Faith/Spirituality Forum: late John Gotti

late John Gotti QUESTION from Lilia Bodino on June 16, 2002 Hi Bro. John-Paul!
John Gotti the mafia mobster just died in prison of cancer.
Why did the catholic church in New York denied his funeral to have a mass said for hium.
I thought the catholic church is for sinners.
I hope it was not for appearance purpose - so as not to be seen as being associated with a notorious cosa nostra mobster.
Thanks much. Lilia
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on July 6, 2002 Dear Miss Bodino:
I had not heard this news. I will pray for Mr. Gotti's soul.
I am not privy to the reasons a funeral mass was not allowed. I would presume it was to avoid scandal.
We commit a sin if we facilitate scandal.
Scandal in a case like this would involve allowing a funeral Mass for a notarious sinner. Mr. Gotti would certainly qualify for that. But more is involved.
In order for a funeral Mass to be a scandal Mr. Gotti would have had to reject the Catholic Faith on his death bed and refused reconciliation.
Since the funeral Mass was denied, I presume Mr. Gotti died unrepentant. That is a great sorrow.
Ultimately only God knows whether Mr. Gotti repented in the last seconds of his life, but if he openly and deliberately rejected reconciliation with the Church in his dying days, the Church must respect that sadly.
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