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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 March, 2005, 19:05 GMT
US bishop regrets gay burial ban
John McCusker (photo from Club Montage website)
McCusker's club was billed as the city's "hottest gay dance club"
A Roman Catholic bishop in the US has apologised after refusing to allow a gay nightclub owner to have his funeral service in a San Diego church.

Bishop of San Diego Robert Brom had forced a Catholic church to cancel John McCusker's funeral, because of his "business activities".

Mr McCusker owned a gay bar and a very popular gay-friendly nightclub.

The bishop apologised for his "unjust condemnation" and promised to oversee a memorial mass at the church.

Mr McCusker had originally been denied a Catholic funeral at any church within the bishop's diocese because of the church's wish to "avoid a public scandal".

Issuing the ban, Bishop Brom released a statement saying Mr McCusker's "business activities... were contrary to sacred scripture and the moral teaching of the church".

The Church pointed out that well-known porn stars were booked to appear at Mr McCusker's clubs.

Club closed

News of the bishop's u-turn was announced at a meeting held for friends and family.

Mr McCusker's mother read out Bishop Brom's apology.

"I deeply regret that denying a Catholic funeral for John McCusker at the Immaculata has resulted in his unjust condemnation, and I apologise to the family for the anguish this has caused them," he wrote.

In the statement, the bishop confirmed that he will now preside at the forthcoming memorial service.

Mr McCusker died of a suspected heart attack while on holiday on 12 March.

His nightclub, Club Montage, has closed indefinitely in the wake of his death, a notice on its website says.

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