Let me preface this post by saying that my own family is no stranger to suicide, as are the families of some close friends of mine. I have seen and experienced that pain.
A young man in the Detroit area recently committed suicide and his requiem Mass was conducted by Father Don LaCuesta. It appears that the parents met with Father beforehand and requested that Father "celebrate how Maison lived, not how he died". Well, I understand that the parents were grieved, but that doesn't give them leeway to dictate to the priest his homily.
So the Mass happened, and Father proclaimed the truth about suicide. I understand that twice during that homily the parents got up and asked him to stop - during Mass. That is simply unacceptable conduct, grief notwithstanding. Then they went to the media and Archbishop Vigneron to complain about the homily. Here is the text of the homily about which they complained. I find nothing objectionable about the homily that proclaimed God's love many times, but yes, reaffirmed the objective sinfulness of suicide.
The parents are demanding that Father LaCuesta be laicized (more on that later). Vigneron promptly forbade LaCuesta to preach at future homilies and to have "all other homilies reviewed by a priest mentor". He even has to submit to "help from professionals - on human, spiritual and pastoral levels". There's that word "pastoral" again but they forgot the word "accompaniment". We may only shudder to think who these "professionals" may be.
Perhaps Archbishop Vigneron was simply trying to deflect media attention from himself, for he has acquired a boatload of that. He has, for several years, allowed Dignity almost free rein in his Archdiocese, with the founder of Dignity being one of his auxiliary bishops. It is said that he fears a "rebellion" among the gay priests. Well, why doesn't he sack them, just as he sacked LaCuesta? He has been called out on the denial of the role of homosexuality in the problems in his own archdiocese - something being brought to bear on him by the Michigan attorney general. It seems that Vigneron is preparing for a lawsuit - by shifting archdiocesan assets to a holding company where they will be sheltered from lawsuits. So yes, we can see why Vigneron might want to keep the media wolves at bay by tossing to them a sacrificial lamb in the person of Father LaCuesta.
Let me get back to a point that I wanted to make earlier, when I said that the deceased's parents were demanding the laicazion of Father LaCuesta. This is strikingly similar to the treatment of Father Marcel Guarnizo in my own parish over six years ago. In that situation, he withheld Holy Communion from a practicing lesbian at her mother's funeral. The medial lambast started that same week and Father Guarnizo was ejected from the Archdiocese of Washington. I wrote about that almost exclusively from Feb - April in 2012.
Now the long knives are out for Father LaCuesta. One wonders if this incident was simply a handy excuse to remove a faithful priest and even destroy his vocation.
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