Can a catechumen burn hell notes to their ancestor?


This is your cross: It may not be possible to maintain a relationship with your parents. As it is written, “A man’s enemies shall be those of his own household.” Even so, pray for them, for perhaps they may yet be converted, for indeed the testimony of martyrs converted even some of their executioners. Show them due respect, but do not compromise your faith even by pretense. I know how you feel: my brother, whose Confirmation I sponsored, became an atheist and involved himself with various pagan rites and blasphemous entertainment. I pray and sacrifice for his return to the Church, but God Himself will not force him to repent. Fight the good fight, and trust the Lord to bring victory. Above all, do not delay your baptism on account of your parents, for you can’t help them until you yourself put on Christ.


With all due respect, you’re overreacting just a bit. I’m not seeing anything in this thread suggesting that he is going to have to cut off his parents forever. It’s not like they asked him to participate in human sacrifice.

Rutherford, please just go talk to your priest and don’t even read this thread. I think CAF has an unfortunate tendency to see every interaction with non-Catholics or anyone who doesn’t strictly follow Catholic teaching in the most negative light. I’m not going to speculate on why this might be, but if I were a catechumen or even somebody who didn’t know much about Catholicism, I would have been put right off the faith a long time ago by the nonstop doom, gloom and hell scenarios posted on here. I’m muting this thread myself now as I do not find it productive.


He said that they weren’t tolerant at all of his new faith. Yes, it is too early to say that he can’t maintain a relationship with his parents, but that is a realistic possibility.


Maybe he could write Catholic prayers asking God to be merciful to their souls and burn that after praying for them.
When you make offerings of food, make an offering of the food to the poor so that they may benefit from your largess. If you offer it to the poor on behalf of your deceased relatives then they will benefit also.


Muslim use headstones also, some specific sects of Islam disagree about whether they should be used but they are in general usage by most Muslims. Indeed, in this area of London many funeral directors make a point of noting they have staff who can do engravings in Arabic on headstones for Muslim customers. They won’t use coffins however which annoys funeral directors here as they can’t upsell these to them and there is no requirement a coffin be used under British law although funeral directors often try and suggest in a round about manner that there is. Flowers are a point where you have to be careful, as in some Muslim countries it is acceptable to use them as tributes and in others it is not. With Judaism, do not leave flowers on Jewish graves as it is not part of Jewish tradition. The Jewish cemetery near here has a great big sign urging people to stop leaving flowers on the graves of celebrities buried in the grounds. Yet people still do so.


Yes, I should’ve nuanced my post a bit, though my intention wasn’t to explicate Muslim burial/funerary practices. I know that whether gravestones are permissible at all is controversial in Islam, but as far as I’ve been told by dozens of Muslims all the various “sects” and schools of jurisprudence agree that they cannot be ostentatious. The standard caveat that Islam is huge and huge religions are difficult to generalize applies, obviously.

Flowers are interesting. I’ve been told that the prohibition on flowers has been reinterpreted by some Muslims living in the West as a symbol of sympathy meant for the survivors to see and experience rather than a token of homage to the dead, the former being an act of charity and the latter being seen as an act of shirk (idolatry). I have no idea how pervasive this new understanding is. I do remember when a Muslim neighbor passed away suddenly I asked his daughter who is my age what’s appropriate for the “funeral” and whatnot. She told me that bringing flowers is not customary though nobody will be offended if you do. It’s preferred, however, that you bring food and other day-to-day items for the survivors as there are strict rules about them leaving the house and being in public during the prescribed time of mourning. My deceased neighbor was also the only male in the family and the rules for mourning are pretty inhibiting for women to carry out day to day tasks.

“Funerals” in Islam really aren’t like our Western funerals either. It’s strictly a religious service meant to worship Allah and not to eulogize the deceased. Mourning is attenuated and if it gets out of hand the survivors will be escorted away. I was also told that widows are strictly forbidden from crying.


Its definitely true that it is very difficult to sum up faith traditions. Muslim headstones are not meant to be ostentatious but the British Museum has a collection of them which are incredibly over the top. Gold filigree and huge amounts of calligraphy and tiling all over them. Widows can weep, over the top crying or histrionics is forbidden. The general rule at a Muslim funeral is men stand in the front, kids stand behind and the ladies stand in the third row. I’m not sure how a Muslim would react to funerals in my own family. My mum’s funeral when I was a kid consisted of an open coffin funeral and the next day loads of relatives drinking at the wake and making speeches about her. The actual funeral was huge and the Church couldn’t accommodate everyone as it is only small as there were about 400 people there and her fellow nurses and doctors had chipped in for huge floral tributes and a horse drawn hearse and we had about half a dozen limos. I remember my godmother who was part Irish traveller made my father burn my mum’s remaining goods, except for select mementoes, as he was clearly sinking into massive depression. I thought she wrong at that age but being much older now I see why she did it.


On the thread topic here I think as Tis Bearself and others have said this issue is best handled by clergy more familiar with the culture and issues involved. There are aspect of the mourning practice in my wife’s tradition that western Catholics would find a bit different so people should be perhaps careful with this subject as it is very sensitive one and not as open to absolutist judgements as it might appear to be.


Im chinese. Best to avoid , even if you dont believe in it , there are consequences.


Typically the Christians traditionally would not have burned valuable items to their ancestors as it could easily have been seen as performing “sacrifice”.

But it’s common for them to do things like leave objects at graves like flowers and mementos.


This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit