Irish Bishop bans Eulogies

Bishop of Meath Dr Michael Smith has issued the new directive to priests in his diocese, which includes most of counties Meath and Westmeath, plus parts of Offaly, Longford, Louth, Dublin and Cavan.

The bishop warned against "dumbing down’’ at Catholic funeral services, and emphasised that priests must uphold the "integrity of the Mass’’.

Appreciations or eulogies should not take place in the church, he says.

However, they may take place after the Rite of Committal in the cemetery or at a later stage.

The guidelines also state that secular songs, poems and texts, devoid of a Christian content are out of place in the funeral liturgy.

I have wondered what the norms are regarding this. I have often seen eulogies being done at the Mass instead of at the cemetery. It seems to sometimes appropriate to do so at the end of Mass (once Mass has concluded). I’ve seen it done that way and makes sense to me at least as many who are at the funeral Mass do not go on to the cemetery portion. In a recent example, the field conditions at the cemetery were less than desirable (very snowy and muddy) and the eulogy was done at the end of Mass.

The bishop is right.

Eulogies have no place in any funeral mass - not just Irish ones.

The funeral mass is about the death and resurrection of Christ, and is a message for all present at the funeral.


Lets not forget that the funeral mass is also about the soul of the deceased, perhaps that even takes priority of it being “a message for all present” (maybe by a long shot).

on the death of a radio presenter with 2fm in Ireland who regularly lambasted the church, U2 played songs all during the mass, as a sort of eulogy to the man, the whole mass lasted a couple of hours and Jesus seemed to take a distant second place in the whole affair. stomach turning stuff.
pity this wasn’t in place for that funeral.

Well said. :thumbsup:

Yep, the Bishop is very correct on that matter.

The American funeral Rite has a place at the end of Mass for someone to speak about the deceased. In the Canadian Rite, that same instruction is found at the end of the Vigil. I wonder if there is any such instruction in the Irish Rite.

The only mention of eulogies found in the Canadian Rite is in the instruction to the priest regarding the homily.

Can we assume that those supporting the Irish bishop in the absolutist position of no eulogy - despite the American’s ritual permitting a mention of the deceased at the end of Mass - have included in their wills and final instructions that no one is to speak about them at their own funeral?

A eulogy after Mass or at the cemetery would be appropriate .

God bless this bishop - we can only pray this will extend to this country.

While a eulogy may be an occasion of comfort to the family outside the Mass, the Catholic funeral Mass has its own element of hope and reinforces the Christian meaning of death. We have told our kids we want no eulogy at all, just many prayers and yes, it is in our final instructions. After death as we face our judgment, what good will any puny human accomplishment be to us then?

But that’s not where it’s placed in the American Rite.

Where exactly is it placed in the American ritual? Between the Prayer after Communion and the Final Commendation?

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I wish that the parish staff who provides all the info about costs etc. would also inform family members there’s no eulogy during Mass. In fact there should be something in writing, to explain why.

I remember at a funeral Mass for one of my relatives, as the priest began the final commendation rite, my sister stood up to interrupt him - “Excuse me, Father, we haven’t done the eulogy yet,” and she proceeded to the ambo. He asked her to keep her comments to 2-3 minutes – she had spent hours writing it, and spoke for 12 minutes. Too many Catholics “expect” to be given the right to give a eulogy. I’ve seen parishes allow time before Mass begins, and several speakers go up to eulogize.

I agree with the policy not to allow eulogies during the funeral Mass, and in fact I’m thinking of leaving an instruction that no one is to eulogize for me – I want prayers for my soul. My life beyond this world is more important than the one I’m living now.

I could almost live with eulogies if we could get rid of the power point picture tribute complete with deceased’s favorite song and big screen in the sanctuary.


wanting a eulogy is just pure vanity what does it matter what one persons opinion of you is, I have often listened to a eulogy that bore little resemblance to the deceased

General Instruction of the Roman Missal:

  1. At the Funeral Mass there should, as a rule, be a short homily, but never a eulogy of any kind.
    Bishop Smith didn’t forbid anything. He simply is enforcing the rubrics that already existed.

But when you are juxtaposing a homily and a eulogy, that is a direction to the priest. The priest may not do a eulogy, he’s to do a homily. That was explained by a priest at the funeral of a friend many years ago.

That doesn’t address the fact that, at least in the US, The Rite of Christian Funeral allows for a friend or family member to speak of the deceased at the end of the Mass, between the Prayers after Communion and the Final Commendation.

The Canadian Rite has that during the Vigil and we do our best to have it there – but my experience in parishes other than my present one is that the Vigil is practically unknown. I lost both my parents and there was never any mention of a funeral Vigil. I didn’t discover that ritual until I started being involved in pastoral care in my parish.

Maybe the Irish Rite doesn’t have that allowance in in any of its funeral liturgies. Without a look at the Rite there is no way to know.

What I do know is that in a community like ours, where many, if not most Catholic families have a non-Catholic parent or son/daughter-in-law, it’s very difficult to maintain a strictly Catholic funeral rite without alienating people. Sadly, that usually results in bad liturgy and an unwillingness to address closed Communion, resulting in even Protestant clergy receiving Communion.

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