Athesist funeral service


#1

Since my in-laws do not believe in “God”, per say, or religion for that matter , I am surprised to hear that my MIL has called a Catholic Church in her town so that a service could be said for her husband who died. I told her that we, (the Catholics) have already planned a mass in his honour for us in our own parish. She said we could have a reading said at this church. I don’t know what kind of service is said for a non believer in a church? Does anyone know what should be said or what reading is appropriate?


#2

Strange, but is she a baptized Catholic? Maybe her husband’s death has caused her to question her lack of belief. I don’t know how you can have a secular service in a Catholic Church - the only service I have ever heard of is a Mass.


#3

[quote="luvbp681, post:1, topic:243557"]
Since my in-laws do not believe in "God", per say, or religion for that matter , I am surprised to hear that my MIL has called a Catholic Church in her town so that a service could be said for her husband who died. I told her that we, (the Catholics) have already planned a mass in his honour for us in our own parish. She said we could have a reading said at this church. I don't know what kind of service is said for a non believer in a church? Does anyone know what should be said or what reading is appropriate?

[/quote]

that is between her and the priest, she is the next of kin
it is great that you are also having a Mass said for him, but don't get into a battle about this with her. These are enormous occasions of grace so don't do anything to inadvertently get in the way of the Holy Spirit who may be acting in her life.


#4

[quote="puzzleannie, post:3, topic:243557"]
that is between her and the priest, she is the next of kin
it is great that you are also having a Mass said for him, but don't get into a battle about this with her. These are enormous occasions of grace so don't do anything to inadvertently get in the way of the Holy Spirit who may be acting in her life.

[/quote]

This.


#5

I will third PA's wisdom!!!!!


#6

It depends on the funeral policies in your diocese, but that is something for the pastor of the church where the funeral is to be held to discern. As long as the deceased was not a notorious opponent of the faith, a Catholic funeral may be allowed in many circumstances.

You might remember that it is common to have many Masses said for the dead. By all means, have Masses said for your MIL’s husband (your FIL, I’d think?) At any rate, everyone else is spot-on: This is 100% the choice of the widow, and it is 100% the job of the rest of the family to back up whatever arrangements she decides on, provided she is not violating the strong known wishes of the deceased. This is your duty to her in her hour of mourning. She has a right to expect her wishes will be respected and supported.

This is a big deal. Tell her you were terribly mistaken, apologize to pieces, back her up, ask if there is any way you can be of help with the “real” funeral plans, and go to the funeral she chooses. She deserves that. She will have every right to feel deeply slighted if it is denied her.


#7

We will find out when we get there what service will be said, whether at a church or on the boat where his ashes will be tossed off of… As far as her wishes at a church, she is only doing this for us who believe in life after death. I will say my own prayers for the deceased and maybe one day she will ask about my faith or belief in God.


#8

You might want to alert your pastor to this part. He may find that it does not conform to the instructions given for Christian funerals, which remind and require us to respect the remains, even ashes, of the deceased.

the practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.

[Order of Christian Funerals #416]

Burial of body or ashes at sea in a suitable container, rather than scattering the loose ashes, is acceptable.


#9

I don’t think they are Christian. I mean, the OP is, but her MIL and husband don’t sound as if they are. And you can have the funeral or memorial and then go scatter the ashes. The OP and/or the pastor aren’t going to be able to stop the widow from doing this if it was the husband’s wish.


#10

Right, but as a Catholic they can’t be a part of the tossing of the ashes whether it’s a part of the funeral or not.


#11

I may have misread the above posts, but I thought that the funeral service will take place in a Catholic church. Therefore, it is a “Christian funeral” and subject to the Church’s laws. If the deceased was baptised and had not notoriously rejected the Faith, the guidelines suggest that he should be given the benefit of the doubt and permitted a Catholic funeral.

While you are correct that ‘you can scatter the ashes’ in that the Church will not physically restrain you if you spontaneously start to do it after the funeral, it is also true that scattering of human ashes is not permitted from the Church’s point of view. Therefore, if this is being planned in advance to follow a Catholic funeral service, it is surely polite to alert the pastor of these plans so that he can decide the most appropriate course of action.


#12

A water burial can be an acceptable means of Catholic burial, provided the ashes are interred in the water in a container that is weighted so as to stay at sea and not wash ashore later. It is not permitted for Catholic clergy to participate in a service at which ashes are scattered.

You might tell your MIL that it would mean a great deal to you (the Catholics) if she could see her way to do the water interment with the ashes still in the container, so as to ease your consciences. Besides, it has the advantage that the ashes cannot fly back into the boat onto the mourners or float on the water and cling to the side of the boat, which is not an uncommon occurrence when people throw ashes to the wind. Keeping the ashes in a well-weighted container prevents that kind of a mishap.

Still, it is her decision. You may not presume to make it for her, and if you have operated with that kind of presumption in the past you should not be surprised if she wants none of this. If you decide as a family to approach her, choose the family member with whom she is on the best terms to approach her.


#13

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