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Hearing a homily about our belief in Christ and eternal life
52% (102 votes)
A eulogy about the deceased
48% (96 votes)
Total votes: 198
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Thank you for taking the time to take this month&#39;s poll.
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<p>
In this month&#39;s <a href="/eulogies">Sounding Board</a>, Father James Fields argues against long and inappropriate eulogies at the funeral Mass. Share with us what best helps you grieve and what you want to, and don&#39;t want to, hear at a funeral.
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<h5><a href="/eulogies">Please take our entire survey on eulogies.</a> </h5>
<p>
The results will appear in the November 2010 issue of <em>U.S. Catholic</em>. <a href="https://www.cambeywest.com/usc/uscpaids.asp" target="_blank">Order your copy today! </a>
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<a href="/poll">Take other polls here.</a>
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Comments

Submitted by Miss K. (not verified) on

The poll question itself reveals the bias - - is it supposed to be what you "get out" of Mass -- even a funeral Mass?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

Ideally, the life of the deceased as it applies to the Scripture that is proclaimed. Please,no beatifications!

Submitted by Joan KrebsAnonymous (not verified) on

Why shouldn't I get something out of every Mass? Why shouldn't we get something out of a funeral Mass? The very purpose of this particular liturgy is to offer solace, hope, support to mourners. In my book that's getting something out of a Mass. The big problem with "hearing a homily about our belief in Christ and eternal life" is one of "been there; done that." It gets worse the older I get and the more funerals I attend. If the priest's speaking links the life of the deceased to the tenets does that make it 100% a homily or 100% a eulogy? I don't see anything wrong with a priest delivering a eulogy in a homiletic setting.

Submitted by wsxyz (not verified) on

The very purpose of this particular liturgy is to offer solace, hope, support to mourners.
Not true. The very purpose of this particular liturgy is to offer the holy sacrifice of the Mass for the repose of the soul of the deceased.

Submitted by Flying Nun (not verified) on

To wsxyz: your comments regarding the "sole purpose"(s) for a funeral liturgy are myopic, at best, and untrue and unkind at worst. Funeral liturgies serve multiple purposes - the eucharistic celebration is one of them, but so is a homilitic reminder to those left behind about the mercy of God, and our eternal life. It is not up to you to decide if the deceased has earned his/her way into heaven. And, even as a cradle Catholic, I cannot believe that God is up there with a tally sheet counting the number of masses or rosaries offered for the deceased to allow him/her into Life Everlasting in His Presence.

You have severely limited the "scope and sequence" of the power of God, and boxed him in. I trust that our Creator is more merciful and loving than you seem to be in your conservative stance. At some point, your hardened sense of justice must be tempered by mercy.

I pray for the sister and family of the deceased that they come to know the loving consolation of God, and know that their brother will not be excluded at the Reckoning.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

The only complaint I ever hear about priests at funerals is when they don't mention the deceased in the homily. The comment always is that they pulled Homily Number 7 out of their hat or somewhere. It's viewed as institutional and insensitive. I agree but I also agree that proclamations that the deceased are in heaven, were the greatest guy/gal the world and probably on their way to sainthood are also inappropriate and inaccurate to Church teaching. There is another kind of homily I hate that I had to endure at my brother's funeral. He took his life while in distress over his wife leaving him. He couldn't see that it was the best thing that could have happened to him. He was on antidepressants 25 years ago and I suspect they added to his suicidal thoughts. The priest said that since God knows everything a person will do in life even though they have free will (never understood that) that He sometimes calls them home before they commit a sin that would prevent them from entering heaven. That was the last thing I wanted to hear, that God had him die by his own hand but not really because he might not have known what he was doing so that he wouldn't do something worse later. It sounded like b.s. as well as insensitive and insulting to my brother and his family. For what it's worth that's my personal experience with this.

Also for what it's worth, if you say that my brother is in hell XYZ I will have to go to confession for what I will want to do to you.

Submitted by wsxyz (not verified) on

The priest said that since God knows everything a person will do in life even though they have free will (never understood that) that He sometimes calls them home before they commit a sin that would prevent them from entering heaven. That was the last thing I wanted to hear, that God had him die by his own hand

That cannot be. Committing suicide is the exercise of free will to the exclusion of God's providence. That priest was mistaken.

It is, however, true that some people may die earlier than one would otherwise expect in God's providence so that they may be preserved from eternal damnation, but that could never be death by one's own hand.

As for your brother, anonymous, as I have said repeatedly no one can know if any given soul is in hell. While suicide is a violation of the fifth commandment and thus sinful, if a person is not in their right mind, or under the chemical influence, it may well not be mortally sinful. Personally I think the state of your brother's soul before he tragically took his own life is probably of more importance than the manner of his death.

I hope you often pray for him and regularly have Mass offered for him.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

I'm really not interested in what you think of my brother XYZ. The decent thing for you would be to not respond. It's none of your business how much I pray for my brother or how many masses I have said for him. Your comments on everything are the opposite of helpful. If my brother is in heaven and you get there too I hope he never bumps into you. If he does I hope he bumps you hard.

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