16 September 2012

Some Less Good News

Countercultural Father has posted here about plans for the Archdiocese of Liverpool to have lay-led funerals.  Mac had posted about it earlier, but I'm afraid it slipped me by.  Ben also pointed out that courtesy of Part Time Pilgrim, he had found a copy of the Archdiocese's leaflet on how to plan a Catholic funeral here.

It's this last that worries me.  I get all of Ben's points about why a lay-led service is always going to be second best, but what surprised me was that the Archdiocese seems not just to be unaware of, but directly in opposition to a Catholic idea about how to bury somebody.  My source is the GIRM: the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, which is the Catholic Church's book about how to celebrate the Mass.

The GIRM has a section on Masses of the Dead.  It contains the following:

"The Church offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Christ's Passover for the dead so that, since all members of the Church are in communion with each other, the petition for spiritual help on behalf of some may bring comforting hope to others.  Among the Masses for the Dead, the Funeral Mass holds first place.


Pastors should, moreover, take into special account those who are present at a liturgical celebration or who hear the Gospel on the occasion of the funeral and who may be non-Catholics or Catholics who never or rarely participate in the Eucharist or who seem to have lost the faith.  For priests are ministers of Christ's Gospel for all."

While Liverpool has:

"The Funeral.  This is the community's main celebration and prayer for the deceased person.  This could be a Funeral Mass, but if the majority of the mourners would not be able to participate fully in a Mass, or if no Priest is available, it may be a Funeral Service led by a Lay Funeral Minister or a Deacon.  It cannot be guaranteed that all the deceased's wishes will be fulfilled, even where a pre-paid funeral plan has been arranged."

(NB, by the way, the use of capitalisation, and the order in which "Lay Funeral Minister or a Deacon" is set out.)

Another contrast comes between the GIRM:

"At the Funeral Mass there should, as a rule, be a short Homily, but never a eulogy of any kind"

and the Liverpool Rite:

"The family and friends of the deceased can be involved, if they feel able, in a variety of ways:


Speaking briefly in memory of the deceased person."

The leaflet is, it seems to me, scandalously heterodox, and I commend it to you all for meditation and reparation. 

Given, however, where it comes from and what it proclaims, it is worth highlighting something that I found hilarious.  It says that "the use of music in the various stages of the funeral is important, and carefully selected hymns and music will enhance the service, bring back memories of a loved one and provide consolation for the bereaved."  It points out that "some music (or words) which would not be appropriate for use in church may be better suited to the crematorium or cemetery" - not that Robbie Williams' "Angels" should not be banished from any religious celebration whatsoever, but just from the Church (or rather, church) part, if there is one.  But buried between those two quotes comes:

"It should be borne in mind that the Catholic Church has a vast library of music to suit all needs."

Indeed it has, and it is one of the great scandals of the Age that the people who wrote this leaflet have condemned Catholics of the last two generations never to have access to this Library, and have done their utmost to destroy it, and the context for which it was written, as completely as possible.  The irony that this has issued from the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King - Paddy's Wigwam; the Mersey Funnel - will not escape some of us.


Left-footer said...

Do you think they will allow "I did it my way"?

Seriously, this is scandalous. Thank you for pointing it out.

God bless!

Anonymous said...
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Gabby said...

I know that the Funeral Rite says "Homily...no eulogy" but that is directly related to the priest. At least in the US, the Funeral Rite provides for someone to speak in memory of the deceased after Communion. In Canada, that's included in the Funeral Vigil instead.

Mike Cliffson said...


Which it deals with the northern kingdom's exile, over 2and a half millenia ago, divine inspiration probably saw yuman mitts puting pen to paper as we now have it Greek period so a touch less....
Aint progress marvellous! We Catholics are supposed to make the Hebrews jelous(S.Paul), and, let alone the Hebrews, witness to the world we believe the body a temple of the Holy Spirit, (ruins thereof after death)....
Compared to attaining purgatory,(wherein Godsend a few prayers n plenary indulgences give me a helping nudge) let alone heaven, I dont particularly care if my own remains are unceremoniously thrown into a sewer to rot, or even return to the protein pool as indigestable soylent d.s.brown,
We's got ninetenths of the population to (+ or- re-) evangelize, if what we SAY
(from eg these fancy conferences about theology of the body, and quite right too,) is dignity etc,
and what we DO
says ONLY priority get rid of the excrement already with a little feelgood paganism to keep them plebs from grumbling

Is there a good prayer for St Rafael like there is for St Michael? Good For protection of marriage n that too, tho I associated it with schooldinner fish as a boy and memory gone bust.

Anyhow, St Rafeal, aid us !

Mike Cliffson said...

P.S. I hope the flippant tone does not scandalize, for private and personal reasons this news from within the church wounds, and the flippancy insulates a bit.

Mike Cliffson said...

Always forget Im on internet, this is closest to primary school memories, from a pageful
Father Tobit was the burier, of course bfore Raphael was sent

Litany in Honor of St. Raphael

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of Angels, have mercy on us.

Mary, Queen of the Angels, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, whose name means "God has healed", pray for us.
Saint Raphael, preserved with the good Angels in God's kingdom, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, one of the seven spirits that stand before the Most High, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, ministering to God in heaven, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, noble and mighty Messenger of God, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, devoted to the Holy Will of God, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, who offered to God the prayers of the father Tobit, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, traveling-companion of the young Tobiah, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, who guarded your friends from danger, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, who found a worthy wife for Tobiah, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, who delivered Sarah from the evil sririts, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, who healed the father Tobit of his blindness, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, guide and protector on our journey through life, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, strong helper in time of need, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, conqueror of evil, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, guide and counelor of your people. pray for us.
Saint Raphael, protector of pure souls, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, patron Angel of youth, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, Angel of joy, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, Angel of happy meetings, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, Angel of chaste courtship, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, Angel of those seeking a marriagepartner, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, Angel of a happy marriage, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, Angel of home life, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, Guardian of the Christian family, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, protector of travelers, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, patron of health, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, heavenly physician, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, helper of the blind, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, healer of the sick, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, patron of physicians, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, consoler of the afflicted, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, support of the dying, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, herald of blessings, pray for us.
Saint Raphael, defender of the church, pray for us.

Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world; spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world; graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world; have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O glorious Saint Raphael the Archangel,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:
God, you graciously gave the Archangel Raphael as a companion to Your servant Tobiah on his journey. Grant us, Your servants, that we may ever enjoy his protection and be strenghtened by his help. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Or was it, from http://www.sarahsarchangels.com/raphaelprayers.html
a version of this
Prayer to St. Raphael

Most glorious Prince, Archangel Raphael, be mindful of us and pray for us, here and in every place, to the Son of God.

O God, who gave your servant Tobias the holy archangel Raphael for a companion on his journey, grant that during our earthly pilgrimage we may always be protected by his watchful care and strengthened by his help.

Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Could have been this or another version of the chaplet here
which would be why I have the association of ghastly fish dinners.
All good devotional stuff, but not what my memory is looking for

Left-footer said...

Mike Cliffson - thank you for the prayers to St Raphael and for the link.

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