Can a priest decline to perform a funeral?


#1

Hypothetical scenario:

Suppose a convicted serial killer died in prison. There was no indication at all that the killer has repented. It is known by his records that he was baptised and brought up Catholic.
A funeral is then arranged that in a Catholic Church. Can a priest decline to perform the funeral, especially if it could cause public controversy?


#2

Per Canon Law

Can. 1184 §1. Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death,** the
following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals:**
1/ notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics; 2/ those who chose the cremation of their bodies for reasons contrary to Christian faith;
3/ other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful.
§2. If any doubt occurs, the local ordinary is to be consulted, and his judgment must be followed.


#3

It happened with John Gatti in the diocese of Brooklyn.


#4

Really? I didn’t realize that.


#5

[quote=divinefaith]Hypothetical scenario:

Suppose a convicted serial killer died in prison. There was no indication at all that the killer has repented. It is known by his records that he was baptised and brought up Catholic.
A funeral is then arranged that in a Catholic Church. Can a priest decline to perform the funeral, especially if it could cause public controversy?
[/quote]

[quote=Joannm]It happened with John Gatti in the diocese of Brooklyn.
[/quote]

As Phemie pointed it, Canon law allows for this. In some cases, such as in the case of John Gatti, the diocese decided to not allow a Mass of Christian Burial but still allowed a wake(outside of a church and very private) and burial with a Catholic priest present. In addition they allowed a Mass for the dead after he was buried. Often times the Church will do something like that. They will partially allow services to be performed but not a full funeral. Also, it is up to the local ordinary to make the decision on whether the person should be denied funeral rites.


#6

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