Pastor devastates family by condemning Michigan teen who died from suicide

For centuries, the Catholic Church prohibited funerals or burial services for people who lost their lives to suicide. But, in modern times, the church has changed its stance on suicide. Today, the Catholic Church will perform funerals for suicide victims if the priest is willing.

I attended Catholic school from kindergarten through senior year of high school, and I was taught, "If you kill yourself, you go to hell." I do have to admit, when I was having my darkest, hormone raged, pubescent days, the fear of going to hell kept me from hurting myself. So I can see the appeal of the church - even just 10 or 20 years ago - wanting people to believe this in order to deter suicide.'s a lie...and it's a lie that does far more harm than it does good. It's a lie that hurts those left behind after a loved one dies from suicide. And it's a lie that keeps people with suicidal thoughts from seeking help out of shame.

"When a person commits suicide, they are generally so clouded by confusion and despair as to be no longer in full control of their mental faculties. ... God does not condemn anyone not fully aware of what they are doing," Birmingham, England Archbishop Bernard Longley said in an interview with the Telegraph.

But, apparently, Rev. Don LaCuesta, pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Temperance, Mich., doesn't believe this. He holds the outdated and untrue belief that suicide is a sin, and he decided to share this belief at, of all places, the funeral of a young man.

Maison Hullibarger, a 2018 graduate of Bedford High School, took his life on Tuesday, Dec. 4. The 18-year-old was a freshman at the University of Toledo and was working towards a degree in criminal justice, wanting a career in law enforcement after graduation. Maison's father, Jeff, said of his son, “He has had a great impact on the lives of many people. ... He had a personality like no other, passionate and opinionated. That’s what we loved about him."

But Rev. LaCuesta decided to take it upon himself to completely crush Maison's family and friends, even more than they had already been crushed by his death. For some  unfathomable reason, Rev. LaCuesta used his homily at Maison's funeral to condemn Maison for the way he died.

Jeff told the Detroit Free Press, "He was up there condemning our son, pretty much calling him a sinner. He wondered if he had repented enough to make it to heaven. He said 'suicide' upwards of six times. ... People told me there was almost a smirk on his face."

Before the funeral, Maison's family requested that the homily focus on love and family. They wanted to share a message of being kind to one another, reaching out to those you care about, being sincere in your actions and showing love unconditionally.

But LaCuesta did not adhere to the Hullibarger's family wishes. According to the Detroit News, LaCuesta said in his homily, "I think we must not call what is bad good, what is wrong right. ... Our lives are not our own. They are not ours to do with as we please. God gave us life, and we are to be good stewards for that gift as long as God permits." Maison's father went up to the pulpit to whisper to the priest, "Please stop," but Rev. LaCuesta wouldn't listen.

Rev. LaCuesta does not know where we go when we die. None of us do. But I can tell you with 100 percent certainty - losing your life to suicide is not a sin (unless it's as an act of revenge to ruin the lives of everyone you know *cough*13 Reasons Why*cough*cough*).

You would not say of someone who died of leukemia or a stroke, "His/her death was a sin!" Of course not! So, why do people say dying because of mental illness is a sin? Losing your life to suicide is dying because of a DISEASE! And dying because of a DISEASE is no one's fault!

So, I'll say it again: Maison's death was not a sin! But, Rev. LaCuesta (who is not permitted to speak at funerals “for the foreseeable future"), you better believe that what you did was most definitely a sin. Instead of condemning others, maybe you should spend your time helping those suffering from depression. Tell those who are considering suicide that your door is always open, and you are available whenever they need someone to talk to. Tell them that these thoughts are nothing to be ashamed of, and provide them with resources and treatment options.

To anyone who is considering suicide - I want to tell you that, even if an authority figure says how you're feeling is shameful, it's not true. Please reach out to someone else. Talk about your mental illness. As with any disease, if left untreated, it can lead to death. But there are so many treatments available. So please, seek help because you don't have to feel like this forever!

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