How can you make death worse? Well, a Roman Catholic Church in San Diego put its best minds to work on the problem and came up with a great idea: denying a funeral for a dead man because he was gay. Then, after the man’s partner and the LGBT community protest the bigotry of the decision, do a complete about-face, just after the family makes alternative plans. Yes, do that.
John Sanfilippo, owner of a popular gay bar, SRO Lounge, died on June 24. But when the priests at Our Lady of the Rosary Church found out that he was survived by his partner of 30 years, Brian Galvin, they told Sanfilippo’s family that the Mass was canceled. That the priests managed to do so just two days after Sanfilippo died speaks both to their efficiency and their complete lack of humanity.
City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez, a friend of the Sanfilippo family, told San Diego LGBT Weekly, “The Sanfilippo family and Brian are, of course, devastated and are trying to get the mass in another church.”
This isn’t the first time that a San Diego Catholic Church refused funeral services for a gay man, according to the Weekly. Another gay businessman suffered the same final homophobia gesture in 2005. However, the Church isn’t always that fussy about who it will provide a funeral mass for. Mafia leaders regularly get a sanctified send-off, as seen here, here, and here. Guess in the eyes of the Church there’s still a big difference between killing your fellow man and loving him.
In the end, the church hierarchy announced that John Sanfilippo’s funeral was back on, apparently bowing to the political pressure or, perhaps, coming to its senses.
The Sanfilippo family nixed that idea, however, saying they would make plans at a gay-affirming San Diego church.
“All of a sudden, they change their mind…Why? Because they got caught in the process of denying equal rights to people,” said Sanfilippo’s friend, Neil Thomas.
Photo Credit: San Diego LGBT Weekly