"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

So, while reading the obituaries in the newspaper this morning ...


The other day I was reading somewhere how eulogies and sometimes homilies at funerals speak of the deceased as being in a better place, praising the deceased for his works, his success and accomplishments, while extolling his fun-loving spirit, and so on.  Funerals have become a celebration of life, a minor canonization - because most people now believe everyone goes straight to a better place, heaven.

Some people complain about that notion.  For Catholics, that isn't good of course.  We need prayers after we are dead - so don't forget us - please.

On the other hand - the point of the post I was reading was that just being nice isn't the same as being holy - or good.  Bad people can be nice - that is true.  I'm not criticizing the post here, nor the fundamental idea of it, but I couldn't help be reminded of what I have noticed in the obituaries of late.  Indeed people are praised to the heavens, and they now plan and schedule really fun wakes - or celebrations of the deceased person's life.  Yet very few obits mention religious funerals or memorial services - just internment at a cemetery - and not always that.  Is it a loss of faith?  I don't think so - at least not always.

One priest once suggested that it was because baby boomers aren't religious, so they do not see to it that their parents have a traditional funeral - or, the deceased may have failed to provide for one.  Others attribute the lack of a religious funeral to a 'who needs it' attitude by people who think everyone goes straight to a better place.  Some see it as a great expense and a waste of money.  Some seem to have no need for the Church or a priest... yet they believe in God.


What to do?  Rather than worry about people confusing nice with goodness, or kindness with love - maybe priests should try to round up the faithful before they die, so they can prepare them for eternity, to plan and have a real funeral when they die, and arrange for prayers to be said for the repose of their soul.  Maybe if they welcome the 'ignorant' before death, even the ones who can't make the 'stole-fee' or measure up to the standards of perfection, maybe these folks would then feel more 'presentable', or at least 'eligible' for a Catholic funeral?

Unless of course, someone comes forward to protest and demand so and so not be given a Catholic funeral because he's a filthy sinner.

I wonder if that could be a reason why some Catholics don't have funerals anymore?  (Aside from the expense.)  Perhaps they are afraid they are not holy enough?  That they'll be rejected?

If that is the case, it's no wonder some priests can't figure out what Pope Francis meant when he said:
Ideology frightens, ideology chases away the people,” he stressed, stating that it is because of this that many are distanced from the Church. 
“It is a serious illness, this Christian ideology. It is an illness, but it is not new,” he said, recalling how the Apostle John alludes to this mentality in his first letter. 
Pope Francis then emphasized that the attitude of those who lose their faith in preference of personal ideologies is “rigid, moralistic, ethical, but without kindness. - Pope Francis

Be kind to one another.

People seem to respond to that.


  1. I'm making it explicitly known that I do not want "On Eagles Wings" sung at my funeral. If it gets sung, I'm gonna haunt someone.

    That being said, I have often thought of getting with the priest whom I hope will preside at my funeral (he's younger than me, so the chances are good), and collaborating on his homily. No "Larry is in heaven now, with all his loved ones" (unless I'm martyred, of course, or killed while leaving the confessional - pretty good odds on those two). I want him to say "Larry, on account of his blogging, is probably up to his lips in kitty litter in Purgatory, and God's about to release the diarrheic tigers, so let's pray for the repose of his soul, shall we?"

    Ah, by the grace of God...

  2. I think sometimes it's true that the deceased is in a better place; when people die after long or debilitating illnesses, I think it's fair to say they're in a better place as they've been relieved of their suffering on earth. That doesn't mean commentary about where they are now.

  3. Well, well, well - look what the cat dragged in. Hi Larry.

  4. Nan - I've heard you're usually in a better place after a couple of cocktails. What?

  5. I wish! Who has time for cocktails? I don't know anyone with chickens anyway.


  6. Here is another take on what Francis means by "ideology":


  7. (Lyrics for this post here: http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Hands-lyrics-Jewel/027EE7C09D7AEB86482568CD00322A02)

  8. ADTP - Please tell me what the initials stand for - I lay awake trying to figure it out.

    Some thoughts:

    All The Disordered People.
    All the dumb people.
    Ask the d--- Pope.

    I need to know. It would be nice of you to tell me. It would also be kind. And charitable.

    1. Why does it matter?

    2. I was thinking too, last week, when the post on Fr. Longenecker was published... perhaps it would be equally kind of you to give us a picture of you - an actual picture of you - so that your likeness could be reproduced and commented upon as a blogger sees fit.

    3. Terry, my guess is it means Profile Not Available, in Latin.

  9. Oh! Oh!

    One of these then:

    Addiction Treatment Discovery Program *

    Attitude Toward Disabled Persons *

    Will you send me your photo?

  10. A Twinkie Dies Proud.

    1. How about: All Terry's Devoted Poodles?

  11. Ate The Dead Pioneers

    It's a Donner thing.

  12. I think Owen is close - I was thinking, "Aid To Dependent Poodles".

    Although I think your guess is good Thom.

    I'll bet it's Latin though.


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