Priest tells mourning parents their son won't get into heaven because he committed suicide

Warning: This article deals with mental health problems, including suicide.

A priest has shocked the family of a teenage suicide victim, telling mourners at his funeral he might not get into heaven because of his "sin".

Maison Hullibarger was a straight-A student and promising athlete, reports the Detroit Free Press, but took his own life on December 4.

His funeral was held on December 8 at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Temperance, south of Detroit. His mother told the Detroit Free Press the priest - Father Don LaCuesta - questioned whether Maison had "repented enough to make it into heaven", and his father said the priest used the homily to "tell everybody what he thought of suicide".

"We wanted him to celebrate how Maison lived, not how he died," said Linda Hullibarger.

Father Jeff Hullibarger said he tried to get the priest to stop, but he wouldn't.

"We couldn't believe what he was saying... He said 'suicide' upwards of six times."

Suicide is considered a mortal sin by the Catholic Church, which can lead to damnation - an eternity in hell - if the person doesn't repent.

Father LaCuesta's speech was so misguided, the church issued an apology and said he wouldn't be handling any more funerals for a while.

"We understand that an unbearable situation was made even more difficult, and we are sorry."

Not enough, say the family, who want him sacked completely.

"We're afraid that, like the Catholic Church does, they'll send him off and he'll do it to somebody else," said Mr Hullibarger.

Where to find help and support: