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CA Catholic Church Refuses Gay Man His Funeral

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Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Little Italy, san diego gay catholic funeral, catholic church gay funeral, catholic church denies gay funeral

Shame on Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Little Italy.

San Diego, California devout Catholic and local businessman John Sanfilippo died last week from complications due to emphysema. Sanfilippo, who left a large sum in his will to his church, had made arrangements for his funeral to be held at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Little Italy, where he had attended for decades.

This weekend Sanfilippo’s partner of 28 years and his family were informed by the church that they had cancelled his funeral service because he was gay. No uncertain terms or minced words here – Just straight up because he was gay.

This is only the second incident ever of a Catholic church refusing to hold a previously planned funeral for a homosexual parishioner in our country. The first, the funeral of John McCusker in 2005, also occurred in the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

When this deplorable tale of denying a mourning family a planned mass for a deceased loved one became national news, the church began singing a different tune.

In an email, Rodrigo Valdivia, the chancellor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, told 10News, “The Diocesan office was notified about this situation earlier today… Diocesan Authorities have concluded that the funeral as scheduled at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish may take place. Plans for the ritual are yet to be made.”

At the cocktail lounge that Sanfilippo owned for 28 years came outrage from friends over what some called a confusing statement from the San Diego diocese.

“All of a sudden, they change their mind and say, ‘Well, you know, we may still allow the funeral to be here.’ Why? Because they got caught in the process of denying equal rights to people?” asked Neil Thomas, a friend and customer of Sanfilippo’s.

Cannon also believes the statement is unclear. “I think it’s confusing… They did their best to put the verbiage in there that they needed because they still have their… out,” he said.

Ramirez said the statement was proof the parish was acting alone and the diocese needs a diocese-wide policy so a similar situation does not happen again.

But after a hurtful rejection, it appears Sanfilippo’s family has moved on.

“From what I’m told, they don’t want it there now,” said Thomas.

Ramirez said Sanfilippo’s family had already found another Catholic church for the funeral. Ramirez said the family would not feel comfortable going back to Our Lady of the Rosary after what happened.

No one from Our Lady of the Rosary was available for comment.

Absolutely horrible. The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego and Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Little Italy should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. As should legislators who continue to provide religious institutions with exemptions from the law, leaving them free to practice hateful discrimination exactly like this.

Our condolences go out to John Sanfilippo’s partner, family, friends and loved ones.

  • Oh, San Diego… why. Oh why. Oh whyyyyy.

  • This is despicable, the Catholic church will tolerate child molesters within its clergy, but they refuse to provide a funeral for this gentleman, just because he was gay, even after he donated to their “church”. I’m not comparing the two to each other (child molesters and homosexuals), I just find it ironic, and terribly wrong.

  • gstronger

    As messed up as this story reads, the Catholic Church only accepts mo’s if they don’t act on their attractions.  I was once part of this messed up organization and chose to separate myself after realizing their belief system was full of hypocrisy.  I will not be part of a group that ignores who I am and only accepts me if I refuse to physically show my affection to my partner.  It’s unfortunate, but as a devout Catholic should know, “sinning gays” have no place in the Church. 

    I’m curious to know if the Church knew he was gay while he attended their parish, or if they found out after he passed?  It’s pretty much akin to the Catholic Church not performing a marriage ceremony for a same-sex couple.  

  • Another reason i am not catholic, *Sigh*, and people wonder why everyone else hates religion. Come on Christians lets rise up and show the world that god loves all, no matter who you love. I have a cousin, who has been with her life partner for years. She is a pastor at an Episcopalian church. Her and her partner have just adopted a child. This woman not only was the pastor at my Grandmother’s funeral, but she also married my mother, and step dad. Christians need to really stand up and fight this bigotry. Its foolish, and harmful. That poor man and his partner. I will pray for them, and I hope this changes soon. I want to wake up in a world where we don’t even talk about gay rights anymore. Its not about that gay couple getting married, its about a couple getting married, and how cute they look together. 

  • Surely they did not accept the money from the man did they? I mean after all, he was a homosexual and made his money from a lounge. Oh my Lord!

  • A friend of mine pointed out, and I’m inclined to agree, that this line from this post gives us both pause, “As should legislators who continue to provide religious institutions with exemptions from the law, leaving them free to practice hateful discrimination exactly like this.”

    When you say stuff like that, it implies that the government should be stepping in to prevent this sort of discrimination, which is exactly what the religious right is screaming when they say that if gay marriage is legalized that pastors will be arrested and punished if they refuse, on religious grounds, to perform a same-sex wedding.

    Now, there is no doubt that the people running this church are bigoted assholes. Nobody should attend there, nobody should have weddings or funerals there, nobody should seek them out for spiritual guidance as they clearly don’t know what they’re talking about, even in relations to the lessons of Jesus which they claim to be experts on, but they have the right to be incorrect bigoted assholes, and we have to let that go along the way. If their rights are no more valid than ours, then they’re no less either, and while simply accepting homosexuality legally is not a violation of their freedom of religion rights, trying to force their religious practice is just such a violation.

  • Kino H. Servin

    oh hell no

  • Anonymous

    This so upset me, I posted comments on The Daily Show page and on the Church’s facebook page too. 

  • Lisa Broshar

    Do you suppose they’ll give his partner back all the monies he has donated to the church?  I think not!!

  • Anonymous

    So they refused to hold a funeral mass for him because in their eyes he was a sinner? They don’t want anything to do with sinners? They don’t hold funeral masses for liars, cheaters, adulturers, men who beat their wives, robbers, white collar or blue, parents who abuse their children? Homosexuality is the only “sin” they exclude? Jesus. He wouldn’t like that.

  • I agree, there are plenty of other spiritual communities to be a part of, even Christian ones that do not view homosexuality as “sin”.  Nobody made this man be a part of the Catholic community.  You can be Christian w/o being Catholic and there are plenty of Biblical principles to back up those beliefs.  If you don’t like the beliefs and actions of the Catholic church, don’t be a Catholic.  Just like, “if you don’t believe in same-sex marriage, don’t marry someone of the same sex”.

  • Jason R

    No sympathy –  If the hypocrit chose to spend decades as a member of a religion that has a proven history of hate and homophobia and even goes so far as to fund that homophobia can he really be surprised when that turns around to bite him in the ass?

  • No. He can’t be surprised. He’s dead.

  • Jason R

    and????  He’s not gone

  • For us gay catholics i think some of the comments made in anger are generalizing all catholics & churches which is ironic. That is why I and many straight catholics are educating and holding dicussions with our priests and church communities. Although there are always occurences like this one..unfortunatley that is what we face with anything that has humans at the head. I am thankful to be in a loving religious community that is showing a greater understnding and acceptance of glbt people. Like with any of our natural rights I think we have to stand strong and show we are not moving from our rights! I am catholic and not going anywhere so they a choice to get with it or get over it!

  • James

    Figures.  I’ve been told by my “pious” mother-in-law that 2 friends who committed suicide were in hell. In my ideal vision of the afterlife, Judas is in heaven with the other 12 apostles giving her the finger.  And Jon Sanfillippo is being embraced by his brothers – such as Cosmas and Damian, David and Johnathan, thousands of monks who were whipped and beaten by “saints” for becoming “overly familiar” etc.

  • the entire catholic community is not to blame for this. thanks for being as closedminded and ignorant as other “christians”. 

  • the entire catholic community is not to blame for this. in fact, mainstream catholicism supports equality in both the legal and spiritual sense.christ wouldnt exclude or deny anyone! its time for the the church hierarchy to reform and evolve. god opens our eyes ever wider every day. 

  • ShowMeGuy

    Oh, I’m sure there was nothing wrong with his money…..it was good-moral heterosexual money that just found its way into the bank account of a dirty queer.  They always love our money, but hate us.