Skip to comments.QUAERITUR: Catholic funeral for a Lutheran?
Posted on 12/16/2012 3:24:55 PM PST by NYer
My grandmother recently died. She was a Lutheran, but we, her descendents, are Catholic. Who, then, should do the burial? A Lutheran minister, or our Catholic priest? Thank you, and please pray for her soul.
Canon 1183.3 states,
“In the prudent judgment of the local ordinary, ecclesiastical funerals can be granted to baptized persons who are enrolled in a non-Catholic Church or ecclesial community unless their intention is evidently to the contrary and provided that their own minister is not available.”
In this situation, it seems the grandmother’s minister is available.
Since grandma did not convert prior to her death, it seems imprudent to go against her wishes and deny her a funeral in the ecclesiastical community of which she was a member.
Turning the sock inside out for a moment, we often hear of tragic cases in which a good Catholic person dies, but because the children are no longer practicing, she is denied the benefits of a funeral. Yes, funerals benefit the dead! The poor dead person might be given a prayer service at the funeral home or buried without ceremony.
In former ages, respecting the last wishes of the deceased was something that was sacrosanct.
So, unless the Lutheran minister is not available, inquire of the pastor about having the funeral at grandmother’s church. Go, pray for her (do not receive communion at the Lutheran funeral, even if invited), bury her.
Masses can be offered for the deceased, even those who are not Catholic. You can later have a Mass or Masses offered for her, even a Requiem Mass if your pastor is available and amenable.
Everyone, pray for the dead. Do not forget to pray for the dead.
What was her preference? It is sad when people don’t make these sort of personal intentions clear before they pass.
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Your grandmother would prefer a Lutheran funeral. When you die, you can choose a Catholic funeral. God doesn’t care how you worship him, only that you do.
The funeral is for the living. If you feel comfortable burying her as a catholic then so be it. Quite frankly I don’t care what the hell happens after I am dead, after all how you treat my body will have no bearing on my salvation.
I think everything Fr. Zuhlsdorf says makes good sense and is orthodox. They should respect their grandmother’s wishes. If she was Lutheran, then she should have a Lutheran funeral.
They can, as Father points out, also have a Mass or Masses said on her behalf at their own Catholic church. The dead person doesn’t have to be Catholic for that.
And they can all pray for her.
It’s too bad this priest’s otherwise good and wise advice was injected with this:
“... she is denied the benefits of a funeral. Yes, funerals benefit the dead!”
I’m not looking for a fight, but this is a clear example of Catholic tradition affirming something on its own, without any support from the word of God. I will readily agree that there is nothing said in the Scriptures about the proper rites of burial. There is nothing said, period. But to turn around in the face of that obvious and loud silence - silence! - and then confidently to attribute some kind of efficacy to funeral rites in order to comfort the survivors of the deceased strikes me as an accommodation to people’s feelings and emotions, and therefore their perceived needs (often just psychological/emotion) rather than to direct them to that which has the clear testimony of Holy Scripture, the confidence that comes to them from those plain clear testimonies of God, and therefore their real spiritual needs.
Proceeding from silence - no evidence - to affirm something rather than to proceed from certainty is a strange way to operate.
Just hope that those who plan the rites when it comes time to release YOUR soul show the same courtesy.
My soul is released to the Lord Jesus Christ; no ceremony of man makes any difference. I believe in honoring the wishes of the deceased, but let’s make that point very clear.
No ... the children did not say that. They did the proper thing and inquired as to who should oversee her funeral. The Catholic priest said that "grandma" should be given a Lutheran funeral.
Respect for her Lutheran faith should be given, and her funeral should be Lutheran.
BTW, Lutherans do not pray for the dead. Christ has saved them. No prayers are needed!
When my father died, my mother reached out to his side of the family and they had all started attending a Congregational church with a woman pastor. She was more then happy to preside over the service. My father had told my mother to do whatever she wanted, he was dead, it didn't really matter he'd already be gone from this earth. He even said if a Priest helps you, use him! While this is true, it would have been easier for my mom if my dad had specified what he wanted.
And as Christ himself said, “for God is not a God of the dead, but of the living.” For those who are dead to this world are alive in Christ.
II Maccabees 12: 44-45
“For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.”
In other words, it was in the Bible - until Protestants dropped it from their canon of scripture.
The saddest part is not that you most likely didn’t know about the verse, but that it was most likely prejudice
that kept you from knowing about the verse.
A prominent Lutheran attorney (who was married to a Catholic) was killed in a tragic accident with his son a few years ago in our town. None of the Lutheran churches were large enough for his funeral. His funeral was held at the Catholic Church, but the Tabernacle was removed from the room for the service. This solution pleased all, including the Bishop.
She’s with Jesus. Funerals are an aid to the living.
Well, hello again, Vladimir.
Truth be told, I knew about 2 Maccabees. I also knew it was the only place that Catholics could turn to for support.
The fact that in the Old Testament canon, as recognized by the Old Testament church, i.e. the Hebrew Bible, and in the New Testament, there is nothing about burial rites seems not to have left any impression on some. To me - and to many, many, many others it leaves quite an impression. Silence has no echo. I cannot hear what has not been said. To put it more plainly, where God has chosen to be silent, I do not see where it is our prerogative to do differently. God, I am sure, knows what He has said and not said.
Other doctrines are found throughout the Testaments and, usually, in several different places, New Testament doctrines often prefigured or foreshadowed in the Old. This is one that has no support elsewhere. Therefore I find it hard to believe that this is in any way important, since it is not so echoed throughout the Scriptures. I also know that, psychologically/emotionally, this is a useful thing to pull out of one’s pocket in a time of grief when the grieving parties have little or no evidence of faith on the part of the departed. But in that case, what is the purpose of the doctrine, to console on the basis of sure and certain knowledge or console on the basis of wishful thinking and convenience?
If you are looking to turn this into the debate about the deutero-canonical books, I am not particularly interested to participate.
“... there is nothing about burial rites seems not to have left any impression on some.”
It’s not about ‘burial rites’. It’s about prayers for the dead.
“This is one that has no support elsewhere.”
Not so fast there, Sparky: http://www.catholic-convert.com/wp-content/uploads/Documents/Onesiphorus.pdf
“If you are looking to turn this into the debate about the deutero-canonical books, I am not particularly interested to participate.”
I’m not so interested either. You wouldn’t stand a chance any way.
One more thing. You wrote: “Other doctrines are found throughout the Testaments and, usually, in several different places, New Testament doctrines often prefigured or foreshadowed in the Old.”
When you can show me an inspired Table of Contents, I might take that comment seriously.
My mother had her service all planed out and let the ministers know exactly what she wanted.
It was a wonderful gift to us that we didn’t have to worry about that.
“Not so fast there, Sparky: http://www.catholic-convert.com/wp-content/uploads/Documents/Onesiphorus.pdf."
Supposition. Hardly a foundation for doctrine.
The rest of what you write I will leave to stand on the basis of its own merits.
p.s. Sparky, huh? And you? Snarky.
That would be my take if she she went to church as a lutheran and there was some relationship there. If not then I am not sure. We don’t have enough info.
Catholic priests here only do funerals for baptized Catholics.
Bravo Father Z! Excellent answer!
According to canon 1193 Paragraph 3 they may provide one for any baptized person, if their own clergy is not available.
You were wrong on two counts: 1) what it is about (prayers for the dea) - which means you didn’t even properly understand the point but saw fit to prattle on against it anyway (typical), and 2) there is Biblical evidence which you apparently didn’t even know about and are apparently incapable to refute.
Except that it isn't, because 2 Macc merely documents what is Jewish practice down to the present day. It is also the common practice of all of the Orthodox Christian churches down to this day. Only Protestants are the odd men out.
Oh, and you ought to take a look at a translation of the traditional Requiem Mass. "Comforting the survivors" isn't a very good description. The executive summary is more like, "Pray for this person, that his sins may be forgiven and he may be released from purgatory and attain heavenly glory ... and y'all out there: repent, your day is coming too, sooner than you think."
That may well be what it says but it isn’t what our churches do here.
That is because they have lost touch with the original Catholic practice. Praying for the dead is scriptural. More than that, it is endorsed in Sacred Tradition. Jews pray for their dead, and always have as far as we can tell. It's the Lutherans and other protestants who're inventing traditions of men.
Yes, the lady should have a Lutheran funeral, if that is how she practiced her faith. Her Catholic relatives can and should arrange to have masses celebrated in her behalf.
Thats the common cliché. Like most such, its wrong. The funeral can bring consolation and closure to the living, but its chief purpose to commend the soul of the departed to God.
how you treat my body will have no bearing on my salvation.
Its a Gnostic fiction that the bodies of the dead are of no account or importance that they can be disposed of with little or no thought to dignified ceremony. The truth is that the body is intimately connected with our humanity and personhood. Were not fully ourselves without our bodies, and its for this reason that theyll be reunited with our souls when we appear before Christ at the General Judgment.
The body is not trash, to be disposed of as a thing of no lasting importance.
As a matter of fact He does, just as Scripture teaches.
A specious, at best, argument made by those familiar only with the abridged and heavily edited word of God.
Correction: BTW, contemporary Lutherans do not pray for the dead.
Christ has saved them.
Assumes facts not in evidence and a belief that is contradicted by Scripture.
No prayers are needed!
Again a belief contradicted by Scripture.
Yep, that’s her home church and family she worshiped with.
Thanks for your interest, guys, and your affirmation. You have confirmed something for me. When it comes to prayers for the departed (which, inarguably, is part of the Catholic funeral/burial rites) it always comes down to purgatory and, consequently, the deuterocanonical books.
This kind of “discussion” is going nowhere, unless we leave it at this: What the Old Testament (sans the deuterocanonical) and New Testament Scriptures plainly proclaim, and the three ecumenical creeds clearly echo and affirm, are truth. That I agree with whole heartedly, with hesitation or hindrance.
If you want to argue beyond that, go ahead, argue ... you argue.
In other words, you can’t make an argument. Yeah, we already knew that.
What’s to argue? You want to go beyond that which ecumenical church (the church of the oikoumene) agreed before the eyes of the world to confess in the three ecumenical creeds. Further, you want to call into question the Christianity, the faith, of those unwilling to go beyond those universally accepted creeds. Further, you want to heap snark upon all such in the belief, apparently, that that will accomplish something God-pleasing (or self-pleasing, intellectual pride being what it is - there may not be a difference).
Well, Vladimir, I do not agree with you. Furthermore, I question what your goal really is. I will leave it at that since the rules of FR prohibit further speculation on my part ... and speculation is what it would be since only the Lord Himself knows the heart of each.
So what happens to my soul the moment I die as a born again Christian? What if I am taken from the game is a manner that completly destroys my body?
“Whats to argue? You want to go beyond that which ecumenical church (the church of the oikoumene) agreed before the eyes of the world to confess in the three ecumenical creeds.”
False. The ancient Church affirmed prayers for the dead. Catholics and Orthodox always have ever since. Protestants never walked the earth until 1517.
“Further, you want to call into question the Christianity, the faith, of those unwilling to go beyond those universally accepted creeds.”
Again, false. I do not doubt the Christianity of those who deny some orthodox doctrines. I simply deny the orthodoxy of those deniers - as would be proper for any orthodox Christian to do. A simple perusal of the CCC would show that what I AM DOING is quite clearly standard orthodox practice in regard to the Christianity of the unorthodox. CCC 818 “However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.”
I do not deny your Christianity. I simply know you are not orthodox. You deny truths of the faith. You also don’t know history or the Catechism very well. Ignorance has always found a welcome home in sects.
“Further, you want to heap snark upon all such in the belief, apparently, that that will accomplish something God-pleasing (or self-pleasing, intellectual pride being what it is - there may not be a difference).”
No, I simply “snark” to get a point across. When someone is ignorant it should be pointed out to him. When someone is ignorant or foolish in the extreme they should be treated as such (Galatians 3:1). Would you expect me to treat you any differenly than St. Paul did St. Peter when he erred (Galatians 2:11)?
“Well, Vladimir, I do not agree with you.”
No, you don’t agree with orthodox Christianity. It has nothing to do with me. Orthodox Christians have always believed and taught the truth and good value of prayers for the dead.
“Furthermore, I question what your goal really is. I will leave it at that since the rules of FR prohibit further speculation on my part ... and speculation is what it would be since only the Lord Himself knows the heart of each.”
My goal is simple - to state the truth. I did that. If I slapped you in the back of the head when you denied a Christian truth, all the better. In any case, you were wrong. You were wrong about what the Bible did and did not say. You were wrong about what the Church always taught. You were wrong when you said, “you want to call into question the Christianity, the faith, of those unwilling to go beyond those universally accepted creeds.” Such glaringly ignorant statements - all made without a hint of proof as usual - should be opposed. . . and they have been.
If you subscribe to the Nicene creed, then you "plainly proclaim" belief in "one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic church". You ought to then believe in what that church teaches, whether you see it best expressed in its western or eastern forms ... both of which affirm prayer for the dead.
Or, to put it another way, the church that taught at Nicaea is the same church that teaches the efficacy of prayer for the dead, whether you think it survived better among the conciliar Greeks or the papal Latins. You accept the creed, you should accept the church that formulated and taught the creed. Not to do so is to pick-and-choose. (The Greek word from which we get "heresy" means ... "choice".)