Transgender activists mocked Catholic saints and repeatedly celebrated “whores” during a funeral Thursday for a transgender-identifying prostitute and self-professed atheist who went by the name Cecilia Gentili.

The Archdiocese of New York did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Signal as to why St. Patrick’s Cathedral hosted the funeral, “an event with no likely precedent in Catholic history,” as The New York Times described it. The cathedral referred The Daily Signal to the archdiocese.

After publication, the archdiocese released a statement condemning the funeral and announcing priests had performed a Mass of Reparation.

“That St. Patrick’s Cathedral would host the funeral for a high-profile transgender activist who was well known for her advocacy on behalf of sex workers, transgender people, and people living with HIV might come as a surprise to some,” The New York Times reported. The funeral appears to have been widely attended by media from top U.S. publications.

One of the organizers of the funeral said that St. Patrick’s Cathedral was not told that Gentili identified as a transgender woman. Gentili is also revered by those who identify as LGBTQ as a “transgender icon” and advocate.

“I kind of kept it under wraps,” organizer Ceyenne Doroshow, a man who identifies as a woman, told the Times, explaining that St. Patrick’s Cathedral is “an icon, just like her.”

The Rev. Fr. Edward Dougherty led the service, according to Time magazine, telling the funeral attendees: “Cecilia died with Christ.”

A livestream of the event depicts one of the funeral organizers, identified by Time as Oscar Diaz, describing Gentili in the following way: “This whore. This great whore. St. Cecilia, Mother of all Whores!”

The congregation wildly claps and cheers, many standing. Diaz goes on to advocate for “love, equity, and the same rights” of dignity.

Diaz’s remarks appear to reference the Catholic saint Cecilia, one of the most famous virgin martyrs of the Catholic Church and the patron saint of musicians. Cecilia is believed to have been beheaded by the Roman Empire for refusing to give up her faith.

Over 1,000 people attended the funeral, the Times reported, including several hundred transgender activists dressed in fur, fishnet stockings, miniskirts, and even thongs, as photographs posted by Time magazine demonstrate.

The funeral attendees also placed a picture near the altar, where priests celebrate the Catholic Mass, that depicted Gentili with a halo and the Spanish words for “transvestite,” “whore,” “blessed,” and “mother” as well as the text of Psalm 25, the Times reported.

A livestream of the funeral shows Dougherty delivering a homily to those in attendance, joking, “Except on Easter Sunday, we don’t really have a crowd that is this well turned out,” to which the crowd of transgender activists cheers, claps, and laughs.

Dougherty chuckles. As those in attendance continue to cheer, someone in the background can be heard telling the priest that there should be merely a funeral service, not a Mass.

One woman emotionally prays “to our Lord Jesus Christ” that “Cecilia’s community be loved” and have “access to life-affirming health care,” an apparent reference to transgender surgeries and hormones that activists describe as “life-affirming” or “gender-affirming.”

Doroshow, dressed in a shimmering purple dress, led the congregation in loudly chanting, “Cecilia! Cecilia! Cecilia!” before describing the late Gentili as a “saint” and comparing Gentili to Jesus, who “ministered to all.”

The archdiocese condemned the funeral as “scandalous,” in a statement Saturday. The Very Rev. Enrique Salvo, pastor of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, suggested the church had been duped.

“Thanks to so many who have let us know they share our outrage over the scandalous behavior at a funeral here at St. Patrick’s Cathedral earlier this week,” Salvo wrote in his statement. “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.”

“That such a scandal occurred at ‘America’s Parish Church’ makes it worse; that it took place as Lent was beginning, the annual forty–day struggle with the forces of sin and darkness, is a potent reminder of how much we need the prayer, reparation, repentance, grace, and mercy to which this holy season invites us,” Salvo added.

“At the cardinal’s directive, we have offered an appropriate Mass of Reparation,” he concluded.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include the archdiocese’s statement.

The Daily Signal’s Tyler O’Neil contributed to this report.


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