Some news outlets (Huffington Post, for instance, and NCR) have reported on the December 27 funeral in the Church of Il Gesù, the central church of the Society of Jesus in Rome, for Andrea Quintero, a homeless "transgender" man who left his family in Colombia a few years back. He then drifted to Rome, where he lived on the streets, struggled with addiction and became something of a fixture around the Termini train station. He died in July, the victim of a beating. His family made no move to claim his body. As NCR reports:
Eventually the Jesuit-run Centro Astalli, dedicated to aiding refugees, in combination with the local branch of Caritas and civic officials, stepped in to organize a funeral service.
Among other dignitaries expected to be on hand is Cécile Kyenge, a Congo-born politician and ophthalmologist who serves as Italy’s Minister for Integration, making her the first person of color to serve in an Italian cabinet.
Jesuit Fr. Giovanni La Manna, director of the Centro Astalli, said the funeral is intended not only to mourn Quintero’s death, but to offer “a signal for the entire Roman community that’s distracted in the face so many people who face discrimination, and who live their difficulties to the indifference of our city.”
In a Tweet about the funeral, the Vatican writer for Corriere della Sera, Gian Guido Vecchi, referred to it taking place in “the church of Francis,” presumably a reference to the fact that it’s happening at the mother church of his Jesuit order.
Certainly we have no objections to burying the dead, which is one of the corporal works of mercy -- but it is one thing to have buried Mr. Quintero respectfully but quietly, and another to give him a prominent Church funeral in the full glare of publicity, in the presence of civil dignitaries and in the main church of the Order to which the reigning Pope belongs, with the intention of doing so to make a point against "discrimination."
And it is still another thing yet that, as ANSA reports, during the funeral, the main celebrant (Msgr. Enrico Feroci, the Director of Caritas for the Diocese of Rome) referred to Mr. Quintero as "she" throughout the religious service.