Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Funerals are not a celebration

There's been a bit of coverage in the media lately about secular songs being played at funerals. 

The guidelines for Catholic funerals state they should not include secular songs, as they are not meant to be a celebraton of a person's life, but a reflection on our Lord Jesus Christ.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I agree that funerals should focus on Christ. And if people don't get reminded of eternal life at funerals, some people may never have to think of eternal life at all. Plus, the Mass is probably not the best place to play your favourite footy song. Much as I would love to hear Bon Jovi songs at my funeral, I don't know that it would really suit a funeral Mass. (Actually, I just realised I wouldn't actually be hearing the songs as I'd be dead.) Okay, much as I would like to torture people by making them listening to Bon Jovi songs even after I'm dead...

Yet at the same time, even though the Catholic Church says funerals should not be a celebration of a person's life, people do usually go to a funeral usually to remember a person. And one way of doing that is by playing certain songs. It seems a bit sad that people may hear songs at a funeral that mean nothing in term of the deceased's life. As Bishop Tomlinson says, a wake or family gathering outside the church may be a good place to have these types of things.However, a lot of people may only attend the funeral and not any informal gathering afterwards. It would be nice to think that there is something there to help them remember the person.

Anyway, I'm still not decided whether it's a good thing or a bad thing. What does everyone else think?

Here are some of the recent articles on the Catholic Church's stance on funerals:

Funerals Should Not be Celebrations - 3AW
Chrch Drops Ball of Funerals - Geelong Advertiser
Funerals No Longer a Celebration of Life in Catholic Church - PM
Funeral March: the day the music died - ABC

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