Lay people to preside at funerals in Liverpool

This is causing quite a stir over here:

The Archdiocese of Liverpool has become the first diocese in England and Wales to commission lay people to preside at funerals.

Archbishop Patrick Kelly formally commissioned 22 lay ministers to celebrate funeral ceremonies in an effort to relieve pressure on priests who sometimes must celebrate seven or more funeral Masses a week.

The move was announced through a brochure, “Planning a Catholic Funeral”, published recently by the archdiocese. The brochure described a funeral as the “community’s main celebration and prayer for the deceased”.

“This could be a funeral Mass but … it may be a funeral service led by a lay funeral minister or a deacon,” it said.

There’s a lot of reaction to this on the blogasphere:

Of course. There is not pastoral necessity. Even when "…some of our parishes in the diocese priests are being asked to celebrate over 120 funerals each year…”. Operative word is “some”.

Curious about so many deaths as well. 120…in a year?

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