a funeral Mass for a person of the Catholic faith – said parish priest Enrique Salvo – and had no idea that our prayers and welcome would deteriorate in such a deceptive and sacrilegious way.” The priest announced that a “Mass of Compensation” would be celebrated.

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