Friday, August 26, 2011
PASTORAL SENSITIVITIES VERSES MORAL INTEGRITY AND NOT GIVING SCANDAL
You can read all about a Dutch Catholic priest who has refused a funeral for a man who allowed himself to be euthanized. WAS/IS HE RIGHT IN DOING SO? PRESS THIS SENTENCE TO READ THE STORY.
When should a Catholic be denied a Catholic funeral and what about the innocent Catholic family who, despite the circumstances of their family member's life, still love that person?
In the past, the Catholic Church did not allow those who committed suicide to have a Catholic funeral. Can you imagine the heartache of family members devastated by such a tragedy also being denied the comfort of the Church's prayer at such a time? I personally know Catholics who have been alienated from the Church (since the 1960's) when this practice was still in force. It no longer is.
Other than the link I provide, I don't know the full circumstances of the euthanasia of this man. It does appear to me that the overwhelmingly secular nature of the Dutch is actively trying to shove its secularist notion of life and morality down the Church's traditional voice. But I don't know. It is horrible when someone's death is used for secular/political purposes and that would have to be taken into account by the priest and his bishop.
I've celebrated funerals for a number of people of questionable morality. The Church also allows funerals for non-Catholics who are in one way or another related to the Church, for example through marriage, such as a spouse of a Catholic who attended Mass for years but never officially joined the Church.
I do think denying a funeral to a Catholic because of end of life decisions brought on by great suffering either physical or mental is questionable on the pastoral level.
But then what about Catholic politicians who have directly influenced the broader culture when it comes to being pro-choice and thus influenced and made possible the choice of abortion leading to the massacre of millions of children? I think of Senator Edward Kennedy in this regard. Should he have had a Catholic funeral?
Isn't the funeral Mass for the repose of the soul of a person who has died, (especially if he was a most grievous sinner and despite outward evidence that he could be condemned to hell by God, God's plan for him might be purgatory and thus the need for Masses galore for a person like this) and the comfort of the family? Can an excommunicated Catholic receive a Catholic funeral? Bishops, speak up!