Local Priest Accused Of Making Inflammatory Remark

Father Louis Solcia Accused Of Saying Gay Activists Set Up Controversy Involving John Sanfilippo's Funeral

A local priest is accused of saying San Diego gay activists set his church up after a local Catholic church canceled a funeral for gay parishioner John Sanfilippo.

  • Story:Catholic Church Denies Funeral For Local Gay Man
  • The San Diego-based religious website California Catholic Daily posted a report on Wednesday quoting a parishioner who attended the mass at the church, Our Lady of the Rosary. That person said Father Louis Solcia told the congregation that he believes the controversy was a "setup" by gay activists.

    This was said on the same day the Diocese of San Diego told the media the initial funeral arrangements were canceled by "a visiting priest, substituting during the pastor's vacation, and was not familiar with local practice."

    Local gay activists said that local practice is unclear. They said it was never clarified even after what happened six years ago when the Catholic diocese denied John McCusker, another gay parishioner, a funeral mass in a church.

    Bishop Robert Brom apologized after the fact, but the family chose to have the funeral at St. Paul's Cathedral, an Episcopalian church. The dean of St. Paul's told 10News why his church allowed the funeral for McCusker.

    "One of the things we declare when we're baptized is we will strive for justice and peace and respect the dignity of every human being," said the Very Rev. Scott Richardson. "John McCusker was a human being… a child of God."

    Sanfilippo's story has received a lot of attention on the Internet. The story has sparked discussion on numerous blogs throughout the country. On 10News.com alone, the story has generated hundreds of comments on more than 20 pages.

    One guest wrote, "How you are born can't be a sin."

    Another wrote, "Being gay is not a disorder."

    Opponents have weighed in also.

    One wrote, "If you don't live like a Catholic... you don't die like a Catholic either."

    Another wrote, "You can not live an openly homesexual [sic] lifestyle and expect to have a Roman Catholic funeral."

    Dr. Gordon Clanton, a religion and sociology professor at San Diego State University, told 10News, "My sense is the Catholic Church does need to be clear on this so there can't be individual action taken by individual priests."

    Clanton said this debate isn't exclusive to the Catholic Church.

    "Their view is not that different from conservative fundamentalist Protestants…The idea of loving the sinner but hating the sin," he said. "We are in the midst of a revolution around attitudes towards gays and lesbians."

    10News called the diocese on Wednesday to ask about the comment, but so far, no one from the diocese has responded.

    Friends of Sanfilippo said they are saddened by this accusation but also said they are not surprised.

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