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SAN DIEGO, California, June 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An associate pastor at the San Diego Catholic church that cancelled a funeral Mass for the owner of a gay lounge earlier this week has reportedly said the controversy surrounding the events was a “set-up” by homosexual activists.

A parishioner from Our Lady of the Rosary parish reported that the associate pastor, Rev. Louis M. Solcia, spoke about the controversy during a noon Mass on Tuesday, according to the California Daily Catholic.

In those remarks Rev. Solcia confirmed that the priests at the parish had decided that a funeral service, rather than a Mass, would be appropriate, given that the deceased, John Sanfilippo, was not practicing his Catholic faith, nor had he been to confession or received Last Rites before his death.

The parish reportedly came to this decision after receiving a phone call from Sanfilippo’s homosexual partner, with whom he had been in a relationship with for many years.

After the priests informed the family of the decision, the controversy hit the news when a homosexual activist, Nicole Murray Ramirez, posted a letter to Bishop Robert Brom of San Diego on the church door, requesting he clarify the diocese’s policy on funerals for homosexuals.

In 2005 a similar instance had occurred, when a Catholic funeral was requested for an openly homosexual businessman; Bishop Brom had said at the time that the funeral could not take place in a Catholic church of the diocese. 

However, in the case of Sanfilippo, funeral rites were not in question, only a funeral Mass, the parishioner from Our Lady of the Rosary told California Daily Catholic.

LifeSiteNews contacted the parish for further information, but was told they are still refusing to comment on the controversy.

The Diocese of San Diego informed LifeSiteNews earlier this week that the funeral was rescheduled after the initial cancellation because Diocesan Authorities had deemed it “may take place.”

Rodrigo Valdivia, chancellor for the diocese, told LSN at the time that the priest at Our Lady of the Rosary who responded to the funeral request was a visiting priest substituting during the pastor’s vacation.  “This visiting priest is not familiar with local practice,” said Valdivia.

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