Thursday, June 29, 2017

WHEN WE LET OTHERS PLAN THEIR REQUIEMS AND TURN THEM INTO PERSONAL, PAROCHIAL CELEBRATIONS BY ALLOWING THE SUBSTITUTION OF THE PRESCRIBED PARTS OF THE REQUIEM WITH ALTERNATIVES, YOU COULD GET THIS!


I was reading a comment on my post about who should be denied funerals and this is what one commenter wrote:

A family chooses "Faith of Our Fathers" (two verses) as the opening hymn.
 

The priest chooses Opening Prayer B.
 

The family chooses Lamentations 3:17-26 (My soul is deprived of peace...), Psalm 23, Revelation 20:11-21:1 (I saw a large white throne and the one sitting on it...), and Luke 23:44-46, 50, 52-53; 24:1-6a (Emmaus.

For the Presentation of the Gifts the family chooses "Immaculate Mary" as the hymn.

The priest chooses one of the Prefaces for Funerals.

The priest uses Canon III with funeral inserts.

The family chooses "I Am the Bread of Life" for the Communion Hymn.

The priest chooses the Prayer After Communion.

The family chooses "Faith of Our Fathers" (Two different verses) as the closing.


My Response:

Why in the name of God and all that is holy would the priest allow the family to choose two different verses of "Faith of Our Fathers" as the closing when the prescribed hymn is "May the Angels lead you into paradise."

Does the priest require the chanting of the propers along with additional family selections. In other words in addition to the first two verses of "Faith of Our Fathers" is the actual and presecribed introit chanted.

At the Offertory, if the family chooses "Immaculate Mary" is the prescribed antiphon required as well?

At Communion, if the family chooses "I am the Bread of Life" is the prescribed antiphon jettisoned?

Does the priest allow the Responsorial Psalm to be substitute by a hymn, like "Sing to the Mountains?"

Is the Alleluia and verse allowed to be substituted with "Amazing Grace?"

How about the Sanctus, can the family substitute "How Great Thou Art?"

The Mystery of Faith, can the family choose "The Old Rugged Cross?"

The Great Amen, can the family substitue, "Yes, Lord I believe?"

The Agnus Dei, can the family substitute, "Let there be Peace on Earth and Let it begin with ME?"

At the Song of Farewell, can the family substitute, "Anchors Away My Friend?"

And can the family substitute a poem in place of one of the readings?

20 comments:

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Cute, Allan, but it doesn't address the point I raised.

If the choices I suggested (not the ones you imagined) were made by family members for a funeral, there is no "canonization" that you have decried and fumed about.

It's all in your imagination. And such boogeymen are impossible to defeat without serious medication.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Some Catholic funerals are canonization and celebrations of life--this cannot be disputed, regardless of your experience, limited as it is. This is an aberration even of the Ordinary Form's expectation for Requiems.

But the fact is that since Vatican II we have encouraged children in our Catholics Schools and CCD programs as well as their parents and others to plan Masses and be creative in it.

Can you imagine in the EF Mass, a parishioner asking "Old Danny Boy" to be sung, because the deceased was of Irish ancestry. And don't tell me you have never heard of this being done, even if religious words are substituted for the secular ones.

And how about eulogies after Holy Communion by family members, I can't believe you have not sat through any of these and not cringed at what was said or realized that you allowed an emotionally disturbed person, though grieving, to vent and use this as personal therapy!

rcg said...

I hope for a solemn EF follwed by a lot of singing and praising of my life's work at the wake. Some happy, some stupid, some drunken. I like "Angel Band" and the lyrics can be Catholicised pretty easily. They aren't far from the prescribed closing hymn anyway. Everyone can be reverent and sober for the one hour of the Mass and hear what I hope is my gift to them in that.

ByzRC said...

The discussion point raised by Fr. Kavanaugh aside, I think the two most used words in this post are "choose" and "substitute". Quite an Everest of options and, perhaps, emblematic of at least part of the problem.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Father Kavanaugh:

Your example misses the point. You presuppose a pastor will keep a firm hand on the homily. However, that is not what happens.

And Father McDonald's point is not so hypothetical. Any number of well meaning but unhelpful suggestions are indeed made around funerals. One that I can cite is the request to have a reading from Ecclesiastes -- you know, the one about "a time to live and a time to die."

Now, there's nothing wrong with the Word of God, but it's inapt. I haven't asked families why they want that -- I am loathe to probe their wounds too deeply. So I can only surmise that the tenor of the passage seems to go along with the notion that, well, it was just Dad's "time." Just a guess.

But let's note that the Church did not choose that as an option. Let's further note that overall, the readings are all about hope in salvation. And that is one theme that seems remarkably absent from this passage from Ecclesiastes.

My point is this: we have created a consumerist approach to funerals (and other liturgies, such as weddings and special-occasion Masses). Sure, a priest *can* stand up to it. The problem Father McDonald is identifying, and I agree with him, is that they do not. And Bishop Paproki knows this.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Martin - That a pastor fails to keep a firm hand on the homily is not the fault or the result of the form of the mass being celebrated. Bad homilies at EF masses can be just as disastrous as bad homilies at OF masses.

We have not created a "consumerist" approach to funerals by offering options any more than God created a consumerist approach to marriage by offering so many options for choosing a husband/wife.

If involving the family in panning the liturgy, which usually involves choosing readings and music, is a help to them in the grief, then this is a good thing. Posting straw men arguments - "If we allow then to choose then they'll want Anchors Aweigh!" - is nothing more than a silly attempt to control what does not need controlling.

PS I don't find the Ecclesiastes reading inapt at all. We don't control what comes our way - things happen according to God's inscrutable plan. We can and should accept whatever is given to us by God to endure, to savor, to struggle through, to rejoice in.

And, no, Allan, I have never once sat through a family member's remembrance of the deceased and cringed. I don't share your overly prudish, even Puritanical, attitude about what's cringe-worthy in the liturgy and what is not.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I had almost 400 funerals in 12 years at St. Joseph's Church. I doubt you had that many in your entire priesthood even to know what happens. How many have you had? In all 37 years double that.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Allan, you presumed, foolishly and unknowingly, to know what I had sat through. You, having not been present at funerals at which I presided, deemed to tell me what I had experienced.

You were wrong.

I will not presume to tell you what you have experienced when I have not been present to observe. Take a lesson.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Father K:

Of course the "form of Mass" plays a role in how the priest approaches the homily, and the Mass as a whole. The Paul VI Mass is thick with options. Good or bad, this creates a different reality, which I characterized as consumerist.

The comparison of the pope and bishops (who created this orgy of options) to God is hilariously inapt, and yet, in its own way, entirely so: because had there been greater hulility on the part of those overseeing litugical reform -- less playing God -- we would surely be better off.

By the way, I have no problem involving the family in the liturgy, but there are real problems with saying to people, you choose, without equipping them to choose. If your dentist laid his array of tools before you and said, "you choose!" would that inspire confidence? Not for me. All Scripture is good, like tools, but not necesarily for the same thing. You think the Ecclesiastes reading is fine. I do not. Should it be up to you, or me, or to the grieving family? Those responsible for choosing the options, did not choose it. Do you believe pastors get to create options as they wish? If not, how do you limit their scope of option-creation?

John Nolan said...

In 1603 the Dowager Empress Maria of Austria died. The obsequies were impressive - we are told that the catafalque was 54 feet high and we know that the setting of the Requiem Mass was that by Tomas Luis de Victoria which in its 1605 form is regarded as the greatest polyphonic setting of the Requiem Mass ever composed.

Vespers (Placebo) and Matins (Dirige) would of course have been sung. Yet every word of the liturgy would also have been used for the lowliest of her subjects; nothing added, nothing taken away. Eamon Duffy reminds us that relatively poor families in late medieval England would have made provision for the liturgy of the dead, including a trental (30) of Masses. There is equality in death'

I'm not arguing with Fr K. on his interpretation, which after all is what has happened since Vatican II. Changes in the Mass were allowed to hide a sea-change in the whole idea of Catholic funerals. Traditionally the Church prayed for the soul of the departed and for the souls of all the faithful departed. Now we talk of a 'ministry to mourners' and white vestments are presumptuously used. The theology of getting on for two millennia was changed by a small coterie of liturgical 'experts'.

A Novus Ordo funeral? Over my dead body!

Anonymous said...

Only 54 feet high? Well, that certainly indicates that the Dowager Empress is not going to heaven.

Everyone knows that a catafalque of less than 60 feet is a directly contemptuous thumbing of the nose at God, an insult that will meet with the most severe punishment.

See what happens when we focus on the inconsequential and unimportant...?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Martin - Do you think the EF makes a priest a better preacher? I imagine it may play a role in how the priest approaches the homily. But do you think celebrating the EF inclines a priest to better preaching? If you do, how do you imagine this works?

I don't know where I compared God to popes and bishops...?

I don't know why a priest would feel obliged to disallow reading any portion of God's word at a funeral. On the other side of the same coin, I don't know why any family would want to choose Leviticus 15. Should they do so, I would probably do my best to have them choose another portion...

The scope of option-creation is limited. No one gets to write unique prayers for the funeral mass. The choices are given in the Ritual. No one gets to write an original Eucharistic prayer. No one get to choose a grandmother's potato(e) sack quilt as the pall. (I might consider it if it was all or almost entirely white...)

John Nolan said...

Anonymous, you make a point of missing the point. Keep it up, for the hilarity of other readers at least.

ByzRC said...

John Nolan -

I echo your thoughts @ 5:52 p.m. A poor attempt at wit that only showcases a contemptuous thumbing of the nose at history.

Anonymous said...

So she had a 54 foot high catafalque. So what?

Does this represent some maniacal attraction to ostentation? "Mine's bigger than yours!" Seems so to me.

It is a model for us to follow today? Certainly not.

Is it a curious but completely inconsequential tidbit. Nothing more.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Fr. Kavanaugh asked:

I don't know where I compared God to popes and bishops...?

Why here, Father:

We have not created a "consumerist" approach to funerals by offering options any more than God created a consumerist approach to marriage by offering so many options for choosing a husband/wife.

See that sentence? You wrote it. In it, you compare one subject -- "We" -- who "creates" by "offering options" with another -- "God" -- who likewise offers options. Because those who created options for funeral rites were, in fact, the pope and bishops, that's what I took the "we" to be.

Do you think the EF makes a priest a better preacher? I imagine it may play a role in how the priest approaches the homily. But do you think celebrating the EF inclines a priest to better preaching? If you do, how do you imagine this works?

I haven't actually thought about it all that much, because my point was not about the Extraordinary Form, per se. I do offer it, but I rarely preach at an EF Mass -- maybe twice, all told. One was a funeral, and I offered the homily after Mass, which is the way it's done, I was told (it was my first attempt at an EF funeral). But on first pass, I would say that whether the Mass is OF or EF that the preaching is helped -- I think a priest can preach well either way -- but whether there is what I already described as a "consumerist mindset." And I do not think that needs to be part of the OF, although I think it tends to be at present.

I don't know why a priest would feel obliged to disallow reading any portion of God's word at a funeral. On the other side of the same coin, I don't know why any family would want to choose Leviticus 15. Should they do so, I would probably do my best to have them choose another portion...

Two reasons are very obvious:

1. The reading asked for by the family is not an option allowed for by bishops, who have the rightful authority to regulate the liturgy. Obedience and humility are real virtues. Lots of people think they know better than those who are entrusted with decisions; and that includes the decisions bishops make, and the second-guessers include priests, especially me! When I find myself second-guessing the pope or the bishops, I remind myself that God can make me a bishop, or pope, any time he wants...and yet, he has not.

2. Just because something is the Word of God doesn't mean it's suitable for the occasion. Other passages people have asked for include the one about the worthy wife in Proverbs, and the passage from Paul in which he talks about "fighting the good fight." Why people want these readings is not guesswork -- they've told me: because they want to focus on the person who died.

If there is one thing that is crystal clear in the OF funeral rites, it is that the focus is not on the one who died, but rather, on the saving work of Jesus Christ. To give another example: sometimes the person who has died was not particularly loved or viewed fondly by those who arrange the funeral. If they went looking for passages talking about people being cast into hell, or receiving vengeance, I would certainly find those improper, and I bet you would too.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

No, Martin, the comparison is not between "We" and "God."

The comparison is between what we have offered and what God has offered.
Both offer multiple choices, but that offering for not a consumerist mentality make.

What Scriptural readings have the bishops disallowed? Are you of the mind that the only readings allowed for funerals are those explicitly listed in the funeral ritual?

I don't think anyone who did not "view fondly" the deceased has any interest in helping plan the funeral. In my 33 years experience, this has never happened.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Father Kavanaugh said:

No, Martin, the comparison is not between "We" and "God." The comparison is between what we have offered and what God has offered.

Father, I'm sorry to have to point this out, but that is still a comparison between "we" and God. Verbs come with subjects.

What Scriptural readings have the bishops disallowed? Are you of the mind that the only readings allowed for funerals are those explicitly listed in the funeral ritual?

Yes I am, just as I am "of the mind" that what's allowed is what is explicitly listed in each of the ritual books, and the same as the various volumes of each lectionary. Are you of the mind that a priest, on his own authority, can substitute readings in any liturgy, regardless of what the lectionaries or ritual books call for? Can you point to anything that authorizes such substititions?

I don't think anyone who did not "view fondly" the deceased has any interest in helping plan the funeral. In my 33 years experience, this has never happened.

It has happened to me.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Martin, in the Order of Christian Funerals General Introduction there is no statement that I can find that excludes from the use at funerals any except the readings found in the ritual book.

If there is an assumption that "These And Only These Readings" may be used at funerals, I don't find it...

No, I don't think readings can be substituted in any liturgy. There may be instances, however, in matters of funerals, when such substitution may be pastorally prudent.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Martin, consider "John gave me an orange while Sherri gave me an apple."

The comparison isn't between John and Sherri. It is between the orange and the apple.