Although the Catholic Church considers suicide a sin, it does not encourage bringing up this fact during the funerals of people who have taken their own lives.
The Toledo Blade reports that one priest in Michigan did just that this week, however, when he delivered a lengthy sermon about the immorality of suicide at the funeral of 18-year-old Maison Hullibarger, who died by suicide on December 4th.
Parents Jeff and Linda Hullibarger tell the Toledo Blade that the Rev. Don LaCuesta at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Temperance, Michigan, delivered the anti-suicide sermon even though they had implored him to offer a homily that paid tribute to their late son’s life.
“He basically called our son a sinner, instead of rejoicing in his life,” Linda Hullibarger said.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit has formally apologized to the family and has said that Rev. LaCuesta will not be overseeing any funerals for the foreseeable future.
“We understand that an unbearable situation was made even more difficult, and we are sorry,” the organization said. “After some reflection, the presider agrees that the family was not served as they should have been served. For the foreseeable future, he will not be preaching at funerals and he will have his other homilies reviewed by a priest mentor.”