I've been a priest for almost 39 years and thank God have had very few suicides in that period of time.
I know how hard it is on the family and I have a distant relative whose husband committed sucide in the 1960's and the parish priest refused a Catholic Funeral Mass for her husband. That was horrible to say the least and affected her practice of the Catholic Faith.
Priests should offer comfort and solace to the family, emphasize that condemnation only occurs when full consent of the will is not compromised by stress, depression, illness or some other mitigating factor.
A funeral homily should not focus on the evils of suicide but the Passion and Death of Christ and what that means for faithful, forgiven Christians.
But with that said, what we have sown in the past 50 years is what we are reaping in terms of a consumer's approach to planing liturgies and telling the priest what we want.
And many lay Catholics today want to deny the reality of sin, the punishment we deserve due to sin and the need to repent and live holy lives built upon the Sacraments of the Church.
They also want to deny death and the grief and tears that come with unexpected and tragic deaths. They want cotton candy religion and funerals to anesthetize them and prevent the bursting of the bubble of denial about sin and death.
As consumers of Catholicism when it suits them, they want it as they perceive it should be. This is truly a Neo-Gnosticism.
I don't know how pastoral this priest was at this Funeral Mass for an 18 year old man who committed suicide. The parents may have a point about pastoral insensitivity.
BUT THE FUNERAL RITES OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ARE NOT CELEBRATIONS OF THE LIFE OF THE PERSON WHO HAS DIED. IT IS THE CELEBRATION OF JESUS INCARNATION, LIFE, PASSION, DEATH AND RESURRECTION WHICH RESTORES SANCTIFYING GRACE TO THE SOUL WHICH THEN ALLOWS THE SOUL TO ENTER INTO HEAVEN WHICH WAS CLOSED TO THE SOUL DUE TO ORIGINAL SIN AND ACTUAL SINS.
Thus with the "celebration of life" and consumer's mentality about funerals, the local paper reported this:
A funeral should focus on the way an individual lived, rather than the way he died, Jeff and Linda Hullibarger said.
That’s why they’re upset at the way a local priest, the Rev. Don LaCuesta at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Temperance, Mich., handled the service for their 18-year-old son, Maison, who died on Dec. 4. The couple said the priest disregarded their requests for an uplifting homily and instead chose to sermonize on the morality of suicide.
“He basically called our son a sinner, instead of rejoicing in his life,” Ms. Hullibarger said.
... The Hullibargers are calling for Father LaCuesta to be removed after the funeral... They worry that the priest could hurt other families in the same way he hurt theirs at their son’s funeral.
Read the full article HERE: