Thursday, August 18, 2005

"Excessive zeal"

Okay, when I was talking about the need for priests to show some backbone, I'm not sure this is what I had in mind:
Father Giuseppe Mazzotta, parish priest at Marcellinara, near Catanzaro in Calabria, said that he had denied a Christian funeral to Maria Francesca Tallarico, who died of breast cancer at the age of 45, because she had lived with her partner but never married him. Her partner was separated and had an 11-year-old daughter.

"She lived with her lover, so she was a public sinner," Father Mazzotta said. "I decided not to celebrate an official Mass for this woman, who was not in communion with the Church."

Father Mazzotta said that he had performed the liturgy of absolution for the dead. He added that he was close to the dead woman's family and had offered them "words of comfort".
I like that – "words of comfort". He's essentially telling this woman's family she was a sinful whore and that he won't bury her, but 'may God comfort you'. I'm sure that went down a treat.

Thankfully, I can't be held accountable for this priest's actions. The article is dated July 22 and the priest in question is in Italy, so the Irish Eagle is not responsible for this.

I can understand when priests refuse a funeral for a mobster, but this seems unduly harsh. I have to agree with Fr. Sciortino, Editor of Famiglia Cristiana, that Fr. Mazzotta was showing "excessive zeal". Maybe Fr. Sciortino and I are too soft.