Emperor Franz Joseph also vetoed the election of Cardinal Rampolla because he had evidence that Rampolla was a Freemason. C.f. Martin, Malachi. The Keys of This Blood.
But is it effective, in your experience? I personally would think it’s weird if I went to a Catholic funeral (if I weren’t Catholic), and everything but the kitchen sink was thrown into the service. Maybe a true beautiful and authentic Catholic funeral liturgy (rather than a watered down New Age extravaganza) would be effective evangelization. Don’t people trust the church to know what is effective and meaningful?
After all you might get dissatisfied visitors some Sunday at Mass saying “Hey – where are the chanting Buddhist monks?!”
Well, I think there are two distinct aspects to the effectiveness question.
Are people thankful when the pastor tries to be sensitive and compassionate ? Yes, definitely, and they say it, and write about it to the parish council (and sometimes even send a substantial donation).
Does it bring them to Christ ? I have honestly no idea. I pray it can at least sow seeds. The rest belongs to God.
I am fully convinced that an authentic Catholic funeral is effective evangelization ; that goes without saying, and it wasn’t my point. My point is that when families come with specific (and to be honest, in some cases, weird) demands, then making a step towards them, if it is possible, is a good way of telling them that Christ cares about what they are going through.
I draw a line at explicitly anti-Christian content ; but, as long as it’s done respectfully, I have no issues with allowing a little place for one chant or one prayer from another religious tradition, if it makes truly sense for a bereaved family member.
Secular songs which are completely at odds with what we believe are another matter, and I have no problems with vetoing them ; these requests mostly come from people who are far away from any religion, and who are honestly clueless about what is acceptable in a religious context or not (never once has someone suggested them out of provocation). I try to gently direct them toward different choices.
Of course, the underlying question to all this is : what is the aim of a funeral ? A Catholic funeral clearly has the primary purpose of accompanying the deceased’s soul to their afterlife (I wouldn’t say the same for a Protestant service), but I’d still say the secondary purpose is to give the grieving relatives something to build on, to support them in their grief, to help them forge a new bond with a person who lives no longer in this world but in the next. And when your minister listens to you and takes your needs into account, that certainly eases the process.
It shouldnt have anything added or taken away.
I believe there is a third aspect. How many lost opportunities to evangelize properly to people, when pastors water them down with non-Catholic content? Doesn’t that imply that the Catholic content doesn’t matter? What message does that send? When people are pandered to, it might comfort one, or a few, people, but how many people leave the funeral confused or upset? (see the original post - - seems confused and upset to me. Which I would be as well!). I won’t pretend to know, but what does Our Lord think when people would bring in non-Christian prayers / chant / ritual? I think that is worth asking, don’t you?
As to “What is the aim of a Catholic funeral?” - - your answer is interesting - - “accompanying the deceased’s soul to their afterlife”. Honestly - - that sounds a bit off to me.
I have cut and pasted the relevant section from the Catechism, in the next post.
THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
OTHER LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS
 All the sacraments, and principally those of Christian initiation, have as their goal the last Passover of the child of God which, through death, leads him into the life of the Kingdom. Then what he confessed in faith and hope will be fulfilled: "I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come."184
I. THE CHRISTIAN’S LAST PASSOVER
 The Christian meaning of death is revealed in the light of the Paschal mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ in whom resides our only hope. The Christian who dies in Christ Jesus is "away from the body and at home with the Lord."185
1682 For the Christian the day of death inaugurates, at the end of his sacramental life , the fulfillment of his new birth begun at Baptism, the definitive “conformity” to “the image of the Son” conferred by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and participation in the feast of the Kingdom which was anticipated in the Eucharist- even if final purifications are still necessary for him in order to be clothed with the nuptial garment.
 The Church who, as Mother, has borne the Christian sacramentally in her womb during his earthly pilgrimage, accompanies him at his journey’s end, in order to surrender him “into the Father’s hands.” She offers to the Father, in Christ, the child of his grace, and she commits to the earth, in hope, the seed of the body that will rise in glory.186 This offering is fully celebrated in the Eucharistic sacrifice; the blessings before and after Mass are sacramentals.
Continued in next post:
II. THE CELEBRATION OF FUNERALS
1684 The Christian funeral is a liturgical celebration of the Church. The ministry of the Church in this instance aims at expressing efficacious communion with the deceased , at the participation in that communion of the community gathered for the funeral, and at the proclamation of eternal life to the community.
1685 The different funeral rites express the Paschal character of Christian death and are in keeping with the situations and traditions of each region, even as to the color of the liturgical vestments worn.187
1686 The Order of Christian Funerals (Ordo exsequiarum) of the Roman liturgy gives three types of funeral celebrations, corresponding to the three places in which they are conducted (the home, the church, and the cemetery), and according to the importance attached to them by the family, local customs, the culture, and popular piety. This order of celebration is common to all the liturgical traditions and comprises four principal elements:
1687 The greeting of the community . A greeting of faith begins the celebration. Relatives and friends of the deceased are welcomed with a word of “consolation” (in the New Testament sense of the Holy Spirit’s power in hope).188 The community assembling in prayer also awaits the “words of eternal life.” The death of a member of the community (or the anniversary of a death, or the seventh or thirtieth day after death) is an event that should lead beyond the perspectives of “this world” and should draw the faithful into the true perspective of faith in the risen Christ.
1688 The liturgy of the Word during funerals demands very careful preparation because the assembly present for the funeral may include some faithful who rarely attend the liturgy, and friends of the deceased who are not Christians. The homily in particular must "avoid the literary genre of funeral eulogy"189 and illumine the mystery of Christian death in the light of the risen Christ.
** The Eucharistic Sacrifice . When the celebration takes place in church the Eucharist is the heart of the Paschal reality of Christian death.190 In the Eucharist, the Church expresses her efficacious communion with the departed: offering to the Father in the Holy Spirit the sacrifice of the death and resurrection of Christ, she asks to purify his child of his sins and their consequences, and to admit him to the Paschal fullness of the table of the Kingdom.191 It is by the Eucharist thus celebrated that the community of the faithful, especially the family of the deceased, learn to live in communion with the one who “has fallen asleep in the Lord,” by communicating in the Body of Christ of which he is a living member and, then, by praying for him and with him.
 A farewell to the deceased is his final “commendation to God” by the Church. It is "the last farewell by which the Christian community greets one of its members before his body is brought to its tomb."192 The Byzantine tradition expresses this by the kiss of farewell to the deceased:
Two things on this :
- I’m not a Catholic priest (that’s stated in my profile, if I got that right).
- I certainly wouldn’t water down anybody with non-Christian content. When someone asks for a Christian funeral, they absolutely should get the “whole package”, if I may say so. But, as I said in my last post, I can make way for one (underlying the one here, in case it doesn’t show) expression of a different faith (ie one prayer, one reading, one chant, and not too long), if and only if it makes sense for the close family.
This is exactly what I’m talking about when I say : “A Catholic funeral clearly has the primary purpose of accompanying the deceased’s soul to their afterlife”.
Many of the answers we have are due to a misconception of Buddhism. Buddhists do not worship a pagan god. Their spirituality is basically pantheistic which sees a spirit of godliness permeating the whole universe. Although generally regarded as a religion, Buddhism is more a form of philosophy and meditative practice.
The Catholic Church damns Buddhism with faint praise by calling it “a practice unnecessary for salvation” - the same epithet applied to astrology and tea leaf reading. There are many who feel that Buddhist philosophy is compatible with Christian belief although whether it is appropriate at the end of a funeral Mass is another matter.
At the funeral of St John Paul II, there was an interval in the Mass where there was Byzantine chanting and ritual over the coffin. 500 years earlier, that would have been unthinkable.
I have heard that Christianity and Buddhism are quite compatible but i dont think the 2 should meet in Gods house.
But, isn’t Buddhism pagan?
After reading this thread I think I need to specify that I want an EF funeral. Then I don’t have to worry about what anyone would request or what a priest might approve!
What does that mean
It’s the old version of the Mass, in Latin, using the instructions from 1962. No Buddhist chants allowed at Latin Mass, or any other funny business…
It’s run by a group called The FSSP, they are in union with the pope and their local bishops. You can find their parishes or Masses here:
Thank you for explaing that
Thanks for posting this thread – it’s been very interesting to read all the responses!
Requiem masses are really beautiful too. I walked on one accidentally last week when I showed up early for confession. It was the first I’d ever seen.
I aim to be at mine!
The EF is not “run” by the FSSP. The EF is practiced by the FSSP among many other valid priests, parishes, diocese and groups.
You just have to specify what you want at your funeral. I’d like Gregorian chant. The EF is not needed for that, just competent singers. If I can’t have that, I’ll specify a quiet, spoken Mass.
What if I have in-laws that ask for weird things, and the priest wants to accommodate them though?