The Obama Eulogy

How is it possible that the President will give a Eulogy at Senator Kennedy’s funeral mass? The Catechism (1688) says “the homily in particular must avoid the literary genre of funeral eulogy.” And, section 1687 of the Catechism states that it is an "event that should lead beyond the perspectives of “this world.” Finally I am of the understanding that only priests and deacons could give a homily. The president has many opportunities to celebrate the life and achievements of the late senator (and I suspect he will focus on the Senator’s 100% NARL rating when it is politically feasible to do so). He remarks risks politicizing the mass. Have eulogies been permitted by non-Catholic politicians for other high profile Catholics? If so, are there any conditions placed on their remarks?

After 9-11, my music minister played funerals for victims in the Towers and on the planes and there were eulogies delivered there by other police officers and family members. I don’t recall anyone complaining about it then.

a eulogy is not a homily. Hopefully, the celebrant or another priest or deacon will deliver a homily…the eulogy is an addendum and is usually said at the conclusion of a typical funeral mass. This is not irregular at a regular funeral for Common Joe rather than Poohbah Joe.

  1. Only a priest or deacon may preach the homily at the funeral liturgy.
  2. A eulogy is not appropriate where a homily is prescribed (OCF #27), although examples from the person’s life may be used in the homily. The literary genre of eulogy is not a homiletic form. Rather, the homily is to “illumine the mystery of Christian death in the light of the risen Christ.” ([FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman PS][size=3]Catechism of the Catholic Church [/size][/FONT]#1688) as proclaimed in the readings.
  3. Excellence in preaching is of critical importance to the evangelizing task of the Church, especially at a moment when the faithful who live apart from the regular life of the Church may yearn for a message of faith and Christian hope.
  4. In the Diocese of San Diego, one speaker chosen by the family may offer a five-minute remembrance of the deceased at the Funeral Liturgy before the final commendation, especially if there was no vigil or wake service. The remarks are to be simple, brief, and prepared. Care must be taken to follow this. Some priests have found it helpful to see the text beforehand. Within the context of a liturgy, the tone should remain one of faith and hope.
  5. The Vigil for the Deceased is a more fitting time for individuals to share remembrances of the deceased.

The eulogy is avoided. This may mean that some situations are allowed. However, what I have seen while serving funeral Masses, the eulogy, if this is even done, is reserved after the Mass at the cometary where the burial will take place.

From what I guess from my experience, it is not appropriate inside the nave nor sanctuary.

As for a homily, yes only a priest or deacan can give a homily, no matter what term others may use. This is definitive, else it is a liturgical abuse from what I understand.

Is it clear when the eulogy will be preformed and where?

Thanks for the clarifications. I have been to many funerals and I just do not recall any eulogies. I some got the impression that the eulogy would substitute for a homily. I still don’t know if a Euology by this president is appropriate at this funeral service.

Senator Kennedy was one of the most vocal enablers and supporters of abortion since the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. Approximately 3,700 abortions are performed daily in the United States, which makes him complicit in millions of deaths–deaths of innocent children who never had a chance to take their first breath.

Senator Kennedy made the protection of abortion his business.

So, will the Catholic Church scandalize its faithful by the pretense that Kennedy was a “Catholic in good standing” and honor him with a funeral Mass? Or will the the Archbishop of Boston, Sean Cardinal O’Malley, stick with the convictions of his faith and do the right thing: Deny a funeral Mass to Kennedy?

This is not to say that Kennedy is in hell or that he does not deserve our prayers. Only God gets to make that call. However, it is a lie to pretend that Kennedy’s public life was not one of open opposition to the most basic right his Church stands for: Life.

Many, many Masses should be offered for the repose of Kennedy’s soul. The mercy of God is boundless, but likewise, His justice is rigorous. Pray for Senator Kennedy’s soul.

But does this man deserve to be publicly honored as his brothers were?

That truly would be a scandal.

For the 9-11 ones , the eulogy was usually given after the final blessing-so I guess you could say that the Mass was over and the eulogy wasn’t part of the service in those cases. However, I understand that there were a couple that were given after the homily. I guess it depended on the Priest.

All choices that he made regarding abortion is rubbish unless he did not confess. Just a kind reminder.:smiley:

May God Bless Sen. Kennedy.

God Bless

While I do not know the situation, saying a few words, not a full eulogy after the homily is done by some parishes. I believe they already have permission for such situations. As for a full eulogy, these are meant to be done after outside of the nave and sanctuary and after the final blessing as far as I know.

The ones I am familiar with, where the eulogy is done with full eulogy at the burial site in the cometary. This is definitely not possible in other situations such as on the plane. In this case besides very short words, I believe it is usually reserved till after the final blessing.

This separation allows for proper reverence of God’s sacrifice as well as the memory of the deceased without confusing the two or interfering with the two. In particular at a cometary, words and hearts are much more free and open and nostalgic from the reflections at the Mass and the solemn trip to the cemetary.

I understand that, but what my friend experienced were full eulogies, a 5-10 minute speech after the homily or after the final blessing. Usually they were family members, but in the cases of law enforcement victims, they were other law enforcement members or politicians. The reason I remember is that she always told me about how beautiful they were.

My point is that in light of the situation, the usual avoidance of the eulogy was put aside and nobody thought anything of it at the time.

We don’t know what his relationship with God was at the time he passed, and we should not attempt to guess. It’s clear that Ted Kennedy did not live a perfect life (which of us has?), but there are some things that I think of:

Think about him the next time you change jobs and can take health insurance with you (COBRA); the next time your kid gets a federally backed student loan or is able to attend school regardless of handicap; or maybe if you need time off from work to care for a dying parent or sick child; or if you or a loved one is saved by cancer by research breakthroughs funded by the federal government; or if your daughter enjoys playing athletics and finds that unlike 25 years ago, there is equal opportunity for girls to participate as there is for boys.

We’d have none of these without Ted Kennedy.

I’ve been to a lot of funerals in the last few years, almost all in Catholic churches. When my cousin who was a monsignor died, there was a eulogy given by another priest. There was no way it could have been called a homily and Archbisop Raymond Burke was the celebrant. One of his brothers was the editor of the Catholic paper here and there was one at his funeral. When my mother died, the pastor told my sisters and I we could speak for a total of 5 minutes. On Ash Wednesday my aunt was buried and her grandson gave a eulogy. Then I went to the funeral of a friend’s mother in the cathedral and he gave a eulogy. An eulogy? That’s doesn’t sound right, but the point is these funerals were at a variety of Catholic Churches with some big time clergy in attendance. You can’t get more traditional and conservative than Archbishop Burke.

Yes we would. He was one of 100 Senators.

Do you actually think his ideas were original?

Kennedy was a disgrace to the Catholic faith. Flaunting his “good works” is a scandal. The Kennedy clan is a disgrace. Worshipping them is idolizing sin and abortion.

His funeral is scandalous. The excommunication decrees of Kennedy and all of his fellow baby killing supporting politicians should be shouted from the highest roofs of our cathedrals.

They should be denied any sacraments until they publicly proclaim their adherence to Church dogma that life begins at conception.

He should be buried in the water where Mary Joe Kopecne drowned. You do remember that he killed a woman by omission in a drunken incident don’t you?

Eddie Mac

Be careful about judging. Remember Mathew 7.

1 2 "Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye?
You hypocrite, 3 remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.

Just looking out for ya:D.

God Bless

Having a funeral mass is a proper and sacramental thing not an “honor” like receiving a medal. Every Catholic in good standing is entitled to receive sacraments and to have a funeral mass and you are in no position to have knowledge of the state of Sen. Kennedy’s soul when he died. He could have repented of all of his sins on his death bed and received absolution and God’s forgiveness. I pray that is the case. Regardless of what came before that moment, he would still be properly given a funeral mass and whether it is a small one or a large one makes not a bit of difference. As has already been mentioned, a funeral mass is supposed to have a homily that evangelizes those who might otherwise never go into a church. Therefore, it would be a wonderful opportunity for a priest to speak about God’s mercy and His love for all from the moment of conception to natural death.

I did not judge his soul, and that is what the scripture quote is referring to. We, as Catholics, can and must point out where corrections need to be given. Kennedy’s stance on the unborn and drunken driving murders fall into this category.

Eddie Mac

These are my sentiments exactly.

I think it’s good to pray for his soul. But anything more than that is giving him too much credit.

mkingdomlvr, I think if you do some deeper delving, you will discover that many of his policies actually keep people mired in poverty and illness rather than giving them the tools to climb out.

When it comes to illness, many medical situations are hobbled by government involvement rather than helped.

As for equal opportunities for women in sports, that’s good, but it’s too bad that so many more millions of women have suffered abortions, either as the mom or as the dead baby, than have played on sports teams.

I don’t recall Sen. Kennedy ever being charged with drunk driving or with the murder of Mary Jo Kopechne. He may have been drunk, though he denied drinking and there is no proof that he was drinking, but there is definitely nothing to suggest that Mary Jo Kopechne was murdered or that she died in any way other than a tragic accident. To say otherwise, in spite of having no proof whatsoever, is just mean and falls within the category of bearing false witness.

Although Kennedy’s actions regarding abortion, while on the Senate, are utterly deplorable, he remains a member of the Catholic Church, a brother in Christ with us. Which is why his support of the culture of death is so scandalous and hurtful. As far as I know, no Bishop excommunicated him, and don’t forget in the last few months of his life, he wrote a letter to Pope Benedict XVI that was delivered through Obama. We are not called to judge if Kennedy left this world at peace with God or not, so Catholic funeral rites of the late Kennedy are not out of order.

We must not forget that Catholic Funerals has at its heart prayer for the deceased, and asking God to forgive the sins of the deceased. Personally, I would prefer to see the 7 Priests (I find the concelebration very distasteful, almost seems like honouring the senator) presiding at Kennedy’s funeral Mass don black vestments, and choose prayers from the Order of Christian Funerals that emphasised begging for God’s forgiveness. We can also bring in the Dies irae.

I didn’t like Kennedy’s politics or how he lived his personal life either, but we must remember that he did receive last rites so a proper funeral Mass is allowed to him. Even if he didn’t have last rites, I don’t recall the Catholic church telling people they couldn’t have a Catholic funeral. As Evelyn Waugh pointed out in his book Brideshead Revisited, we can’t turn away from his mercy, even if it’s not until the end.

The entire Kennedy clan with the exception of a few are poor examples of how a Catholic should live, but it will be God that judges them.

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