March 18, 2005


Out in America

Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) - San Diego's Roman Catholic bishop has denied funeral rites to a man who owned a bar and a dance club popular with gays, citing a clash with the church's moral teachings.

John McCusker, who was gay, died Sunday of congestive heart failure at a ski resort, his family said.

Arrangements had been made to hold funeral services at the Immaculata Catholic Church on the University of San Diego campus, McCusker's alma mater that is affiliated with the church.

But San Diego Bishop Robert Brom decided none of the 98 Catholic churches in San Diego or Imperial counties could provide funeral rites for McCusker, who was 31.

"The facts regarding the business activities of John McCusker were not known by church officials when arrangements were requested for his funeral," the diocese said Thursday in a statement. "However, when these facts became known, the bishop concluded that to avoid public scandal Mr. McCusker cannot be granted a funeral in a Catholic church or chapel in the Diocese of San Diego."...

Other dioceses have sometimes denied funeral Masses for mobsters, including John Gotti. In other cases across the country, some priests accused of sexual abuse have been granted Catholic funeral services, including John Geoghan, the Boston Archdiocese former priest whose sex-abuse case helped spark a nationwide church scandal.

Posted by kshaw at March 18, 2005 05:37 PM