New York Archdiocese denounces behavior at transgender activist’s funeral at cathedral


The funeral of a renowned transgender activist in a New York cathedral elicited a denunciation by a senior church official, who called the Mass a scandal within one of the preeminent houses of worship in U.S. Catholicism.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York condemned the funeral of Cecilia Gentili, which was held in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan last week.

Gentili was known as a leading advocate for other transgender people, as well as sex workers and people with HIV. A post on her Instagram account announced her death on Feb. 6 at age 52.

In a written statement, the Rev. Enrique Salvo, pastor of St. Patrick’s, thanked those who “share our outrage over the scandalous behavior” at the Thursday funeral.

“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,” Salvo said in the Saturday statement.

Videos of Gentili’s funeral show an estimated audience of more than 1,000 celebrants, including transgender people and other friends and supporters, chanting her name, applauding, singing and offering praise of her stature as a leading light of the city’s LGBTQ+ community.

During one eulogy that was widely circulated on social media, Gentili was celebrated as “St. Cecilia, the mother of all whores.”