March 22, 2005

S.D. bishop apologizes for denying funeral rite


By Alex Roth
and Jeff McDonald
March 22, 2005

The head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego apologized yesterday to the family of gay nightclub owner John McCusker, less than a week after denying McCusker a Catholic funeral because of his "business activities," according to a statement released by McCusker's family.

In a stunning twist to a controversy that has created an uproar in San Diego's gay and Catholic communities, Bishop Robert Brom also promised to preside at a Mass in memory of McCusker at he Immaculata Catholic Church at the University of San Diego, according to the statement.

McCusker, 31, died March 13 while vacationing in Mammoth.

In the statement released by McCusker's family, Brom said, "I deeply regret that denying a Catholic funeral for John McCusker at the Immaculata has resulted in his unjust condemnation, and I apologize to the family for the anguish this has caused them. To help rectify this situation, insofar as it can be, I will preside at a Mass for the family, in memory of John, at the Immaculata. In consideration for the family, I will not be available for any further public statements on this matter." ...

The controversy over McCusker's funeral became a popular topic on the Internet and came at an awkward time for the Catholic church, which has been dealing for several years with fallout from disclosures of widespread sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the United States.

Those who showed up last night to support McCusker's family said the bishop probably didn't expect the backlash that his actions received.

Posted by kshaw at March 22, 2005 08:06 AM