Friday, February 23, 2007

No Sex Please, We're... Aussies?

New Sydneyside guidelines on liturgical eulogies -- one typed page, five minutes, no attacks on teachings/praise of "deceased's proclivities":
The move is designed to cut back on the number of long-winded eulogies by friends or family members at funeral masses, and to ensure the funeral mass keeps its main focus as an act of worship to God and a place for prayers for the deceased.

"On not a few occasions, inappropriate remarks glossing over the deceased's proclivities (drinking prowess, romantic conquests etc) or about the Church (attacking its moral teachings) have been made at funeral masses," [Cardinal George] Pell's new guidelines say.

He said the comments often embarrassed the priest, the family and the congregation and become the focus of the service.

The Catholic church in Ireland and most of the United States ban lay people from giving eulogies at funeral masses, but the church in Australia allows for a few short words of remembrance from a family member or friend near the end of a funeral mass.

However, Pell's guidelines, obtained by Reuters on Friday, make it clear the eulogy must never replace the officiating priest's homily, or sermon, which should focus on God's compassion and the mystery of the resurrection of Jesus.

The "words of remembrance" should last no more than three to five minutes, or one typed page, and should focus on a person's human qualities and faith," the guidelines say.

"The reflection should be prepared beforehand, and ideally be reviewed with the priest or presiding minister beforehand, to avoid undue length or embarrassing situations," the guidelines say.

The new guidelines say anecdotes, poems or songs, might be better kept for services at the cemetery or crematorium, or for a vigil prayer service the night before a funeral.
On a tangential note, two faithful friends of mine have been called home in the last week. Please say a word for their families in your prayers, in faith that those we mourn -- and all those gone before us marked with the sign of the same faith -- are experiencing the peace and joy of Paradise.... And that we, too, might join 'em there one day.