Church divided over ban on funeral eulogies

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTZOvrxJc_yl-ZexNMksHjQdR8nG5Fcom_rJ4Fe7OxdkJcGKou6THE decision to ban funeral eulogies by family members and friends in one of Ireland’s largest Catholic dioceses has deeply divided opinion within the church.

Bishop of Meath Dr Michael Smith has issued the new directive to priests in his diocese, warning against “dumbing down” at Catholic funeral services.

But while several dioceses contacted by the Irish Independent confirmed a similar approach, the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) was lukewarm to the directive.

ACP spokesman Fr Sean McDonagh said he “doesn’t really understand” the reasoning behind a directive to ban songs, poems and texts devoid of a Christian context.

“As far as I can see there is no way that eulogies interfere with the integrity of the Eucharist. Most of them are totally appropriate for funerals,” said Fr McDonagh.

“The essence of a eulogy is that you are giving thanks to the light of the person that you are mourning. I don’t think there would be a need to ban them in this way,” said Fr McDonagh, who is priest for St Columba’s boarding school in Dublin.

However, Fr Adrian Egan, of the Redemptorists’ Monastery in Limerick, who is also a member of the ACP, agreed that “the primary task of a funeral is to offer Requiem Mass for the dead and to ask that they will rest in peace. Everything else after that is secondary.

“I know what some priests complain about when they describe funerals that go too far. It isn’t a ‘This Is Your Life’ show.”

However, Fr Egan said that the majority of eulogies he had seen were “perfectly acceptable”.

Several other dioceses outlined their own interpretation of what should take place at a funeral Mass.

Fr Eddie McGee, spokesman for Down and Connor Diocese, said if possible the personal reflections of family members should not take place in church.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Raphoe said they followed guidelines issued by the Bishops’ Conference and anything of a secular nature would be out of place in the funeral liturgy.

Micheal Murphy, communications officer for the Kildare and Leighlin Diocese, said the diocese “does not have a published set of guidelines but our priority always is to uphold the dignity of the liturgy and thereby use appropriate scripture reading and sacred music for any liturgical celebrations”.

Rev Fintan Monahan, diocesan secretary for Tuam, said he wasn’t aware of a written policy in his own archdiocese.
“The normal practice is that occasionally, but not always, a family member says a few words of thanks to people after communion.

“Music, as far as possible, is kept within recognised liturgical norms and is discussed beforehand by the priest, parish bereavement team, family and music ministers,” he said

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About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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3 Responses to Church divided over ban on funeral eulogies

  1. I really feel that eulogies at funerals are such a farce. I wonder if anyone has attended a funeral where, what the dead person actually was, is spoken about. Only glowing tributes are allowed, where the dead person is referred to as if he/she was a sort of un-canonised saint; whereas in reality he/she was perhaps, really a demon.
    To those who have cared for me in my lifetime I have left clear requests; no grandiose speeches; just thank the Almighty that he put me on this planet to do what I have done with my my own guts and wits; and to thank those kind people who have been so good to me.
    I would like a celebration of my life; not a mourning of my death; so no speeches !!!!

  2. ralphpaulcoelho says:

    The ban is on eulogies within the Mass, between the entrance him and the departure of the priest after the end of the amass , after the last blessing. This has ways been so but is observed it seem more in the abuse than observance. Fr the reason behind this one has to go to the Constitution of The Sacred liturgy which has been re-issued with updates twice since Vatican II. Misinformation , that too by clergy, is to be decried. . R P Coelho

  3. does any one remember the funeral of fr Hugh Fonseca at St Andrews Church Bandra Mumbai, India. Our dear cardinal Oswald Gracias said so much in praise of fr Hugh, when in actual fact he did not mean what he said. There was a long exchange of mail with our dear cardinal..I believe these eulogies are all one big farce. may be those close to the deceased could say a few words.
    Any way Our cardinal’s idea is one need to be.
    “Thick Skin”

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