Sep 23, 2006

Funeral Saint

I listened to another eulogy today at a funeral Mass. The person was well known and loved so the eulogy was very complimentary. The officiating priest declared at least four times that the deceased person was in heaven and "sharing God's glory." No doubt the priest must have been present to hear the results of the particular judgement and was told the person had avoided purgatory and won heaven. If this is true, then the Masses to be offered for the repose of this poor soul are not needed. I really think this is presumption at its worse.

The Church forbids eulogies at the funeral Mass, and some of the reasons are described by Dr. James Hitchcock in an old issue of The Adoremus Bulletin. My own reason for getting queasy at hearing a eulogy is that I think some people may be like I am, a sinner who doesn't deserve a thing, especially heaven. If I get there, it won't be because I earned it--it will be because of the mercy of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Here are the Church regulations on eulogies given at the Funeral Mass:

General Instruction of the Roman Missal 2000
382. At the funeral Mass there should, as a rule be a short homily, but never a eulogy of any kind....

Order of Christian Funerals
27. A brief homily based on the readings is always given after the gospel reading at the funeral liturgy and may also be given after the readings at the vigil service; but there is never to be a eulogy.

Catechism of the Catholic Church
1688. The liturgy of the Word during funerals demands very careful preparation.... The homily in particular must avoid the literary genre of funeral eulogy (OCF 41) and illumine the mystery of Christian death in the light of the risen Christ.

The Church does allow the deceased to be remembered at a Vigil service:

62. ... After this prayer (Prayer of Intercession) and before the blessing or at some suitable time during the vigil, a member of the family or a friend of the deceased may speak in remembrance of the deceased.

No comments: