Cremation

 

 

Cremation

APRIL 2011/MAY 2012/JULY 2013

“Not to oppose error is to approve it, and not to defend the truth is to suppress it” – Pope St. Felix III

 

Note: In this report I may occasionally use bold print, Italics,
dotted underline or word underlining for emphasis. This will be my personal emphasis and not that of the source that I am quoting.

 

Q:


May a Catholic be cremated? Ann S.

 

A:


Yes. “For centuries it was forbidden for Catholics to be cremated because it was believed that to do so was a sign of disbelief in the immortality of the soul, as well as an act of disrespect for the body. This prohibition was lifted in 1963; in the revised Code of Canon Law, cremation is permitted, provided it is not done for reasons contrary to Christian Faith.”

“The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the dead be observed; it does not, however, forbid cremation unless it has been chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching.”

“Unless they have given some signs of repentance before their death, the following are to be deprived of ecclesiastical funeral rites: (2) persons who had chosen the cremation of their own bodies for reasons opposed to the Christian faith.”

Any funeral Mass whatsoever is also to be denied a person excluded from ecclesiastical funeral rites.”

The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body.”

 

Q:


Is there anything in the bible about cremation? Ann S.

 

A:


Yes. “The only instance of cremation (in the bible) is that of Saul and his sons.”

“All the most valiant men arose, and walked all the night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons (3 sons), from the wall of Bethsan: and they came to Jabes Galaad, and burnt them there. And they took their bones and buried them in the woods of Jabes: and fasted seven days.”

 

This report prepared on October 18, 2007 by Ronald Smith, 11701 Maplewood Road, Chardon, Ohio 44024-8482, E-mail: hfministry@roadrunner.com. 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 would like to be on my list to get a copy of all Q&A’s I do, please send me a note. If you have a question(s), please submit it to this landmail or e-mail address. Answers are usually forthcoming within one week. If you find error(s) in my report(s), please notify me immediately!

 

+ Let us recover by penance what we have lost by sin +

 

Funeral Masses for a Suicide

http://www.zenit.org/article-14559?l=english

ROME, November 15, 2005 (Zenit.org) Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University.

Q:
What is the current stand of the Church regarding the possibility of funeral Masses “in corpore presente” of persons who are said to have committed suicide? Is it true that there already are mitigating circumstances, like the possibility of irrationality at the moment of taking one’s life (even if there was no note), whereby it would be possible to suppose that the person was not in his right mind, and that therefore it is licit to let the funeral entourage to enter a church and a funeral Mass be said? E.C.M., Manila, Philippines

 


A: In earlier times a person who committed suicide would often be denied funeral rites and even burial in a Church cemetery. However, some consideration has always been taken into account of the person’s mental state at the time.
In one famous case, when Rudolph, the heir to the throne of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, committed suicide in 1889, the medical bulletin declared evidence of “mental aberrations” so that Pope Leo XIII would grant a religious funeral and burial in the imperial crypt. Other similar concessions were probably quietly made in less sonorous cases. Canon law no longer specifically mentions suicide as an impediment to funeral rites or religious sepulture. Canon 1184 mentions only three cases: a notorious apostate, heretic or schismatic; those who requested cremation for motives contrary to the Christian faith; and manifest sinners to whom a Church funeral cannot be granted without causing public scandal to the faithful. These restrictions apply only if there has been no sign of repentance before death. The local bishop weighs any doubtful cases and in practice a prudent priest should always consult with the bishop before denying a funeral Mass.
A particular case of suicide might enter into the third case — that of a manifest and unrepentant sinner — especially if the suicide follows another grave crime such as murder. In most cases, however, the progress made in the study of the underlying causes of self-destruction shows that the vast majority are consequences of an accumulation of psychological factors that impede making a free and deliberative act of the will. Thus the general tendency is to see this extreme gesture as almost always resulting from the effects of an imbalanced mental state and, as a consequence, it is no longer forbidden to hold a funeral rite for a person who has committed this gesture although each case must still be studied on its merits.
Finally, it makes little difference, from the viewpoint of liturgical law, whether the body is present or not. If someone is denied a Church funeral, this applies to all public ceremonies although it does not impede the celebration of private Masses for the soul of the deceased. The same principle applies to funeral Masses of those whose body is unavailable for burial due to loss or destruction. Certainly the rites are different when the body is present or absent, but the Church’s public intercession for the deceased is equally manifest in both cases.

 

More on Funeral Masses

http://www.zenit.org/article-14692?l=english

ROME, November 29, 2005 (Zenit.org) Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University.

A New Zealand reader asked for clarifications regarding our mention of Canon 1184 that “those who requested cremation for motives contrary to the Christian faith” were not to be given a Church funeral (see November 15).
She asks: “Can you please tell me what motives for cremation might be considered contrary to Christian faith?”
The proviso in this canon is presumably rarely actually invoked. A person would only incur such a prohibition if, before death, he or she requested cremation explicitly and publicly motivated by a denial of some aspect of Christian faith regarding life after death. Among possible such motivations would be a lack of faith in the survival of the immortal soul and thus requesting cremation to emphasize the definitiveness of death. Another could be the denial of belief in the resurrection of the dead. More recently, some nominal Catholics who have dabbled in New Age pantheism or believe in doctrines such as reincarnation or migration of souls might request cremation in order to follow these esoteric doctrines or the customs of some Eastern religions. In all such cases the motivation for seeking cremation is contrary to Catholic doctrine and, if this fact is publicly known, performing a Church funeral could cause scandal or imply that holding to Church doctrine is really not that important.

 

First Catholic crematorium opens in Sydney

http://www.cathnews.com/news/801/4.php

February 15, 2007
Australia’s first Catholic crematorium will open in suburban Sydney this Saturday with a Mass to be celebrated by Sydney Cardinal George Pell, who nevertheless said that burial still remains the “preferential” option. The $7 million project includes a Catholic chapel and crematorium, condolence rooms and columbaria for placement of cremated remains, a Sydney archdiocese statement says.
According to the archdiocese, the Mary, Mother of Mercy Chapel and Crematorium at Rookwood cemetery will allow for the committal following Mass in the local parish church or for Mass and the committal to take place at the Crematorium.
Historically, cremation was forbidden for a long period by the Catholic Church as a response to promotion of the practice by anti-clerical movements that denied the resurrection of the body.
In 1963 Pope Paul VI lifted the ban after reviewing the matter in light of the prevailing social, economic and environmental conditions.

Reiterating Church teaching that the cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect as the remains of a whole body, Cardinal Pell said that “just as the human body deserves to be treated with respect and dignity in life, so should it be treated in death.
“It is therefore appropriate that the Catholic Cemetery Trust at Rookwood which already provides for the preferential final disposition of a human body through burial or entombment also provides for the relatively recent option of cremation within a purely Catholic context.

 


“I am therefore pleased with the development of the Mary, Mother of Mercy Chapel and Crematorium which represents a significant extension to the work of Catholic cemeteries in meeting this contemporary need within the Catholic community.”
The Catholic Cemetery at Rookwood covers about 100ha and contains religious memorials of all periods since 1867, three operating chapels, a large modern mausoleum, significant areas of garden crypts, family vaults, lawn and monumental graves, columbaria and a monumental Stations of the Cross in a landscaped setting.
SOURCE

Australia’s first Catholic Crematorium to Open (Media Release, Sydney Archdiocese, 14/2/07)
ARCHIVE

Approval given for first Australian Catholic crematorium (CathNews 21/12/04)

 

Pope issues strict rules on the Eucharist, brings back Latin Mass

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1276550.php/Pope_issues_strict_rules_on_the_Eucharist_brings_back_Latin_Mass

By Nicholas Rigillo March 13, 2007 The pope [Benedict XVI] was particularly harsh in criticising Holy Masses held during funerals or weddings that are attended by non-practising Catholics or members of other faiths.

‘In situations whereby it is not possible to guarantee proper clarity on the meaning of the Eucharist, one should consider the opportunity of substituting the Eucharistic Celebration with a celebration of the Word of God,’ the pope wrote.

 

Benedict seeks return to Catholic “classics”

http://www.cathnews.com/news/703/75.php

March 14, 2007
In a major document on the Eucharist released overnight, Pope Benedict has called for a renewed emphasis on the Latin Mass, Gregorian chant and classical church art as well as insisting on the obligatory “witness of virginity” in the Latin Church. Summing up the results of the October 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist in an Apostolic Exhortation, “Sacramentum Caritatis”, Pope Benedict reiterated his
strong opposition to remarried Catholics and non-Catholic Christians taking part in the Eucharist and invited priests to refrain from celebrating the Mass during weddings or funerals attended by non-practising Catholics, DPA reports…


Catholics and Cremation

http://www.zenit.org/article-21703?l=english

By Elizabeth Lev ROME, February 7, 2008 (Zenit.org)

Ashes to Ashes

The New Year 2008 opened with a flare-up in Italy over the question of cremation and the scattering of ashes. The dust has finally settled, but it seems that a revisiting of Christian burial traditions is in order.

What started as discussion between a priest and his parishioners in Aosta (a tiny region in Northern Italy), sparked debate in major newspapers in Italy and abroad. Father Carmelo Pellicone of the parish of St. Etienne in Aosta demurred when confronted with the wishes of a deceased parishioner to have his ashes scattered over the Alps after his church funeral.

In the time it took for Father Pellicone to read the Catechism instruction on burial the question had become a high-profile news item. In some newspapers, the conscientious Father Pellicone became a poster-child for Church antagonism toward cremation. What gave Father Pellicone pause — although he did celebrate the funeral of the man in question — was whether the request to scatter ashes indicated the parishioner’s doubts about the resurrection of the body.

The event took place just after the Italian bishops’ conference issued a 250-page book on funeral norms. It includes specific prayers for those who choose to be cremated as well as a response to the very modern problem of the dispersal of ashes.

In Italy, as in many other countries, Church funerals have been accorded those who have chosen to be cremated since the 1960’s. This break with the traditional Christian practice of burial reflects the growing difficulty and expense for people to be buried in a plot of land with a costly coffin.

Still, it wasn’t much of a leap from requesting cremation to choosing to have one’s ashes scattered. While in fact many people who want their ashes dumped in the wild do so out of pagan notions of “oneness with nature,” the bishop’s conference has tried to recognize economic factors as well as modern concerns over “eco-burials,” and accommodate individual decisions regarding the disposal of remains.

This is provided that these decisions are not manifestly tied to a disbelief in the resurrection of body.

The Italian bishops have made a laudable effort to recognize the needs of the faithful. But Rome’s long memory also testifies to the ingenuity and heroic efforts made by the early Christian communities in order to witness their belief in the resurrection of the body.

Thirty miles of burial catacombs stretching under the city testify to a people that while poor, hunted and persecuted, went to great lengths to proclaim the importance of the body.

 

They hewed tombs out of volcanic tufa stone in underground quarries, making bed after bed where those who had fallen asleep in Christ would wait to be awakened by him.

Their bodies, not rendered beautiful by cosmetics and diets but by Christ’s own humanity, were considered worthy of careful preservation.

Millions of faithful have walked through the dark labyrinths of the catacombs offering prayers for the souls of those lying in the loculi and asking for the intercession of the saints and martyrs who lie sleeping in those walls.

The Early Christians, in a pagan world where virtually everyone else was cremated, responded to the hardship and expense of burial through cleverness and generosity, the wealthy donating land to ensure burials for the poor. Their insistence on burial did not stem, as some have suggested, from a naïve belief that God was somehow thwarted by cremation, but from their genuine respect for the human body.

Visits to cemeteries to pray for the dead, especially on All Souls’ Day, have long been a mainstay of Catholic piety, and offer an ever-present reminder that “what was sown in corruptibility will be raised in incorruptibility” (1 Corinthians 15:42).

While clearly God has no problem resurrecting those whose ashes have been scattered to the four winds, what does it say about our care of our temples of the Holy Spirit if we think only of efficient and ecological disposal?

Indeed, God will not forget our remains sprinkled on a mountain top of dissolved in the sea, but will our children and grandchildren remember to pray for us?

 

Cadavers to coffee undignified: Church spokesperson
http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=7074

May 13, 2008 A US company is talking up a new environmentally friendly method of destroying human corpses by alkaline hydrolysis which dissolves bodies into a sterile coffee coloured liquid but a Church spokesperson says the process is “undignified.”

The International Herald Tribune reports the process was developed 16 years ago to get rid of animal carcasses.

It uses lye, heat and pressure to destroy bodies in big stainless steel cylinders that are similar to pressure cookers.

No funeral homes in the US or elsewhere offer the service, the equipment manufacturer claims.

Only two US medical centres use it on human bodies, and only on cadavers donated for research.

But because of its environmental advantages, some in the funeral industry say it could someday rival burial and cremation.

“It’s not often that a truly game changing technology comes along in the funeral service,” the newsletter Funeral Service Insider said in September. But “we might have gotten a hold of one.”

Alkaline hydrolysis is legal in two US states including New Hampshire, where a Manchester funeral director is pushing to offer it. But he has yet to line up the necessary regulatory approvals, and some New Hampshire lawmakers want to repeal the little noticed 2006 state law legalizing it.

A local Catholic diocese has also rejected the method. “We believe this process, which enables a portion of human remains to be flushed down a drain, to be undignified,” said Patrick McGee, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Manchester.

In addition to the liquid, the process leaves a dry bone residue similar in appearance and volume to cremated remains. It could be returned to the family in an urn or buried in a cemetery.

The coffee coloured liquid has the consistency of motor oil and a strong ammonia smell. But proponents say it is sterile and can, in most cases, be safely poured down the drain, provided the operation has the necessary permits.

Alkaline hydrolysis doesn’t take up as much space in cemeteries as burial. And the process could ease concerns about crematorium emissions, including carbon dioxide as well as mercury from silver dental fillings.

The University of Florida in Gainesville and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., have used alkaline hydrolysis to dispose of cadavers since the mid-1990s and 2005, respectively, the Herald Tribune says.

SOURCE New idea in mortuary science: Dissolving bodies with lye (International Herald Tribune, 11/8/08)

LINKS
Biosafeengineering, Resomation

 

READER’S COMMENT:
What “Environmental advantages”? Nonsense! I’d be amazed if the Environment Protection Authority thinks it’s OK for something with the consistency of motor oil and a strong ammonia smell to be poured down the drain. And mercury dissolved in an alkali is still mercury, in fact it’s far more dangerous to pour dissolved mercury into the environment than to leave it in the body in a solid inert dental amalgam filling. These people have resorted to barefaced lies to sell their product and this newspaper, university and clinic have unthinkingly lapped it up.
Simply burying a body in the earth costs next to nothing, neither requires nor produces any corrosive or environmentally damaging chemicals, nor requires heat and pressure (which are produced by burning fossil fuels, producing carbon dioxide) nor any specialised industrial equipment. And if there’s one thing the USA has plenty of, it’s millions of square kilometers of land suitable for cemeteries. Ronk

 

 

 

Displaying Death Human Dignity in Question at Body World Exhibits

http://www.zenit.org/article-22981?l=english

By Father John Flynn, LC

ROME, June 22, 2008 (Zenit.org) Displays of preserved human bodies are drawing large numbers of spectators. For a few years now Gunthor von Hagens has been touring the world with his Body Worlds exhibitions. According to a June 8 article published by the Los Angeles Times, more than 8,000 people worldwide have pledged their bodies to him. In a process called plastination, the liquids and fats of the dead bodies are removed and they are filled with plastic.

The Los Angeles Times reported that early in June, 115 future body donors met von Hagens to discuss their donations. The article notes that after starting with an exhibition in the United States in 2004, there are now four Body Worlds tours rotating among museums in North America.

The popular exhibitions have not, however, gone unchallenged. Twenty-one members of Congress have sponsored a bill to prohibit the importation of plastinated bodies into the United States, reported ABC News on May 21. “This is a human rights issue about affording human dignities to people around the world,” declared Representative Todd Akin of Missouri.

One of the concerns over the bodies stems from claims that some of them might be the remains of executed Chinese prisoners. “China’s record on human rights should give us pause in any issue involving human remains imported from that country,” said Representative Mike Turner, a co-sponsor of the bill.

Shortly after, the company running one of the Body World exhibits admitted it could not guarantee that the bodies on display were not those of prisoners, the New York Times reported May 30.

The admission was part of a settlement between Premier Exhibitions and the New York State attorney general’s office. Under the settlement the exhibit must display a statement explaining that it is not able to confirm that the bodies being displayed are not prisoners who might have been victims of torture and execution.

A number of bishops have spoken out criticizing the body exhibitions. Anglican Bishop Nigel McCulloch of Manchester, England, condemned it as a “kind of freaky horror show,” reported the BBC on Feb. 5. Speaking about Body Worlds 4, displayed at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry, he said it “diminishes the value of people.”

Despite the controversy over the exhibitions, the BBC article noted that the shows have attracted 25 million visitors globally.

In Edmonton, Alberta, a statement by Archbishop Richard Smith, also signed by Bishop David Motiuk of the Ukrainian Eparchy of Edmonton, advised Catholics who might go to the Body Worlds exhibit to “keep in mind that each body is that of a unique individual loved by God and others,” reported the Edmonton Journal on May 26. The exhibition was scheduled to open June 13 at the Telus World of Science.

“These are bodies of people,” said Archbishop Smith. “These are bodies that lived, that loved. […] It’s not just an object to be gawked at as an object of curiosity, but to be honored.”

According to the article, the archbishop is not prohibiting Catholics from going to the exhibit. “But we’d hope, as Catholics, they’ll come to an informed judgment on the basis of what they believe,” said Archbishop Smith.

Protests also came from Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, reported the local Enquirer newspaper Feb. 1. He sent instructions to the elementary and secondary schools of the archdiocese saying they should not plan field trips to the exhibit because “it seems to me that the use of human bodies in this way fails to respect the persons involved.”

Neighboring Covington Bishop Roger Foys released a similar statement, banning Catholic schools from going to the show, reported the Kentucky Post on Jan. 31.

 

The exhibition “has been and continues to be the source of ethical concerns, particularly with regard to human dignity, human rights, and respect for the human body,” he said in a statement. “The dignity of the human being, body and soul, is never to be taken lightly.”

These sentiments were shared by Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas and Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph. They issued a joint statement saying the exhibition did not respect the individuals whose bodies are on display, reported the Kansas City Star on Feb. 26.

“Catholic moral teaching regards the human person as a unity of soul and body, spirit and matter” and as such “more than just a vessel for the soul,” explained the statement by the two prelates. “The Church’s concern for human dignity extends to the body even after the soul is no longer present.”

Reflecting on the issue, Father Michael Seger, a professor of moral theology at the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary Seminary of the West, drew attention to the values at stake.

The human person is a unity of body and spirit, he pointed out in the Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper Feb. 1. We love and suffer in our bodies and the exhibition of the preserved corpses “rip a person from the context of her or his life story,” he said. “They stand before us sadly anonymous: not mourned and not reverenced.” “The plasticized bodies displayed for anatomical voyeurism belong to a person who deserves better,” Father Seger urged. “We are a society that prides itself on protecting and promoting human dignity, so we ask if this exhibit respects that noble goal.”

 

The controversy over the Body Worlds exhibitions comes at a time when a growing number of people are choosing ever more bizarre ways to dispose of their bodies or cremated ashes.

A Feb. 4 article in the Washington Times described how the ashes of one couple were placed in an artificial reef off the coast of Florida. Larry and Sue Barca apparently had a great love for fish and nature.

An article Nov. 14 in the Los Angeles Times described how people scatter ashes at Disneyland and public parks.

The Church does not have objections to donating body parts for medical purposes. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The free gift of organs after death is legitimate and can be meritorious” (No. 2301).

Regarding respect for the human body after death, there are useful guidelines on this in a document published by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

 

In the December 2001 “Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy,” it says regarding funeral ceremonies: “[I]t is necessary for the body of the deceased, which was the Temple of the Holy Spirit, to be treated with the utmost respect (No. 253).

“Christian piety has always regarded burial as the model for the faithful to follow since it clearly displays how death signifies the total destruction of the body” (No. 254).

As a result, the document explains, “The practice eschews meanings that can be associated with mummification or embalming or even with cremation.

“Burial recalls the earth from which man comes (cf. Gen 2, 6) and to which he returns (cf. Gen 3, 19; Sir 17,1), and also recalls the burial of Christ, the grain which, fallen on the earth, brought forth fruit in plenty (cf. John 12, 24).”

The instruction does acknowledge that cremation is permitted, but at the same time insists that the ashes should be buried and not kept at home. The growing disrespect for dead bodies is a reflection of the loss of faith in our spiritual condition and destiny, and another warning of what can happen when we lose sight of God.

 

NEW YORK, June 24, 2008 (Zenit.org) In a Sunday article, ZENIT misreported that the plasticized human bodies used in Body Worlds might be the remains of executed Chinese prisoners. The concerns were raised with regard to Bodies the Exhibition, managed by Premier Exhibitions, and not with Body Worlds, an exhibit managed by the Institute for Plastination in Germany, which only uses bodies that have been donated. ZENIT regrets the error.

 

Funeral Masses

http://www.zenit.org/article-26626?l=english
ROME, August 18, 2009 (Zenit.org) Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.
Q:
Who can be buried by the Church, and who can a burial Mass be said for? If a faithful of the Catholic Church is not baptized before he dies, but had the desire to be baptized, can a burial Mass be celebrated for him? If a Catholic was baptized, received first Communion and was confirmed, but failed to have his marriage blessed before he dies, can Mass be celebrated for him also? What about a Church member who contributed financially over the years to the Church and has held positions in the Church, but after his death there was a doubt of whether he had been baptized? Can he be given a Church burial, or can Mass be celebrated for him? — D.A., Accra, Ghana
A: The Church is usually generous toward the deceased, within limits.
First, we must distinguish between offering a funeral Mass and celebrating a Mass whose intention is the eternal repose of a particular soul.

Since the latter is basically the private intention of the priest, albeit offered at the request of a particular person, and since there are practically no limitations as to whom we may pray for, almost any intention can be admitted. In cases that might cause scandal, especially if the person were denied a funeral Mass, it would not be prudent to make this intention public.
A funeral Mass on the other hand is basically a public act in which the Church intercedes for the deceased by name. A funeral Mass is one which uses the formulas found in the Roman Missal and the ritual for funerals. Some of these formulas may be used even if the deceased’s body is not present.
Because of its public nature the Church’s public intercession for a departed soul is more limited. A funeral Mass can be celebrated for most Catholics, but there are some specific cases in which canon law requires the denial of a funeral Mass. Canons 1184-1185 say:
“Canon 1184 §1. Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals:
1/ notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics;
2/ those who chose the cremation of their bodies for reasons contrary to Christian faith;
3/ other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful.
Ҥ2. If any doubt occurs, the local ordinary is to be consulted, and his judgment must be followed.
“Canon 1185. Any funeral Mass must also be denied a person who is excluded from ecclesiastical funerals.”
In fact, these strictures are rarely applied. In part, this is because many sinners do show signs of repentance before death.

 


Likewise, the canons are open to some interpretation. In No. 1184 §1 notorious would mean publicly known. Therefore someone who had abandoned the faith and joined some other group would be denied a funeral; someone who harbored private doubts or disagreements would not.
Cases of those who choose cremation for reasons contrary to the faith are extremely rare and are hard to prove (see the follow-up in our column of Nov. 29, 2005).
The most delicate cases are those in No. 1184 §1.3. Many canonists say that for denial of a funeral the person must be both widely known to be living in a state of grave sin and that holding a Church funeral would cause scandal.
About a year ago in Italy the Church denied an ecclesiastical funeral for a nationally known campaigner for euthanasia who requested and obtained the removal of his life-support system. In this case the request for a funeral for someone who was only nominally Catholic was in itself a publicity stunt for the organization behind the campaign. Likewise, someone subject to excommunication or interdict (for example, a Catholic abortionist) would be denied a funeral.
Given the severity of the requirements for denial of an ecclesiastical funeral, people in irregular marriages and suicides should not usually be denied a funeral. In such cases denial of the funeral is more likely than not to be counterproductive and cause unnecessary misunderstanding and bitterness. The Church intercedes for the soul and leaves final judgment to God.
Analogous to the funeral Mass are anniversary Masses which are somewhat in between an intention and a funeral Mass. Although, strictly speaking, these would not fall under the prohibitions mentioned in Canon 1184, such Masses should not be given publicity if the person had been denied a funeral.
With respect to non-Catholic Christians the local bishop may permit a funeral in some cases as specified in the Ecumenical Directory 120: “In the prudent judgment of the local Ordinary, the funeral rites of the Catholic Church may be granted to members of a non-Catholic Church or ecclesial Community, unless it is evidently contrary to their will and provided that their own minister is unavailable, and that the general provisions of Canon Law do not forbid it (see Can. 1183, 3).”
Regarding the first and third cases presented by our reader, we can also refer to Canon 1183:
“Canon 1183 §1. When it concerns funerals, catechumens must be counted among the Christian faithful.
“§2. The local ordinary can permit children whom the parents intended to baptize but who died before baptism to be given ecclesiastical funerals.”
This would apply both to the person who had intended to receive baptism but was prevented by death as well as to the person whose baptism was uncertain but was active in the Church.
In the first case the funeral liturgy may be celebrated as usual, only omitting language referring directly to the sacrament. The same would apply to the second case, but omission of mentioning the sacrament should be done only if the fact that the person had never been baptized could be established with some degree of certainty.
The foundation for this is the doctrine of baptism of desire in which the Church believes that a soul who explicitly desired the sacrament will receive all the graces of baptism at the moment of death, except for the sacramental character. This last is not given because it is directly orientated toward the exercise of worship during the course of life. Finally, Catholic funerals are not celebrated for non-Christians.

 

Follow-up: Funeral Masses

http://www.zenit.org/article-26741?l=english

In connection with our Aug. 18 piece on funeral Masses, a reader from the Marshall Islands wrote: “There was a time in the past that in funeral Masses, the ‘Exchange of Peace’ (before the Lamb of God) was omitted. The reason for it is that the exchange of peace is a joyful expression of greeting one another but somehow discordant in the time of death, the loss of someone so dear to the family.”
First, I would say that the reason behind the exchange of peace is above all to share the peace of Christ which we are about to receive from the altar in Communion. It is true that in some places it has become a joyful free-for-all, but this is not its true meaning or the correct way of carrying out this rite. If properly understood, therefore, not only is there no contradiction between the rite of peace and a funeral, but a dignified and composed sharing of Christ’s peace can actually be a source of spiritual consolation to the bereaved family.
This is one reason why the Holy See approved the exemption, proposed by the U.S. bishops, to the general rule that the priest not leave the sanctuary during the sign of peace. Thus the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 154, says:
The priest may give the sign of peace to the ministers but always remains within the sanctuary, so as not to disturb the celebration. In the dioceses of the United States of America, for a good reason, on special occasions (for example, in the case of a funeral, a wedding, or when civic leaders are present) the priest may offer the sign of peace to a few of the faithful near the sanctuary. At the same time, in accord with the decisions of the Conference of Bishops, all offer one another a sign that expresses peace, communion, and charity. While the sign of peace is being given, one may say, Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum (The peace of the Lord be with you always), to which the response is Amen.”

 

THE UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS COMMITTEE ON DIVINE WORSHIP

Indult on Cremation

http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/current/cremation.shtml

On April 18, 1997 Bishop Anthony Pilla informed the bishops of the United States that he had received a letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments which responded favorably to the NCCB’s request for an indult to allow the presence of the cremated remains of a body at the Funeral Mass.

Bishop Pilla called attention to the language of the indult which gives to each diocesan bishop the right to decide whether to allow the practice in his diocese. In his letter, Bishop Pilla alerted the bishops to the Committee on the Liturgy’s statement, “Reflections on the Body, Cremation, and Catholic Funeral Rites” which is now available as a catechetical tool to help dioceses understand the Church’s position on burial and cremation.

Finally, Bishop Pilla asked the bishops not to utilize the indult until the texts and ritual directives, which had been approved by the bishops last November, are confirmed by the Apostolic See. The following is the text of the letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments:

CONGREGATIO DE CULTU DIVINO
ET DISCIPLINA SACRAMENTORUM

Prot. 1589/96/L

21 March 1997

Your Excellency, This Congregation is pleased to respond to Your Excellency’s letter of 6 August 1996 by which you approached the Congregation regarding the increasingly frequent practice of cremation among the Catholic population and the effects of this on liturgical practice.

After appropriate consideration and consultation, and following its own recent practice, and in response to the Conference’s specific request, the Congregation has decided to adopt the following position as regards the territory of the Episcopal Conference of the United States of America.

In conformity with canon 1176, § 3 the custom of according burial to the bodies of the deceased is to be commended and encouraged.

If, however, the family of the deceased or the testament of the deceased request that the body be cremated or if this is required by the civil authorities, the funeral may nevertheless be celebrated liturgically, provided that the cremation is not undertaken for motives in opposition to Christian doctrine (canon 1176, § 3).

It is greatly to be preferred that the funeral liturgy take place in the presence of the body of the deceased prior to its cremation. Suitable texts should be identified within the existing liturgical books or prepared afresh which take proper account of the fact that the body is to be cremated rather than buried. New texts must clearly be submitted to this Congregation according to the normal procedures for the approval and confirmation of liturgical books. It is appropriate that the liturgical books be reviewed to ensure that they provide adequately for the possibility of liturgical rites at the place of cremation which are analogous to the traditional rites of burial at the graveside.

Experience has shown that on occasion request is made for the funeral liturgy to be celebrated in the presence of the ashes of the deceased after cremation. In the light of an opinion expressed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 3 December 1984 (prot. 99/18), and of the recent vote of the Assembly of Bishops, this Dicastery concedes a particular permission to the diocesan Bishops of the United States of America. By this, local Ordinaries are authorized in the individual cases which are brought to their attention to permit that the funeral liturgy, including where appropriate the celebration of the Eucharist, be celebrated in the presence of the cremated remains instead of the natural body. In each individual case the local Ordinary should give due consideration to the various aspects of the pastoral situation and to the spirit and precise content of the current canonical norms. It is necessary that care be taken that all is carried out with due decorum.

For this eventuality, too, appropriate texts should be drawn up for insertion into the liturgical books according to established procedure. As regards the question of new liturgical texts, it would seem preferable to limit these in so far as possible to suitable selections and adaptations of existing texts, rather than developing a whole alternative rite.

Finally, the Congregation shares Your Excellency’s concern that the remains, even cremated, be accorded proper respect as befits the dignity of the human person and of baptized Christians. Some considerations in this regard should indeed be integrated into the pastoral introduction for the euchological texts to be submitted to the Congregation. It would be unfortunate if at a period when practice and perceptions are undergoing rapid change the Church were to allow itself simply to be faced by a fait accompli rather that making its considered contribution to the shaping of future custom.

 

In this connection, the Congregation views very favorably the intention of Your Excellency that the whole question of cremation be the object of a nuanced catechesis.

Your Excellency, this Congregation remains at the disposition of the Episcopal Conference in this matter and looks forward to receiving the submission of the various texts mentioned here once they have received the necessary majority approval of the Assembly of Bishops.

With my cordial good wishes, Sincerely yours in Christ,
+ Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez
Pro-Prefect + G. M. Agnelo
Secretary

Email us at bcl@usccb.org
Secretariat for Divine Worship | 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington DC 20017-1194 | (202) 541-3060 © USCCB. All rights reserved.

Cremation and Corporeal Burial

http://usccb.org/liturgy/q&a/general/crem.shtml

Q: Why does the Church prefer the burial of the actual body of the deceased? There are many reasons that I can think of for the burial of simply the cremated remains.

A: The Church has always held a preference for corporeal body. The body of a deceased loved one forcefully brings to mind the mystery of life and death and our belief that our human bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and destined for future glory at the resurrection of the dead. In addition, the body which lies in death recalls the personal story of faith, the past relationships, and the continued spiritual presence of the deceased person.

This is the body once washed in baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation, and fed with the bread of life. This is the body whose hands clothed the poor and embraced the sorrowing. The human body is so inextricably associated with the human person that it is hard to think of a human person apart from his or her body. Thus, the Church’s reverence and care for the body grows out of a reverence and concern for the person whom the Church now commends to the care of God.

The Order of Christian Funerals reflects a theology and a tradition in which burial of the body has been the principal manner of final disposition of the body. The long-standing practice of burying the body of the deceased in a grave or tomb as was Jesus, continues to be encouraged as a sign of Christian faith. However, owing to contemporary cultural interaction, the practice of cremation has become part of Catholic practice in the United States and other parts of the western world.

Disposition of the bodies of deceased Catholics by means of cremation is a fairly recent development. The 1917 Code of Canon Law forbade the practice, and this prohibition continued until 1963. While making allowance for cremation (as long as it was not chosen as a sign of denial of Christian teaching) the 1963 instruction Piam et constantem issued by the Holy Office urged that “the practice of burying the bodies of the faithful is by all means to be kept.” This 1963 concession is provided for in the 1969 Ordo Exsequiarum, the Latin edition of the revised Catholic funeral ritual and was later incorporated into the 1983 Code of Canon Law in canon 1176: “The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the dead be observed; it does not, however, forbid cremation unless it has been chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching.”

Although cremation is now permitted it does not enjoy the same value as burial of the body. Catholic teaching continues to stress the preference for burial of the body of the deceased. Likewise, the Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for its funeral rites, since the presence of the human body better expresses the values which the Church affirms in its rites.

Sensitive to the economic, geographic, ecological, or family factors which on occasion make the cremation of a body the only feasible choice, however, the Administrative Committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops has recommended that the entire body of bishops that they request an indult from the Holy See permitting the presence of cremated remains during the full course of Catholic Funeral rites. Likewise, the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy has directed the Secretariat for the Liturgy to begin the preparation of additional rites and texts for the Order of Christian Funerals to provide for the presence of the remains of the cremated body.

Email us at bcl@usccb.org
Secretariat for Divine Worship | 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington DC 20017-1194 | (202) 541-3060 © USCCB. All rights reserved.

 

Cremation and Burial at Sea

http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/cremation.shtml

Recent events have brought to the fore questions regarding the practice of the cremation of a body and burial at sea. Diocesan offices for worship might find this an opportune time to renew catechesis on these questions for the benefit of pastors and pastoral ministers.

 

A helpful summary of the Church’s teaching on cremation may be found in the 1998 statement of the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, “Reflections on the Body, Cremation and Catholic Funeral Rites.”

“The Church’s belief in the sacredness of the human body and the resurrection of the dead has traditionally found expression in the care taken to prepare the bodies of the deceased for burial.”(OCF 411)

“This is the body once washed in baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation, and fed with the bread of life. This is the body whose hands clothed the poor and embraced the sorrowing. Indeed, the human body is so inextricably associated with the human person that it is hard to think of a human person apart from his or her body. Thus, the Church’s reverence and care for the body grows out of a reverence and concern for the person whom the Church now commends to the care of God.” (OCF 412)

Thus, while “cremation is now permitted, it does not enjoy the same value as burial of the body…The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites, since the presence of the human body better expresses the values which the Church affirms in its rites.” (OCF 413) However, “when extraordinary circumstances make the cremation of a body the only feasible choice, pastoral sensitivity must be exercised by all who minister to the family of the deceased.” (OCF 414)

The rites for burial of the cremated remains of a body may be found in the appendix to the Order of Christian Funerals. This appendix recommends that when cremation is chosen, the body be cremated after the Funeral, thus allowing for the presence of the body at the Funeral Mass. When pastoral circumstances require it, however, cremation and committal may take place even before the Funeral liturgy.

Any catechesis on the subject of cremation should emphasize that “the cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the corporeal remains of a human body. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and the final disposition.” (OCF 416)

While cremated remains may be buried in a grave, entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium or even buried at sea, “the practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.” (OCF 416) The cremated remains of the body may be properly buried at sea in the urn, coffin or other container in which they have been carried to the place of committal. When a body, or the cremated remains of a body are buried at sea, the Committal prayer found at number 406 § 4 is used:

Lord God, by the power of your Word you stilled the chaos of the primeval seas, you made the raging waters of the Flood subside, and calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee.
As we commit the body (earthly remains) of our brother (sister) N. to the deep, grant him/her peace and tranquility until that day when he/she and all who believe in you will be raised to the glory of new life
promised in the waters of baptism. We ask this through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

-excerpted from the Newsletter of the NCCB Committee on the Liturgy (July, 1999)

 

Cremation Ashes to Ashes

http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=645

The Church No Longer Forbids the Practice, but Doesn’t Allow The Scattering of Cremated Remains

By Lou Jacquet

To judge by the box-office receipts, millions of Americans saw the final scene in the movie “The Bridges of Madison County.” In it a son and daughter honor their mother’s last request by scattering her ashes from a scenic Iowa bridge.

It’s high drama, a powerful moment. Whatever else it might be, however, it would clearly not be a proper burial if the woman were Catholic.

But the mere fact the woman was cremated is not the issue. Today many Catholics, in speaking with their parish priest about funeral arrangements for themselves or for a loved one, are surprised to learn the Church no longer forbids cremation. What those cinematic heirs did wrong was to ignore the Church’s stipulation that cremated remains (called “cremains”) must receive a proper burial in consecrated ground.

“You can’t store Grandma on the mantel or scatter your father’s ashes across the 13th green of his favorite golf course,” advises Father Peter Polando, canon lawyer and pastor of St. Matthias Parish in Youngstown, Ohio. “The Church has strong feelings about the fact that this body has been a temple of the Holy Spirit and requires a proper burial as a result.”

By definitions supplied from funeral-industry literature, cremation is the process of reducing the body to bone fragments through the application of intense heat. The bone fragments are then pulverized, and placed within a temporary container before being returned to the family.

Catholic burial practice calls for the cremains to be buried in an urn within a consecrated grave or placed inside a mausoleum. Keeping ashes at home or scattering them on land or sea, even where legal, is inappropriate to the Church’s deep reverence for the body as a place where the soul has resided, As “Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopedia” notes:

“Cremation was the normal custom in the ancient civilized world, except in Egypt, Judea and China. It was repugnant to early Christians because of the belief in the resurrection of the body. By the fifth century, cremation had been largely abandoned in the Roman Empire because of Christian influence.”

 

 

These days, cremation has become more common in the United States among persons of various denominations. The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) estimates that out of roughly 2.6 million deaths each year, there are some 471,000 cremations, or about 20 percent. By the year 2010, the association predicts, cremations will account for almost 33 percent of funeral planning. Currently, California far outstrips the nation with 93,221 cremations reported in 1994. CANA says there 1,100 crematories in the United States.

The number of cremations is increasing for three main reasons. First, there is a growing shortage of burial spaces in some sections of the nation. Second, in a mobile society where many people move often, it’s much simpler to transport ashes than a casket. Many elderly who live in the northern states, for example, winter in warmer climates. It’s not unusual for them to leave instructions that, should they die there, their bodies are to be cremated and the remains flown home to be interred in the family burial plot. And a third reason is financial: a cremation typically costs significantly less than a full-scale burial in a casket.

Just when and why did the Church change its teaching on this option?

In his book “Questions and Answers,” syndicated columnist Father John Dietzen explains “the first general legislation banning the burning of bodies as a funeral rite burning of bodies as a funeral rite came from the Vatican’s Holy Office in May 1886, noting the anti-religious and Masonic motivation behind the movement. The 1918 Code of Canon Law continued that ban because cremation was still considered a flagrant rejection of the Christian belief in immortality and the resurrection.”

 

But now the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, which devotes hundreds of words to some subjects, matter-of-factly devotes only 20 words to the topic: “The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body” (no. 2301).

The current Code of Canon Law (revised in 1983) devotes a mere 30 words that elaborate on the same theme: “The Church earnestly recommends the pious custom of burial be retained; but it does not forbid cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching” (no. 1176).

So what happened between the end of World War I and the writing of the revised code? In 1963, the Church began to relax its attitude toward cremation for reasons of national custom, lack of burial space, disease control and other considerations. Now the revised code’s canon incorporates the 1963 decree, but omits any mention of requiring a good reason for cremation.

Father Polando noted that the Canon Law Society of America’s “Commentary on the Code of Canon Law” is more specific: “In the old code, the former law was quite forceful and restrictive in its opposition to cremation. Actually, the Church has never been against cremation as such, but discouraged it because of the reasons people used to justify it.

“The Church reacts to problems that come to its doorstep,” he continued. “The Church adopted the stance it did because people were using cremation to justify denying the resurrection of the body.”

But now the Church believes those who request cremation aren’t doing so out of any desire to deny bodily resurrection or defame Church teaching. Cremation and a Catholic funeral liturgy would, of course, be denied if that were the case.

Lou Jacquet is editor of the Catholic Exponent, newspaper for the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio.

 

What Does the Catholic Church Say About Cremation?
http://www.ehow.com/about_4578251_does-catholic-church-say-cremation.html

By Barbara Aufiero

The Bible passage “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” means that people came from ashes and shall return to ashes upon death. The rotting away of the body until it consists solely of ashes can take hundreds of years. However, sometimes individuals choose to be cremated after death instead of buried in the ground or put in a mausoleum. This practice is allowed by the Catholic Church, but there are stipulations.

 

Features

The teachings of Jesus are the foundation of the Catholic Church. According to the Church, after death the soul leaves the body. The soul goes to either heaven or hell, but the physical body remains on earth. The body is buried and disintegrates over time. However, it is believed that souls will be reunited with their physical bodies when we reach the end of time.

 

Function

Cremation involves burning a body after death. The body is put in a casket or wooden container and burned in a furnace at a crematorium. The ashes that result from this are put into a jar called an urn. Loved ones of the deceased can choose to put the urn in their homes or bring it to a cemetery to be kept on a shelf. In some instances, the deceased may have requested for the ashes to be dispersed in a special part of the natural world, such as an ocean, ballpark or garden.

 

 

History

The Catholic Church views the body as a holy temple. It is believed that all people were created in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, the burning of a body after death was once seen as a desecration of God’s work.

The Church also believed that cremation represented a denial of the belief in resurrection. As the Church evolved, burials and entombment continued to be stressed but cremation was permitted.

 

Significance

The acceptance of cremation by the Catholic Church had contingencies. The body was initially required to be present at the Mass before cremation. The Church now allows the body to be cremated prior to the last Mass. The ashes can be present at the Mass if put in an urn and approved by a bishop. However, the Church requires that ashes are either buried or put in an urn and frowns upon the scattering of ashes or keeping an urn in one’s home.

 

Considerations

Cremation can be less expensive than a traditional burial if it occurs within 48 hours of death. This is referred to as an immediate cremation. The use of a funeral home is not required since there is no wake before burial. However, the Catholic Church discourages immediate cremation because it prohibits friends and family members of the deceased from engaging in the grieving process. It is believed that the life of the deceased should be remembered in the presence of the body. Immediate cremation does not allow mourners sufficient time to cope with the loss of a loved one.


Frequently Asked Questions regarding
CREMATION IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

http://www.catholicdoors.com/faq/qu202.htm

Q. There are some Catholics who say that the Church allows cremation. Then there are others who say that cremation was always forbidden in the Church. What should I believe?
A.
The Catholic Church’s preference has always been to bury the dead. The ban on cremation was to oppose the pagan practices that were considered to be anti-Christian. The Romans did not believe in an afterlife. As such, they cremated their dead. The Christians of the early Church avoided cremation because of the connection with the Roman view. To be cremated served the purpose of denying the resurrection and afterlife.
Since Jesus was not cremated, this is another reason why this practice fell into disfavor with the Christians. And also because of the belief that the body is the home of the Holy Spirit and it should be respected as such.
The Catholic Church’s rejection of cremation was never intended to imply that someone who is cremated would never go to heaven. The church has never opposed the cremation of Catholics after disasters such as a plague, earthquakes or floods when mass casualties occurred, making individual burials next to impossible.
The Church also permitted cremation in extra-ordinary situations where transporting a body half way around the world or a very great distance would have created extreme financial hardship.
In 1963, while continuing to maintain a strong preference towards burial, the Catholic Church became more open to allowing cremation. As more and more Catholics became aware of this change in the law, there has been an increase number of cremations among Catholics.
Prior to 1997, cremations had to take place after the funeral Mass so the body could be present during the rite. Since then, the Vatican has granted permission to allow funeral Masses with the presence of the ashes.
To this day, the Catholic Church Law forbids cremation when it is chosen for reasons that are contrary to Christian teaching. These are:
a. Cremation is implemented for the purpose of denying the resurrection of the body.
b. The ashes of cremated Catholics are to be preserved afterwards as a body would be preserved, either in a mausoleum or buried in a cemetery.
c. Ashes are not to be scattered.
d. Ashes are not to be kept in someone’s living room or any other place, contrary # b above.

Catholic Funerals and Burials in Catholic Cemeteries

http://www.cuf.org/faithfacts/details_view.asp?ffID=264

August 3, 2006

Issues:

Who may receive a Catholic funeral?
Who may be buried in a Catholic cemetery?
May a Protestant funeral take place in a Catholic church?

Response: Any baptized Catholic in good standing has a right to a funeral within the Church and according to her liturgical practice. There are some people to whom the Church denies Catholic funeral rites. Additionally, there are some circumstances in which a Catholic funeral is allowed to a non-Catholic person. Similar guidelines apply to burial in a Catholic cemetery. Finally, given certain circumstances, a Protestant funeral may take place in a Catholic church.

 

 

Terms to Know

Catholic funeral rites are the liturgical rites in which the Church “commends the dead to God’s merciful love and pleads for the forgiveness of their sins.”1 

There are three principal components to a Catholic funeral: the vigil for the deceased (sometimes referred to as the “wake”), the funeral liturgy (which often includes the celebration of Mass), and the rite of committal (which is generally followed by the burial). These are outlined in the Order of Christian Funerals.

A Mass for the Dead is a Mass offered for the repose of the soul of any deceased person. “From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1032, emphasis added).

 

Discussion: Mindful of the importance of a Christian funeral, the Church prescribes that “deceased members of the Christian faithful must be given ecclesiastical funerals according to the norm of law” (Code of Canon Law, Canon 1176.1). Any baptized Catholic in good standing has a right to a funeral within the Church and according to her liturgical practice.

Catechumens are counted among Christ’s faithful, and as such, have a right to a Catholic funeral (Canon 1183.1).

A baptized non-Catholic may be allowed a Catholic funeral at the discretion of the local ordinary (generally the diocesan bishop or his vicar general): “In the prudent judgment of the local ordinary, ecclesiastical funerals can be granted to baptized persons who are enrolled in a non-Catholic Church or ecclesial community unless their intention is evidently to the contrary and provided that their own minister is not available” (Canon 1183.3).

The Church denies funeral rites to the following people, unless they gave some signs of repentance before death:

notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics;

those who chose the cremation of their bodies for reasons contrary to Christian faith;

other manifest sinners to whom a Church funeral could not be granted without public scandal to the faithful (cf. Canon 1184.1.1–3).

If a dispute arises as to whether a Catholic funeral should be granted a particular person, the local ordinary should be consulted and his judgment followed. Even if the deceased is refused a Catholic funeral, Masses can be offered for his eternal well-being: “A priest is free to apply the Mass for anyone, living or dead” (Canon 901).

 

May someone who commits suicide receive a Catholic funeral?

In the past, people who committed suicide were often denied a Church funeral. This was not a judgment of the deceased’s eternal destiny (indeed, the Church has always offered Masses for those who have committed suicide). Rather, a Church funeral was denied to the deceased in order to avoid giving scandal to the faithful and to emphasize the grave nature of suicide.

As in the past, the Church teaches that suicide is and always will be objectively and gravely wrong. At the same time, today she better understands the psychological disturbances that may influence a suicide and thus mitigate personal culpability. This being the case, those who take their life are now typically provided funerals (cf. Catechism, no. 2282).

 

May divorced and remarried Catholics receive a Catholic funeral?

As with persons who had committed suicide, persons who had remarried outside the Church were often denied a Catholic funeral. Again, this was to avoid giving scandal to the faithful and to prevent the faithful from taking the matter lightly.

The Church now generally allows Catholic funerals and burials to those who have divorced and remarried. This discipline of allowing funerals does not change the Church’s doctrine: Divorce and remarriage without an annulment is and always will be objectively wrong. (For more on the Church’s teaching on divorce and remarriage, please see our Faith Fact on the subject.)

 

May baptized infants receive a Catholic funeral?

Even if a baptized child is only a few days old, by virtue of his baptism he is a “member of the Christian faithful” and should be given a funeral (cf. Canon 1176.1). This funeral should normally take place at the parish of the child’s parents (cf. Canon 1177).

 

May unbaptized babies receive a Catholic funeral? What about miscarried babies?

If a child’s parents intended to have their child baptized but the child died before the sacrament could be administered, the local ordinary may allow the child to have a Catholic funeral (cf. Canon 1183.2).

 

 

Likewise, a miscarried baby may receive a Catholic funeral, though a family is not required to formally bury a miscarried child. If a more developed unborn child dies and is delivered intact, parents often choose to bury the child. Otherwise, hospitals typically remove the remains as they do with human organs or bodily tissue removed during surgery. (Because most miscarriages occur in the first trimester, the remains are generally minimal and/or incomplete [as with a D & C procedure].) The different ways of laying the child’s body to rest in no way imply that a fetus at an earlier point of gestation is less than a person or less deserving of respect. Every human life is sacred, “from the moment of conception until death” (Catechism, no. 2319; cf. no. 2258).

The same guidelines for funerals and burials of unbaptized children would apply to aborted babies. The Church recognizes the personhood of every unborn child (cf. Catechism,
nos. 2270–75). She prays for the souls of miscarried and aborted babies, and commends them to the mercy of God (cf. Catechism, no. 1261).

 

May an animal receive a Catholic funeral?

The Church provides for the blessing of living animals. However, the Church does not have funeral rites for pets. Funerals are reserved to human persons. There is no definitive Church teaching on whether animals will be in heaven; many theologians conclude that only souls made in the image of God (i.e., human souls) will be in heaven.


Who May Be Buried in a Catholic Cemetery?

Like Catholic churches, Catholic cemeteries are considered “sacred places” in canon law (cf. Canon 1205). They are dedicated by the local ordinary (or his representative) to be used for a religious purpose. The designation as a “sacred place” then defines what is acceptable in that place.

Catholic cemeteries are established for Catholics to be buried in consecrated ground. At the same time, the Church desires that the dead be buried, and she has a special concern for the poor. Therefore, others may be buried in Catholic cemeteries at the discretion of the local bishop (see below citations from Ad Totam Ecclesiam and the Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms in Ecumenism).
For example, it is customary in the United States to allow a non-Catholic spouse or close relative of a Catholic to be buried next to their loved one in the Catholic cemetery without special permission. Or again, the local bishop may allow those without a proper burial place to be buried in a Catholic cemetery.


May a Protestant Funeral Take Place in a Catholic Church?

If the Protestant community lacks a facility for worthily celebrating a funeral and if the local ordinary grants permission, a Protestant funeral may take place in a Catholic church. By the same principles, a Protestant may be buried in a Catholic cemetery.

The Directory on Ecumenism, Ad Totam Ecclesiam (1967), issued by the Secretariat for the Promotion of the Unity of Christians, says, “If the separated brethren have no place in which to carry out their religious rites properly and with dignity, the local ordinary may allow them the use of a Catholic building, cemetery or church” (no. 61).

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity’s Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms in Ecumenism (1993) reiterates and expands upon the 1967 document. It states:

Catholic churches are consecrated or blessed buildings which have an important theological and liturgical significance for the Catholic community. They are therefore generally reserved for Catholic worship. However, if priests, ministers or communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church do not have a place or the liturgical objects necessary for celebrating worthily their religious ceremonies, the diocesan Bishop may allow them the use of a church or a Catholic building and also lend them what may be necessary for their services. Under similar circumstances permission may be given to them for interment or for the celebration of services at Catholic cemeteries. (no. 137)

 1 Order of Christian Funerals in The Rites of the Catholic Church, vol. 1 (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1990), no. 6.
 2 John A. Abbo and Jerome D. Hannan, The Sacred Canons, Vol. II (St. Louis, Mo: B. Herder Book Co, 1952), p. 496.

 

What You Need to Know about a Catholic Funeral and Burial

http://www.stpaulparish.ca/catholic-funerals-burials.php

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.

“He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death and no more mourning or sadness or pain.” Revelation 21:4

 

 

 

It is important to notify caregivers, hospital staff and pastoral care visitors that the dying/deceased person is Catholic.
Oftentimes, these individuals will know what procedures are to be followed and may be of assistance at this difficult time.

It is highly recommended that contact be made with the Parish of the deceased individual as soon as possible to inform the pastor of the death.
Funeral, cemetery or cremation arrangements cannot be finalized until the family of the deceased has had an opportunity to discuss personally with the priest the various procedures and rites pertaining to a Catholic funeral and burial. The priest is there to offer guidance and support.

In accordance with Catholic teaching, the funeral service for a Catholic consists of bringing the body of the deceased to the Church, the celebration there of Mass, followed by interment, preferably in the consecrated ground of a Catholic cemetery.

While the Catholic Church accepts cremation, the body of the deceased must be present in the Church at a Mass of Christian Burial.
Therefore, cremation must be delayed until after the Funeral Mass has taken place. It is important to inform the pastor of the Church where the funeral is to be held if there is to be a cremation.

Once the Funeral Home/Director has been chosen, inform them that the deceased is Catholic.
They have a copy of the official guidelines and regulations for a Catholic funeral and burial and will be able to assist you in making appropriate choices.

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.

 

Can unborn, unbaptized babies have Catholic funeral & burial?

http://te-deum.blogspot.com/2008/07/q-can-unborn-unbaptized-babies-have.html

I have seen a various forms of the same question crop up in the comboxes of some blogposts on the recent Mass & burial with aborted babies at Assumption Grotto*.
First, I am most grateful to all bloggers who responded to my request to give it the publicity it deserved. Perhaps this was my error to report that it was a Mass for the babies. This will be explained below…
I thought the question was a good one to ponder, given canon law. At the blog of Fr. Tim Finigan – a pro-life champion in the UK – a commenter by the name of Tomas, asks in a post Father made about my photostory:

Just a question Father…can unbaptized babies receive a Christian burial? God bless

Since I had seen this question before and was unsure how to respond myself, and with Fr. Perrone gone on vacation, I put the question to my parish priest who responded, as follows (comments in brackets):

Baptism is essential for salvation. Without it, you can’t get to heaven. This is why the Church developed the theologoumenon [a theological opinion] on Limbo for unbaptized babies and the just who were not baptized.

There are three ways in which baptism can take place: water, blood, and spirit (desire).

Catechumens who intended to be baptized but die before baptism are considered baptized by desire and receive a regular funeral. Likewise were those who died as martyrs for Christ before baptism—they were baptized in their blood. Unbaptized or unborn children of parents who intended to have them baptized could be considered to be Catechumens and, therefore, could be considered baptized by desire. This is why canon law affords them a funeral. Aborted children, however, were not likely going to be baptized and their being considered Catechumens is more remote—not impossible, just more remote.

Aborted babies are not in Purgatory. If they are not in Purgatory, then there is no reason for praying funeral prayers for them asking God to release them from Purgatory. (It goes without saying that neither are prayers offered for souls in heaven or hell.)

The Church entrusts these souls to God’s mercy with prayer. Their eternal fate is in God’s hands, but the Church’s funeral rites are not among the prayers intended for them.

 


He further adds…

The Mass intention on that Friday
was for atonement for sins of abortion, not the souls of the unborn. However, since they were human beings with an eternal soul, we perform the corporal act of mercy of burying the dead. The Mass offered on that Friday was not a funeral Mass—it did not use the funeral prayers or rites in any way.


Hopefully, this clarifies not only the question, but what actually took place at Assumption Grotto on June 27th, 2008.

*http://te-deum.blogspot.com/2008/06/act-of-mercy-mass-and-burial-of-unborn.html

 

Can aborted babies be baptized or given Christian funerals?

http://www.experts123.com/q/can-aborted-babies-be-baptized-or-given-christian-funerals.html

Yes. Canon law directs us to baptize a miscarried or aborted fetus if there is any chance he or she may still be alive. (Canon 871) Catholic funeral rites include special funeral prayers for children who die before baptism, which can be used in the case of a miscarried or stillborn child. American bishops have held funeral and burial services for unborn children killed by abortion. In the Archdiocese of New York we have a burial plot at Gate of Heaven Cemetery called the Guardian Angel’s Plot for the burial of children who died after birth or before birth. This includes babies who were miscarried or aborted.

 

HINDU FUNERAL RITES CONDUCTED BY AN ARCHBISHOP…

Catholics conduct Hindu funeral rites for doctor

http://www.ucanews.com/2010/10/14/catholics-conduct-funeral-for-hindu-doctor/

UCAN reporter, Kochi India October 14, 2010

A Catholic hospital in Kerala has won thanks for conducting Hindu funeral rites for a doctor.

Brijesh Kumar Singh, 61, died on Oct. 10 in a hotel while waiting for a flight to Bihar, eastern India.

“We arranged a Brahmin priest to conduct Hindu funeral rites,” said Father Thomas Kodinattumkunnel, chief executive of the Pushpagiri Medical College Hospital, where Singh had served as an orthopedic surgeon for 28 years. Singh was cremated two days later in the hospital run by the Syro-Malankara Church in Tiruvalla, according to his family’s request.

Father Kodinattumkunnel said his Church conducted the Hindu rites on its campus because it respects all religious groups. “It’s our deeds, not our words that can promote communal harmony,” he said.

Archbishop Thomas Mar Coorilos of Tiruvalla, who attended the funeral rites, also led a prayer service attended by hundreds of priests, nuns and local people.

The prelate offered flowers, sesame and butter at the funeral pyre following the Hindu priest’s instructions.

The doctor’s relatives expressed gratitude to the Catholic hospital. R.P. Singh, his brother, said they chose to cremate the deceased in the hospital premises as he “was emotionally attached” to the Catholic institution.

 

AND A FRENCH THEOLOGIAN REGISTERS HIS PROTEST, COPY TO THIS MINISTRY

1) To Archbishop of Tiruvalla, markoorilos@hotmail.com, 15.10.2010

Most Rev Mar Thomas

It is with much surprise and sadness that I discover the news that a Hindu funeral rite has been conducted in your presence on the campus of Pushpagiri Medical College.

Here are the lines I read in CathNews India: “Archbishop Thomas Mar Coorilos of Tiruvalla, who attended the funeral rites, also led a prayer service attended by hundreds of priests, nuns and local people. The prelate offered flowers, sesame and butter at the funeral pyre following the Hindu priest’s instructions.”

Even though I am a simple priest, I have the moral obligation to let you know that it is a very sad event that blemishes the Venerable and Holy Church and See of Tiruvalla. Interreligious dialogue doesn’t mean inter-celebration with Hindus. Whatever may be the good intentions behind this public gesture, it will never make acceptable that a Catholic priest or a Catholic Bishop may have an active part in a Hindu celebration. The Venerable Mar Ivanios and Mar Theophilos should have been scandalized if someone would have told them that one of their successors will act in such way in order to gain the good graces of our Hindu brothers. This is what we call a scandal that offends directly God (first commandment) and leads to indifferentism (against charity), this terrible plague so many times denounced by Our holy Father Pope Benedict XVI.

I pray for you and for the Church of Tiruvalla for whom I have a high respect and esteem even though I am of Latin rite. May the Lord forgive this aberration and may reparation be made for this public denial of the Gospel of Truth and Love.

Yours respectfully and sadly in cordibus Jesu et Mariae

Fr John Britto OSB

Doctor in theology

097 31 05 64 24

 

 

 

2) To Archbishop of Trivandrum, archbp03@md3.vsnl.net.in 27.10. 2010

Most Rev Mar Baselios Cleemis

Please find enclosed the letter I had the regret to send his Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Koorilos.

It is a very sad and painful to see the aberrations that are happening because of a wrong understanding of interreligious dialogue.

I thought you should be informed so that a prompt remedy could be brought to such a situation.

I remain your devotedly and respectfully in the two hearts of Jesus and Mary

United in prayers

In Cordibus Jesu et Mariae

Fr John Britto OSB, Doctor in Theology, Visiting professor in India 00 91 97 31 05 64 24

 

I heard somewhere that a layperson cannot deliver a eulogy at a funeral Mass. Are there any circumstances in which it would be acceptable?

http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/quickquestions/?qid=4

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.

 

Liturgical dance perverts the meaning of the liturgy

Semper Fi Catholic –
Always Faithful To the Truth Who Is Christ

http://www.semperficatholic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12650&sid=e9b96b77d82ff5b16477e91aacea4e7a

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.

 

When my brother-in-law died, there was no priest available and so he couldn’t have a funeral Mass. A deacon said prayers at the funeral home and at the grave site. At Senator Ted Kennedy’s funeral, there were six priests and a cardinal. Do the rich and powerful get special consideration?  

http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/quickquestions/?qid=2669

I am very sorry for your loss and sorry that your family was unable to arrange for a funeral Mass for your relative. Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, it is very possible that more effort is made to accommodate the well-known and influential. This isn’t the fault of the Catholic Church, but of frail human beings within the Church. The good news is that you can arrange for memorial Masses to be said for the repose of your relative’s soul. This can be done either at your parish or by a religious order. Just contact the coordinator for memorial Masses and ask what needs to be done.-Michelle Arnold

 

Bishop discourages secular elements in funerals

http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=25791

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.

FULL STORY
Bishop defends new funeral guidelines (ABC) 

SELECTED COMMENTS

There is nothing so cringe-making as going to a funeral at which no thought is spared for the soul of the deceased, and at which recording of tacky popular songs are played, and speakers get up to tell everyone how the deceased was a good bloke who liked a laugh and a beer, and had an eye for the ladies. Leave the secular funerals to the agnostics.-Lance Eccles, Goulburn NSW

The purpose of a Catholic funeral liturgy is to worship God, celebrate the work of our redemption – the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – and to take comfort and hope from our belief that all of us frail and sinful folk can live in hope of salvation and a place with Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin and all the Saints in heaven.
A Catholic funeral Mass faithfully celebrated, I can assure you, speaks more to the minds and hearts of those present – even die-hard secularists – than what passes for ‘celebration’ at many funerals.
Catholic funerals have been hijacked unfortunately and, frankly, are often another form of ‘entertainment’. I know of no one who returned to the practice of the faith having encountered a ‘modern’ catholic funeral – I know of many whose hearts were touched by the traditional liturgy and began to look again at the big questions.

I have left instructions with my family and friends that when I die, of their charity, they are to have a priest celebrate a requiem mass without deviation from the text; that he wears purple vestments (I am not so confident that I will storm immediately through the Gates); that the priest preach a sermon on the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the hope of all Christians; that four hymns be sung, 1. Firmly I Believe and Truly 2. From Many Grapes and Grains of Wheat 3. Sweet Sacrament Divine 4. Hail Queen of Heaven, and that if any symbols are placed on my coffin – my copy of the Scriptures and my Rosary.
No eulogy by request.
I am expecting to spend a considerable time in purgatory – to which I am looking forward – where I will be ecstatically prepared for and loved into Heaven.
This is my hope and consolation. This is what I truly believe because the Church tells me so.-Phillip Turnbull, Jakarta

The Bishop is correct: Requiem Masses are not the places for power point presentations (or similar) displays. If families wish to grieve in that manner, the wake is the place for that.
At the funeral Mass, as at every Mass, we hear the word of God and we meditate upon that. It is the priest’s job to incorporate events from the life of the deceased to demonstrate how the deceased listened to and lived the word of God.-Judith Taylor Clematis, Vic

Do people of other religions (i.e. Muslim or Jewish) demand their own personal ideas be met at their funerals? I think not.-Helen

At last, we will be praying for the soul who has left us.
Two funerals I attended, both near relatives, chose for the final commendation, the following: as the coffin retreated behind a curtain (a cremation service), we had to listen to Paul McCartney’s Gracelands.
The other funeral, as the coffin was being lowered into the ground had Elvis singing Return to Sender!-Myrtle Moodley

 

Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship

http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/SingToTheLord.pdf
EXTRACT

Issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 14, 2007

Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship, a revision of Music in Catholic Worship, was developed by the Committee on Divine Worship of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). On November 14, 2007, the Latin Church members of the USCCB approved these guidelines. These guidelines are designed to provide direction to those preparing for the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy according to the current liturgical books (in the ordinary form of celebration).

Order of Christian Funerals

The Importance of Music in the Order of Christian Funerals

244. The Church’s funeral rites offer thanksgiving to God for the gift of life that has been returned to him. Following ancient custom, the funeral rites consist of three stages or stations that are joined by two processions. In Christian Rome, “Christians accompanied the body on its last journey. From the home of the deceased the Christian community proceeded to the church singing psalms. When the service in the church concluded, the body was carried in solemn procession to the grave or tomb.”213 Throughout the Liturgies, the ancient Christians sang psalms and antiphons praising God’s mercy and entrusting the deceased to the angels and the saints.214

 

 

245. The psalms are given pride of place in the funeral rites because “they powerfully express the suffering and pain, the hope and trust of people of every age and culture. Above all the psalms sing of faith in God, of revelation and redemption.”215 Effective catechesis will allow communities to understand the significance of the psalms used in the funeral rites.

246. Sacred music has an integral role in the funeral rites, since it can console and uplift mourners while, at the same time, uniting the assembly in faith and love.216 Funeral music should express the Paschal Mystery and the Christian’s share in it.217 Since music can evoke strong feelings, it should be chosen with care. It should console the participants and “help to create in them a spirit of hope in Christ’s victory over death and in the Christian’s share in that victory.”218 Secular music, even though it may reflect on the background, character, interests, or personal preferences of the deceased or mourners, is not appropriate for the Sacred Liturgy.

247. Music should be provided for the vigil and funeral Mass. Whenever possible, music should accompany the funeral processions and the rite of committal.219 For the processions, preference should be given to “settings of psalms and songs that are responsorial or litanic in style and that allow the people to respond to the verses with an invariable refrain.”220

248. Music should never be used to memorialize the deceased, but rather to give praise to the Lord, whose Paschal Sacrifice has freed us from the bonds of death.

 

The Vigil for the Deceased

249. If the Vigil for the Deceased is celebrated with the body’s reception at the church, a special rite is used.221 The minister, with the assisting ministers, meets the coffin at the door of the church; and the coffin is sprinkled with holy water and the pall is placed, the entrance procession begins and proceeds to the place the coffin will occupy. “During the procession a psalm, song, or responsory is sung.”222 The Vigil for the Deceased then proceeds as usual and may conclude with silence or a song.223

250. After the minister greets those present, the Vigil for the Deceased begins with a song.224 Following the opening prayer, the Liturgy of the Word begins. For the Responsorial Psalm, “Psalm 27 is sung or said or another psalm or song.”225 Silence or a song may conclude the vigil.226

251. The rite for the transfer of the body to the church or to the place of committal includes an invitation to prayer, a brief reading of Scripture, a litany, the Lord’s Prayer, and a concluding prayer. Following the concluding prayer, the minister invites those present to join the procession to the church or the place of committal. “During the procession, psalms and other suitable songs may be sung. If this is not possible, a psalm is sung or recited either before or after the procession.” The rite specifically suggests Psalm 122 with its provided antiphon.227

 

The Funeral Liturgy

252. If the body has not yet been received at the church, the priest, with the assisting ministers, meets the coffin at the door of the church; and after the coffin is sprinkled with holy water and the pall is placed, the entrance procession begins to the place the coffin will occupy. “During the procession a psalm, song, or responsory is sung” while the priest and ministers take their place in the sanctuary.228

253. Unless it is to be celebrated at the place of committal, the final commendation follows the Prayer after Communion. After the invitation to prayer, the song of farewell is sung.229

254. “The song of farewell, which should affirm hope and trust in the paschal mystery, is the climax of the rite of final commendation. It should be sung to a melody simple enough for all to sing. It may take the form of a responsory or even a hymn.”230 If the song of farewell is sung, it is not recited.

255. Following the prayer of commendation, the deacon or priest invites those present to join the procession to the place of committal. One or more of the psalms provided by the rite may be sung during the procession to the entrance of the church. If convenient, singing may continue during the journey to the place of committal. The psalms particularly appropriate for this procession are Psalms 25, 42, 93, 116, 118, and 119.231

 

Rite of Committal

256. The rite of committal is the conclusion of the funeral rite and is celebrated at the grave, tomb, mausoleum, or crematorium. It may also be used for burial at sea.232 The rite begins with an invitation to prayer and is followed by a Scripture verse, a prayer over the place of committal, intercessions, the Lord’s Prayer, a concluding prayer, and finally a prayer over the people. A song may conclude the rite.233

257. The practice of developing funeral choirs within parish communities should be encouraged. The funeral choir is commonly made up of individuals who tend to be available on weekday mornings and who gather to lend their collective voice in support of the assembly song at the funeral Mass.

NOTES

213 Order of Christian Funerals (OCF) (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1989), no. 42.

214 OCF, no. 42.

215 OCF, no. 25.

216 OCF, no. 30.

 

 

 

 

217 OCF, no. 30

218 OCF, no. 31.

219 OCF, nos. 32, 41.

220 OCF, no. 41.

221 OCF, nos. 82-97.

222 OCF, no. 85.

223 OCF, no. 97.

224 OCF, no. 70.

225 OCF, no. 75.

226 OCF, no. 81.

227 OCF, no. 127.

228 OCF, no. 162.

229 OCF, no. 174.

230 OCF, no. 147.

231 OCF, no. 176.

232 OCF, nos. 204ff., 316.

233 OCF, no. 326.

 

More on Non-liturgical Music

http://www.zenit.org/article-17817?l=english
EXTRACT

ROME, October 3, 2006 (Zenit.org) by Father Edward McNamara…

Our quoting of the norms regarding concerts of non-liturgical music (Sept. 19) brought to light another question regarding the use of other forms of music in liturgical settings. A Michigan reader mentioned that his new pastor had banned “patriotic music during the Mass” — such as “The Navy Hymn” and “America the Beautiful.” “In addition,” he writes, “ethnic songs (‘Danny Boy’) are not to be sung during funeral liturgies even if requested by the family. Also banned: music by Mozart, Handel, Chopin and Beethoven … The choir has met with the new pastor and he insists that it is his decision on the type of music and songs that will be sung during the liturgy.”

Few themes are more fraught with difficulties than that of suitable music for Mass. We have already discussed several aspects of liturgical music on earlier occasions (see Nov. 11, 25 and Dec. 23, 2003; Jan. 13, 27, Nov. 23, 30 and Dec. 7, 14, 2004). The pastor is correct that he has final say regarding the kind of music used in church. But his decision must not be arbitrarily based on personal taste but on the criteria and indications found in Church documents as issued by the Holy See, the national bishops’ conference, and the local bishop. The Church has specifically recommended on numerous occasions the use of Gregorian chant and classic liturgical polyphony even though it permits other styles that are in harmony with the sacredness of the Eucharistic celebration, and are not immediately associated with profane contexts.
The Church also recognizes that many classical (usually orchestral) compositions are no longer suitable for common liturgical use even though some of them may still be used on special occasions.
Thus, while it is highly desirable that the congregation habitually sing all parts of the Mass, certain feasts may be highlighted by the choir singing a classical polyphonic Mass or by the assembly learning a Gregorian chant Mass.
It would probably be better to have the assembly sing the Mass with the choir for Christmas and Easter as such a community celebration could be a draw to those Catholics who only rarely practice their faith. There are many other suitable feasts that could be reserved for a classical polyphonic Mass such as Ascension or Trinity Sunday.
The choir may also use Gregorian chant and polyphonic compositions as musical meditations for example to accompany the presentation of gifts and after Communion. Regarding patriotic songs: Some countries have special Mass formulas to commemorate national holidays such as Australia Day (January 26) and Canada Day (July 1). Hence, it is not contrary to Catholic custom to invoke God’s blessing on a particular country by dedicating a national day of prayer.
The use of patriotic hymns on national holidays depends on prevailing custom as well as the text and theology of the hymns in question. Not all patriotic hymns are suitable for the context of the Eucharist and some texts may even express sentiments contrary to Catholic theology. Likewise, although patriotism is a virtue, the upsurge of patriotic sentiments produced by such hymns is likely to distract our attention away from the holy mystery we are celebrating. Thus, if patriotic hymns are used at all, it is probably better to use them as closing hymns after the final blessing.
With respect to ethnic songs, maudlin Irishman though I am, songs such as “Danny Boy” have no place at the funeral Mass at which only suitable hymns may be used. Otherwise the character of the Mass as the supreme act of intercession for the soul of the departed can be easily obscured. Such songs may be performed during the wake at the funeral parlor or at some similar reception, along with any eulogies and celebrations of the life of the deceased.

 

 

INSTRUCTION ON MUSIC IN THE LITURGY MUSICAM SACRAM SACRED CONGREGATION OF RITES APPROVED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI, MARCH 5, 1967

http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_instr_19670305_musicam-sacram_en.html
EXTRACT

43. Certain celebrations of the Sacraments and Sacramentals, which have a special importance in the life of the whole parish community, such as confirmation, sacred ordinations, matrimony, the consecration of a church or altar funerals, etc., should be performed in sung form as far as possible, so that even the solemnity of the rite will contribute to its greater pastoral effectiveness. Nevertheless, the introduction into the celebration of anything which is merely secular, or which is hardly compatible with divine worship, under the guise of solemnity should be carefully avoided: this applies particularly to the celebration of marriages.

 

LITURGICAL MUSIC TODAY – Guidelines for the Catholic Church Liturgical Musician, 1982

http://home.catholicweb.com/npmdayton/files/LITURGICALMUSICTODAY.pdf
EXTRACT

A statement by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops

CHRISTIAN BURIAL

30. Funerals, because of often difficult pastoral situations in which some family members and friends are overburdened with grief, unchurched or otherwise unable to enter into the liturgy, have frequently received little or no attention musically. In this respect, funerals may be the least successfully reformed of our liturgical rites.

31. It is the pastoral responsibility of parishes to provide liturgical music at all Masses of Christian Burial. Attempts to involve the congregations more actively are to be encouraged. Appropriate participation aids should be prepared and provided for members of the praying assembly.

32. Many parishes have found it helpful to form choirs of retired parishioners or others who are at home on weekdays, whose unique ministry it is to assist the grieving members of a funeral assembly by leading the sung prayer of the funeral liturgy. Where this is not possible, a cantor is able to perform a similar ministry. In all cases a serious effort should be made to move beyond the practice of employing a “funeral singer” to perform all the sung parts of the liturgy. Reconsideration should be given to the location of the singer, the person’s role, and the kind of music that is sung. The cantor ought not individually sing or recite the congregational prayers as a substitute for the assembly. The same norms applicable to music at any Mass apply equally to the Mass of Christian Burial. [41]

33. The principle of progressive solemnity, already mentioned, applies especially to the rites of Christian Burial. A few things sung well (the acclamations, responsorial psalm, entrance and communion processionals, and song of farewell during the final commendation) should be given priority at funerals and may be drawn from a parish’s common musical repertoire.

NOTES

41. Roman Ritual: Rite of Funerals, 23-25, especially 25.5.

 

Instruction INCULTURATION AND THE ROMAN LITURGY Varietates Legitimae

Fourth Instruction for the Right Application of the Conciliar Constitution on the Liturgy (Nos. 37-40) Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, March 29, 1994.

Source:
http://www.adoremus.org/VarietatesLegitimae.html

48. The constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium envisaged the admission of rites or gestures according to local custom into rituals of Christian initiation, marriage and funerals. [103] This is a stage of inculturation, but there is also the danger that the truth of the Christian rite and the expression of the Christian faith could be easily diminished in the eyes of the faithful. Fidelity to traditional usages must be accompanied by purification and, if necessary, a break with the past. The same applies, for example, to the possibility of Christianizing pagan festivals or holy places, or to the priest using the signs of authority reserved to the heads of civil society or for the veneration of ancestors. In every case it is necessary to avoid any ambiguity. Obviously the Christian liturgy cannot accept magic rites, superstition, spiritism, vengeance or rites with a sexual connotation. […]

58. Among all peoples, funerals are always surrounded with special rites, often of great expressive value. To answer to the needs of different countries, the Roman Ritual offers several forms of funerals.[127] Episcopal conferences must choose those which correspond best to local customs.[128] They will wish to preserve all that is good in family traditions and local customs, and ensure that funeral rites manifest the Christian faith in the resurrection and bear witness to the true values of the Gospel.[129] It is in this perspective that funeral rituals can incorporate the customs of different cultures and respond as best they can to the needs and traditions of each region.[130]

NOTES

103. Nos. 65, 77, 81. Cf. Ordo Initiationis Christianae Adultorum, Praenotanda, 30-31, 79-81, 88-89; Ordo Celebrandi Matrimonium, editio typica altera, Praenotanda, 41-44; Ordo Exsequiarum, Praenotanda, 21-22.

127. Cf. Ordo Exsequiarum Praenotanda, 4.

128. Cf. ibid., 9 and 21.1-21.3. 129. Cf. ibid., 2. 130. Cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 81.

 

 

Pope issues strict rules on the Eucharist, brings back Latin Mass

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1276550.php/Pope_issues_strict_rules_on_the_Eucharist_brings_back_Latin_Mass
EXTRACT

By Nicholas Rigillo, March 13, 2007, Vatican City

Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday reaffirmed his conservative views on matters of faith by issuing strict rules on the Eucharist and by inviting priests to revive Latin as the main language used during Holy Mass.

In an apostolic exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis, the pope summed up the results of an October 2005 Synod of Bishops on the importance of the sacrament, in which Jesus Christ’s Last Supper is commemorated through consecrated bread and wine during Holy Mass.

In his 140-page document, Benedict reiterated his strong opposition to remarried Catholics and non-Catholic Christians taking part in the Eucharist and invited priests to refrain from celebrating the sacrament during weddings or funerals attended by non-practising Catholics…

The pope was particularly harsh in criticising Holy Masses held during funerals or weddings that are attended by non-practising Catholics or members of other faiths.

‘In situations whereby it is not possible to guarantee proper clarity on the meaning of the Eucharist, one should consider the opportunity of substituting the Eucharistic Celebration with a celebration of the Word of God,’ the pope wrote.

 

Music for Catholic Funerals — or, But Uncle Horace Loved that Song!

http://www.adoremus.org/0906FuneralMusic.html

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.]

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”. Verse three pleads:

 

 

Guard and defend me from the foe malign.
In life’s last moments make me only thine.
Call me and bid me come to thee on high
Where I may praise thee with thy saints for aye. [ever]

Text attributed to Pope John XXII
(Tune: Anima Christi by Lorenzo Dobici.
Adoremus Hymnal 522)

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!

In Paradisum deducant angeli
In tuo adventu, suscipiat te martyres
Et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.
Chorus angelorum te suscipiat
Et cum Lazaro, quondam paupere
Aeternam habeas requiem.

My own translation:

May the angels lead you into Paradise
And when you come may the martyrs receive you
And lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.
May a choir of angels receive you,
And with Lazarus, once a pauper,
May you have eternal rest.

(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
573).

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). Here is verse 5:

Lord Jesus, think on me
That when the flood is past
I may the eternal brightness see
And share thy joy at last.

That is, after all, what we all hope: that we may share the eternal joy of heaven, at last, when this life is over!

Think about planning the music for your own funeral Mass. You could leave instructions with your will. Most musicians I know, myself included, do this — list the music, attach copies, and even list the musicians you would like to participate. Of course, if you request something inappropriate, your pastor couldn’t honor that request!

Requiescat in pace!

 

Cremation

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=371427

EXTRACT from an August 2009 discussion on Catholic Answers forum:

Q: I was readying an answer on another thread and it said that the Church approves cremation but on sacred grounds. What does that mean? My maternal grandfather was cremated and his ashes were thrown on a piece of land he loved so much. I didn’t go to the funeral because he lived in Mexico. But my mother told me about it. Is he in Heaven because he chose that?

A: Cremation rules and burial of ashes/remains have changed somewhat (note the highlighted “red” portion on what has not changed and never will).
This first excerpt is from Times Online-UK…reporting (Jan 2008) on a Vatican ruling regarding a funeral in Aosta, Italy (north-northwest border with France…located in the Italian (side) Alps Mountain range.

Quote: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new…=1251506758294
Believers who choose to have their ashes scattered after being cremated are entitled to a Christian funeral, the Vatican said yesterday.

 

 

The ruling follows the refusal of a parish priest in the Italian Alps to hold a funeral for a local man who had asked to have his remains spread in the mountains. Father Carmelo Pellicone, of the parish of St Etienne in Aosta, told the man’s widow that a religious funeral was impossible because it was against the dogma of the resurrection of the body.
He said that scattering ashes in the countryside or at sea was a “pantheistic communion with nature in death, which is not part of our religion” – a belief held by many priests. Bishop Luciano Pacomio, head of doctrine at the Italian Bishops Conference, said, however, that this reflected an out-of-date mentality.
“[The Diocese of Aosta said]…Church funerals will be celebrated for all the faithful, including those who have chosen the scattering of their ashes,
as long as the choice was not made for reasons contrary to the Christian faith.” Catholic funerals should still be denied to those motivated by “a pantheistic or naturalistic mentality”.
Unquote

 

This second excerpt comes from the USCCB…after JFK, Jr. and his wife had a funeral Mass and then had their ashes scattered in the Atlantic Ocean from a US Navy ship.

Quote:
http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/cremation.shtml
Thus, while “cremation is now permitted, it does not enjoy the same value as burial of the body…The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites, since the presence of the human body better expresses the values which the Church affirms in its rites.” (OCF 413) However, “when extraordinary circumstances make the cremation of a body the only feasible choice, pastoral sensitivity must be exercised by all who minister to the family of the deceased.” (OCF 414)
The rites for burial of the cremated remains of a body may be found in the appendix to the Order of Christian Funerals. This appendix recommends that when cremation is chosen, the body be cremated after the Funeral, thus allowing for the presence of the body at the Funeral Mass. When pastoral circumstances require it, however, cremation and committal may take place even before the Funeral liturgy.
Any catechesis on the subject of cremation should emphasize that “the cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the corporeal remains of a human body. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and the final disposition.” (OCF 416)
While cremated remains may be buried in a grave, entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium or even buried at sea, “the practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.” (OCF 416) The cremated remains of the body may be properly buried at sea in the urn, coffin or other container in which they have been carried to the place of committal. When a body, or the cremated remains of a body are buried at sea, the Committal prayer found at number 406 § 4 is used:
Lord God, by the power of your Word you stilled the chaos of the primeval seas, you made the raging waters of the Flood subside, and calmed the storm on the sea of Galilee.
As we commit the body (earthly remains) of our brother (sister) N. to the deep, grant him/her peace and tranquility until that day when he/she and all who believe in you will be raised to the glory of new life promised in the waters of baptism. We ask this through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.
-excerpted from the Newsletter of the NCCB Committee on the Liturgy (July, 1999)
Unquote

 

So my take is that:

-if a Catholic wants to be cremated…it is okay, but not as “good” as having the body buried.
-before the body is cremated…the funeral/funeral Mass should take place with the body intact, then cremated after … but if the cremated remains are all that is available, the funereal Mass will still be celebrated … but this is not a desirable sequence.
-the ashes/cremated remains should be interred in a proper burial site…not scattered, but if they are going to be scattered…the funeral liturgy is still okay…as long as the scattering is not done for any reason against the Catholic faith or pantheistic or naturalism reasons.

Quote: Pantheistic … broadly defined it is the view that (1) “God is everything and everything is God … the world is either identical with God or in some way a self-expression of his nature”
Naturalism … it is the denial of the existence of supernatural causes. In rejecting the reality of supernatural events, forces, or entities, naturalism is the antithesis of super naturalism. Unquote

So if a Catholic says they are going to be cremated and then have their ashes scattered somewhere, my response is not: you can’t do that! Rather ask the question why are you cremating and scattering the ashes?
In today’s Catholic catechesis world most Catholics probably don’t know much about…or hardly ever focus…on how the Church teaches that the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit and shares in the dignity of God as the body is created in his image and likeness.

 

 

 

Catholic Church in Australia bans pop music at funerals

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11256843

September 10, 2010 Pop songs and sports anthems have been banned from Catholic funerals in Australia under new guidelines from the Archbishop of Melbourne.

A Catholic funeral should be a sacred rite rather than a secular celebration, the Archbishop, Dennis Hart, says in the directive.

The ban comes after a study showed that a football song was one of the top requests at Melbourne funerals.

The move had received a mixed reaction in Melbourne, a Church spokesman said.

The guidelines, sent to more than 200 parishes in the Melbourne area, acknowledge that the wishes of the dead person as well as of family and friends should be taken into account when planning a funeral.

However, the life of the deceased should be celebrated “at some social occasion before or after the funeral”, the Archbishop recommends.

“Secular items are never to be sung or played at a Catholic funeral, such as romantic ballads, pop or rock music, political songs, football club songs,” he adds.

According to a recent study, the signature anthem for Australian Rules football team Collingwood is one of the most popular funeral songs in Melbourne, together with Frank Sinatra’s My Way and Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World.

Funeral directors told Australian media that the guidelines were insensitive to the needs of grieving relatives who wanted to celebrate the life of the deceased with a service including photographs, videos and the dead person’s favourite music.

 

The Archdiocese of Melbourne Guidelines for Catholic funerals

http://www.cam.org.au/guidelines/the-archdiocese-of-melbourne-guidelines-for-catholic-funerals.html

Kairos: Volume 21, Issue 18

Life is changed, not ended

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.   

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.       


THE ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE GUIDELINES FOR CATHOLIC FUNERALS

Understanding a Catholic Funeral

 

Following the ancient tradition of our Rite, the celebration of the Eucharist for the deceased is the normal form of a Catholic funeral. For pastoral reasons, this may be replaced by a Liturgy of the Word.

The Funeral Mass is presented in the context of Masses for the Dead: General Instruction of the Roman Missal (revised) 379-385. “Among the Masses for the Dead, the Funeral Mass holds first place. It may be celebrated on any day except for Solemnities that are holy days of obligation, Holy Thursday, the Easter Triduum, and the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, with due regard also for the other requirements of the norm of the law.” (GIRM 380),

The Parish Priest or the priest or deacon designated to celebrate a funeral determines the content and form of the funeral liturgy. The wishes of the deceased, family and friends should be taken into account, with pastoral kindness and consideration. But in planning the liturgy, the celebrant should moderate any tendency to turn the funeral into a secular celebration of the life of the deceased.

“The Church offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Christ’s Passover for the dead so that, since all members of Christ’s body are in communion with each other, the petition of spiritual help on behalf of some may bring comforting hope to others.” (GIRM 379)

Designating a Catholic Funeral

When the Eucharist is celebrated, media announcements and the title page of a printed booklet should bear one of these designations:

-Mass of Christian Burial for Mary Brown,

-The Funeral Mass of Mary Brown,

-Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of Mary Brown

If a Liturgy of the Word is celebrated the designation may be

-Rites of Christian Burial of Mary Brown

-The Funeral Liturgy of Mary Brown

A Catholic funeral is not “A celebration of the life of Mary Brown” or “A Memorial Service for Mary Brown”. These designations should never appear in media announcements or on the booklet.

However, celebrating memories of the life of deceased may be carried out:

-the night before the funeral, either at the funeral parlour, or before the vigil or rosary in the church – if permitted by the Parish Priest;

-in a separate moment before the Mass or a Liturgy of the Word begins – if permitted by the Parish Priest;

-at some social occasion before or after the funeral.

Preparing the funeral liturgy

“In the arranging and choosing of the variable parts of the Mass for the Dead, especially the Funeral Mass (e.g. orations, readings, Prayer of the Faithful) pastoral considerations bearing upon the deceased the family, and those attending should rightly be taken into account.

Moreover pastors should take into special account those who are present at a liturgical celebration or who hear the Gospel on the occasion of the funeral and who may be non-Catholics or Catholics who never or rarely participate in the Eucharist or who seem even to have lost the faith. For priests are the ministers of Christ’s Gospel for all.” (GIRM 385 and see The Rite of Funerals, Introduction, 18)

Therefore the booklet should be prepared to assist all present to participate fully and actively. The texts of the Mass should be included when non-Catholics are expected to be present. This will also be important when the new ICEL translations are introduced. The pages of the booklet should be numbered.

There are three options for the colour of vestments: white, violet or black. In this matter, pastoral consideration for the circumstances and the wishes of the family should be taken into account and ethnic customs should be respected.

The Paschal Candle stands near the casket. Other candles may be arranged nearby according to local custom.

A funeral pall may be used, covering the casket completely. The pall is white if it is seen as representing the baptismal robe. It may be adorned with Christian symbols, and may incorporate other colors appropriate for funerals.

The placing of the pall may be carried out by family members or friends at the beginning of the funeral Mass, accompanied by the lighting of the Paschal Candle and placing appropriate objects on the casket, for example: a Bible, a rosary, crucifix, flowers.

Choosing the Readings

The readings are to be chosen only from those provided for Funerals in the Lectionary, Volume III, and in The Rite for Funerals.

Secular readings and poetry may never replace the liturgical readings.  However, an appropriate poem or reflection may be read after the eulogy, provided it is in accord with the Christian hope of eternal life.

Music

The music for a Catholic funeral is liturgical. What is possible will be determined by the circumstances and available musicians.  Hymns appropriate to the occasion may be chosen. At the Mass, whenever possible the Lord have mercy, Holy, holy, and Lamb of God should be sung. Recorded music should be avoided.

Where possible it is desirable that the responsorial psalm and alleluia verse be sung.

 

During a psalm, hymn or music, members of the family and friends should take part in the Procession of the Gifts.

During the Rite of Farewell Saints of God or the alternatives (The Rite of Funerals, 187-191) should be sung if possible while the coffin is sprinkled with Holy Water and incensed.

Secular items are never to be sung or played at a Catholic funeral, such as romantic ballads, pop or rock music, political songs, football club songs.

At the funerals of children, pastoral care needs to be taken in the choice of music. Nursery rhymes and sentimental secular songs are inappropriate because these may intensify grief.

The Homily and the Words of Farewell

“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.

However, for pastoral reasons one eulogy (Words of farewell) may be a non-liturgical moment in the Mass or Liturgy of the Word. It should be brief and should show respect for the deceased. The Words of farewell may be shared by several people, provided this has been planned beforehand so as to be brief and to avoid repetition.

The Words of Farewell may take place:

-at the beginning of the Mass or Liturgy of the Word, that is, before or after the celebrant’s greeting;

-after the Prayer after Communion, that is, before the Rite of Farewell.

Military Customs

Funeral honours for members of the RSL or other veteran’s organisations should be respected. These may take place after the Rite of Farewell. Alternatively, these may be carried out at the graveside before the Rite of Interment.

Cremation

The Church still favors the burial or interment of earthly remains, however since 1963 cremation has been allowed.

Cremation is best understood as processing a body before burial. For Christians cremation is not a religious act and it should not be confused with burial or interment. Therefore the following procedure would seem best.

The funeral Mass or a Liturgy of the Word is celebrated at the church as usual. However, at the end of the Rite of Farewell the celebrant does not say “Let us take our sister to her place of rest”. The coffin is taken from the church to the crematorium for private cremation without prayers.

At some later time, by arrangement with the family or friends, the ashes are interred in the churchyard, in a cemetery or some other appropriate place. The committal prayers for the burial of a body are used. The place of interment should be marked with the name of the deceased to assist those who wish to visit that place and to encourage prayer for the dead.

Circumstances may require the funeral rite to be celebrated as a Liturgy of the Word at the crematorium. Any suggestion that the remains are being committed to a furnace should be avoided. Therefore the funeral ends with the Rite of Farewell.  The celebrant does not say “Let us take our sister to her place of rest”.  The procedure of a later interment of ashes should be followed, as indicated above.

Under some circumstances cremation may have to precede the funeral rites. Only in such rare situations may the ashes be set before the altar during the liturgy, which is followed by immediate interment of ashes, as indicated above.

In accord with Catholic tradition, scattering ashes cannot be regarded as an appropriate way of treating the earthly remains of the dead. Scattering ashes in a favourite place, e.g. on a golf course or at a beach, may even imply that the deceased would want to remain there, in this world, rather than entering eternal life with God. Keeping ashes at home or sharing ashes between relatives is also inappropriate and may imply an unhealthy even superstitious attitude to the remains of the dead.

Local Situations

It is helpful if each parish can have these guidelines or a local document available to assist funeral directors and relatives.

+ ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE

 

Formula at priest’s funeral

http://www.zenit.org/article-14819?l=english

ROME, December 13, 2005 (Zenit.org) Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University.

Q: Recently, at a funeral for a priest, a concelebrant read the prayer for the dead in Eucharistic Prayer II in this way: “Remember Joseph, whom you have called from this life. In baptism and holy orders he died with Christ; may he also share his resurrection.” I have heard this said many times at priests’ funerals or anniversaries of death, so I took it as a valid formula. However, one of the laity was offended by the formula, which to her seemed to equate baptism with ordination.

 

Could you tell me whether the addition of “holy orders” in the prayer for the deceased priest is allowed during the Eucharistic Prayer? I was not able to find a separate book for priests’ funerals to answer it on my own. I would certainly like to continue this tradition if possible, but not if it is incorrect to do so. K.H., Rochester, N.Y.
A: There is, as far as I know, no special book for priest’s funerals, although there are particular prayers for a deceased priest.
There are some marks of distinction. The coffin, for instance, is placed in the direction that a person held in the liturgical assembly. Thus, the body of an ordained minister lies facing the assembly and the body of a layperson lies facing the altar.
Where it is customary, the insignia of the minister’s order may be placed on the coffin.
Apart from this, No. 832 of the Ceremonial of Bishops notes that “The funeral Mass is celebrated in the same way as other Masses. In Eucharistic Prayers II and III the intercessions (interpolations) for the deceased are added.”
I do not consider that the addition of the phrase “in holy orders” to these interpolations is quite correct, and I believe that the layperson’s objection touches on a valid point.
First, there is the general principle that nobody, not even a priest, may add or remove anything from the sacred liturgy, and this addition is not found in any official liturgical text.
During the funeral of Pope John Paul II the First Eucharistic Prayer’s formula of intercession for the dead was faithfully followed except, as is usual in funerals, in substituting the deceased’s name for the usual silent pause. To wit: “Remember; Lord, those who have died … especially the Roman Pontiff Pope John Paul, whom today you have called to you from this life …”
Second, although the reception of holy orders is a wonderful thing, and the soul receives an indelible sacramental seal, it is not quite true to say that N. has died with Christ in holy orders. The expression “in baptism he has died with Christ” is redolent of St. Paul’s theology in which baptism is in itself a death to sin and a foretaste of the resurrection through the reception of a new life in Christ.
Including another sacrament in this phrase tends to obscure the scriptural and theological background and, I believe, weakens rather than enhances the depth of the interpolation.
Finally, if this addition were legitimate, then logically we would also have to include the other sacrament that leaves an indelible seal on the soul and say “in baptism, confirmation and holy orders he has died with Christ …”

 

Follow-up: Formula at Priest’s Funeral

http://www.zenit.org/article-14968?l=english

ROME, January 10, 2006 (Zenit.org) by Father Edward McNamara…

After our comments on the position of a priest’s casket reflecting his place in the liturgical celebration (Dec. 13) a reader asked: “Is this in the rubrics or is it just a custom? Also in light of the normative posture of priests prior to 1962, was this changed after the Second Vatican Council?”
This norm is found in the rubrics, for example, in the Ceremonial of Bishops, No. 823, which describes it as a custom fittingly continued, for indeed it is a custom which predates the Council by many centuries.
Regarding the expression “The coffin … is placed in the direction that a person held in the liturgical assembly,” an English reader considered the phrase “bizarre.”
He wrote: “Apart from the odd picture this presents — of the priest customarily lying on his back with feet facing the assembly — it should not be assumed that all priests now celebrate Mass facing the people. There is no liturgical law requiring them to do so.”
The expression, whether bizarre or not, is taken directly from the Ceremonial of Bishops.
While it is true that Mass is not obligatorily celebrated facing the people, it can still be said that this is the priest’s proper position if the entire liturgy is taken into account. The priest usually faces the people to invite them to pray, when imparting a blessing, as well as in some other forms of liturgical prayer and devotion.
A reader from Germany wrote: “Is it liturgically OK for the priest-celebrants to wear black vestments for requiems? What reasons are there for it if so? Is there any liturgical procedure for the procession with the coffin after Mass to the grave?”
Before Vatican II, black was commonly used for funerals and most Masses for the deceased. The liturgical reforms have retained the possible use of black vestments for funerals, but also permit violet and white to be used. As a consequence, black, while legitimate, has fallen into almost total disuse in most of the world.
Since colors sometimes have different cultural connotations, bishop’s conferences may solicit permission from the Holy See to use a color typically associated with mourning in that country instead of the usual three options.
There are norms in the Order of Christian Burials, but since funerals, like weddings, frequently have particular local customs, the Holy See usually grants wide berth to bishops’ conferences to adapt the rites to local needs, and publish their own orders based on the Latin “Ordo Exsequiarum.”
Although these books contain numerous practical details they do not cover everything. Most practical questions, such as reserving seats for relatives, transport to the gravesite, and appropriate music, can be handled by the family, the officiating priest and the undertaker.

 

 

 

Catholic Funeral Rites–Common Questions

http://www.cuf.org/faithfacts/details_view.asp?ffID=262

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.

 

What is a Catholic funeral?
Catholic funeral rites are the liturgical rites in which the Church “commends the dead to God’s merciful love and pleads for the forgiveness of their sins.”1 Through the funeral rites, Christians “offer worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God for the gift of a life which has now been returned to God, the author of life and the hope of the just.”2 There are three principal components to a Catholic funeral: the vigil for the deceased (sometimes referred to as the “wake”), the funeral liturgy (which often includes the celebration of Mass), and the rite of committal. These are outlined in the Order of Christian Funerals.

A wake or vigil precedes the funeral liturgy. The vigil may take place in the home of the deceased, in the funeral home, in the church (provided it takes place well before the funeral liturgy), or in some other suitable place. At the vigil, “the Christian community keeps watch with the family in prayer to the God of mercy and finds strength in God’s presence.”3 Its structure includes introductory rites, the liturgy of the Word, prayers of intercession, and a concluding rite.

The funeral liturgy is the central liturgical celebration for the deceased.4 As such, the Church encourages the celebration of a funeral Mass as part of the funeral liturgy. However, a funeral liturgy outside of Mass is also permitted in those cases where Mass cannot be celebrated.

The funeral Mass is offered for the deceased, usually at the parish church of the deceased. “The Mass, the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection, is the principal celebration of the Christian funeral.”5 The Mass includes the reception of the body (if this has not already take place), the liturgy of the Word, the liturgy of the Eucharist, and the final commendation (unless the commendation will be celebrated at the place of committal).

The commendation is the prayer in which “the community calls upon God’s mercy, commends the deceased into God’s hands, and affirms its belief that those who have died in Christ will share in Christ’s victory over death.”6 

The rite of committal concludes the liturgical rites of a Catholic funeral; the burial of the deceased generally follows the rite of committal. The committal ordinarily takes place where the body of the deceased is to be buried (or “committed”) to the ground, or where the remains are to be interred. This rite can also be used for burial at sea. The committal is “the final act of the community of faith in caring for the body of its deceased member.”7 The rite includes the final commendation (unless the commendation has already been celebrated at the funeral Mass).

 

What is a Mass for the Dead? Is it different than a funeral Mass?
A Mass for the Dead is a Mass offered for the repose of the soul of a deceased person. “From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God” (Catechism, no. 1032, emphasis added).

Masses for the Dead may be celebrated “on receiving the news of a death, for the final burial, or the first anniversary, even on days within the Octave of Christmas, on obligatory Memorials, and on weekdays, except for Ash Wednesday or weekdays during Holy Week. Other Masses for the Dead, that is, ‘daily’ Masses, may be celebrated on weekdays in Ordinary Time on which optional memorials occur or when the Office is of the weekday, provided such Masses are actually applied for the dead” (General Instruction on the Roman Missal [GIRM], no. 381).

The funeral Mass is a Mass for the dead. Indeed, the GIRM says, “Among the Masses for the Dead, the Funeral Mass holds first place” (GIRM, no. 380). However, unlike other Masses for the Dead, the funeral Mass has elements (such as the reception of the body) that are unique to the funeral liturgy.

 

Is it permissible to have a funeral without a Mass?
While a funeral Mass is preferred, a funeral liturgy outside Mass is permitted. The rite may be used for various reasons:

-when the funeral Mass is not permitted, namely, on solemnities of obligation, on Holy Thursday and the Easter Triduum, and on the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and the Easter Season;

-when in some places or circumstances it is not possible to celebrate the funeral Mass before the committal (for example, if a priest is not available);

-when for pastoral reasons the parish priest (pastor) and the family decide that the funeral liturgy outside Mass is a more suitable form of celebration.8 

 

 

 

 

May a funeral Mass take place on a Sunday?
In general, yes. However, there are exceptions: the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter. The GIRM instructs that a funeral Mass “may be celebrated on any day except for Solemnities that are holy days of obligation, Holy Thursday, the Easter Triduum, and the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter” (no. 380, emphasis added).

Sunday is the day we especially celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead and triumph over sin and death. A Sunday funeral Mass, though not typical, is permissible because it celebrates the hoped-for resurrection of the deceased in Christ.

If the funeral is to take place on a Sunday or holy day when a funeral Mass may not be celebrated, the “Funeral Liturgy Outside Mass” may be used instead.

 

May funeral Masses be celebrated with the cremated remains of the deceased present?
Because of an indult granted by the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in July 1997 (Protocol no. 1589/96/L), funeral Masses in the United States may be celebrated in the presence of the cremated remains of the deceased. (This indult now serves as “Appendix 2: Cremated Remains” in the Order of Christian Funerals.)

The prescriptions for such a funeral liturgy are covered in article numbers 426–38. For the most part, the funeral Mass or funeral liturgy outside Mass is celebrated as is normally done with the deceased’s body present (nos. 428–29). Some of the differences include the placement of the cremated remains of the deceased “in a worthy vessel” (no. 427); the placement of the vessel of cremated remains on “a small table or stand” located “at the place normally occupied by the coffin” (no. 427); and the sprinkling of the cremated remains [actually, the vessel containing the remains] with water at the beginning of Mass (no. 433).

 

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.

 

Who may preside at the funeral rites?
“Priests, as teachers of faith and ministers of comfort, preside at the funeral rites, especially the Mass; the celebration of the funeral liturgy is especially entrusted to pastors and associate pastors. When no priest is available, deacons, as ministers of the word, of the altar, and of charity, preside at funeral rites. When no priest or deacon is available for the vigil and related rites or the rite of committal, a layperson presides.”12 

The Church’s clear preference is that a priest or deacon preside at the funeral rites. No one other than a priest can preside at a funeral Mass.

 

Where must a funeral take place? May it take place outside of a church?
A funeral, whether celebrated with a funeral Mass or not, must normally take place in one’s parish church (cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 1177.1). Another church may be chosen, given the consent of whoever is in charge of that church and notification to the proper parish priest of the deceased (cf. Canon 1177.2). “If a death occurred outside the person’s own parish, and the body was not transferred to it nor another church legitimately chosen for the funeral rite, the funeral is to be celebrated in the church of the parish where the death occurred unless particular law has designated another church” (Canon 1177.3).

Additionally, “the funeral liturgy outside Mass is ordinarily celebrated in the parish church, but may also be celebrated in the home of the deceased, a funeral home, parlor, chapel of rest, or cemetery chapel.”13 

 

May a vigil take place in the church before the funeral liturgy?
Yes, provided it is held “at a time well before the funeral liturgy, so that the funeral liturgy will not be lengthy and the liturgy of the word repetitious.”14 

The vigil may also “be celebrated in the home of the deceased, in the funeral home, parlor or chapel of rest, or in some other suitable place.”15 

 

 

 

 

What are the liturgical colors for a funeral Mass?
“The liturgical color chosen for funerals should express Christian hope but should not be offensive to human grief or sorrow. In the United States, white, violet, or black vestments may be worn at the funeral rites and at other offices and Masses for the dead.”16 

 

May flowers be used at a funeral Mass?
“Fresh flowers, used in moderation, can enhance the setting of the funeral rites.”17 

While the moderate use of flowers is currently allowed, they were at one time prohibited. Msgr. Peter Elliot, in his Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite, explains: “The presence or absence of flowers is an effective sign according to the principle of contrast” (no. 70, p. 26). That is, the absence of flowers at a funeral Mass, which is a memorial for the dead, contrasts the presence of flowers at Sunday Mass, which is a celebration of new life in Christ. (Similarly, the absence of flowers during Lent contrasts the decoration of the altar for Easter, marking the contrast between the two seasons.)

May a casket be draped with an American flag?
“Any national flags or the flags or insignia of associations to which the deceased belonged are to be removed from the coffin at the entrance of the church. They may be replaced after the coffin has been taken from the church.”18 

“Only Christian symbols may rest on or be placed near the coffin during the funeral liturgy.”19 

 

NOTES
1 Order of Christian Funerals in The Rites of the Catholic Church, vol. 1 (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1990), no. 6.
2 Ibid., no. 5.
3 Ibid., no. 56.
4 Ibid., no. 128.
5 Ibid., no. 5.
6 Ibid., no. 147.
7 Ibid., no. 204.
8 Ibid., no. 178.
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.
12 Ibid., no. 14.
13 Ibid., no. 179, emphasis added.
14 Ibid., no. 55.
15 Ibid., no. 55.
16 Ibid., no. 39.
17 Ibid., no. 38.
18 Ibid., no. 132.
19 Ibid., no. 38.

 

NEW FUNERAL RITES: NO TO THE SCATTERING OF THE ASHES OF THE DECEASED

Vatican City, 30 March 2012 (VIS) – The second Italian-language edition of the “Funeral Rites”, produced by the Vatican Publishing House, was presented recently at the headquarters of Vatican Radio. Among other things, the new edition contains fully revised biblical texts and prayers.

The first novelty refers to the visit to the family, which was not part of the earlier edition. Msgr. Angelo Lameri of the National Liturgical Office of the Italian Episcopal Conference, explained how “for a priest this a moment to share in the suffering, to listen to the mourning relatives, to learn about certain aspects of the deceased’s life with a view to a correct and personalised presentation during the funeral”.

Another change involves the revised and enriched ritual for the closing of the coffin; with a number of different texts for various situations: an elderly person, a young person, or someone who has died unexpectedly. Other changes involve the pronouncement of words recalling of the deceased at the moment of the committal, and the introduction of a broad range of possibilities for the prayer of the faithful.

However the most significant new departure, contained in the appendix of the book, concerns cremation. Msgr. Lameri explained that the issue of cremation had been placed in an appendix to highlight the fact that the Church, “although she does not oppose the cremation of bodies, when not done ‘in odium fidei’, continues to maintain that the burial of the dead is more appropriate, that it expresses faith in the resurrection of the flesh, nourishes the piety of the faithful and favours the recollection and prayer of relatives and friends”.

In exceptional cases the rites normally celebrated at the cemetery chapel or the tomb may be celebrated at the cremation site, and it is recommended that the coffin be accompanied to that site. One particularity important aspect is that “cremation is considered as concluded when the urn is deposited in the cemetery”.

 

 

 

This is because, although the law does allow ashes to be scattered in the open or conserved in places other than a cemetery, “such practices … raise considerable doubts as to their coherence to Christian faith, especially when they conceal pantheist or naturalistic beliefs”.

The new “Funeral Rites” also focuses on the search for the meaning of death. Concluding the presentation, Bishop Alceste Catella, president of the Episcopal Commission for Liturgy, explained that “the book is testament to the faith of believers and to the importance of respect and ‘pietas’ towards the deceased, respect for the human body even when dead. It is testament to the pressing need to cultivate memory and to have a specific place in which to place the body or the ashes, in the profound certainty that this is authentic faith and authentic humanism”.

 

Laity Conducting Funeral Services

 

“Not to oppose error is to approve it, and not to defend the truth is to suppress it” – Pope St. Felix III

 

NOTE: In this report I may occasionally use bold print, italics, CAPS, or word underlining for emphasis. These will be my personal emphasis and not that of the source that I am quoting. Any footnote preceded by a number in (parenthesis) is my personal library numbering system.

 

Q:

Dear Ron, Is there anything in Church doctrine or the Roman missal or any other source that allows lay people to go to the Funeral Parlor and do the prayers for the dead as well as a reflection on the Gospel? This custom has been going on at my parish for several years now. They are mostly women who take part in this ‘Bereavement’ Ministry if you will. I don’t know of any other parish who allows lay people to conduct Funeral Wake Services as opposed to the priests. When my husband died almost four years ago, I made sure I requested a Priest to come to the Funeral Parlor. Most people expect a Priest to come and do the prayers as well as give a homily or reflection on the Gospel. Patricia

 

A:

To begin, I quote this teaching about the doctrines of Holy Church which this report addresses. “If a doctrinal formula has for centuries been accepted by the whole Church as the norm of true belief, it cannot contain error. If it did, it would mean that the Church as a whole has strayed from true belief, and this is something that Christ’s promise makes impossible. THE
CHURCH
CAN
NEVER
PROMULGATE
A
BINDING
LAW
IN
CONTRADICTION
TO
THE
NORMS
SET
BY
REVELATION
. The support afforded the Church by the Holy Spirit in keeping her teaching unsullied extends also to her legislative activities. It is thus possible in connection with laws which are binding upon the whole Church to speak of infallibility, since these laws certainly cannot be in contradiction to revealed truths.”[1] Christ’s promise: “But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.”[2]

 

“Whenever possible, the family (of the deceased) should be involved in planning the funeral rites, in choosing texts and rites provided by the ritual, in selecting music for the rites, and in designating liturgical ministers.”[3]

The vigil for the deceased is the principal rite celebrated by the Christian community in the time following death and before the funeral liturgy. The Christian community keeps watch with the family in prayer to the God of mercy and finds strength in Christ’s presence. In this time of loss the family and community turn to God’s word as the source of faith and hope, as light and life in the face of darkness and death. Consoled by the redeeming word of God and by the abiding presence of Christ and His Spirit, the assembly calls upon the Father of mercy to receive the deceased into the kingdom of light and peace.”[4]

Priests, as teachers of faith and ministers of comfort, preside at the funeral rites, especially the Mass; the celebration of the funeral liturgy is especially entrusted to pastors and associate pastors. When no priest is available, deacons, as ministers of the word, of the altar, and of charity, preside at funeral rites. WHEN
NO
PRIEST
OR
DEACON
IS
AVAILABLE
FOR
THE
VIGIL
AND
RELATED
RITES
OR
THE
RITE
OF
COMMITTAL,
A
LAYPERSON
PRESIDES
.”[5] An example here can be a geographic area experiencing a catastrophic event where thousands die. There will most likely be insufficient clergy available to preside at all funeral rites.

Throughout The Funeral Rites
Participation Booklet there are instructions to laypersons who may be presiding at funeral rites. As an example, “A lay minister invokes God’s blessing and signs himself or herself with the sign of the cross, saying: May the love of God and the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ bless and console us, etc.”[6]

“In the celebration of the funeral rites laymen and laywomen may serve as readers, musicians, ushers, pallbearers, and, according to existing norms, as special ministers of the Eucharist. Family members should be encouraged to take an active part in these ministries, but they should not be asked to assume any role that their grief or sense of loss may make too burdensome.”[7]

 

 
 

“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. LAYPERSONS
WHO
PRESIDE
AT
THE
FUNERAL
RITES
GIVE
AN
INSTRUCTION
ON
THE
READINGS
.”[8] Note, the lay leader at a funeral rite gives an instruction on the readings (including the Gospel) but does not do a formal homily.

“Rite of Committal: In the absence of a parish minister (priest or deacon), a friend or member of the family should lead those present in the rite of committal.”[9]

“May every opportunity be given them so that, according to their abilities and the needs of the times, they (the laity) may zealously participate in the saving work of the Church.”[10]

When necessity and expediency in the Church require it, the pastors, according to established norms from universal law, can entrust to the lay faithful certain offices and roles that are connected to their pastoral ministry but do not require the character of Orders.

The Code of Canon Law states: When the necessity of the Church warrants it and when ministers are lacking, lay persons, even if they are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply for certain of their offices, namely, to exercise the ministry of the word, to preside over liturgical prayers, to confer Baptism, and to distribute Holy Communion in accord with the prescriptions of the law.

However, the exercise of such tasks does not make the lay faithful pastors: in fact, a person is not a minister simply in performing a task, BUT
THROUGH
SACRAMENTAL
ORDINATION
. Only the Sacrament of Orders gives the ordained minister a particular participation in the office of Christ, the Shepherd and Head, and in his Eternal Priesthood. The task exercised in virtue of supply takes its legitimacy formally and immediately from the official deputation given by the pastors, as well as from its concrete exercise under the guidance of ecclesiastical authority. The recent Synodal Assembly has provided an extensive and meaningful overview of the situation in the Church on the ministries, offices and roles of the baptized. The Fathers have manifested a deep appreciation for the contribution of the lay faithful, both women and men, in the work of the apostolate, in evangelization, sanctification and the Christian animation of temporal affairs, AS
WELL
AS
THEIR
GENEROUS
WILLINGNESS
TO
SUPPLY
IN
SITUATIONS
OF
EMERGENCY
AND
CHRONIC
NECESSITY
.”[11]

“John Paul II warned (the bishops of the Antilles) that the involvement by the laity becomes a form of clericalism when the sacramental or liturgical roles that belong to the priest are assumed by the lay faithful, or when the latter set out to accomplish tasks of pastoral governing that properly belong to the priest. It is the priest who, as an ordained minister and in the name of Christ, presides over the Christian community on liturgical and pastoral levels, the Pope pointed out. The laity can assist him in this in many ways.”[12]

It is thus desirable that Priests and Deacons, even at some sacrifice to themselves, should preside personally at funeral rites in accordance with local custom, so as to pray for the dead and be close to their families, thus availing of an opportunity for appropriate evangelization. The non-ordained faithful may lead the ecclesiastical obsequies provided that there is a true absence of sacred ministers and that they adhere to the prescribed liturgical norms. Those so deputed should be well prepared both doctrinally and liturgically.”[13]

“When the necessity of the Church warrants it and when ministers are lacking, lay persons, even if they are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply for certain of their offices, to exercise the ministry of the word, to preside over liturgical prayers, to confer Baptism, and to distribute Holy Communion in accord with the prescriptions of law.”[14]

“Our own times require of the laity no less zeal: in fact, modern conditions demand that their apostolate be broadened and intensified. Besides, in many places where priests are very few or, in some instances, deprived of due freedom for priestly work, the Church could scarcely exist and function without the activity of the laity.”[15]

“The hierarchy entrusts to the laity certain functions which are more closely connected with pastoral duties, such as certain liturgical actions and the care of souls. By virtue of this mission, the laity is fully subject to higher ecclesiastical control in the performance of this work.”[16]

 

[1]
The Teaching of the Catholic Church, (Original in German 1938, translated to English 1965), by Rev. Fr. Josef Neuner, S.J. & Rev. Fr. Heinrich Roos, S.J, Editor: Rev. Fr. Karl Rahner, S.J., Nihil Obstat & Imprimatur, Pauline Fathers & Brothers of the Society of St. Paul, Staten Island, N.Y., P. 14

[2]
The Holy BibleDouay Rheims Version, (first pub. New Testament in 1582 & Old Testament in 1609, 1899 reprinted 1971), Imprimatur, Tan Books & Publishers, Inc., Rockford, IL., St. John 14:26, P. 124

[3]
The Funeral RitesParticipation Booklet, ISBN. 089942-081-2, (1990), Nihil Obstat & Imprimatur, Edited by Rev. Fr. Victor Hoagland, C.P., Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, N.Y., back cover no. 5

[4]
The Funeral RitesParticipation Booklet, ISBN. 089942-081-2, (1990), Nihil Obstat & Imprimatur, Edited by Rev. Fr. Victor Hoagland, C.P., Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, N.Y., P. 17

[5]
Order of Christian Funerals with Cremation Rite, (1998), approved by Congregation for Divine Worship – The Vatican, Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, N.Y. Paragraph 14, P. 5

[6]
The Funeral RitesParticipation Booklet, ISBN. 089942-081-2, (1990), Nihil Obstat & Imprimatur, Edited by Rev. Fr. Victor Hoagland, C.P., Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, N.Y., P. 10

 

 

[7]
Order of Christian Funerals with Cremation Rite, (1998), approved by Congregation for Divine Worship – The Vatican, Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, N.Y. Paragraph 15, P. 5

[8]
Order of Christian Funerals with Cremation Rite, (1998), approved by Congregation for Divine Worship – The Vatican, Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, N.Y. Paragraph 27, P. 8

[9]
Order of Christian Funerals with Cremation Rite, (1998), approved by Congregation for Divine Worship – The Vatican, Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, N.Y. Paragraph 214, P. 110

[10]
The Sixteen Documents of Vatican II – Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, (1967), Pope Paul VI on 03/29/64, Daughters of St. Paul, Boston, MA., Paragraph 33, P. 145

[11] (691) Christifideles LaiciPost-Synodal Exhortation on the Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World, 12/30/1988, Pope John Paul II, The Vatican, Paragraph 23, P. 18

[12] (455) Article – Laity Must Not Be Clericalized, (05/09/2002), The Vatican news release, P. 1

[13] (23) Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest, (8/15/1997), written by multiple dicasteries, approved by Pope John Paul II, Article 12, P. 15

[14]
Catechism of the Catholic Church, ISBN: 0-932406-23-8, (1994 reprinted 2010), Burns & Oates, London, England, Approved by Pope John Paul II, Paragraph 903, P.P. 209-210

[15]
The Sixteen Documents of Vatican IIDecree on the Apostolate of the Laity, (1967), Pope Paul VI on 03/29/64, Daughters of St. Paul, Boston, MA., Paragraph 1, P. 335

[16]
The Sixteen Documents of Vatican IIDecree on the Apostolate of the Laity, (1967), Pope Paul VI on 03/29/64, Daughters of St. Paul, Boston, MA., Paragraph 24, P. 359

 

This report prepared on May 24, 2012
by Ronald Smith, 11701 Maplewood Road, Chardon, Ohio 44024-8482, E-mail: hfministry@roadrunner.com. 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!

 

… Let us recover by penance what we have lost by sin …

 

Eulogies at funerals

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=359

November 13, 2008

In the Order of Christian Funerals #27 Homily it states, “A brief homily … is always given …; but there is never to be a eulogy” And in #141 “… but never any kind of eulogy.”
Then #170 (p.89) states
“A member … may speak in remembrance of the deceased…”
So, when is a eulogy not a eulogy and just a remembrance – is there a difference? A homily on Scripture but at that time not in praise of the deceased? But before the final commendation a “eulogy” is OK? I’m slightly confused. –Deacon Larry

I can’t cite any liturgical documents other than the one you already have, but I can offer my thoughts.

I think the main point of the first instruction was that a eulogy was not to REPLACE the homily. Many people, especially those who don’t regularly attend church, don’t know the difference between a homily and a eulogy. They see the minister get up and make a “speech” using his own words, so it is assumed that he SHOULD be talking about the deceased.  Therefore to eliminate any confusion, the church absolutely banned eulogies in place of the homily, I believe.

Also, by definition, a eulogy is not the same thing as a remembrance. I looked up “eulogy” in the dictionary. There were two definitions, both of which defined a eulogy as a piece of praise. You yourself used the word praise in your original post. I believe the church allows the possibility of a “remembrance” mostly for pastoral reasons. It seems that exactly what is said during a remembrance isn’t clearly defined by the church, but I don’t think it absolutely must contain praise.

When you read through the rite for funerals, you’ll see many times that the church leaves options open for pastoral reason: I think the addition of a “remembrance” and its contents is for that same reason.

Again, those are just my thoughts. –Jacob Slavek

 

Cremation

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1003

May 3, 2008

I went to my friend’s father-in-law’s funeral yesterday.
He was cremated prior to the Mass and his ashes were at the church. Prior to the Mass my friend spoke to me quite concerned as the priest had inform the family half an hour earlier that the Mass would not have the traditional Mass of Christian Burial as he was cremated and further more cremation was not allowed and he would be reporting this to the bishop.
My friend is not Catholic but was quite concerned for her mother-in-law who quite shaken by all of this. She came to me for advice and unfortunately I was not able to provide her with much counsel on this matter.


Ten years ago when my father was dying I specifically spoke to our priest to confirm that cremation did not contravene Church law. (My father’s wishes were to be cremated as he did not wish to burden my mother with the great costs of a traditional burial.) At that time the priest informed me that there was no problem with this. When my father passed away he was cremated and a traditional Mass of Christian Burial was held with the ashes at the church. His ashes were buried at the church cemetery. As were my fiend’s father-in-laws’.
My questions are have rules changed in the past ten years or did one of these priest have things wrong or is this something that can be influence by the priest personal perspectives.
It would help to have this answer as my mother is in poor health and we will be faced with these decisions again. Her desire is to be cremated and be buried in the same plot as my father. I would like to be able to honor this wish. –Jennifer

Cremation has been allowed in the Catholic Church since the 1960s as long as cremation is not meant as a statement denying the final resurrection of the body. The cremains, however, must also be buried in a cemetery, not left on the mantle or scattered in the sea or the backyard or anywhere else.

It was not until 1997, however, that the Holy See granted permission to U.S. bishops to allow funeral Masses in the presence of cremated remains.  Before that what usually happened is that that the priest could perform the Rite of Committal at the cemetery. At a later date the parish could then celebrate a Memorial Mass for the departed person.

The reason for the change was a practical one. Given the mobility of people today it is highly likely that one will die while away from home on a trip, or one may wish to have the funeral (instead of a Memorial Mass) and burial in their home town. The problem is that transporting a body in a coffin across the country can be too expensive for many people. Cremation is a cheaper and more practical option. Thus, the Church in her compassion and understanding allowed for a funeral Mass in the presence of the cremains.

Like many of these compassionate gestures, some people abuse it. For example, the Church allows people to fulfill their Sunday Obligation on Saturday evening Vigil Mass. This was a compassionate gesture to allow people who must work on Sunday an opportunity to still celebrate Mass. But, how many people are present at the Saturday Vigil Mass who are doing so just so they can have Sunday to themselves. Well, the Church says that Sunday is the LORD’S DAY, not a personal mental health day, or a day to fix the roof day, or exclusively let’s go to the beach day. Sunday should be reserved for God and family.

Anyway, the point is that I think the motivation to allow the cremains to be present at the Funeral Mass was about the issue of practical considerations of someone who as died at a distance from where the funeral is to take place.

In situations where the distance issue is not an issue, I think that one should celebrate the Funeral Mass with the corpus present. Then the body can be cremated later before burial.

I know, I know… that will mess up people’s schedule since it will be easier to go from the Funeral Mass to the cemetery than to come back for the burial in a couple days.

Anyway, technically, one can be cremated and the cremains may be present at the Funeral Mass. So your friend may not like it this way, but it is permitted. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Catholic burial for Protestants

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1009

May 12, 2008

Can someone who has attended Catholic services for most of their life but is not Catholic receive a full mass of Christian burial? This person married a Catholic and has raised children in the Catholic faith but is Protestant. This person has attended Catholic mass regularly and has not attended their own church in a long time.

What will happen upon their death? I’m not sure if the current priest knows this. Will he, upon death, look into the file and refuse to perform a mass? What will happen? -Sheryl

The Rite of Christian Burial may only be conducted when the deceased is a baptized Christian. Those who are baptized Christians, but not Catholic, or those who have not lived in communion with the Church cannot make a strict claim to receive the Catholic Rite of Christian Burial. The Maxim from Pope Leo the Great (448) has come down to us, “quibus viventibus non communicavimus mortuis communicare non possumus” (i.e. we cannot hold communion in death with those who in life were not in communion with us).

However, under today’s canon law it is possible for a baptized non-Catholic Christian to receive the Church’s Funeral Rites. Canon law 1183.3 states:

Provided their own minister is not available, baptized persons belonging to a non-Catholic Church or ecclesial community may, in accordance with the prudent judgment of the local Ordinary, be allowed Church funeral rites, unless it is established that they did not wish this.

Thus, if the minister of the non-Catholic is NOT available, the non-Catholic may receive the Church’s Funeral Rites IF the Bishop judges it to be prudent. But, this person is not in communion with the Church, has decided to not to get into communion (which says something), and thus I personally think it would be inappropriate in this case based upon the 1500 year old wisdom of Pope Leo the Great. The decision, however, is the bishop’s.

Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

 

Scattering the ashes post-cremation

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1055

June 14, 2008 [See
http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1047, June 9]

My mother asked “what rules say it has to be a cemetery”. In her mind she did not throw away and disrespect my father’s remains. The only reference I could find is in the Catechism: #2300 and it doesn’t specify where the burial is to be done.

Secondly, she has this notion of “We want to be free when we die; not stuck 6 feet in the ground or in a cement wall” which sounds strange to me but I lack the knowledge to reply to this idea of hers. -Renee

The Church treats us as adults. As such the Church expects us to use common sense. The term “burial” means by definition “placing a body in a grave or tomb.” Scattering ashes about the park is NOT burial — obviously.

Also in the use of the word “burial” is presumed a “proper” burial, that is, in a grave or tomb normally in a designated cemetery. The only exception would be in a case where burial in a cemetery is not possible, such as on the battle field. Then the burial may be wherever it must be according to the circumstances, but it is still a BURIAL, not a scattering.

If there us any doubt, here is the quote from Church law, (from the Order of Christian Funerals):

“The cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they come. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and the final disposition. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires. Whenever possible, appropriate means for recording with dignity the memory of the deceased should be adopted, such as a plaque or stone which records the name of the deceased.” (Order of Christian Funerals, Appendix No. 417)

On tour mother’s notion of being free when she dies is quite odd. Our souls are set free at death. Our souls leave our bodies. Later, at the end of the age, our bodies are resurrected and reunited with our souls. Thus, there is no enslavement in the grave. One’s soul does not go into the grave, only the body. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Final resting place of cremated remains

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1059

June 18, 2008

In at least two parishes in the country where I reside, the place where they put the ashes of deceased persons to rest is, in effect, a dry well. The urns are opened and the ashes poured into these wells.
This does not strike me as being the proper thing to do. Please advise me about this practice and what official documentation is available that I could, perhaps, share with the priests at these parishes. –Joan

You are correct. This is not the proper thing to do, in fact it is appalling and in direct violation of Church Law. This practice needs to be stopped and stopped immediately. Show the priests the following quotation of Church law. If necessary write the bishop and quote the following in your letter:

According to the Order of Christian Funerals:

“The cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they come. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and the final disposition. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.
Whenever possible, appropriate means for recording with dignity the memory of the deceased should be adopted, such as a plaque or stone which records the name of the deceased.”
(Order of Christian Funerals, Appendix No. 417)

I think I would contact the bishop anyway. It should be investigated as to whose remains are in this well and what to do about them. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Keeping the cremated remains at home

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2179

July 10, 2012

There is a Catholic neighbor whose husband passed away 4 years ago, she had him cremated and has not yet had his ashes buried in sacred ground. In fact, she keeps them on her mantel, and whenever she travels to her sons home for a visit she carries her husband’s ashes with her on the plane. What is Church Teaching regarding our neighbor refusing to bury her husband’s ashes? In her mind, she wants her husband’s ashes and hers, when she passes, to be scattered at one of their favorite, obviously romantic places? I have told her that she is not doing what God and His Church want and that I am certain that what she is doing, and planning to do, is a sin, however, what I do not know is whether the sin is venial or mortal. –John R.

michaelprabhu@vsnl.net
www.ephesians-511.net

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EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church Michael Prabhu, METAMORPHOSE, #12,Dawn Apartments, 22,Leith Castle South Street, Chennai – 600 028, Tamilnadu, India. Phone: +91 (44) 24611606 E-mail: michaelprabhu@vsnl.net, http://www.ephesians-511.net

EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church

Michael Prabhu, METAMORPHOSE, #12,Dawn Apartments, 22,Leith Castle South Street, Chennai - 600 028, Tamilnadu, India. Phone: +91 (44) 24611606 E-mail: michaelprabhu@vsnl.net, http://www.ephesians-511.net

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