A Filipino priest was suspended after presiding over the funeral of a teenager and using the ceremony as an opportunity to condemn the deceased’s suicide.
Father Don Lacuesta of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Temperance, Michigan presided over the funeral of 18-year-old Maison Hullibarger, who committed suicide on December 4, ABS-CBN News reported.
The parents of the deceased, Jeff and Linda, requested that Lacuesta deliver an upliftiing homily celebrating their son’s life. However, LaCuesta condemned Hullibarger and called him a sinner and preached at length about the immorality of suicide.
The couple called for the removal of the priest, worried that LaCuesta could hurt other families in the same way.
The Archdiocese of Detroit announced that LaCuesta will not be preaching at funerals for the foreseeable future and will have all other homilies reviewed by a mentor.
“We understand that an unbearable situation was made even more difficult, and we are sorry,” the Archdiocese of Detroit said in a statement.
LaCuesta said in a separate statement that he deeply regretted the pain he caused the family. He said he is working with the Archdiocese to ensure that he can serve more effectively in the future.