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Letters

Funeral eulogies

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 Contents - Aug 2006AD2000 August 2006 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Falling Mass attendances and liturgical reform - Michael Gilchrist
Liturgy: The new Missal translation: Archbishop Hart's progress report - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Music: Benedict XVI seeks a greater sense of the sacred in church music
Canberra-Goulburn: Archbishop Coleridge: Benedict's first Australian appointment - Anh Nguyen
Priesthood: Promoting vocations in the Melbourne Archdiocese - Fr Anthony Denton
Victoria-Tasmania: Continued growth in vocations at Melbourne's Corpus Christi seminary - Joan Clements
Teen STAR: Sex education for young adults: a pro-life approach - Jacinta Cummins
Does Wollongong's Catholic Education Office endorse dissent? - AD2000 Report
What makes a Catholic university 'Catholic' - Father John Coughlin
Scripture and Tradition: sources of divine revelation - Fr G.H. Duggan SM
DIY Mass: Redemptionis Sacramentum revisited - Fr Martin Durham
Letters: Tasmania - Justin Kearney
Letters: East Timor contraception pressure - Imelda Aslett
Letters: Pregnancy Support - Robert Bom
Letters: What Is The Eucharist? - Rosanna Sherman
Letters: Intelligent design? - Peter Barnes
Letters: Funeral eulogies - Greg O'Regan
Letters: Receive EWTN around Sydney by satellite for $495 - Ernesta Sculli
Melbourne: Caroline Chisholm Catholic library - Barbara Shea
Books: In This Vale of Tears (Winterbine Trilogy), by Gerard Charles Wilson - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: Land of Carmel, by Elizabeth Ruth Obbard - Jacinta Cummins (reviewer)
Books: SEEDS OF LIFE: Early Christian Martyrs - Julia Bakowski (reviewer)
Books: SNOW ON THE HEDGES: A Life of Cuthbert Mayne, by Helen Whelan - Michael E. Daniel (reviewer)
Books: Stimulating reading from Freedom Publishing
Reflection: The importance of early baptism - John Young

Recently a much-publicised funeral service for a well-known figure was conducted at St John's Church, Campbelltown, near Sydney. Funerals of public figures are well-attended affairs characterised by solidarity for the deceased and family. This occasion differed insofar as one of the five eulogists took advantage of his privilege to gloss over and promote the sin of homosexuality. In so doing, the eulogist challenged publicly the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding chastity and, it seems, without redress.

Clearly eulogies may be used inappropriately. Yet their insertion into Catholic funeral ceremonies seems to have at least tacit permission in spite of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM editions 1975 Section 338, 2003 section 382) which states: "At the funeral Mass there should as a rule be a short homily, but never a eulogy of any kind." It would be a grievous misinterpretation to imply that the phrase "as a rule", allows any flexibility to the rule. This is not to say that the Church opposes eulogies. They have their place and purpose in other situations but they have been ruled out of church rituals for the deceased.

The event at St John's should highlight the need to abolish eulogies at Catholic funeral Masses, in conformity with the GIRM, and to return to the raison d'étre for the involvement of the Church, namely to pray by the highest means of worship in its power for the repose of the soul of the deceased.

GREG O'REGAN
Farrer, ACT

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 19 No 7 (August 2006), p. 16

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