The Kennedy Funeral

 

Canon Lawyer Ed Peters has some thoughts here on the Ted Kennedy funeral.  Distressingly the funeral had on full display the tendency of modern Catholic funerals to have eulogies that “canonize” the deceased.  I prefer the traditional Catholic practice of banning eulogies and merely requesting prayers for the soul of the deceased.  There are other venues to praise the deceased.  The funeral Mass is not for praise, but rather for the sacrifice of the Mass and for prayers.  A good post on the subject is here.

5 Responses to The Kennedy Funeral

  • I watched the funeral on Fox and was shocked and saddened that the intercessory prayers would be used by the Kennedy’s for political purposes. I wanted to watch the funeral as a Catholic in respect for the family and Senator Kennedy’s service to our country. I grieve with them for their family loss and wanted to offer up prayers for their family. But I was very disappointed as a Catholic that the focus wasn’t on the Sacrifice of the Mass in commeration of Jesus’ Sacrifice for us and prayers for Senator Kennedy, the deceased as he journeys home to his heavenly Father. The Mass for deceased is beautiful and unites us here on earth with the deceased and the hope one day we will all be together with our heavenly Father.
    May Senator Kennedy rest in peace.

  • It’s an all too common abuse of the purpose of funerals — and I think a particularly unfortunate one in that when people assure themselves prematurely the deceased is “in heaven now”, I can only assume that far fewer prayers are actually offered for the soul of the deceased.

    One of my father’s absolute directives was that there be no eulogies at his funeral and no presumption that he was already in heaven. (He’d wanted to hold out for black vestments too, but there were none to be had.)

  • Was it a funeral or a beatification?

    Watching Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press, I couldn’t help but notice that, at least in the eyes of Kathleen Kennedy Townshend, yesterday’s proceedings have transformed an understandable hope into a concrete certainty:

    MR. GREGORY: […] Kathleen, the imperfect part of his being was something that was very public, from Chappaquiddick to the incident in Florida in 1991 to other struggles.
    MS. TOWNSEND: Right.
    MR. GREGORY: How did he make–take stock of that in the end?
    MS. TOWNSEND: Well, that’s what–I mean, I have to say, I think that’s one of the great, important parts of the Catholic faith. We used to joke we were the church of sinners rather than the church of saints, and therefore you–we’re all sinners. And you can pray to God and say, “I–are you going to believe that I can make, make something better of my life?” rather than if you sin, you can never come back. And that is really what I think the Catholic faith is. And you saw that yesterday when the, the cardinals were there, the priests were there. There–they were saying, “This man is going to heaven, because he was there for the least among us.”

  • And you saw that yesterday when the, the cardinals were there, the priests were there. There–they were saying, “This man is going to heaven, because he was there for the least among us.

    Wow, just wow. I agree with the Ed Peters post that Donald cited earlier. But what a case this makes for denying Kennedy a Catholic funeral, or at least limiting the clergy to the celebrating priest. I’m afraid that KKT is not alone in her false connections and assumptions and that these actually serve to cause scandal. How many sensible and decent people of other faiths watching that broadcast walked away with a false sense of Catholic theology and may never consider the Truths of the faith because of that? It seems to reinforce the misconception of many Protestants about the Catholic faith concerning sin and forgiveness and the role of clergy.

    Mark Shea says sin makes you stupid, apparently leftist ideology makes you blind to sin and stupidity.

  • If I remember correctly, Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark in 2003 issued an edict explicitly banning eulogies at funeral Masses — save for one relative or friend who can speak for no more than 5 minutes. The ban was prompted by clergy complaints that eulogies were getting “out of control,” including incidents such as impromptu piano performances and Osama bin Laden jokes. I know people want to share memories of the deceased, but isn’t that what the wake is for?

    As Rick points out, if Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s remarks don’t provide proof positive that public scandal was indeed caused by the way this funeral was conducted, I don’t know what would. Perhaps people have forgotten what “scandal” really means — it doesn’t mean causing people to be shocked or outraged; rather, it means giving them the impression that something is morally acceptable when it really isn’t.

    Could the archdiocese in this instance have limited the number of clergy involved, or forbidden or severely limited media coverage of the funeral itself? There’s nothing stopping the Kennedys from having a big public memorial event or tribute on some other occasion.

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