A Catholic Death


I’m not bringing this up to be morbid or anything, but it is a subject that I have not thought about very much until recently. I have just finished reading a series of excellent articles on FishEaters.com:

Sick Calls
Extreme Unction
The Catholic Way of Dying
Burying the Dead: Catholic Funerals
Praying for the Dead

Anyway, these articles are quite interesting. They made me reflect on how sterile and secular death has become. Perhaps that is partly why the issue of death has become almost taboo in modern culture.

What do you all think regarding this topic?


Thank you for the links, Caesar.

I remember that our priest was with my father at the moment of his death. I am so grateful for the prayers he offered on my fathers behalf at the time of his death. I arrived only moments after my father passed away, and I vaguely remember saying some prayers for my father with the help of our priest.

I only hope to have the kind of death my father had - confession, Eucharist, extreme unction only hours before his death, and the presence of family and a priest. What more could you want?


The author has a bit of difficulty keeping her own opinion seperate from Church opinion in on the question of cremation:

"For this reason, the bodies of our loved ones are treated with the utmost respect and, so, it is absolutely against Catholic custom to cremate the body. The 1983 Code of Canon Law (Can. 1176 §3) now reads The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burial be retained; but it does not forbid cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching. In any case, cremation is simply not traditional, **(TRUE, but that’s small “t”)**it sends the wrong message about the proper treatment of the body and its future resurrection (IN HER LESS THAN HUMBLE OPINON), and no Catholic should be cremated if it is at all possible to avoid the historically pagan practice. Catholics should keep in mind this, from Fr. John Laux’s, Catholic Morality (Imprimatur 1932): On December 8, 1869, the International Congress of Freemasons imposed it as a duty on all its members to do all in their power to wipe out Catholicity from the face of the earth. Cremation was proposed as a suitable means to this end, since it was calculated to gradually undermine the faith of the people in “the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” If one defies tradition and the Church’s earnest recommendation and does opt for cremation, or if one reasonably cremates because of the threat of disease (as was always allowable), the remains must still be interred at a cemetery; they can’t be kept at one’s home or be scattered.

NOTE how she says “if one defies tradition and the Church’s earnest recommendation” and “no Catholic should be cremated” (one more “traditionalist” who forgets that Catholics don’t typically set themselves up as their own mini-magisteriums). The Church actually says that there are several valid reasons that people may cite if they wish to be cremated, they may simply not choose cremation as a manifest denial of the resurection or of Church teaching. Any other statement, unless it’s simply ill-informed, is a bad-faith attempt to constrain the conscience of the faithful where the Church doesn’t attempt to do so. A Catholic, in good standing with the Church and with no harm to their soul, may choose cremation.

She has some good information on her site, but it has a slant and there is the unspoken implication that if you’re not her kind of Catholic, well…

God can call one’s body out of ashes and bone chip just as surely as He can create the world out of nothing and rise from the dead.


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