Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pop Quiz

O.K., YFs, put your thinking caps on for this:

An elderly gentleman passed away. A former member of the parish who had not been active for years, he wasn't "inactive" because of any illness or anything; he simply "wasn't religious" (according to his family).

His children (all adults and not really religious, either) do not want a funeral Mass for him. Instead, they want a short ceremony (very short, the funeral director tells you) to be done at the funeral home.

Outrageous? Not really. This is not such an out of the ordinary situation for Priests today, and there are lots of ways to handle this, so do you...
  1. Tell the funeral director that since the deceased was not a registered parishioner at this parish, they have no right to be buried from here.
  2. Insist that deceased Catholics should have their funeral within the context of a Mass (and essentially "force" the family into church)?
  3. Do what the family wants (and in doing so give them an implied affirmation that the way their father lived 'irreligious', as well as their own casual indifference towards God, is a valid option)?
  4. Perform a "Funeral Outside of Mass" at the funeral home, and use it as an opportunity to remind the family that deliberately choosing to not attend Mass and make use of the other Sacraments is a serious sin and not the best way to show God we want Heaven when our life here is over.

Ready? O.K., Pick up your pencils and begin the quiz.

12 comments:

Dad29 said...

Well, whatever the wiser heads may say, I vote that you incorporate the Dies Irae (in English) into the ceremony, if you hold one.

And by all means, practice your Dramatic Reading techniques before reading it!

Mark said...

Number 4, but don't use it as an opportunity to "rub it in"? I really don't know!

PraiseDivineMercy said...

Number 4? (possibly 2 if the priest is the type who can really convince people).

Rita said...

Ouch, this strikes very close to home! Catholicism skipped a generation in our family and what happened to your elderly gentleman, happened to my grandmother when I was too young to do anything about it.

The same thing may happen to my grandfather who is very frail, I'm just the interfering "holy Joe".

I'd go for option 2 each time, the funeral is for the deceased, not for the relatives. We never know the reasons why they haven't been "sacramentally active" but they are still part of the Church and should be treated as such. If it annoys some relatives, that just isn't the point.

I'm interested in your views on option 4, this is one I hadn't considered before, and I may be coming round to it....

SJH said...

How about holding a funeral w/o a mass outside the Church ... but later celebrating a requiem for the deacesed at the Church anyways and telling the family that you're doing so and when it'll be.

(And 1 is only an option if the parish happens to be personal right? Everyone has a proper parish somewhere.

A Simple Sinner said...

Attempt #2, settle for #4, and then offer Mass for the repose of his soul during your weekday parochial Masses - several times - and then remember the family in your every Mass from here until the Lord calls you to celebrate Mass in heaven.

I am not a big apparitions man, but I am just "holy joe" enough to enjoy stories of saints who had the special grace of private revelation to understand - in our finite ways - what good the prayers and Masses they have offered for the faithful have been.

Ven Augustine Marie of the Most Blessed Sacrament comes to mind. A converted Jew he prayed for hisown mother's conversion to what seemed no avail. She died supposedly wihtout conversion.

In the wake of her death Dec 13, 1855 - wihtout conversion or baptism - Fr. Augustine Marie went to visit his priestly pal St. John Vianney and confessed his disconsolation.

St. John Vianney told him that within a few years, on the feast of the Immaculate Consolation he would be consoled.

Some 6 years later Fr. Augustine Marie got a letter from a woman who had been informed that Father's mother had, at the moment of her death, been subsumed by irresistable grace and at the moment of her death had total and perfect contrition and desire to accept Christ.

Your words might not affect them. Your prayers and Masses WILL.

http://www.audiosancto.com/index.php?y=2007&p=1

Jason Walbridge said...

Well, My current feeling is that a punch in the nose is more appropriate than a pat on the back at times......

However, I find it very difficult to be the deliverer of that punch in the nose......

I also must admit that I was in the funeral industry (casket/Funeral/Cremation online retailer) and would vote that NEVER should there be funeral services at a funeral home......

I would *try* #2....may sound harsh.....But if they are 'religious' enough to want a priest to preside at the service.....They should be respectful enough to comply with his requests....Which I assume would be at a Mass.....

Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

I can't vote on this circumstance, but I hope that at my funeral, the attendees will get the best sermon Father can deliver to help them be in the best possible position when they get to place.

Joe said...

I say #4, and make it a gentle-but-firm Catechetical moment.

-J.

John Seymour said...

I vote for #4, with the qualification that it wouldn't seem to hurt to point out that we never know all the facts and circumstances and it is God that judges, but with that in mind, maybe we should think about how we show God our love for him - assuming we worry at all about where we spend eternity.

matthew archbold said...

if choice number 5 is I'm glad I'm no a priest because I'm clearly not smart enough then I choose that one. What an interesting predicament. And really important consequences. I'm interested in the answer. great site.

Brian said...

Number 4!!