John L. Allen Jr. Crux Now Nov 15, 2019

DETROIT – The mother of a Michigan teenager who killed himself is suing the Archdiocese of Detroit for the alleged harm she suffered during his funeral when a priest questioned whether her son would go to heaven.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in Wayne County on behalf of the teen’s mother, Linda Hullibarger, names as defendants the archdiocese, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and Father Don LaCuesta.
Hullibarger and her husband, Jeff, said they met with LaCuesta in December 2018 to plan funeral services for their 18-year-old son, Maison, and made it clear they wanted the priest to deliver a positive and uplifting message that celebrated the life of their son, according to the complaint.


The suit alleges LaCuesta instead turned his Dec. 8, 2018, homily into a message regarding suicide, questioning whether the teen would go to heaven, The Blade in Toledo, Ohio, reported.

Linda Hullibarger said in a statement that she and her family had “no idea, no indication that was going to happen.”
The Bedford, Michigan, family had not disclosed the nature of the youth’s death to the priest, according to the suit.

“No parent, no sibling, no family member, should ever, ever have to sit through what we sat through. And it’s happened before. When you’re already beyond devastated, why would you make it even worse? No words can describe that (because) you don’t think you could feel any worse,” Hullibarger added in the statement released by Charles E. Boyk Law Offices LLC.

Death by suicide has been considered sinful by the Catholic Church and other religions for centuries, but the Church has softened its stance in recent decades.

Following her son’s funeral service, Linda Hullibarger sought LaCuesta’s removal. According to her lawsuit, a call with Bishop Gerard Battersby confirmed that church officials believed that what LaCuesta did was wrong but would not remove him.


Hullibarger’s attorneys said in their statement that the lawsuit “seeks to hold Father LaCuesta, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, and The Archdiocese of Detroit accountable for the actions of Father LaCuesta and to ensure no further harm to the parish and local community.”

The archdiocese said Thursday in a statement that it does not comment on pending litigation and referred to its December 2018 statement on the priest’s actions.

In that statement, the archdiocese said in part that it acknowledges “that the family expected a homily based on how their loved one lived, not one addressing how he passed away. We also know the family was hurt further by Father’s choice to share Church teaching on suicide, when the emphasis should have been placed more on God’s closeness to those who mourn.”

“Father LaCuesta agrees that the family was not served as they should have been served,” the release from the archdiocese continued. “For the foreseeable future, he will not be preaching at funerals and he will have all other homilies reviewed by a priest mentor.”


This is a shameful, shameful and despicable case and the priest involved should be banished.

These jumped up clerics with little or no intelligence or brains, pushing 16th century RC theology down the throats of 21 st century people facing the challenges of universal issues like young male suicide.

And as the quality of priests decline, we will have semi illiterate ontologically changed clerics behaving like Klue Klux Klan dummies spreading their crap.

Suicide except in rare cases, is NOT a moral issue.

It is a complex psychological and societal issue.

The idea that God would throw a broken spirit into Hell for their brokenness is obscene.

We as a society must express our justified anger against these charlatans and disempower them at every corner.

These are extremists, moral extremists, and are the western religious equivalent of isis.

God help poor Maison.

God help his parents.

And God help us Christian’s for having such egits in our midst!


Yet another example of ordinary Catholics having to resort to the secular authorities to protect them from their own messed up clergy. May Maisonette rest in the loving mercy of the Lord, and his family be comforted – though clearly not by their local PP.


I was at a funeral once where a priest called the deceased lady’s daughter ‘tiny’ when her name was Tina. same priest different funeral; called a young deceased man by the wrong name at the grave side and the father of the deceased had to correct him. very awkward


That is my biggest fear when conducting a funeral, that I get the name wrong – hence why I have post-it notes with the deceased’s name all over my prayerbook/missal. It’s not rocket science – and it’s also belt and braces so mistakes like that don’t happen.


”My heart goes out to you, Mr & Mrs Hullibarger”

”Can God forgive and heal this? Yes, God CAN forgive even the taking of one’s own life. In fact, God awaits us with his mercy, with ever open arms. Sacred Scripture says clearly: God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). God’s abiding mercy is what sets us to ask for it.

”No deed is too evil to be beyond the forgiveness of Christ. No tragedy is too great to separate us from the love of God”

”And we remind ourselves that he is not lost to God who seeks to save all of his children”


God can forgive even the taking of one’s life?
We are speaking of mentall illness here, not personal morality.


Pat, this priest was very misguided and being so, caused untold hurt and pain on a family in the depth of inexpressible grief. Hopefully he will have sought advice, some counselling and training in helping priests to cope with such tragic situations. I wouldn’t judge him on this alone. He may well be a good pastor but messed up in this tragedy. Don’t be so definitively harsh. Having dealt with many suicide deaths and many other tragic deaths the most important quality to bring to families is a gift for listening: an empathy: a sensitivity: a desire to help tge famimy in the best way pisdible. I would spend a great deal of time being with the famy and sgare the aplroach to the ki d of remembranve service or mass they want. Only with their permisdion would I ever make reference to the nature of the tragedy. When families give you permission, it is then the task of the celebrant to pray reflectively about his words: no judgments: no glib cliches: no aliofness: let your humanity come to the fore. All funerals for priests are challenging, each is different and all.funerals deserve to be treated with respect,I’ve and care. I know the majority of priests try their best and would be very kind. Death by suicide or overdosing or by drug abuse is very harrowing for families. I have witnessed so much tragedy that I sought counselling myself and discovered amazing insights into being a better pastoral carer. A badly chosen word, a glib joke, an indifference, appearing fed up, unprepared are all too easily recignised by people. Pat, you and I don’t have a monopoly on dealing with tragedy and the deep, ensuing grief, so don’t come out all condemnatory on the evidence of what appears a badly prepared homily. All priests must exercise sensitivity for these wounded, grieving and hurt families when suicide is the cause of death. I believe most do, T. God. Referting to getting rid of charlatans is an extreme statement. Are you not referred to as a charlatan too??? I have never in 39 years witnessed any priest I worked with bring any unnecessary grief to families in any of their grieving moments.


And don’t go so easily on yerself, me old bucko.
Traditionally, the Romanist Church (supposedly infallible 😅) taught that suicides go to Hell: self-murder, ‘n’ all that shit.
In fact, current ‘teaching’😅 hasn’t moved all that far conceptually from the toxic garbage you idiots threw out at us laity …for centuries.


Magna: “toxic garbage”: an excellent description!
For a long time, having rejected RCC beliefs and practices, I considered them no more than wrong, without fully realising that there is “more” to be said about them than a simple neutral rejection. So much of the RCC is actually damaging to peoples wellbeing in emotional and psycholgical terms, and as we are increasingly becoming aware, their physical safety.
So your choice of words are most apt.


Religion is not about pie inth sky when ya die. Suicide shows there is a serious flaw in human thinking. The Kingdom of God is Now. The church is not in the soap suds business but the lady makes a valid point

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To be honest, I’ve lost faith in YOU Bishop Pat. You repeatedly weigh in on matters based solely on journalistic “colour,” showing not only rash judgement, but also lack of charity. In this matter, I believe you would write differently if you read the text of the homily. But you haven’t, even though it’s easily available online. For a public figure like you to weigh in without doing your research is a dereliction of duty. You are a man who lacks prudence, and I think, inner peace.


I’ve just read that homily (though I can think of a more appropriate word for it, given its inevitable effect on that young man’s grieving family). Thank you Joseph Lollard for providing the link to it.
That priest just could not keep his personal views to himself, preferring to grandstand at a horrendous moment for those bereaved relatives; this was a time when he should have decreased, and they increased.
I shouldn’t even consider giving that abominable man a pass for what he did: he is old enough to have known better.


8.41 and 11.44: Magna and MMM: why do you both gloat over perpetuating the lie that “we are all the same” – rarely if ever, able to acknowledge the many genuine, caring priests we have, especially at funeral times. If you both feel you have something infinitely more worthwhile to offer people at times if loss and grief, go and set up an alternative option for people. Join the Oratory! Considering that you, MMM, are an avowed atheist, I wouldn’t expect you to accept any theology, spirituality or a faith perspective from a priest. As for Magna, his propensity for always denigrating, condemning and spouting hatred against priests is a deep, psychological illness. Therefore, I have a small sympathy for his crazy views. But, both of you have an interconnectedness of DNA bigotry and prejudice.



You all are cut from the same cloth, since you all assent to a body of doctrine presented by the Magisterium. Therefore you all ARE the same in this fundamental respect.

For centuries, the Magisterium, this ignorant body of old patriarchal men, declared that suicides go to Hell, and priests taught this toxic garbage on their behalf. And not content with this, priests went the extra mile to show their righteous displeasure by refusing to allow the remains of suicides burial in consecrated ground. And not only suicides, but even unbaptised stillborn children, whose very lives (Jesus Christ!) … whose very lives you professed were sacred.

The Romanist church, and her automaton priests, have spread so much evil, so much personal heartache, even through such ‘doctors of the Church’ as Augustine of Hippo, in whose sick and sorry soul was brought forth the toxic garbage that unbaptised stillborn children were Hell-bound (to a high place there granted, but to Hell nonetheless).

As for ‘interconnectedness of DNA bigotry and prejudice’, that phrase very ably describes you and your fellow priests, since you all are connected by a shameful history of Church doctrine that has done much to undermine, or destroy altogether, the natural propensity, inherent and instinctive in every human being, to seek happiness.


3.48: Magna: the deep hatred you have for almost every one, particularly Catholics, is with you for life. It’s your raison d’etre for feeling relevant. When I awaken each morning I ask – what, Lord, can I do today to make a positive difference to others : in your case Magna, it’s – Lord, how can I be a miserable sod and make life difficult for others?? Where would you be without your stench of hatred and vengeance that flows through every fibre of your being? They definitively define you, sadly. Thank God again for the many good, committed priests who, despite many human flaws, still bring the comfort of God’s merciful, healing and compassionate love to many, especially to bereaved people and families. The first person families call is the local priest. I’ve never encountered any opposition from families when arranging the funeral of a loved one. I know Mags that it’s not within your damaged soul and spirit to even begin to realise the enormous support and comfort which priest bring to very difficult and painful situations. God always helps us to find the right words. It is a privilege beyond your imagining that as priests we officiate at the most vulnerable and fragile times in the lives of those we serve and minister to. Yes, your darkness of judgment, your past hurts, almost irreparable because of sheer blindness to them and the hatred you hold in your heart, hewn out of rejection makes you a nasty, unkind person. I’ll keep you in prayer…..untouchable one! That high moral (faux) horse of yours must require a ladder to climb at this stage!!


Don’t waste your amply spare time, ‘Father’, praying for me (or anyone else, for that matter), since a hating heart, such obviously as yours, is that Pauline ‘noisy gong’, and is incapable of love’s melodic prayerfulness. If either of us is blind, then it must be both of us, since the hatred of me expressed in that portentously unsublime post of yours stands strikingly tall. But then, I am not pretending to be anything other than hating…of the Romanist priesthood. You, on the other hand…
And no, I doubt very much whether the priest is the first person the bereaved call upon on learning that a loved one has just died. Trust you, ‘Father’, to think otherwise. And so highly of yourself. I should have thought the bereaved would call upon the only person who, realistically, could help them in such devastation, the one who had the humanity to weep at the raw grief of those who loved Lazarus. But then, you, and your fellow priests, are inclined to take that phrase, ‘alter Christus’, a little too seriously for your own good (and, more importantly, for the good of everyone else).
Yes, indeed, it is a privilege (for you priests, that is) to officiate at funerals, those ‘most vulnerable and fragile times’ in the lives of the bereaved, not least because it is a fairly lucrative one, isn’t it? Especially since the bereaved, being vulnerable and fragile, are ever so grateful to ‘Father’ for his honeyed platitudes? And ‘Father’ receives this gratitude humbly, doesn’t he? When an envelope containing money is pressed into his apparently reluctant, but nevertheless-upturned-and-open palm?
Yes, I understand the ‘privilege’ of a Romanist priest’s officiating at a funeral, so much so that I have left express instructions in my funeral plan that include the strict prohibition of any such parasite officiating at mine. And guess what, ‘Father’. The fee (yes, it is a fee) currently charged by Romanists here for their services is £50. Quite frankly, this is money I’d rather piss against a wall than have pressed into a Romanist’s ‘reluctant’ hand.
It seems never to occur to these men that if they are being paid for their services, then what they do is unrelated to prayer, but has everything to do with putting on a good show.
The cynicism of you people, especially at such distressing times as funerals, makes me feel physically sick. Literally.


5.52: And you say Magna, that you have no hatred in your heart!! Delusional as ever. Since I live my life as a priest I can attest to the TRUTH that we are very much called upon in the death of parishioners, a “privilege” denied to you. The ladder to your high moral pedestal must at this stage be through your roof! Such portentous (your word), arrant writing! “YOU” people, your hating, vengeful type, Magna, deserve only contempt. You fail abysmally to absorb your dysfunctionality, evident in Maynooth, and sadly, your life is dominated by it. You poison every space into which your words flow, even to the envelope which contains your will. I defend the right to argue against the lie you perpetuate in your ignorant rants which accentuate your obvious illness. I’ll pray for you even though you resent such grace and blessing! But, I’ll persist. Thank God for his constant graces which enable me to respond appeooriately in all the difficult and challenging moments of ministry. Call me a Romanist: doesn’t bother me. What bothers me most is THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST and though I fail often, I acknowledge every day the graciousness of God in the work I am called to do. Isn’t it very tragic that you retain such bitterness in your heart over your perceived grievances. May I suggest that instead of p*****g on your money, donate it to the Salvation Army. Magna, you’ve lost yourself in your poison. You’ve over embellished your faux indignation and moral outrage. OTT….Just accept the truth: there are good priests and exccllent priests: there are bad guys too and there are too many who have caused much damage but stop your generalisations. Your hatred literally makes me physically sick. And there was I dreaming of officiating at your funeral. You should write the eulogy too as much of the words spoken by others are generally embarrasing. Will Pat have the honour of disposing of your remains? Ah well, I’ll pray for your soul nonetheless. Literally!!!


Mags Cartwheel at 5.52: why such apoplectic rage? Why such angst? 4.46 is right. You are sick. Unwell. A poisonous, vile human being. Is there any love, respect, kindness or decency in your heart for anyone apart from the monster you see in the mirror? Just asking.


5.52: Magna, 4.46 is brilliant. Absolutely. You should re-read his comment again. You’ll realise the truth of his observations and they certainly don’t deserve your horrid bullying, hatefilled response. When my father died at a relatively young age, my mother was left to rear 8 children. The first people to our home were the local parish priest, the curate and a sister from the local convent. They were wonderful in their care, support, kindness and understanding – all of which continued for many years. 44 years on I still give gratitude to God for their Christ-like compassion. They taught me very valuable lessons. This experience is replicated thousands of times around our country. Surely this pastoral care by priests and religious is commendable? One thing I know – the local cynics, gossipers, atheists and church bashers were nowhere to be seen!! Says it all. After your farewell, will your ashes be strewn down the loo??



No, I did not say that I don’t hate; quite the contrary. The last sentence of the first paragraph in my post at 5.52 makes perfectly clear that I do, as well as making clear against what it is directed, the Romanist priesthood. Had you been a little calmer and not speed-read the post, this would not have escaped your attention. (And you would not have made an intemperate fool of yourself, like some foot-stamping, petulant child.)

Speaking of intemperateness, I counted no fewer than eight exclamation marks in your post, and almost as many capitalised words. You were, as Bishop P. once said of Cahal Daly, ‘incandescent with rage’. A pity. Because when a ‘good’ priest, like you, loses himself in this way, Jesus can’t get a word in edgeways.


8.21: Much like all the extras within brackets, your ramblings, Magna, overflow with much verbiage. We use exclamation marks to highlight the essence of what we’re saying. At least you got that much. Strange, isn’t it, every time your intemperateness, bias, prejudice and hatred are called out, you become an enraged monster. God help you.



I see how deeply and comprehensively the ‘good’ pastoral behaviour of that priest, and those religious, has had on you…with the telling last sentence of your post.😅

You people fashion a noose for youselves, so self-unaware are you, and then put your necks right through it before jumping.😕


8.58: Magna, what else might you do with your ashes? Since you are the great unloved, unwanted one, the Church hater, surely you won’t waste your money on a basket case for burial? As I said it is very commendable of you to be charitablevto the Salvation Army or to Brother Kevin or Sister Stan or Fr. McVerry. What wonderful Catholic options.


The oratory should consider broadcasting some ceremonies. Maybe the Christmas Eve mass? I’ll never visit the oratory due to age and distance, but it would be nice to see a ceremony in its chapel.


That is a very good idea.

Perhaps Bishop Pat could have something uploaded on YouTube. To reach a wider audience, so to speak.


Holy Mother of The Divine God, Sweet Baby Jesus, St Joe and the Little Donkey, Magna Carta, that is one of the best ideas you’ve ever had luv!!

Would you consider it, Pat? Ah please do! It would go viral and you’d make a fortune. It would be absolutely frickin HILARIOUS!


Pat, my Timmy’s a dab hand at uploading stuff on the You tube. You can admire his work here in this film of a recent meeting of bishops in Maynooth.
He would be delighted to give you a few tips and he won’t charge you too much. I’ll ask him when he comes out of the toilet.


How’s the petition going in Northolt? Read about it on the blog last night. Elsie will pay little heed. He couldn’t give a shit about lay folk and their petitions telling him what to do.


How do we know for sure you go to Mass anywhere, even if it is Northolt? If you do go to Northolt, as you say, then you must be aware of the situation and this blogs discussion about it.


10.15. What tells you I don’t go to Mass in Northolt? I know what the parish of South Harrow and Northolt is like. (Unlike those who think it has anything to do with Harrow School). What can I say that will convince you that I go to Mass in Northolt?


No one suggested that Harrow School is in the parish of Northolt and South Harrow. Some lay person suggested that people are going to Mass elsewhere including Harrow-on-the-hill which is within the confines of Harrow School – big difference!! I worry if you can’t differentiate.


Absolutely not. It was only one of the very many difficulties that have made me the man and priest I am today – flawed but sincere.


3.50: Ho Ling Ho: Pat’s trial haunt him? Never. The case earned him a fortune. Let’s not play loose with truth.


The 14 marriages in question, celebrated over a 3 year period earned me £4,200 – £ 1,400 a year. The judge fined me £ 6000 to be paid within 6 months. Loss: £ 1800. Not such a great business deal 😊


I think you are totally obsessed with this Frank. If you have anything concrete to say then spit it out, if not, which is highly probable then belt up.


Surely the priest is protected by the First Amendment?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”.


If that priest had taken a baseball bat to the bereaved relatives, would the First Amendment have protected him?

The amendmendment is not a legal carte-blanche for any fool in a clerical collar to treat people as he pleases.


We need to remember that he was in maynooth at the time of trouble 2016

Then he moved to wonersh where he was protected as he could play the organ

That’s the situation


3.49: The palsy love-in between Buckko and Mags the Mad is intriguing. All united in mind, body (though unimagineable) and spirit! There is a devil after all! Must be comforting for Mags to know the bosom of Buckko is always there to suckle on!


Yes Henry was arrested-five coppers, if you don’t mind, for wee Harry, at Wonersh. Lets wait and see if he gets off with a warning or gets his day in court. St Lukes is now unsustainable-complete failure.


Says something worrying about the vocations dept, management, discernment and selection process in Clifton!!! What a waste of money Henry was and what a failure. In any normal organisation such failure would see heads roll.


Great to see Conan joining the booming FSSP. No shortage of vocations in the FSSP! They should be given Ushaw and Maynooth. They’d be full again in no time.


Here we go again Jesus gets a pass. Suicide happens. Jesus is directly to blame for what this priest did. The fact remains no matter what the priest said is that however small the lad is being suggested to have sinned or rejected God. I make no apology for saying Christianity is the problem. This boys parents have no excuse for staying in such a faith and blaming it all on this moralistic monster of a priest.


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