Skip to comments.St. Joseph Abbey Casket Sales Can't be Stopped by Funeral Industry, Federal Court Rules
Posted on 03/22/2013 6:17:46 PM PDT by marshmallow
A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that monks at St. Joseph Abbey near Covington should be allowed to sell handmade caskets from their monastery, despite opposition from Louisiana's funeral home directors who claimed a sole right to sell caskets in the state. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision to strike down a state law limiting casket sales to licensed members of the funeral industry.
The decision marks a victory for the Benedictine monastery, which has struggled for several years for the right to sell simple, wooden caskets built by monks in a woodshop to fund their medical and education needs. In 2007, the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors ordered the abbey to cease sales after a funeral home owner filed a formal complaint.
"We're just really thankful we can continue, because it means a lot to people," said St. Joseph Abbey's Abbot Justin Brown on Wednesday. "Every couple of weeks or so, I get a letter or a note or a phone call from people who have had our casket for a loved one, and they all are just so grateful and appreciative. It made them feel so good that they knew these caskets were made with love and prayer."
St. Joseph Abbey's lawyers said while the Fifth Circuit ruled against the Louisiana law, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a similar law limiting casket sales in Oklahoma in 2004. The divided opinion now leaves an opening for the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh-in, if the Louisiana board decides to appeal, lawyers said.
The funeral directors' board referred questions to its lawyer, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
In 2010, the abbey filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court challenging the state law as unconstitutional. The law limited casket........
(Excerpt) Read more at nola.com ...
My beloved aunt was buried in one last year. It was nice, simple, and humble.
I don’t know what a casket should cost, but they don’t seem to be that expensive either, especially considering they are hand crafted.
Good for these guys.
Funeral homes are the biggest rip-off in the country, all protected by government “licenses”.
For others here, the gist of the Court's decision, from the news item:
In its opinion issued Wednesday, the 5th Circuit decisively laid out why it disagreed with the board: licensed funeral directors don't receive special training in caskets; Louisiana law does not prevent consumers from buying third-party caskets from outside Louisiana, including online sales; and the state doesn't require a person to be buried in a casket, the court noted.
Add it all up, and the Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors have their "prayer" to the courts to stop those pesky monks (from cutting in on their biz) be returned to them worse than unanswered.
Thanks for the article. Though possibly subject matter associated with some sadness, it comes across as good news to me.
I've seen solid copper, solid bronze, $8000. That's been a while, I bet they're more now.
My first thought was I doubt you could buy anything hand crafted of that size for near that price, be it table, sofa, or coffin.
That would be really cheep now.
I remember 40 years ago paying $900 for a relatively simple steel casket for a family who lost a child I knew who had nothing left to spend after all the hospital bills they had to deal with.
I could not even "afford" it then, but I did it anyway.
The 'mark-up' on caskets is incredible and in most states, the funeral home owners have lobbied the government to give them a near monopoly.
I know Costco is a bad word on FR, but they are a low cost source also.
I’ll have to side with the funeral industry on this one. Monks shouldn’t be wasting their time building boxes for the dead, they should be brewing tasty beers for the living.
I’m all for free enterprise, but is there a reason the Abbey took this to court and didn’t just apply for a state license to sell the caskets? I didn’t see mention of it in the linked article.
But they charge about as much! 8~)
Wal-mart has them starting at $1499 and up.
The law limited casket sales to licensed funeral directors at state-licensed funeral homes. Directors must undergo an apprenticeship and finish 30 hours of college courses, and funeral homes must meet detailed requirements, such as a parlor to fit 30 people and room for viewing six caskets.
I guess the state determined, in its "infinite wisdom", that you can't just sell caskets, you have to be in the funeral business to sell them. Just like a non-RTW state that says to paint houses (interior and exterior) you have to go through an apprentice program (slave out to a union for a year or two), be approved (pay your union dues) and pass a state exam (that they charge for, of course) - just to paint houses!!
Rackets, all of them!
I used to love going to church there when I was on the north shore. I’ll have to make a trip to check them out. Maybe get one for myself, and freak my wife out.
They paid the politicians handsomely for the franchise rights to those rackets.
When I die, I want my body reduced to ashes as quickly and economically as possible.
And I don’t much care what happens to the ash, since “I” was never permanently tethered to it anyway.
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust”
I am certain I have an immortal soul.
Where that ends up, is already privately known between me and God.
Other peoples opinions are not important.
And I am certainly not going to waste money paying for an expensive burial box, when I never paid that much for a car!
By God, yes, by you, no. You're not omniscient and you won't know where you'll be spending eternity until your particular judgment, just as Scripture teaches.
"Wherefore he that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall." 1 Corinthans 10:12
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