Michigan mom sues priest for condemning her son's suicide during funeral service and calling it a 'sin against god'
The funeral reportedly became so unbearable for the late teenager’s father that he asked Father LaCuesta to "please stop" talking about suicide. However, the priest ignored his request and continued to condemn the death and question the "eternal fate of their son"
TEMPERANCE, MICHIGAN: A funeral service that went horribly wrong has led to a $25,000 civil lawsuit being filed by a Michigan mom against a priest, his parish, and the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Father Don LaCuesta of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in southeastern Michigan has been accused of causing "severe emotional distress", including the loss of religious faith by Linda Hulliberger.
She alleged that the priest "repeatedly discussed suicide and how it was condemned by the Church, how it is a secular crime, and how it is a sin against God with dire eternal consequences" at her son Maison Hullibarger's funeral on December 8, 2018.
The cause of Maison's death had not been revealed to family and friends until LaCuesta began talking about it in his homily, according to a lawsuit the mother filed earlier this month.
People reported that Linda and her husband Jeffrey had asked LaCuesta to deliver a positive homily about the importance of kindness. The lawsuit stated that the couple wasn't aware that LaCuesta would bring up the manner in which their 18-year-old son Maison died on December 4, 2018.
"The mere mention of the word sent the family and many of those in attendance into shock, as the Hullibargers never disclosed the cause of death to Father LaCuesta or the community," the civil suit reads. “Nor did they have any understanding Father LaCuesta knew or would discuss and disclose their son’s cause of death."
The funeral reportedly became so unbearable for the late teenager's father Jeffrey that he asked LaCuesta to 'please stop' talking about suicide. However, the priest ignored his request and continued to condemn Maison's death and question the 'eternal fate of their son'," according to the lawsuit.
The grieving father was forced to intervene again near the end of the service when he realized LaCuesta was wrapping up without allowing Maison's siblings a chance to say their final words. According to the lawsuit, this was something the family and church had agreed upon ahead of time.
"Maison is a great person. He's a very caring person," Linda said around the time of her son's death, according to CNN. "We had numerous students come up to us and tell us how in their time of need he was there for them… He was just an unbelievable son."
Authorities at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel said that they are not allowed to comment on the lawsuit. The Archdiocese of Detroit did not immediately respond to requests for a comment on the lawsuit but the archdiocese did issue an apology some days after the disastrous funeral last December.
"We understand that an unbearable situation was made even more difficult, and we are sorry," the archdiocese said in a statement at the time of the incident.
"In addition, he has agreed to pursue the assistance he needs in order to become a more effective minister in these difficult situations. This assistance will involve getting help from professionals — on human, spiritual and pastoral levels — to probe how and why he failed to effectively address the grief of the family in crisis."