Skip to comments.Who can have a Catholic funeral?
Posted on 08/27/2009 5:30:19 AM PDT by NYer
Some people might be wondering -- especially in light of the death of Ted Kennedy.
My understanding has always been that every baptized Catholic, with few exceptions, has the right to a Catholic burial. But, of course, there are nuances and gray areas. And exceptions can often be a matter of personal opinion or prudential judgment.
Zenit, as fate would have it, posted this primer from Canon Law just a few days ago:
The Church is usually generous toward the deceased, within limits.I'm sure that doesn't cover everything. But it's a very good start for those curious about this sort of thing.
First, we must distinguish between offering a funeral Mass and celebrating a Mass whose intention is the eternal repose of a particular soul.
Since the latter is basically the private intention of the priest, albeit offered at the request of a particular person, and since there are practically no limitations as to whom we may pray for, almost any intention can be admitted. In cases that might cause scandal, especially if the person were denied a funeral Mass, it would not be prudent to make this intention public.
A funeral Mass on the other hand is basically a public act in which the Church intercedes for the deceased by name. A funeral Mass is one which uses the formulas found in the Roman Missal and the ritual for funerals. Some of these formulas may be used even if the deceased's body is not present.
Because of its public nature the Church's public intercession for a departed soul is more limited. A funeral Mass can be celebrated for most Catholics, but there are some specific cases in which canon law requires the denial of a funeral Mass.
Canons 1184-1185 say:
"Canon 1184 §1. Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals:In fact, these strictures are rarely applied. In part, this is because many sinners do show signs of repentance before death.
1/ notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics;
2/ those who chose the cremation of their bodies for reasons contrary to Christian faith;
3/ other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful.
"§2. If any doubt occurs, the local ordinary is to be consulted, and his judgment must be followed.
"Canon 1185. Any funeral Mass must also be denied a person who is excluded from ecclesiastical funerals."
Likewise, the canons are open to some interpretation. In No. 1184 §1 notorious would mean publicly known. Therefore someone who had abandoned the faith and joined some other group would be denied a funeral; someone who harbored private doubts or disagreements would not.
Cases of those who choose cremation for reasons contrary to the faith are extremely rare and are hard to prove (see the follow-up in our column of Nov. 29, 2005).
The most delicate cases are those in No. 1184 §1.3. Many canonists say that for denial of a funeral the person must be both widely known to be living in a state of grave sin and that holding a Church funeral would cause scandal.
About a year ago in Italy the Church denied an ecclesiastical funeral for a nationally known campaigner for euthanasia who requested and obtained the removal of his life-support system. In this case the request for a funeral for someone who was only nominally Catholic was in itself a publicity stunt for the organization behind the campaign. Likewise, someone subject to excommunication or interdict (for example, a Catholic abortionist) would be denied a funeral.
Given the severity of the requirements for denial of an ecclesiastical funeral, people in irregular marriages and suicides should not usually be denied a funeral. In such cases denial of the funeral is more likely than not to be counterproductive and cause unnecessary misunderstanding and bitterness. The Church intercedes for the soul and leaves final judgment to God.
The only people I know who qualify for a Catholic funeral are sinners.
What does thathave to do with Resurrection and respect for the human body? The biblical imagery of bodies being given up at the Judgment Day by the earth and the sea (cf Rev 20:13) seems to ignore some physical realities that happen to the bodies of the deceased.
FACTS tell us that the body will fall apart regardless, and turn into dust, in some cases with nothing remaining, not even the skeleton.
Why, then, would anyone prefer to rot away slowly, instead of being turned into ashes quickly and cleanly?
or the 250+ other saints whose bodies are incorrupt.
If I choose to be “sprinkled”, that is not a sign of disrespect to God. I’m pretty sure God won’t need my ashes to resurrect me. He is all-powerful, after all. My sprinkles will be in places that I want my grandchildren to visit and remember me. Reading, studying, fishing...all good reasons to visit Mimi!
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy died in peace with his whole family praying around him, the clan's priest said Wednesday morning as the world mourned Massachusetts' senior senator, who died from brain cancer at the age of 77.
"It was a total surprise to me to see another world he was involved in -- the spiritual world," said Rev. Patrick Tarrant of Our Lady of Victory Church.
Tarrant, who was called to Kennedy's bedside late Tuesday as the senator was dying, said it was clear that Kennedy was ready for the journey that awaited him. He described the senator as "a man of quiet prayer" in his last hours. Full Text
I’m still ticked about him being buried in Arlington National Cemetery, where American heroes are buried. He certainly did a lot to undermine our fighting men and women over the year. I expect the day he is buried here will be a Federal holiday and the whole nine yards. Maybe he indeed made true contrition and reconciliation with the God he so often mocked before he passed. But I don’t think he deserves to buried in the cemetery where genuine American heroes are laid to rest. It just doesn’t seem fitting.
There are incorrupt bodies of Indian gurus as well (their nails haven't been painted however, nor have their faces been so made up and muscles tightened they don't even look dead). But, be it as it may, then there is little hope for the rest of us.
Thanks. That info on cremations was helpful.
This is what Wikpedia has to say about picture-perfect Bernadette
I think your argument with the picture is rather misleading, don't you think?
I would still consult your local priest, inform him of this decision and the motives, and listen to his advice.
Have you looked into the other 249 ;-)?
As Catholics we have a choice - the preference being for burial vs cremation. I believe there is a community of monks now offering burial in earth friendly boxes in fields without markers. "Dust thou art and until dust thou shalt return", be it sooner or later.
There are more than 249, NYer, and many of them are not even Christians. As I said, you have Indian gurus who are sitting in tropical heat and not decomposing. It has nothing to do with devotion or purity of heart.
My point was that St. Bernadette was exhumed, a wax mask placed over her head to make her look like someone who is just sleeping, which is pure deception because that's not what she looks like. Why does the Church find it necessary to deceive poeple with such nonsense?
We have no idea if Senator Kennedy had a deathbed re-conversion. We cannot judge.
The Church intercedes for the soul and leaves final judgment to God. >>>
And we are very thankful for this.
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
“I’m still wondering why she wasn’t put on the rack to explain catholic dogma to her.”
That old hag couldn’t possibly be stretched any further, could she?!;)
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