Cleansing Fire

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A Horse is a Horse

November 24th, 2009, Promulgated by Dr. K

According to the most recent St. Louis church bulletin, the Diocese of Rochester has changed its policies with regard to Funeral Masses. Below is a summary of the most important change, with added emphasis:

“The Diocese, under the leadership of Bishop Clark, has provided parishes with some updated Guidelines for the Celebration of Funerals. While most of those will not cause any change in our ministry here at St. Louis, the section on Eulogies will cause some changes.

The term during the Eucharistic Liturgy is being changed from Eulogy (recounting some of the significant events of a person?s life) to Words of Remembrance (brief insight into the faith and values of the deceased as seen in one or two examples from his/her life).

At Mass only one person may speak for 3-4 minutes and the remarks should honor the flow of our prayer and the dignity of the liturgy. The Words of Remembrance should be prepared before hand and should be reviewed with the presider before the service.

Others may speak such Words at the Wake where it is more appropriate to have the Eulogy or at the Committal service or the Reception that is often held after the services.

We call these to your attention so that there will not be unrealistic expectations around the Funeral Liturgy here at St. Louis.”

While I certainly applaud the diocese for taking a step in the right direction, this really doesn’t represent much of a change at all. To rename illegal layperson eulogies as “Words of Remembrance” is really nothing different than the diocese attempting to disguise illegal lay homilies as “dialogue homilies.” It’s not permitted no matter what one wishes to call it.

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

I think this passage is more than clear. Oh, but we don’t have eulogies, the diocese will claim, only “Words of Remembrance.” I hope the priests of our diocese will develop the backbone necessary to tell laypeople that eulogies are not permitted during funeral Masses. It seems like a very difficult thing to do; after all, these people just experienced the loss of someone close to them. However, the rules are the rules, and the rules say no eulogies and no lay homilies during the Mass. The time for “eulogies” is at the funeral home, at the cemetery, or at a meal if one is held following the burial.

Just because Obama did it does not make it OK.

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One Response to “A Horse is a Horse”

  1. avatar CPT Tom says:

    This may stiffen the spine some, but, I do not have high hope that it will change things much, as this change (like so many others) is not getting followed up with TRUE teaching of what the Church really says like the GIRM entry you mention.

    Instead we get a half step that will please no one that is built on sand, and if the Pastor or PA actually puts their foot down on solid rock (like the GIRM) they will only stoke up emotions at a time when emotions are already high.

    No, expecting gravitas from the Pastors and PAs is un-likely since the Bishop lacks the gravitas to lead the way the Church expects. Weak Teaching=Weak Catholic Identity=Dissidence and Disobedience.

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