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Recently deceased Democratic Congressman Donald Payne Jr.Forbes Breaking News / YouTube

NEWARK, New Jersey (LifeSiteNews) — Catholics recently held a Rosary rally in reparation for the Roman Catholic Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark being allowed to be used for the funeral service of non-Catholic, pro-abortion Democratic Congressman Donald Payne, Jr.

Prior to Payne’s May 2 funeral, a LifeSite League member had contacted the cathedral, which is under the purview of Cardinal Joseph Tobin, with concerns, specifically in light of the fact that Payne was not only a Baptist, but also an ardent defender of abortion and the LGBT agenda – two positions which the Catholic Church unequivocally and unchangeably condemns as gravely sinful. 

The cathedral failed to respond to the LifeSite League member’s concerns, and therefore, a Rosary rally of reparation was organized to coincide with the event.

The rally began at 9:30 a.m. and consisted of the recitation of three rosaries: one for Cardinal Joseph Tobin to see his error in allowing the funeral; the second for the soul of Payne; and the third for holding a funeral for a non-Catholic, pro-abortion politician in a Catholic cathedral.  

Attendees of the Rosary rally were scandalized by the use of a Catholic church for the funeral of a person who opposed the fundamental right to life for children in the womb – an unchangeable teaching of the Catholic faith – and consequently wanted to do something to console Our Lord.   

During the funeral, the American flag and the Vatican flag were flown at half-mast at the diocesan center, located just across the street from the cathedral. Amongst the color guard, bagpipes and drum corps, Tobin was seen crossing the street with what looked like two other church dignitaries. Walking with his head bowed, members of the Rosary rally called out to the cardinal by name. According to those at the event, Tobin did not react, at which point attendees responded with more prayers for him while shouting “God bless you.”   

Dominican priest weighs in on the funeral

According to a Dominican priest and theologian who spoke to LifeSiteNews about the matter, there are codes in the 1983 Code of Canon Law that address the scandalous funeral.

The priest noted that canons 1210 and 1211 from the 1983 code address the matter specifically, but do leave a smidgen of room for “interpretation.”  

Can. 1210 states: Only those things which serve the exercise or promotion of worship, piety, or religion are permitted in a sacred place; anything not consonant with the holiness of the place is forbidden. In an individual case, however, the ordinary can permit other uses which are not contrary to the holiness of the place. 

Can. 1211 states: Sacred places are violated by gravely injurious actions done in them with scandal to the faithful, actions which, in the judgment of the local ordinary, are so grave and contrary to the holiness of the place that it is not permitted to carry on worship in them until the damage is repaired by a penitential rite according to the norm of the liturgical books.   

The priest’s conclusion from the description of the funeral event was that “it was a scandalous event, and therefore ought not to have occurred.”

“I don’t think non-Catholic religious ceremonies would ever have been permitted in a Catholic church before the 1960s,” he added.