Should I attend a gay-friendly funeral?


#1

An acquaintance of mine was recently killed in an automobile accident. There is going a memorial service at the funeral home later this week. There are no plans for a formal church funeral. My friend was not Catholic, and I don’t think she attended any other type of church, either.

At the time of her death, my friend was living an active homosexual life and her “partner” was also killed in the accident. The memorial service at the funeral home is going to be held jointly for both women, and will likely be conducted by a gay minister from a gay-friendly church of some sort. There will probably be many actively homosexual persons in attendance as well. Here is my question. As a devout, practicing Catholic, should I attend this service? I would like to be there as a sign of concern and respect for my departed friend, but at the same time I don’t feel it appropriate to participate in activities that might celebrate or affirm my friend or her deceased partner (or others in attendance) in their homosexual “lifestyles.” Does the Church have any teaching on attending these types of services?


#2

I suggest paying your respects possibly during viewing times during the day when there is almost no one there. That way you can avoid uncomfortable situations.


#3

Whenever I come across moral dilemmas like these, I try to use the cliched “What Would Jesus Do?”. Do you think Jesus would avoid going to a funeral service of a friend because of their sin? Would He choose not to associate himself with them?

I understand that your fear is that you would appear to be condoning the way they lived. But I think you would show a more Christian-like attitude if you went despite all of that. Going to a funeral service is hardly condoning the way in which the person lived.


#4

I personally would go to the wake, send flowers but most likely NOT participate in a service if it was openly promoting a homosexual “lifestyle.” My belief is such a friend (being deceased) would then understand why.


#5

I have to say that if my friend was dead this is the last thing I would be thinking about. God loves us all, and going to a Baptist funeral isn’t a sin, and those people are heretics! But seriously, some things are bigger than politics or heresies, like friendship.


#6

I believe the Church’s teaching is that it is usually OK to attend a non-Catholic service to show respect for those who died and support for any family left behind.

The following is my personal opinion. You have to make a judgement call. If this service is primarily to serve as a memorial to those who died then I would say it is OK to attend. If you have reason to believe it will primarily be some kind of celebration or promotion of the gay lifestyle then you might want to think twice about attending.

Perhaps you can show respect for your friend by making a donation to some cause that you both supported.


#7

Thanks to all of you for your feedback. Just to clarify, my primary concern in this matter is not whether my friend was homosexual, or that other homosexuals will be in attendance. I’m very sympathetic to those who struggle with same-sex attraction. My concern is more about the nature of the memorial service and what my participation means. Specifically, I’m concerned that the minister, who is likely to be gay, will be discussing my friend’s relationship with her partner in a condoning, affirming way, thereby encouraging any homosexual attendants in their lifestyle. Would my participating in such a service somehow make me complicit with homosexual behavior, which I know the church considers a mortal sin? Of course I care very much about my friend and her eternal salvation and I pray for her daily. I’m just unsure about being associated with affirming the homosexual sins of the survivors or the deceased. I appreciate the variety of viewpoints that have been posted.


#8

[quote=Weathergirl]Thanks to all of you for your feedback. Just to clarify, my primary concern in this matter is not whether my friend was homosexual, or that other homosexuals will be in attendance. I’m very sympathetic to those who struggle with same-sex attraction. My concern is more about the nature of the memorial service and what my participation means. Specifically, I’m concerned that the minister, who is likely to be gay, will be discussing my friend’s relationship with her partner in a condoning, affirming way, thereby encouraging any homosexual attendants in their lifestyle. Would my participating in such a service somehow make me complicit with homosexual behavior, which I know the church considers a mortal sin? Of course I care very much about my friend and her eternal salvation and I pray for her daily. I’m just unsure about being associated with affirming the homosexual sins of the survivors or the deceased. I appreciate the variety of viewpoints that have been posted.
[/quote]

Perhaps the suggestion that somone offered, that of going to the viewing and sending flowers, might be a respectful way that avoids the possible unpleasantness of the service.


#9

If you don’t have a problem with having an actively homosexual friend, why would you have a problem with going to the funeral?

Whats the difference between one homosexual person and a hundred?


#10

Go. Hate the sin;love the sinner. Go. Don’t think of not going.

John


#11

[quote=Weathergirl]Thanks to all of you for your feedback. Just to clarify, my primary concern in this matter is not whether my friend was homosexual, or that other homosexuals will be in attendance. I’m very sympathetic to those who struggle with same-sex attraction. My concern is more about the nature of the memorial service and what my participation means. Specifically, I’m concerned that the minister, who is likely to be gay, will be discussing my friend’s relationship with her partner in a condoning, affirming way, thereby encouraging any homosexual attendants in their lifestyle. Would my participating in such a service somehow make me complicit with homosexual behavior, which I know the church considers a mortal sin? Of course I care very much about my friend and her eternal salvation and I pray for her daily. I’m just unsure about being associated with affirming the homosexual sins of the survivors or the deceased. I appreciate the variety of viewpoints that have been posted.
[/quote]

I think that if any minister, gay or otherwise, were to use this occasion as an opportunity to encourage any kind of sexual behavior, homosexual or otherwise, then that minister would have far greater problems than his or her sexual preference. I don’t think you have to assume that a minister would use this opportunity to do such a thing.

If this person was a friend, go. Pray that she will rest in peace and pray for the comfort of any and all that were left behind. This, I believe is what Jesus would do.

peace and condolences to you.

Jim


#12

First of all, I’m sorry for your loss.

If you need to go to this funeral to find peace with your friend’s passing, then go. If you’re really uncomfortable, you might sit towards the rear, and if whatever the minister says you find so horribly offensive, you can simply slip out the door. Before you go, you might have your own private time, alone, and simply pray for the soul of your friend. Understand the minister is likely going to be conscious of the fact that there are people in attendence who may not cotten to the gay lifestyle, and I would expect that the “gay agenda” won’t be as prominent as you might fear.


#13

These are all such helpful, thought-provoking suggestions. I thank each of you for your opinions on what is obviously not an easy decision for me in an already painful situation. You have all given me much food for thought.

I think the post by SMHW most closely reflects my concerns in this matter. But the comments by trogiah and StCsDavid have reduced my apprehension about the minister using this as an opportunity to push the “gay agenda.” Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive in this regard.

The suggestion by Ianjo99 to consider WWJD is appreciated and had not occurred to me. In my opinion, I think Jesus would probably attend this service. However, I also can’t imagine him not speaking up if a minister stood up and, in the name of God, effectively affirmed and promoted homosexual relationships. Lacking Jesus’ authority and fortitude, I don’t know that I could do the same, or even if it would be appropriate for me to do that. Clearly I’m conflicted. And weak.

The Church designates “admonishing the sinner” as a spiritual work of mercy. I guess I’m just not sure under what circumstances and to what extent this work of mercy is to be practiced. I’d be very interested to know how others handle their friendships with active homosexuals.

Once again, God bless all of you for your insights.


#14

[quote=Weathergirl]These are all such helpful, thought-provoking suggestions. I thank each of you for your opinions on what is obviously not an easy decision for me in an already painful situation. You have all given me much food for thought.

I think the post by SMHW most closely reflects my concerns in this matter. But the comments by trogiah and StCsDavid have reduced my apprehension about the minister using this as an opportunity to push the “gay agenda.” Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive in this regard.

The suggestion by Ianjo99 to consider WWJD is appreciated and had not occurred to me. In my opinion, I think Jesus would probably attend this service. However, I also can’t imagine him not speaking up if a minister stood up and, in the name of God, effectively affirmed and promoted homosexual relationships. Lacking Jesus’ authority and fortitude, I don’t know that I could do the same, or even if it would be appropriate for me to do that. Clearly I’m conflicted. And weak.

The Church designates “admonishing the sinner” as a spiritual work of mercy. I guess I’m just not sure under what circumstances and to what extent this work of mercy is to be practiced. I’d be very interested to know how others handle their friendships with active homosexuals.

Once again, God bless all of you for your insights.
[/quote]

Sounds like a difficult struggle for you in several respects. I hope you make the choice that you find easiest to live with. I have absolutely no knowledge of you, your friend or the minister but I feel fairly certain that the issue of sexual orientation will hardly come up at the funeral, if at all. Death is the great equalizer and it is something we all have in common, even with those of different sexual orientation. I don’t know but I suspect that you will walk away from the funeral realizing that being gay or straight is less important than you thought before.

peace

-Jim


closed #15

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.