Sacrilege or not?

Actually, the Buddha is not regarded as a god. In fact, Buddhism is often characterized as a religion without a god at its center.


I’m confused.
Was the deceased person a Catholic?
Why were Buddhist monks included in what sounds like a Catholic funeral?
What did the Buddhist monks chant?
Was this after the Mass was ended or before?

I think we need some clarification of the actual facts here.

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The Person who had died was a Catholic.

The persons son is married to a Buddhist. The whole family are Catholic except for the son’s wife. She had asked the priest for permission and the monks then were allowed to chant (in their own language ‘Thai’) by the coffin, in front of the altar with everyone present. Then, the coffin was taken out of the church.

Sounds to me like a sensible means of accommodating her beliefs and including her.

For what it’s worth, this from Nostra Aetate (Vatican II Declaration On the Relation of The Church to Non-Christian Religions) on Buddism:

Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination…The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men.

Of course that doesn’t mean that we should start using Buddhist mantras during mass but it does mean that we should treat Buddhist and their beliefs with respect and, where appropriate, try to accommodate their beliefs in the context of our rites and celebrations.


I agree with Father. This sounds like a sensitive way of including the beliefs of an immediate family member of the deceased. I doubt the chants were anything bad.

If the priest and the Catholic family were all okay with it, I also don’t think it’s our place to be second-guessing it.


Let’s say I died and had wanted a Catholic funeral. Let’s say my son had married a Buddhist and she wanted Buddhist chants at my Catholic funeral. Why? It’s not a Buddhist ceremony. It’s injecting something non-Catholic into a Catholic rite. I don’t get it, I don’t care for the idea, I would hope that my pastor would say “no thanks”, but maybe there is more to the story.


I dont know what to think really.

It did shock me to be honest. I think i know which priest allowed it too.

I think it would have better outside of the church after the funeral.


I completely agree to this.

Historically wasn’t the Buddha a real person who went off in search for the meaning of life?

It occurred to me that I think the way non-funerals are done today is heartbreaking. Some family I know said the father died on Thursday. I called my daughter to find out if they were going to a funeral since they knew him. So, this was the second day. She replied, “He’s been cremated, and there will be nothing.”


Except that he’s not considered a “god.”


Why? On what occasions would we try to accommodate their beliefs in the context of our rites and celebrations? Are other religious traditions all of a sudden incorporating Catholic beliefs? Why would they?


I guess to me it could have been allowed at the graveyard after Father gave his final blessing but I am FAR from an expert.

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This may be the closest and only time these monks are near to the Blessed Sacrament. Who knows what effects God can stir in their souls? What I do know is the pull of the Holy Spirit is strong. It took 38 years after my baptism before receiving first communion, but all that time, when I would pass by a Catholic Church, a tiny voice, deep inside, told me that, if I could ever be a person of faith, I wanted a faith like the Catholics had. Since Buddhists practice interior silence, the kernal of grace they may have received in His presence may well sound like a deafening roar :slight_smile:


You’re not wrong. This smacks of blasphemy to me. Buddhism is anti-Christian. I don’t know why a Buddhist would be allowed to have a Catholic funeral in the first place.


Buddhists don’t worship Buddha. In fact, I believe they consider it wrong to do so.


Please see the post above.

Also, non-Catholics may, with permission, receive a Catholic funeral.

The person that the funeral was for, was a Catholic not a Buddhist. The daughter in law is the Buddhist.

I think that sounds lovely. I am sure it was comforting.

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I think it would have been much better if the chanting etc was done outside.


I had a Catholic family member (close) die within the past couple of years. He was Catholic, as was his wife. They had a Catholic funeral. Their Catholic friends came. Large family came, many of whom were close to the person who died, but who were not Catholic. The monsignor who conducted the funeral mass was very inclusive and allowed us to read things and say prayers that weren’t within the Catholic structure of a usual funeral mass. Granted, nothing that was done was “anti-Catholic”. It was all respectful. It was wonderful because, to a certain extent, funerals are for the living. It brought comfort to everyone there. It was inclusive. Sure, we could have all come to a Catholic funeral and sat through it without feeling like we belonged or contributed. But, by contrast, we did feel like we belonged, we contributed in a meaningful way, and we were able to pay respect to our loved one in the way we needed to. I think there is room for everyone. We should make the effort to work with each other in these circumstances. The alternative may have been many would not have come, because they have a dim view of the Catholic Church, for whatever reason. That would have been a shame.

Suppose you had a close friend or family member, who was Buddhist, die. You went to the Buddhist funeral but were invited to say a Christian prayer. Perhaps there were other Christians there who had asked to be able to say a Christian prayer, and the community welcomed and accomodated them. Don’t you think that would be a nice thing?

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