About burning "hell money" in a Chinese Catholic funeral


#1

According to catholicnews.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4112&Itemid=84:

TAIPEI, FORMOSA, (NC): The Bishops of Formosa have issued instructions to the clergy here regarding Catholic participation in traditional Chinese rites and ceremonies. A joint statement signed by Thomas Cardinal Tien, S.V.D., Apostolic Administrator of the Taipei archdiocese, and other Bishops laid down five rules:

  1. Catholics invited to the banquet which follows Pai-Pai may attend if they do not enter the pagan temple. (Pai-Pai is a pagan religious rite honouring a local god to which all friends and relatives of the person giving it are invited.)

  2. Tablets bearing the names of deceased persons may be set out, but without the use of the term "Lingwei," which means the location or place of the soul.

  3. Bows or prostrations before these tablets or the coffins of the deceased are permitted.

  4. Catholics may place fruit or other food before the tablets of the dead or before graves.

  5. The offering of paper money or the burning of it is prohibited.

Does those rules extend to anywhere, even the Philippines?


#2

[quote="mkdl_v17, post:1, topic:330429"]
According to catholicnews.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4112&Itemid=84:

Does those rules extend to anywhere, even the Philippines?

[/quote]

They would apply to anyone under the authority of the Bishops of Formosa.


#3

[quote="mkdl_v17, post:1, topic:330429"]

Does those rules extend to anywhere, even the Philippines?

[/quote]

Only your bishop can answer that. Why don't you ask him?


#4

[quote="mkdl_v17, post:1, topic:330429"]
According to catholicnews.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4112&Itemid=84:

Does those rules extend to anywhere, even the Philippines?

[/quote]

Pope Pius XII gave Catholics permission to participate in Confucian funeral rites.


#5
  1. On December 8, 1939, the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith issued a decree allowing Catholics to participate in ancestors’ veneration.

  2. This 1939 instruction, known as “Plane compertum est” was approved by Pope Pius XII. It declared that rituals performed on the occasion of funerals or commemoration for the dead are conducted to demonstrate honour and respect to the ancestors. It also stated, as a general acknowledgement: “Today, it is clear that, in the East, some ceremonies, although of great antiquity and originally connected with pagan rites, nowadays, on account of changing customs and ways of thinking, have come to have a merely social significance, out of respect for one’s ancestors…”

Read more here: catholic.org.sg/liturgy/bulletins/7%20-%20Ancestors%20Veneration.htm


#6

It seems that some articles from my diocese were cited here, so I thought I should give some context to them.

Pagan practices are generally not tolerated within the Church, as they permit and foster an understanding of the spiritual and divine that is incompatible with one true God. However, the Church recognises that not all outwardly ritual practices are necessarily religious in nature. As such, in seeking to expand the faith to the East, the Church has given allowances for Chinese to continue these cultural rites where it may be compatible with the Christian faith. This is especially so regarding rites of the dead as the Chinese place a particular emphasis on family ties and relationships, even extending to many generations prior. As such, there have been several decrees on this which seek to clarify as well as delineate what is or is not acceptable in the Christian understanding. The link Zekariya has provided covers most of the Church's declarations on this topic, so I shall not repeat them. However, the general principle observed is that it must be compatible with Church teaching, and must not give rise to nor admit superstitious practices that put God's supreme power into doubt. As such, only certain practices are allowed, while others are completely barred.

The article the OP cited was on guidelines of these practices as given under the canonical authority of the Chinese bishops for the Chinese. I can help to explain them:
[LIST]
*]Ancestral tablets inscribed with the name of the ancestor - This is similar to what gravestones or icons would do for the memorial of ancestors or saints, respectively.
*]Bows or prostrations before the tablets or coffins - Honouring the tablets as one would honour a gravestone, icon or even a photograph of a loved one, for that matter.
*]Placing fruits or other food before the tablets of the dead or before graves - Not something most Chinese Catholics actually do nowadays because of the likelihood of mistaking it as a pagan sacrifice, but the intention is similar to placing flowers on a grave.
*]No offering/burning of paper money - This is an explicit sacrifice in the Chinese understanding, and therefore it conflicts with the belief that the only such sacrifices may be offered to God, and this may only be properly done in the context of Mass. As such, it is completely prohibited.
[/LIST]

However, one must realise that these guidelines were intended for the Chinese in Taiwan, and may or may not be followed by Chinese in other jurisdictions. The Church in the Philippines is not obligated to follow the same instructions and may have a different set of guidelines. As such, it is preferable that you consult your bishop

TL;DR: Taiwanese Catholics may not burn hell money according to the directives of the Taiwanese bishops. Variations in such practices in other jurisdictions need to be discussed with the appropriate bishop.


#7

[quote="Zekariya, post:4, topic:330429"]
Pope Pius XII gave Catholics permission to participate in Confucian funeral rites.

[/quote]

I think you may have amalgated the two. Strictly speaking, he gave Catholics permission to observe rites honouring Confucius and rites honouring the dead. :p

Anyway, he did not specify whether the burning of joss paper was permitted. That was further elaborated upon by the bishops of Formosa (now Taiwan), who have prohibited it. :)


#8

[quote="Filii_Dei, post:7, topic:330429"]
I think you may have amalgated the two. Strictly speaking, he gave Catholics permission to observe rites honouring Confucius and rites honouring the dead. :p

Anyway, he did not specify whether the burning of joss paper was permitted. That was further elaborated upon by the bishops of Formosa (now Taiwan), who have prohibited it. :)

[/quote]

I stand corrected. :D Thanks! :thumbsup:


#9

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