Things said at Funerals

From Matthew Archbold who blogs at the Creative Minority Report comes this reminder on the state of modern Catholic funerals:

Please Say This at My Funeral

He makes an excellent point. Perhaps the subject of what Mr. Archbold writes about is a sign of either political correctness or misplaced sensitivity, but it is also what I’ve witnessed.

There is no reason to assume that the deceased is already in Heaven. While that may be comforting to us, it may also be cruel to the deceased if they are in Purgatory, being there as a result of being insufficiently detached from Earthly desires and pleasures at the time of death. We as a culture dislike talking about sin, as if that makes us “judgmental” about other people’s behavior. We seek to avoid offending them. And in doing so behavior stands uncorrected and people perhaps wind up paying for it in the afterlife.

I have little idea what was said or done at funerals before, say, 1970. I do know that priests wore black vestments. Perhaps they focused less on Jesus’ Resurrection than is common today and more on the suffering and death of Jesus. I would imagine that Purgatory was referred to in a respectful and prayerful manner, so as to provide an awareness to the living about the reality of it, and some comfort to the loved ones of the deceased that people would be praying for their soul. I don’t know.

I echo Mr. Archbold’s request. At my funeral, I want the priest to wear black, and go on and on about Purgatory. Maybe the funeral home can have selected The Four Last Things blogposts printed out and stapled to my Holy Cards.

But don’t assume I’m in Heaven.

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2 Comments

  1. I never really considered how freely people throw out heaven And there’s also a tendency to make the deceased “angels.”

    Having just experienced the funeral of a very close friend, and very faithful family…I can note that at least in this case we escaped that….

    Good conversation to have.

  2. paulcoholic says:

    Thanks Maria!

    I am sorry also for the loss of your friend. Prayers ascending for the repose of their soul…