When Linda Hullibarger and her husband Jeff waited for a message of encouragement during the funeral of their 18-year-old son Maison, the speech of the priest Don LaCuesta at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Templance, Michigan, surprised everyone.
The Hullibargers were stunned by the speech they had just heard. Linda approached the pulpit and said to the priest: "Father, please stop." But it does not work. LaCuesta repeated the word suicide six times and in front of everyone continued to suggest that people who end their lives offend God.
A year after the funeral, Linda Hullibarger has filed a lawsuit against the priest, the Catholic Church and against the Archdiocese of Detroit alleging that the homily irreparably damaged his family.RELATED
In the lawsuit that was filed last Wednesday before the Michigan state court, Hullibarger mentions that LaCuesta caused his family anguish when what they were looking for was comfort. The lawsuit mentions that the priest showed no compassion even when the priest met with the couple to plan the funeral.
Athlete and criminal justice student
The Hullibargers had told LaCuesta that they wanted the ceremony to celebrate the life of Maison, who was studying criminal justice at the University of Toledo. The lawsuit states that LaCuesta agreed with the request. During the meeting the parents never revealed how their son had died.
Linda and Jeff recalled that after the homily, the priest did not give them the floor to express their feelings before those present until they stopped the service "because the music had begun and the priest proceeded to finish the funeral service."
The parents wanted the message to be a positive signal so that no other family would suffer the same way they did. "We wanted him to celebrate what Maison's life was like, not how he died," the mother told the Detroit Free Press in 2018.
At the end of the ceremony, several people approached Linda and told her that they had heard homilies that had been "insensitive" about their loved ones from LaCuesta, the lawsuit says, so the family requested the dismissal of LaCuesta from the congregation.
A published copy of the homily made by LaCuesta mentions that the priest said that "God could judge someone's whole life without considering only the worst and last choice the person made. Yes, thanks to his mercy, God can forgive suicide and heal what has been broken, "according to the publication.
The Archdiocese of Detroit apologized to the family saying that what LaCuesta did was wrong. In a public statement they assured that the priest would not preach more in future funerals and that the homilies would be reviewed by a mentor priest but would not dismiss him.
The Catholic Church has argued that suicide contradicts each person's responsibility to protect the life God gave him. Until the celebration of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, people who committed suicide were not allowed to receive a burial under the Christian faith.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church approved by Pope John Paul II in 1992, argues that suicide is considered "serious and contrary to the just love of self," but recognizes that many people who end their lives are victims of some kind of illness. mental.
"Serious psychological disturbances, anguish or fear of difficulties, suffering or torture may decrease the responsibility of those who commit suicide," says the text.
Religious leaders should listen to people who feel distressed, express their condolences and refer to the scriptures for guidance and talk about how the deceased lived not just talk about how he died, "said Melinda Moore, co-leader of the Working Group of Communities of Faith of the National Action Alliance for the Prevention of Suicide to The Washington Post.
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