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Home / US / At a teenager's funeral, a priest condemned suicide and basically called "our son a sinner," Mother says

At a teenager's funeral, a priest condemned suicide and basically called "our son a sinner," Mother says

Instead, the priest told the hundreds of mourners that suicide is wrong, repeatedly pointing out that the 18-year-old took his own life.

"I looked at Jeff and thought," What is he doing? "" Linda Hullibarger said Sunday.

"We have five other children, nobody could believe it," said Jeff Hullibarger. "I looked at the parish and they all looked the same in their faces."

When the priest's words ripped open the wounds of the Michigan family, Jeff Hullibarger tried to intervene.

"After speaking that word [suicide] for the first time, I approached the pulpit and said, I whispered into his ear," Father, please stop. ""

It did not work.

"He did not miss a beat and he kept going," Jeff said. "He said that word a handful of times, making the worst day of our lives worse."

Abandonment of the Plan

The Hullibargers had barely time to process their son's death on December 4, when they met with Rev. Don LaCuesta to discuss what they were talking about in the Sermon hope Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Carmel in moderation.

"We wanted it to be about the family, we wanted it to talk about loving each other, uplifting each other and being kind to each other, that's what we wanted the sermon for." be there, "said Linda.

  Maison Hullibarger was a pure student and a freshman at the University of Toledo, his family said.

] But when the priest began to speak at the funeral on December 8, he said, "No word in his mouth went into what we asked and what we talked about," Jeff said was unprofessional and unacceptable. "

LaCuesta had not responded to CNN's request for comment on Sunday, but the Archdiocese of Detroit apologized to the Hullibarger family.

" We understand that an intolerable situation has become even more difficult, and it does We are sorry, "said the archdiocese in a statement.

It is said that the priest will not preach at funerals for the foreseeable future and" he will receive all other sermons from a priest-Mento

"In addition, he has agreed to pursue the aid he needs to become a more effective minister in these difficult situations," the Archdiocese said.

"This assistance requires the help of professionals – on a human, spiritual and pastoral level – to find out how and why he failed to effectively address the grief of the family in the crisis."

What the Priest Said

According to a transcript of the sermon, LaCuesta said, "God can even forgive one's own life, in fact God is waiting for us with His mercy, with always open arms … Yes, because of His Grace can commit suicide to God and heal what is broken. "

He also said," We can not call bad good, which is wrong, and because we are Christians, we have to say what we know. The truth – that Taking your own life is against God who made us, and against anyone who loves us.Our life is not our own.They do not belong to us as we want.God gave us life, and we are good at stewards this Gifts as long as God permits. "

The priest also spoke about the consequences of suicide.

"The finality of suicide makes it worse," said LaCuesta. "… Now you have to work through this pain yourself, or with those who are now close to you who need to rely on you, even if you rely on them."

Maison's mother said she had no clue about the priest delivering a sermon that was drastically different from what the family discussed.

"He basically referred to our son as a sinner," said Linda Hullibarger. "We had no idea he would do that … we were lifelong members of the church."

The archdiocese said that LaCuesta was trying to convey a message of trust in salvation.

"However, we acknowledge that the family wanted a sermon based on how their beloved lived," the archdiocese said.

"We also know that through the father's decision, the family passed over church doctrines Sharing suicide was further violated as emphasis had to be placed more on God's closeness to the mourners. "

Incredible Son & # 39;

After the preaching of LaCuesta, the priest was supposed to be the parent Leave the word to voice their comments, said Jeff Hullibarger.

But the priest did not let the parents speak, instead "he finished the funeral and the music started," Linda Hullibarger said. "We had to stop the funeral director because all just got up. "

The funeral director stopped the music and the parents could honor their son in the way he wanted to remember.

" Today we want the life of M celebrate aison, "said the parents. "He has had a great impact on many people's lives, and we loved him passionately and with conviction.

" Our family message for you today: Please be kind to one another. Contact those who are important to you. Show sincerity in your actions. And forever love unconditionally.

The public now takes these messages to heart – and deals with them.

The Hullibargers' GoFundMe site, set up before the funeral, had given a target of $ 10,000 to pay for Maison's funeral – and Funeral Costs.

By Sunday afternoon, donors had contributed more than $ 20,000.

The Hullibargers said they were grateful for the support, but they said they want LaCuesta to be fired, so none will

"We should have a meeting with the Archbishop," Jeff Hullibarger said. "We're trying to build that up now. It may be difficult, but I think it's something my wife and I need to do. "

" We just do not feel that the consequences are where they need to be right now. We asked him [the archbishop] to remove the priest from the priesthood. We wonder how they think they sent him into the classroom – how he teaches empathy and discretion. How do you teach someone? "

They also want to make sure that the funeral does not overshadow the joy that Maison has brought to his loved ones.

" Maison is a great person. He is a very caring person, "said his mother. We had many students who came to us and told us how he was there for them in their time of need. … He was just an incredible son.

Madeleine Thompson of CNN contributed to this report.

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