HOUSTON, October 8, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Catholic church in Houston held a funeral Mass for an openly gay "married" man today.
Monsignor Frank Rossi of St. Michael Catholic Church in the Galveston-Houston archdiocese performed the Mass of Resurrection this morning for Paul-David Phy of Tampa, Florida, who passed away late last month. His obituary in the Houston Chronicle describes Phy as a "man of great generosity, pride, and faith" who is "survived by his beloved husband Christopher Victor Lemus of Tampa, Florida."
The obituary reads "He loved dining out, dancing with his husband and friends, and strolling through the neighborhoods of Tampa." It also states Phy was a "Communion Minister" at an unnamed Catholic Church in San Diego; he is also noted as having been a parishioner and regular attendee at Sacred Heart Church in Tampa, Florida.
The occasion of a funeral Mass for an openly homosexual individual flies in the face of explicit canon law. According to canon 1184 of Chapter II, titled "Those to Whom Ecclesiastical Funerals Must Be Granted Or Denied," barring some "signs of repentance before death," any and all "manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful" must be "deprived of ecclesiastical funerals."
This is not the first time the archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, headed by Cdl. Daniel DiNardo, has made headlines for performing illicit funeral Masses. In December of last year a funeral Mass was held at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in downtown Houston for Lisa Benitez, a Houston native who "excelled in her career raising funds for charitable causes as an Event Coordinator/Manager for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast" and was a "Founding Member of Planned Parenthood Young Leaders."
Canon law is likewise explicit as to the implications of abusing an ecclesiastical function. Canon 1389 §1 states: "A person who abuses an ecclesiastical power or function is to be punished according to the gravity of the act or omission, not excluding privation of office."
Paragraph two addresses culpable negligence of such abuses and asserts that such actions are to be "punished with a just penalty."
The funeral Mass is not the first instance of misuse of the Houston cathedral under the watch of Cdl. DiNardo. In 2013 the archdiocese allowed the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church to hold a "commissioning and ordination" service in the Co-Cathedral, during which a female bishop "ordained" several ministers.
ChurchMilitant.com reached out to St. Michael parish, which confirmed that the funeral Mass of Paul-David Phy would be taking place. ChurchMilitant.com also requested a statement from Msgr. Rossi, but as of press time, we've received no response. We also requested a statement from the Galveston-Houston archdiocese, and also received no response.