Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Maybe the post-Vatican II of funerals as canonizations is the reason that one bishop is banning Catholic funerals for homosexuals in same sex marriages. At least that is my opinion.

Prior to the complete perversion of the Catholic Funeral Rites by iconoclastic reformers after Vatican II, everyone knew that at a Requiem Mass, the Church was praying for the happy repose of the soul of the deceased. The rites were very somber, somewhat depressing (it's death after all!) and dirge like.

The Dies Irae is quite striking and strikes fear into the wayward soul, no? Where is this sober anthem in today's modern Funeral Celebration of Life and Canonization?

And black vestments, how appropriate for sinners but not in the modern Funeral Rite's Canonization and Celebration of Life--how off-putting!

In many places everyone wore black, black arm bans and widows wore black for an extended period of time when in public. Mourning was not dismissed, denied or trivialized as it is today and yes, there is no closure.

So I am a bit concerned that having completely thrown in the towel as the Catholic modern Funeral Rites are in actuality a canonization of one's life and a celebration of that lifestyle no matter how opposite from what the Church teaches, that a bishop in the Midwest is saying not to have a celebration of life and canonization for a deceased public sinner in a public same sex "marriage."

If the funeral rites went back to what these should represent, praying for the deceased sinner and not canonizing them in a "celebration of life" Mass, also known as the Mass of the Resurrection, then we should be happy to give notorious public sinners the funeral rites, all of them, of the Church. They need the Church's funeral prayers the most, no?  But wear black, chant the somber, sober Propers' chants to include the Dies Irae without any other hymns  and allow no eulogies whatsoever and yes, do not canonize or make the homily into a "celebration of life!"

A Priest Is REFUSING to Give Gay People Last Rites Unless They Repent

Ann-Marie Alcántara,Popsugar US Sun, Jun 25 10:00 AM EDT


Anonymous said...

"Ordinarily, those who are in invalid marriages may have a church funeral if they had preserved their attachment to the church and if there is no scandal." (CDF Letter, May 29, 1973, CLD 8:826-63)

"Because Christian burial is not to lead people away from the Church, but to draw them closer to God, the priest confronted with a case of denial of church burial should lean to leniency and to mercy." (NCCC Guidelines, CLD 9:694)

Gene said...

You have to draw there line somewhere. There is a difference between sinners who sin inadvertently or knowingly but who are contrite and seek Confession and Penance and those who, in full knowledge, defiantly, openly, and vocally continue in sin. The Church should not support them by including them in her Sacramental life.

Anonymous said...

"The Dies Irae is quite striking and strikes fear into the wayward soul, no? Where is this sober anthem in today's modern Funeral Celebration of Life and Canonization?
And black vestments, how appropriate for sinners but not in the modern Funeral Rite's Canonization and Celebration of Life--how off-putting!"

A Novus Ordo funeral need not always be banal or farcical; it's on the priest. Two of the last three OF ones I've attended have been celebrated ad orientem in black vestments, almost most all Latin, regorian chant ordinary and propers, no vernacular hymns, with the Dies Irae chanted (during communion, rather than before the Gospel EF style).

Fr Martin Fox said...

Part of the problem here is the way Catholic funerals have developed since the reform of the liturgy. They are now virtual canonizations.

My suggestion would be to develop a "penitential funeral" rite. It would be an option for those situations where the faith and spiritual disposition of the deceased is in seriously in doubt. Such a funeral would have been suitable, for example, in the case of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, and similarly would be for someone in a same-sex "marriage" who doesn't repent of the decision to enter into an unnatural mockery of marriage. Other examples could be listed.

By the way -- without reviewing the texts, I suspect our current funeral options could be so arranged as to provide what is needed, with the added directive, from the bishop, that purple vestments are to be used, and that the homily must reflect this penitential tone.

Of course, someone near death, realizing such a penitential funeral was in the offing, could insincerely offer the necessary sign of repentance; but God is not mocked.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Forgive me Father, for I sinned -- I only half-read your comments before I posted!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Bishops ought not set standards for penitential tone in homilies. Homilies are to be based on the Scriptures proclaimed. If the funeral readings are about God's mercy, about the hope of resurrection, about the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, then THAT is the foundation and the essence of the homily.

ByzRus said...

I agree with both Gene and Fr. Fox. For situations such as those described within this posting, perhaps the deceased could be offered a wake service / Liturgy of Christian Burial at the funeral home followed by the committal. I believe some Orthodox parishes do something similar where the deceased and/or their families aren't current in terms of their financial obligations to that parish - liturgy is limited to a blessing/panihida at the funeral home. To me, this is compassionate, allows for formalized prayer for the deceased and preserves the intregity of the sacraments.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Frmjk, that's the problem! Yes the Ordinary Form's Requiem if done by the Book to include chanting the actual prospers rather than the sentimental, saccharine junk most parishes substitute and if homilies did what the Church prescribes and the legitimate option of violet or black vestments chosen, the Requiem would not be a canonization of a public sinful lifestyle nor a celebration of it!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

And which Requiems violate all the norms the most? Priests and bishops requiems!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Well, Allan, I don't agree that homilies based on the Scriptures proclaimed are "the problem."

In my almost 33 years of being a priest I have come to understand that the power of a homily doesn't come from the preacher's eloquence, his style, or his friendly or folksy connection with the congregation.

The real power of a homily comes from the homily being firmly grounded in the Scriptures and intimately connected with the liturgy being celebrated.

From time to time it is necessary to go farther afield at homily time. Pastors have to talk about money, a parochial school, a major social issue, a natural disaster. These "talks" are necessary, but should be rare. And they should not be mistaken for preaching.

Homilies also should not be confused with adult education sessions. If those are needed - and they always are - have them. But don't turn the homily into an attempt to educate or re-educate members of the congregation. Adults don't learn from being lectured to from the pulpit. They also don't change their behavior because they are chided or "lectured to" about how to dress, what TV shows not to watch, which candidates to vote for/against, or a host of other matters.

I've never canonized anyone at any funeral I've celebrated. I've heard terrible preaching and observed sloppy liturgy, but the "canonization" notion is more than a little overplayed, methinks.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

One of the favorite readings many choose for funerals is "The souls of the just are in the hand of God and no torment shall touch them...." (Wisdom 3:1-9)

WELL, the assumption I fear many make is, "Awww, that's reading's taling about grandma. She was a just woman; now she is in the hands of God."

Yes, it speaks of hoping for immortality, but that aspect is overlooked almost universally I fear.

How I wish that were NOT an option for funerals...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

When families plan everything from a multitude of choice which in affect canonize the deceased. The EF Rewuiem has one set of readings which every gets like it or not.

Your first comment is true about homilies but I would say most priest speak about the person as though they are in heaven already , not so much that our prayers for the faithful departed assist them at their death and judgement which may include purgatory.

Anonymous said...

not gay people but Gay Married People ... your Topic is bias ...
Be clear Father and precise...

rcg said...

Cotton Mather also had sinners in the hands of an angry God. "Cannonized" is a good description of what happened.

To the question in the post: we are, indeed, all sinners. Some of us like it and think we are pretty sly about it. If they want to mock God, as Fr Fox puts it, then there is nothing wrong with us letting them know we are wise to it. If we should not judge them evil in the Mass, then we should not judge them good.

rcg said...

Yargh! Jonathan Edwards not Cotton Mather. Sheesh. Stupid sleep deprivation.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Gay "married" people not to be given a Catholic Funeral, but a straight couple in an adulterous "marriage" can. This raises the old controversy here about less serious and more serious mortal sin. Is it a more serious mortal sin to be in a gay "marriage" than an adulterous straight "marriage"?

Anonymous said...

" This raises the old controversy here about less serious and more serious mortal sin."

What controversy? No two different sins are equally serious, just as no two different Masses are equally meritorious. In either case, external circumstances make all the difference.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Father McDonald:

I entirely agree that any norms should be consistent.

By the way, none of this is really new. Somewhere in either the Code of Canon Law or the ritual book is something about denying funerals for notorious cases. In the seminary, the example cited was "mobsters." We don't have any high-profile mafia dons around here, so I've never seen this happen, but the scenario of a notorious organized crime kingpin being given the sort of funeral -- all lavished up in rococo fashion by the deceased's gang as we can readily imagine -- would certainly infuriate almost any decent person.

So the precedent is there.

No, I'm not saying a couple in an unnatural pseudo-marriage is just like a murderous mobster. I'm simply citing an unarguable example to head off those aiming for the fainting couches because they just can't imagine anyone being denied a Catholic funeral.

Anonymous said...

I'll stay away from the controversy over funeral rites---enough has been said here---but praise the bishop in Springfield for turning up the heat years ago on Dick Durbin, the pro-abortion Democratic senator from Illinois who ranks no. 2 in the Senate Democratic leadership behind (pro-abortion, of course) Chuck Schume rof New York. The bishop banned Durbin from reception of the sacraments in that diocese. Of course, that doesn't mean Durbin isn't doing so when he is in DC, but hey, you have to start somewhere. San Francisco's bishop should do the same with Nancy Pelosi.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"... affect canonize the deceased..."

I don't think this is the case.

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.

Nothing in the items chosen amounts to a canonization or anything near it.

Anonymous said...

"we should be happy to give notorious public sinners the funeral rites, all of them, of the Church. They need the Church's funeral prayers the most, no?"

Presumably the publicly unrepentant notorious sinner has already condemned himself to hell, in which requiem prayers would be of no avail?