Archbishop Says Funerals About God, Not the Dead

DUBLIN, Ireland April 19 (CNS) -- Archbishop Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland, president of the Irish bishops' conference, called for strict enforcement of the church rule against eulogies at funeral Masses, saying they distract from the liturgy and can be offensive.

Archbishop Brady said his chief concern with eulogies is that they deflect attention from the sacrifice of the Eucharist and the consolation and hope that Christ triumphed over death and secured everlasting life.

"Such a practice distracts, sometimes seriously, from the sacred nature of the liturgy and occasionally may be offensive to the congregation," he said in his directive.

Archbishop Brady quoted the Vatican's Order of Christian Funerals, which states: "A brief homily based on the readings should always be given at the funeral liturgy, but never any kind of eulogy."

A eulogy is a formal speech praising a person who has died. Liturgists contacted by Catholic News Service said the provision in the Order of Christian Funerals saying that after Communion a family member or friend "may speak in remembrance of the deceased" should be understood as permitting brief, simple remarks, not a full eulogy.

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Archbishop Brady ruled out any such remembrances.

He said if the officiating priest "has fully consulted and involved the family in the choice of rites and texts most suitable for the occasion, he is well placed to deal with requests bymembers of the family to speak after the prayer after Communion. Such requests should be firmly, but sensitively, refused."

"The funeral is not a praise of a person, but a praise of God who worked through that person."
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Cian Molloy - Catholic News Service
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