Sunday, August 2, 2015


Okay, a disclaimer. In the past I have allowed laity, family or friends, to give a eulogy after the Prayer after Holy Communion at funeral Masses. Some have been brief, to the point, about the person's spiritual life and goodness and these have been excellent. Others have rambled on and become emotional and it turns into a discussion about 99% of the things most in the congregation could care less about and it is also a public exercise in therapy.

Then there are those who use crass language and vulgar stories about the deceased.

I have bent on this, as I am not a rigid, rigid person, but we have tried mightily not to allow eulogies at funeral Masses but encourage it before or after the Vigil for the Deceased.

But this story takes the cake, fortunately for us Catholics it was a United Methodist funeral, but it could have been us too. It was just up the road a piece in little ole Atlanta:

Bobbi Kristina's Aunt Leolah Brown Thrown Out of Funeral After Outburst

There is family drama inside Bobbi Kristina Brown’s funeral on Saturday.

Leolah Brown, Bobbi Kristina’s aunt, was thrown out of the memorial service after she interrupted Pat Houston as she was getting ready to speak, causing a stir inside St. James United Methodist Church, ET has learned.

Filmmaker Tyler Perry, a friend of the family, had Leolah removed.

Afterward an angry Leolah spoke to press, including ET, outside the church in Alpharetta, Georgia, saying that the late Whitney Houston was going to “haunt” Pat, who is Whitney’s sister-in-law, from her grave and spoke of the anger she had toward Bobbi Kristina's boyfriend Nick Gordon.

"Whitney will haunt Pat Houston from the grave. She will haunt her. Pat, it's not over. It has just begun. It has just begun," Leolah, Bobby Brown's sister, told press, including ET. "I have information, I have evidence, I have knowledge of who Pat really is -- she is not any relation whatsoever to Krissi -- she's not even a Houston. She's just being the phony person that she is."

My final comment: In my former parish (I was not present for the funeral, a parochial vicar was) for a person who was murdered, a fight broke out during the Mass because it was believed that a family member present for the funeral caused the murder. Unsavory no?  

It makes me want to wear Kevlar under my vestments. 

I hope they sang at the funeral "They'll know we are Christians by our love!"

Usually, though, they know we are Christians by our sins and hypocrisy!


rcg said...

Death brings out a lot of emotion in people.

Anonymous said...

Roman Catholic teaching has always been that no eulogies are to be given by laymen, do what you will after the funeral outside of church, this is a time for mourning not this googly "celebration of life" nonsense. As for the music such as secular songs being played this should stop as well.

Anonymous said...

In the Ender series, Orson Scott Card introduces the concept/religion of the Speaker for the Dead--an individual who tries, in a sort of Spoon River sense, to represent/understand and, at a funeral, present who the deceased really was, warts and all. I've long been intrigued by the concept and think that having a Speaker for the Dead at a Requiem Mass, by not trying to ignore or overlook the faults/sins of the deceased, would help keep that Mass as it is supposed to be: worship of God and prayers for the repose of the soul of the deceased rather than a canonization of the deceased and celebration of his/her life.

John Nolan said...

Back in the 1990s I attended the funeral of an uncle at a small rural chapel in Northern Ireland. Members of his family (children and grandchildren) carried the coffin, dug the grave, and provided the music (a bit folk-y for my taste, but not secular). There was no eulogy - what would have been the point? Everyone present (including his Protestant neighbours) knew him well. My uncle was devout and attended Mass daily; in fact he died of a heart attack minutes after hearing Mass and receiving Holy Communion, which is as good a way as any for a Catholic to go.

Like many Irish Catholics of his generation he was unconcerned with the 'liturgy wars'; Latin or English, it was all the same to him. The Mass was the Mass and was approached with reverence. Irish congregations would kneel from the Sanctus to the end of Mass, as they had been used to doing (there was no Sung Mass tradition).

Recently I saw a TV documentary about the construction of the M1 motorway in England in 1958. Mass was celebrated in a hut erected on site. One clip shows the priest (in Roman vestments) reciting the Latin Mass at a makeshift altar. The Irish navvies in their working clothes are kneeling and following the Mass as set out in the CTS Simple Prayer Book (price one shilling).

Having clung to the Faith through Penal times it is tragic to see the Irish abandoning the Church in droves.