Meath funeral rules bring criticism to the ACP

Following the statement by Bishop Michael Smith of Meath in regard to celebration of funerals, the Catholic Herald published a report under the heading ‘Bishop issues rules for funerals to stop ‘dumbing down’ of Mass‘ which you can read here:
According to the report the guidelines received some criticism, including from the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP).  ACP spokesman Fr Sean McDonagh said he “doesn’t really understand” the reasoning behind the directive. He added: “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.”
This drew some comments on the Catholic Herald website referring to ACP:
Predictably the ACP come out complaining – they don’t really like the Catholic Church any more.
 The ACP should stick to what they do best – wear flowers in their hair and watch The Golden Shot
 The ACP is a direct consequence of the false doctrine and of the New Mess of the Vatican II Church. You reap what you sow. And the Church has sown within Herself protestantism and Modernism. Don’t complain. These are the consequences
 Do you mind me asking why the Catholic Herald cites the heterodox anti-family pro-culture of death renegades of the ACP? ..any of their opinions are automatically null and void and should not be given any credence or credibility.
 ‘Any of their opinions are automatically null and void’. Opinions are not automatically null and void just because they come from those we disapprove of no matter whether they be whores, murderers, paedophiles, members of the SSPX or even the ACP.
I think I must not be a member of ACP. I never even heard of The Golden Shot. I had to google it.
In his statement, Bishop Smith said: ” … the deceased should not be canonized in the homily.”
This reminds me of a story I heard at a funeral (not in a Catholic church!):
Two brothers “had a bad name in the town” for all kinds of crookedness and crime. One brother died, and the other brother, Dick, came to the parish priest to arrange the funeral. He said to the parish priest: “There’s one very important thing I really want you to do at the funeral. I want you to say that my brother was a saint.”
The parish priest demurred: “Well, I’m not sure that I can really do that.”
Dick said: “Father, I’m not a poor man, and if you do what I ask, I’ll donate €100,000 to parish funds.” The parish priest said, “Well, okay, I’ll think what I can do.”
Came the funeral. The parish priest said in his homily:
“We’re here in the church for Tom’s funeral. We didn’t see much of Tom here over the past 30 years. His language was foul. He was a well-known crook and philanderer. He never paid his workmen what they were owed. You could not trust him an inch. But I must say, compared to his brother Dick, he was an absolute saint.”
Pádraig McCarthy

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    The Church is again distancing itself from Real Life. A tribute by a family member is usually very moving as well as very difficult to do for the person doing the speaking. People at a funeral want to hear something real and emotional about the deceased person and a priest is often not the one to do it as priests speak every day but it often sounds like speaking by rote, even at funerals.
    Years ago the women of a parish would prepare the body and local men would dig the grave before it became a money-spinner involving funeral directors and was taken out of the hands of people and made an official and remote affair.
    Funerals belong to the loved ones of the deceased not to the Church. The Church should count itself lucky that people still want to involve them in some aspects of the funeral but should watch out because it won’t always be that way if the Church is disrespectful to mourners.

  2. Association of Catholic Priests says:

    The fact that the Catholic Herald gives space and oxygen to views of this nature is, in my opinion, a problem not for the ACP but for the Catholic Herald.
    Tony Flannery

  3. maureen mulvaney says:

    Well said, Elizabeth. As you so rightly stated, “A tribute by a family member can be very moving” and also very necessary and helpful for the family at that time.
    At the moment we are facing a big problem. We have the clustering of parishes, and visiting priests who may not know the deceased person as a result will lack that personal touch that is vital at that time for the grieving family.
    On another note, I am aware of a difficulty that a parish experienced in trying to find a priest for that funeral.

  4. Willie Herlihy says:

    I have read 81 comments following the article re; Bishop issues rules for funerals to stop ‘dumping down’ of Mass.
    I am shocked at the sheer bile and vitriol emanating from some of the comments, the majority is vehemently opposed to the reforms of vatican 11 and the ACP. example: Do you mind me asking why the Catholic Herald cites the heterodox anti-family pro-culture of death renegades of the ACP?
    The Priests, who make up the ACP, are the Priests who are in touch with their congrations and not the pre Vatican 11 creatures, who still keep crawling out from under their Latin stones. They seem to me to be hankering after, the by gone days of the ONE TRUE CHURCH, when all we the laity needed, was contained in the Catechism, the Precepts of the Church and the Priest to talk down to us at Mass.
    I am sorry, but that will not revitalize the church for one simple reason, THE YOUNG PEOPLE ARE NOT LISTENING.
    1) The eulogies do not impinge on the Mass; as they take place post Holy Communion. If the diminishing church (what remains of it) was left in their hands, it would be extinct in the not too distant future. Do these people not see that the people in the 20- 50 age group only go to church at Christmas and Easter; consequently their children will not go to church. Or are they as the saying goes: there are none so blind as those that cannot see.
    2) To the Bishop of Meath and his ilk, the people of God i.e. the laity (what remains of them) do not have any input into the funeral Mass or any other liturgical service.
    3) Rome is still paying far too much heed, to the ranting of the people mentioned above and not enough to the good priests of the ACP.

  5. Brendan Cafferty says:

    Everything in moderation I think. Sometimes family tributes can be very good, sometimes less so especially if the person paying the tribute is not a good speaker or overcooks it.Same with favourite songs, it can be overdone at times, but what is wrong with a suitable one. Wishes of family can be important, I have been at one or two funerals where deceased in advance requested no eulogy and that was complied with.Blanket bans are not good, neither is a carte blanche approach.

  6. I think Bishop Smith’s instructions are absolutely correct and reasonable. The beauty/solemnity of the Requiem Mass is absolutely no place for a funeral eulogy or naff/secular music. The Bishop has stated that if people want a eulogy, though why on earth they should, I have no idea, then this can be done outside of the Requiem Mass setting. I hope Bishop Smith’s lead is followed by the other Bishops. Though I doubt it, as they are too afraid of the media bullies.

  7. I was at the Funeral Mass of a man in his 80s who’d felt alienated from the Church for most of his long life. A good man.
    The younger priest spoke well and beautifully of this soul. He’d made a point of getting to know about him and his family. I’d not been to Church myself that much of late to that point. In years past it would never have happened like that. It was one of the most beautiful services I have ever attended and I’ve been at some of the most solemn too.
    That young priest was to be commended to the highest. Did miracles for my faith if nothing else. A Church with a heart rather than one that would not have permitted the poor soul a proper burial in ‘consecrated ground’ in the past.
    To those who say that to be ‘naff’ and ‘secular’ – I say “Nawrf orff !”
    One man’s meat is another man’s poison. If all that ‘beauty’ and ‘solemnity’ moves you deeply – good for you. Prunes work for me.
    Don’t be so arrogant, so superior to take it upon yourself to judge the spiritual experiences of anyone else, especially at their time of deepest loss.

  8. Your jibe about prunes is cheap/vulgar/humourless.Try not to be so judgemental.Bishop Smith has a duty to uphold the beauty/integrity of the Requiem Mass. The vast majority of people respect this. There is no problem having a eulogy, but it does’nt belong in the context of a Catholic Requiem Mass. We are praying for the soul of the deceased and hoping that he/she will get to Heavan. Due to free will of course, entry is not guaranteed ; but we ask Gods mercy and sincerely hope it will be extended. In this context the introduction of a eulogy is literally a waste of valuable time.

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