Error in Charisindia – 02
Funeral eulogies: Liturgical error in the July 2012 issue
“CHARISINDIA is a monthly magazine, published on behalf of the National Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (NCCRS) which has been recognised by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) as the principal coordinating agency of the CCR* in India.”– CHARISINDIA *Catholic Charismatic Renewal
THE REASONS FOR OUR STARTING THIS SERIES ON CHARISINDIA/THE CCR
1a. It has been my observation for a very long time that the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in India has been the propagator of errors and abuses especially in the liturgy of the Mass, something that, as an apologist, I now find impossible to ignore.
I admit participating in most if not all of them at one time or another for several reasons, the chief among them being ignorance; moreover, no one objected to them and almost every charismatic priest, religious and lay leader practised them.
However, circumstances — and the personal counsel of some good CCR leaders who would like to see these abuses and errors stopped — make it imperative that they be now exposed.
1b. It has been my experience — when I have pointed out these abuses and errors on certain occasions — that most “charismatics” are not very receptive to correction of any sort. Their responses have ranged from indulgence to hostility.
My pointing out that I am only repeating the teaching of the Church has not saved me from being labeled “anti-charismatic”.
It is almost as if “charismatics” are “superior” to other Catholics and have a licence to modify the rubrics of the liturgy.
No one is above the liturgy, not any priest and not any bishop. The rubrics must be followed by the Church to the letter.
Since my antecedents are not known to many who visit our web site, I proudly affirm that my spirituality is charismatic.
One of my spiritual directors, a holy and orthodox French Benedictine priest, actually finds it impossible to reconcile my “conservative” ministry with my being “charismatic”. To him it’s an oxymoron. To me, it seems a natural thing.
1c. My wife and I helped plant several prayer groups in New Delhi starting 1982 and I was a founder-member of the very first Service Team of the CCR in New Delhi. As a life member and benefactor of CHARISINDIA, a stockist of the magazine in the ‘mid 80s, and possessing back issues of CHARISINDIA almost from its inception, I have a relationship with the magazine that cannot be deterred either by criticism or by the ignoring of my letters by those who now run the magazine.
I invite the reader to read pages 2 to 4, especially the section sub-titled “Errors and excesses” on page 4 of my April 2011
CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC RENEWAL
The article will give the reader an idea of what to expect in this series on CHARISINDIA and the CCR in India.
In this series, I will name names. I am constrained to do so because, over the 30 years of my sojourn in the Renewal, I have seen the condition of things deteriorate, while at the same time not a single prophetic voice has been raised in protest.
My scores of letters to the senior-most leadership have either elicited unfulfilled assurances or been studiously ignored.
I must stress here on one point that I mention under point 5 on page 3 of my above-cited April 2011 article: the loyalty of too many rank and file charismatics is to their leadership instead of to the teaching authority of the Church.
If the reader dismisses my statements as generalisations, the true incidents that I will record in the articles in this series — justifying my having to name certain people — should convince him that this is not so.
2. The immediate reason for this series on CHARISINDIA/the CCR is the CHARISINDIA July 2012 issue.
A pro-contraception article authored by a Protestant was published. On learning of it, I personally contacted the CCR’s Episcopal Advisor
Most Rev. Francis Kalist, the bishop of Meerut by ‘phone and by email. He was cordial and expressed his thanks and appreciation of my initiative on the ‘phone as well as in writing*. However, all subsequent letters to the bishop have remained unanswered. Furthermore, all letters from me to
Constantine Fernandez, the publisher of CHARISINDIA, its Chief Editor
Cyril John, and to the National Charismatic Office [NCO] staff,
Gilbert Faria and
were also completely ignored by them. While I had spoken on the ‘phone to Fernandez, Faria and Shaji, Cyril John simply declined to take my many calls or call me back. Two months have passed. The August and September 2012 CHARISINDIA issues had no correction of the error. [See report CHARISINDIA ERRORS-01]
The July 2012 CHARISINDIA also carried a story on the funeral of Fr Rufus Pereira. I detected in that story what I believe to be an error:
eulogies given during the Mass. 1.
Between July 13 and August 8, I had written four letters to the CCR’s Episcopal Advisor
Most Rev. Francis Kalist, but the Bishop terminated correspondence with me after responding to the first letter. The first three emails concerned the pro-contraception article. I reproduce the fourth letter immediately below as published in my report CHARISINDIA ERRORS-01
*My first email & the Bishop’s response are copied here.
email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org ; charisindia ; nco ; email@example.com ; National Charismatic Office
Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2012 8:00 AM
SECOND SERIOUS ERROR IN A REPORT IN CHARISINDIA JULY 2012 ISSUE
Dear Bishop Francis Kalist,
It is a matter of great regret that your Lordship did not deign to respond to my letter [reproduced below] of July 17 or to the reminder sent to you on July 24.
In that letter, I had offered to submit through you an article to counter the errors in the article published by Prof. Constantine Fernandez and Mr. Cyril John.
Both of them have not deigned to respond to my two letters to them either. Neither did the NCO.
Can it be a reflection on the sorry state of internal affairs in the senior leadership of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal which some very senior national and regional level leaders privately and in confidentiality lament to me in the context of my ministry?
As the subject line of this email letter says, there is another error, a serious one in my opinion, in the same issue of CHARISINDIA. I was waiting for your response and that of the above-named leaders to my emails of July 17 & 24 to bring the second one to the attention of your good self and the National Charismatic Office.
I also received no acknowledgement from the Bishop to my letter and reminder of September 17 to which I attached the completed report CHARISINDIA ERRORS-01
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2012 10:30 AM Sent: Monday, September 17, 2012 4:43 PM
Dear Bishop Francis Kalist, Constantine, Cyril and others,
This file is being uploaded tomorrow [September 18] in www.ephesians-511.net as no response has been received to our several letters to all of you leaders in the CCR. A timely response as well as a correction of the published error would have avoided this report which is now the first in a series of a recording of errors in CHARISINDIA and the CCR and its leaders.
THE ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN CHARISINDIA, JULY 2012, PAGES 18, 19 AND 34:
Fr. Rufus Pereira laid to rest EXTRACT
The funeral Mass at St. Andrew’s School ground, Hill Road, Bandra (West), Mumbai presided [sic] by His Eminence Cardinal Oswald Gracias commenced at 4 pm on Saturday, 19 May, 2012. The co-celebrants at the Eucharist included Rt. Rev. Francis Kalist, Bishop of Meerut and Episcopal Advisor to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal appointed by the CBCI; Rt. Rev. Bishop Gerard [sic] Almeida, Bishop of Jabalpur; Emeritus Bishop Bosco Penha and Emeritus Bishop Ferdinand Fonseca and a large number of diocesan and religious priests. There were several religious sisters and more than 4000 lay people who had assembled in the school grounds to pay their respect [sic] to their dear pastor.
After communion rite [sic], Mr. Ross Almeida, nephew of Fr Rufus and Mr. Cyril John, Vice President of the ICCRS Council were called upon by the Cardinal Oswald Gracias to share condolence messages on behalf of the family and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal worldwide respectively.
WHAT IS THE CATHOLIC TEACHING ABOUT EULOGIES AT FUNERAL MASSES?
1. I heard somewhere that a layperson cannot deliver a eulogy at a funeral Mass. Are there any circumstances in which it would be acceptable?
[underlined emphases mine]
According to the Order of Christian Funerals, there is never to be a eulogy at a funeral Mass (OCF 27), although the celebrant may express a few words of gratitude about the person’s life in his homily, or he may allow a relative or a friend to say a few words about the deceased during the concluding rite (GIRM 89). The remarks must be brief and under no circumstances can the deceased person be referred to as being in heaven. Only the Church has the authority to canonize.
Contrary to common assumption, the purpose of the funeral Mass is not to celebrate the life of the deceased but to offer worship to God for Christ’s victory over death, to comfort the mourners with prayers, and to pray for the soul of the deceased. Relatives or friends who wish to speak of the deceased’s character and accomplishments can do so at a prayer service to be held in a home or funeral home or at the graveside following the rite of committal. 2.
1. At Fr Rufus Pereira’s funeral Mass, “During the homily, Cardinal Oswald recalled with gratitude the specialized ministry and proclamation of the Word that Fr Rufus was engaged in for most part of his life…”– CHARISINDIA, July 2012, page 18.
However, additionally, eulogies were delivered by not one but two lay persons, Mr. Ross Almeida, nephew of Fr Rufus and
Mr. Cyril John,
Vice President of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services. While Ross Almeida’s tribute was not published in CHARISINDIA, Cyril’s John’s was, and it is anything but brief, certainly not “a few words”.
2. Contrary to the guidelines of the GIRM as explained in catholic.com/thisrock, Cyril John “canonizes” Fr Rufus Pereira:
“I am sure that the true pastor he was, he will continue to bless and intercede for us, the Renewal and the Church
seated at the right hand of the Father. Therefore, we now have a very powerful new advocate in heaven!” …”– CHARISINDIA, July 2012, page 34, Condolence message delivered by Mr. Cyril John.
2. Catholic Funeral Rites–Common Questions
http://www.cuf.org/faithfacts/details_view.asp?ffID=262 Catholics United for the Faith EXTRACT [emphases mine]
The following discussion starts with the basics: What elements make a Catholic funeral? From an overview of the Catholic funeral rites, our discussion moves to particular questions about various elements of the Catholic funeral.
May a eulogy be given at a Catholic funeral?
Catholic funeral rites do not allow space for a eulogy.9 The focus of a Christian funeral is the paschal mystery: the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.10 The funeral rites are not so much a celebration of the life of the deceased, but a prayer that the life and death of the deceased may be joined to Christ in heaven. Because the focus of a Catholic funeral is first on God, eulogies do not have a place within the funeral liturgy.
This does not mean we cannot reflect on and celebrate the life of the deceased. It does mean that such a celebration of the life of the deceased would be more appropriate to a non-liturgical gathering (for example, a post-funeral luncheon).
The Church’s rites do allow a member or a friend of the family to speak in remembrance of the deceased prior to the final commendation.11 This is not a full eulogy, but a brief reflection proportionate to the other parts of the funeral rites.
9 Cf. Order of Christian Funerals, nos. 27, 141. Cf. GIRM, no. 382.
10 Order of Christian Funerals, nos. 1; 22; 27.
11 Ibid., no. 170.
Cyril John’s eulogy after the Communion rite was a lengthy speech and not a short tribute to the deceased. It did not focus on the “paschal mystery: the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ” as much as it was “a celebration of the life of the deceased“. It was not so much “a prayer that the life and death of the deceased may be joined to Christ in heaven” as a vote of confidence that the deceased was already “seated at the right hand of the Father” concluding with a prayer that “he will someday be raised to the altar in recognition of his holy life and service. Amen”
We need liturgy-faithful episcopal authorities like Bishop Christopher Prowse of Sale, Victoria, Australia:
Bishop discourages secular elements in funerals
Grieving families will be discouraged from using photo presentations and popular music during funerals in the Diocese of Sale in Victoria, under new guidelines set by its bishop, Christopher Prowse, reports the ABC.
“I don’t want too many secular aspects to come in because we’re there to pray, it’s a Catholic Church, we have the Catholic Rites, the Catholic Mass,” Bishop Prowse said. “It’s just trying to get the balance right and we feel at the moment that the balance is not quite right and we’re a bit concerned our Catholic Masses are being loaded on with all sorts of important but not actually essential (elements) to the liturgy itself.”
According to the guidelines, a eulogy or tribute to the deceased is not necessary and the priest is able to incorporate aspects of a person’s life into his sermon; but if families like a eulogy, they are encouraged to keep it to a maximum of 10 minutes and incorporate “appropriate reflections that will bring out the Christian character of the person”.
The guidelines state photo presentations are “not appropriate” during a Catholic funeral and recommend they be held at the wake after the funeral or during a family gathering. The guidelines also recommend the selection of hymns or liturgical music over romantic ballads, popular or rock music, political or football club songs.
Concerning the funeral rites of Fr Rufus Pereira, I wrote apologist Ron Smith of Chardon, Ohio, USA:
Eulogies or condolence messages during a funeral Mass
Recently, at a charismatic renewal priest’s funeral, a “condolence message” was delivered by a former chairman of the national service team. A nephew of the priest delivered a separate eulogy.
I was of the opinion that conducting this during Mass is strictly not permitted outside of a few words during the homily, and that it is to be done in a separate service.
I checked out the Order of Christian Funerals and find that the guidelines are ambiguous. Am I missing something? Are there exceptions when eulogies are permitted? Either we permit them or we don’t. If “a few words” are permitted as an exception outside of the homily as I read somewhere else, what’s to prevent a full scale double eulogy/condolence message as took place here in Mumbai, India?
I would like to very clear on this point so that I might take up the issue with the national charismatic service team.
Michael Prabhu, INDIA. 3.
Ron Smith is a major contributor to this web site. His reply is clear and concise [all emphases his]:
“A brief homily based on the readings is always given after the Gospel reading at the funeral liturgy and may also be given after the readings at the vigil service; BUT THERE IS NEVER TO BE A EULOGY.”
“In 1989 the Vatican published the revised Order of Christian Funerals for the United States. The long-standing prohibition of eulogies at Catholic funerals was again upheld and restated. A brief homily based on the readings should always be given at the funeral liturgy, but NEVER any kind of eulogy.”
“The firm belief of the Catholic Church is that the Christian funeral is not about the celebration of the life of the person who has died, even though we honor him and express gratitude for all God’s gifts to that person. The funeral liturgy is meant as a celebration of salvation and mercy, of grace and eternal life. It is not meant to be a commemoration (much less a canonization) of the person who has died.”
[This report prepared on July 19, 2012 by Ronald Smith, 11701 Maplewood Road, Chardon, Ohio 44024-8482, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers may copy and distribute this report as desired to anyone as long as the content is not altered and it is copied in its entirety. In this little ministry I do free Catholic and occult related research and answer your questions. Questions are answered in this format with detailed footnotes on all quotes. If you have a question(s), please submit it to this land mail or e-mail address. Answers are usually forthcoming within one week. PLEASE NOTIFY ME OF ANY ERRORS THAT YOU MAY OBSERVE!]
Concerning eulogies at funerals, this is from Canada [all emphases theirs]:
What You Need to Know about a Catholic Funeral and Burial
The following are some very broad guidelines for family members of a Catholic person who is dying or who has died. It has been prepared by the Catholic Health Association of British Columbia [Canada]. This information is intended to assist family members and loved ones who may not be familiar with the requirements for a Catholic funeral and burial in knowing what needs to be done.
Family and loved ones should also be aware of the following key aspects of the funeral and burial for an individual who is Catholic:
A wake or prayer service may be offered for the deceased and for the bereaved preferably in the Church, usually the afternoon or evening preceding the funeral. The whole Christian community, through the Church and its Liturgy, offers its prayers for God’s mercy for the deceased and His strength for the bereaved.
A eulogy (or words of remembrance) is not part of the funeral Mass. If there is to be a eulogy, it may take place at the conclusion of the wake or prayer service or at a gathering following the funeral and burial.
It is imperative that you seek the direction of the officiating priest if a eulogy is desired. An alternative to a eulogy is a printed souvenir leaflet with biographical and other details of the deceased’s life and achievements, which serves as a more permanent keepsake.
The complete guidelines and explanations are found in the booklet approved in 1999 for use in the dioceses of British Columbia and Yukon, entitled “Guidelines for Funerals and Burial in the Catholic Church” and are available online at http://www.rcav.org/Funeral/Guidelines/index.htm
You may also obtain a copy of the Guidelines through the Catholic Health Association of BC at 604-524-3427.
This eulogy business has caused me immense pain personally because at the month’s mind memorial service of my mother who passed away a couple of years ago, a Salesian priest Fr. Desmond Daniels, invited by some of my family members to celebrate the Mass, encouraged the Eucharistic celebration to deteriorate into a drama, with a profusion of innovations and improvisations [all of them aberrations of the liturgy that are common at charismatic masses all over India], concluding in a series of eulogies delivered by a number of my closest relatives. I am constrained to name him because he completely dismissed the cautions that I gave him before he commenced the Mass. The following extract will put my concerns in the right perspective:
Liturgical dance perverts the meaning of the liturgy
Semper Fi Catholic –
Always Faithful to the Truth Who Is Christ – posted by Denise, Site Administrator, December 16, 2010.
At Funeral Masses, the sacred paschal mystery of our Lord Jesus Christ is often a footnote to secular eulogies that canonize the deceased and draw exuberant applause and laughter. The liturgy becomes simply a going-through-the-motions of an irrelevant spiritual ceremony with no bearing on people’s real lives, a prelude to the main, secular event that is this-worldly, “relevant,” and entertaining. 4.
And from Melbourne, Australia [all emphases mine]:
The Archdiocese of Melbourne Guidelines for Catholic funerals
One of the most significant things we have to do in life is to commend to God a family member or a friend who has died. Parishioners look to their parish to support them in their time of grief and sense of loss. Through the Rites of Christian Funerals the Church seeks to not only commend the dead to an all loving God but also to raise high the hope of the bereaved; and to give witness to faith in the future resurrection of the baptised with Christ.
Some of the responses to the guidelines in the press have emphasised that funerals are mainly for the living who are looking for comfort by celebrating the way the deceased made a beautiful contribution to the lives of so many, expressing their esteem, love and gratitude.
It sometimes happens that God’s gift of a new life of glory, happiness and peace for the deceased is almost ignored. The result is that the funeral can become more like a secular memorial service with several eulogies or audio visual presentations with secular readings and songs. However, the Church would be failing both Christ and those present if the funeral service did not focus also on the immense love of God and the saving death and resurrection of Christ. The invitation of Christ to come and share in the new life with him in heaven is at the very centre of Christian hope.
Some public comment on the other hand was very sympathetic to the Archbishop’s guidelines; being a very timely reminder to keep our eyes on Christ – our hearts will not rest till they rest in God.
We sense that we need to intercede for the deceased, in union with Christ, especially at Mass, not just share memories with one another. “Where shall we go, you have the words of everlasting life?”
How can we get the right balance focusing on God’s gift of new life, the earthly life of the deceased and the need for consolation of the mourners?
Our funeral services are getting overloaded – a lengthy combination of a commemorative event, a wake, a liturgy. The Church wants to acknowledge where families are at in their faith journey in life but also to lift up their hearts to discover how deep is God’s love through the proclamation of the Scriptures and the sharing of the Eucharist, whenever possible.
One way that has been tried is to distinguish clearly between a vigil service and the main funeral service. The vigil would contain some brief prayers and scripture readings and, in a non-liturgical moment, a longer, more flexible commemoration of the life of the deceased than is possible in the main funeral service. If a vigil is not possible the guidelines suggest that for pastoral reasons one brief eulogy (Words of Farewell) may be a non-liturgical moment in the Mass or the Liturgy of the Word. Another possibility to be explored would be that the non-liturgical moment would precede the main funeral liturgy…
“At the Funeral Mass there should, as a rule, be a short homily, but never a eulogy of any kind” (GIRM 382). The celebrant preaches this homily. While it may include appropriate reference to the deceased, it is meant to be a message of Christian hope in the Resurrection based on the chosen readings, given in a positive spirit of evangelization…
The guidelines, sensitively applied, will help make the funeral liturgy a beautiful, hope-filled farewell and commendation of the deceased to God that offers real consolation to those grieving whilst respecting the wishes of the deceased and the family.
IN SUMMARY: the eulogy — the word “never” appears again against its use — or “Words of Farewell” must be brief and included in his short homily by the celebrant. It is also a “non-liturgical moment in the Mass”.
Music for Catholic Funerals — or, But Uncle Horace Loved that Song!
By Lucy E. Carroll, Adoremus Bulletin Online Edition – September 2006 Vol. XII, No. 6
There was a time when Catholics were buried at a Requiem Mass. The priest wore black vestments, signifying mourning. Traditional Latin chants were solemn and magnificent, the Introit, Requiem aeternam, asking for eternal rest; the Sequence, Dies Irae, where one trembles at the thought of the Last Judgment; and the celestial In Paradisum, where martyrs greet the deceased and a choir of angels receives him. Many classical composers over the centuries have set those texts for the concert stage, so impressive are they.
After the Second Vatican Council, the emphasis at Catholic funerals shifted from sorrow of death to the joy of heaven. In the Mass of Christian Burial, vestments are usually white, symbolizing the Resurrection (though violet and black are approved colors). The Dies Irae disappeared. Today, instead of choirs of angels transporting someone into heaven, we’re more likely to hear of their being scooped up on bird wings.
What music is appropriate for a Catholic funeral today? First of all, it normally takes place within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Thus, the basic rules for Mass apply. Is the text sacred? Is the music sacred in nature?
In some places, it has become popular to play a recording of the deceased’s favorite pop song. But at a Catholic Mass, recorded music is never to be used, and popular secular songs are forbidden at Mass. Period.
Uncle Horace’s favorite song, then, unless it is an appropriate Catholic hymn, is best saved for the funeral parlor, wake, or family gathering. “Danny Boy”, for example, is totally inappropriate within the Mass, no matter how Irish Uncle Horace was. Putting religious words to that tune does not make it a sacred song. It is still “Danny Boy”. Whitewashing the pump does not purify the water! Save it for the family gathering after — along with the eulogies, which should not be part of the Mass. [The beautiful Hymn of Saint Patrick, “I bind unto myself today” (Adoremus Hymnal 463) would be an excellent choice — even for the non-Irish. — Ed.] 5.
A priest once told me that he had officiated at what he called “the worst funeral ever in our archdiocese”. A young man in his thirties, very active in sports, had died. The young man’s brother wished to say a few words at the funeral. The local bishop permitted this, as long as the talk was “spiritual”.
The brother walked into the sanctuary in shorts, sneakers, and spoke of sports and such. Near the end, someone from the congregation handed something to the speaker. He held the object aloft, saying: “So, brother, here’s a toast: to you!” Pfsst! He popped open the beer can and began to drink! Immediately, from the congregation, pfsst, pfsst, pfsst, pfsst followed — people had brought their own beer cans to Mass!
That illustrates the problem — that many people have pretty much forgotten the meaning of the word “appropriate”. The brother’s toast was not appropriate in the sanctuary at Mass, even if it was intended to honor the deceased. This applies just as much to music. It must be appropriate.
What hymns are appropriate for a funeral Mass? Most anything that is appropriate for Mass. The text may recall God’s love for us, or it may paraphrase that most comforting of Psalms, 23, “The Lord is My Shepherd”. “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” is thus a very suitable hymn. (Two common musical settings are Columba, a traditional Gaelic melody – Adoremus Hymnal 580, and Dominus regit by Henry Dykes.) Hymns from the Easter season speaking of the Lord’s resurrection may also be suitable.
The Responsorial Psalm must be a Psalm, and not a wild paraphrase or a song. Stick to the Lectionary, folks! [Ten choices of Psalms for funeral Masses are given in the Lectionary. — Ed.]
At Communion, any Blessed Sacrament hymn with a theologically correct text could be used. Most lovely, perhaps, would be “Soul of My Savior”.
Music from the traditional Requiem Mass may also be used. The chant settings of the Dies Irae, Requiem Aeternam and In Paradisum are in the Adoremus Hymnal 577, 574, and 572 respectively. [The Dies Irae, no longer the required Sequence hymn before the Gospel at a Requiem Mass, might now be chanted before Mass begins. — Ed.]
There is perhaps no more lovely “sending off” than the In Paradisum. The setting in the Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem always leaves me with moist eyes. The Gregorian Chant melody is not difficult. I am on a mission to restore this lovely text to Catholic funerals! (We have a simplified chant version at the monastery. If you’d like a copy, send a SASE with your request to Lucy Carroll, 712 High Ave., Hatboro, PA, 19040). There is also a nice English paraphrase of In Paradisum with text by Father James Quinn, to a tune from the Geneva Psalter (Adoremus Hymnal
A very appropriate Offertory hymn, I suggest, is “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy”, text by Father Frederick Faber, to the Dutch tune In Babilone (Adoremus Hymnal 613). Most of us will need God’s mercy as we approach our judgment! Other suitable hymns may be found in the section “Last Things” in the Adoremus Hymnal.
Another good choice would be “All You Who Seek a Comfort Sure”, text based on Qui cumque certure quaeritis, translated by Father Edward Caswall, to the tune Saint Bernard, from Tochter Sion, Cologne (Adoremus Hymnal 772), or “Lord Jesus Think on Me”, text by Synesius of Cyrene (4th century), translated by Allen Chatfield, to the tune Southwell (Adoremus Hymnal 364).
For more information on funeral masses, please see
CREMATION, BURIAL AND FUNERAL MASSES
A funeral Mass for Fr Rufus Pereira “attended by members of his family and leaders of the Renewal” had already been celebrated on May 15, 2012 at St James Catholic Church in London where he breathed his last, on May 3 [CHARISINDIA page 18]. The Mumbai event was a second funeral Mass.
I expect that the Church and CCR hierarchy will examine the same sources that I cited and attempt to exploit loopholes and certain provisories in their wordings to defend and justify the two eulogies delivered by lay persons over and beyond the homily delivered by the Cardinal. I might be accused of adhering to the letter of the law and not its spirit. I admit that a few ‘good’ arguments can be proffered to explain why it was found necessary to include the “non-liturgical” eulogies in the Mass.
But what I am attempting to draw here is the larger picture of the widespread liturgical abuse prevalent in the celebration of Holy Mass across the Church in India and with particular reference to the Masses in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
The Catholic Charismatic Renewal is expected to be a prophetic voice in the Church. It is expected to be a source of authentic teaching and orthopraxis. It is expected to be a source of enlightenment and a bastion to defend the Church against error. Instead it is dominated by a spirit of mediocrity and compromise and is itself a propagator of much error.
As I have written elsewhere, lest I be accused of generalizations, unfounded allegations and sweeping statements, I have been associated with the CCR, directly or indirectly, for over 30 years and I intend to furnish the necessary evidence for my claims in a series of reports of which this is only the second. I am constrained to do so, naming names of certain leaders including priests, because I have observed that the CCR has apparently abdicated its prophetic role in the Church in India.
These exposés will broadly cover two areas: (i) liturgical abuses, the dissemination of which has been fostered — instead of being countered — in the Church at large by the CCR, and (ii) the failure of the CCR to be a source of complete Catholic teaching to the faithful. The latter will also include my personal experience of unauthentic teaching, the breaking of solemn public assurances and how a few good leaders who seek to be sincere are treated.
All this is necessitated because the senior-most hierarchy of the CCR evades responding to communications [in this case from Elma Barreto-Goa, Anil Joseph Alexander-Mumbai, Sunny Kattukaren-Agra, and me] on an issue of the magnitude of a printed error in the form of an anti-Catholic teaching in CHARISINDIA as already reported in CHARISINDIA ERRORS-01.
Subject: CHARISINDIA ERRORS-02
Dear Bishop Francis Kalist, Constantine, Cyril and others,
This file is being uploaded tomorrow [September 19] in www.ephesians-511.net as no response has been received to our several letters to all of you leaders in the CCR. A timely response as well as a correction of the published error would have avoided this report which is now the second in a series of a recording of errors in CHARISINDIA and the CCR and its leaders.
Selective Application of Liturgical Law
I can’t help wondering if the mail bags going to Rome were extra heavy a few weeks ago after the funeral of a well-known surgeon in St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney. Surely the “vigilantes” who shoot letters of complaint off to Rome at the slightest suggestion that a liturgical law may have been transgressed were scandalised at such a blatant breach of the rules about a Catholic funeral. I refer of course to the fact that there were five lengthy eulogies at the funeral.
The Order of Christian Funerals says:
“A brief homily based on the readings is always given after the gospel reading at the funeral liturgy and may also be given after the readings at the vigil service; but there is never to be a eulogy.” (OCF 27)
Surely such blatant and public transgression of this clear instruction would not have gone unreported. If not, I cannot help wondering why.
Is it because the rule does not apply to important people? Surely all are equal in the sight of God and the Church should treat all people with the same respect and dignity.
Does the rule not apply in a cathedral? It certainly does. Interestingly, the liturgical watchdogs often claim that what happens at a cathedral, such as the celebrant chanting the Mass or readers being required to wear ties, should be compulsory everywhere. In such instances, they make no allowance for liturgy to be adapted to local needs, resources and circumstances. They can’t have it both ways!
I have listened to people complain because a priest has not allowed them to have several eulogies at a family member’s funeral. How do they feel when they see instances such as this most recent ‘celebrity funeral’, and it is certainly not an isolated case, on the television news? Surely it undermines the efforts of those priests who try to follow the rule concerning eulogies at a Catholic funeral.
Why the ‘no eulogy’ rule in any case? Isn’t the church just being out of touch with what happens at the vast majority of funerals? Multiple, lengthy eulogies, often accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation, have become a feature of funerals. I know of people who will no longer attend a funeral because they know that it is likely to last for up to two hours.
A Catholic funeral needs to leave mourners with reason to hope, not just memories of the deceased. The funeral liturgy affirms that “in Christ, who rose from the dead, our hope of resurrection has dawned. The sadness of death gives way to the bright promise of immortality.”
So why is this particular liturgical law so often ignored? It would seem that the pastoral judgement which always must be applied suggests that allowing a eulogy or two will be of benefit to the immediate family and other mourners. But if flexibility and pastoral judgement have a place in the celebration of a funeral, why is their application in other cases often the cause of bitter censure and angry outbursts?
Categories: Liturgical Abuses