This really bothers me about non-Catholic Christians! Funerals

This really bothers me about SOME non-Catholic Christians! Funerals.

Why do SOME non-Catholic Christians refused to allow their CATHOLIC deceased relatives to have a CATHOLIC funeral Mass? I have seen this a few times now. On one occasion, a life-long CATHOLIC friend of mine had a Catholic Mass, with the Bishop who baptized him and his entire family present, only to have his ashes later moved to a protestant church about a week later and have and non-Catholic Christian ceremony, where in this case the lady minister spent a great deal of time (3 hours+ total ceremony time) talking bad about Catholics. I finally walked out.

I recently went to a “Celebration of Life”, which I still don’t understand. It was in the banquet hall of a non-denominational church, which I don’t understand… And, the deceased person was a devote Catholic, and an older person… I knew her for 30 years (by way of marriage) and she was a saint. Her Catholic, more senior relatives at the “Celebration of Life” even said to me, “I don’t understand this, I thought she was a devote Catholic”, I shook my head and said “me too” . It’s not allowed but even if it were, I wouldn’t have a Catholic funeral for a non-Catholic person.

So, can somebody who has done this or has experienced this, please explain this to me?

In the most recent case, I believe that the children involved in this decision were all baptized and raised Catholic and then over the years, one by one fell away from the Catholic Church… Some because of multiple marriages and some, for who knows what reason, it’s their business but they all knew how “Catholic” their mother was, so I don’t get.

For my Catholic friends here,

At one point when I heard this was going to happen, I was going to provided my “Catholic two cents” and decided not to. Was I wrong in not interjecting myself into this situation?
I notified my buddy’s family in the first described incident and that’s the only reason he had a Catholic Mass.

What should one do in a case like this? Would you have interjected yourself?

Your thoughts?

As a side note: I have made it very clear to all of my family and friends that I want a Catholic funeral, not to be cremated, and to be buried in a Catholic cemetery. I have even gone so far, as to leave a sealed envelope with an old police partner that I would trust with my life, with instructions, as stated above. When he retired recently, he said to me “You still want me to keep that envelope?” He has had it for more than twenty years now and hasn’t opened it, I said “Yep”. He said , “No problem partner.” That’s my failsafe, I know that I can count on my old partner. I just need to “tip over” before he does…

Just a note: it is possible for a non-Catholic to have a Catholic funeral.

That said, there may be a number of reasons the family might choose a non-Catholic funeral. One is they may simply not understand the import. To many protestants the funeral is primarily a time for the living to grieve, as they do not believe prayers can affect the dead. So they may not see the deceased’s wishes as very important.

The family may also be opposed to Catholicism, for whatever reason. With the deceased not in a position to object, the family may override their wishes. The exact legality varies by state, and by what documentation the deceased left.

There are cemeteries devoted to one religion??

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This should remind us all to have someone we can trust in charge of our final arrangements. If your children/relatives are not practicing Catholics, do not assume that they will follow your wishes.

I don’t see in the cases you described where the family has “refused” to give their relative a Catholic funeral. (and in one case, they did give the relative a Catholic funeral)

It might be that the deceased told them it doesn’t matter…or didn’t tell them anything…and they are just doing the best they can or what they think is right.

How do you know the loved one requested a Catholic funeral and the non-Catholic/Christian family “refused”?

Did they tell you this?

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There are Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim cemeteries near my home.

A Catholic cemetery is blessed by a priest and will have Masses said for the souls of those buried there. Catholics are not required to be buried in a Catholic cemetery. Every Catholic cemetery will have some non-Catholics buried there.

Yes, below is a link for Catholic cemeteries in the Archdioceses’ of Los Angeles, with a description. -

la-archdiocese.org/org/cemeteries/Pages/default.aspx

There are also Catholic sections in public cemeteries. I use to joke with my kids that I wanted to be buried in a Catholic cemetery so that it will be easier for Jesus to find me… :thumbsup:

Here is the quote from the Catholic site I posted in my last post -

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The Cemetery, like the parish church and school, is a vital part of Catholic life.

The Catholic Cemetery is second only to the church in its sacred nature. Burial in consecrated ground, among fellow believers, is the final expression of our faith as Catholics and it is the sacred right, privilege and calling of every Catholic to choose such a burial.

Catholic Cemeteries have played a vital role in Southern California since the time of the Spanish Missions. Today, eleven cemeteries serve the members of our Archdiocese, each connecting us with our history and Christian ancestry. And because they are a responsibility of the church, Catholic Cemeteries ensure a high level of care that will endure long after that of cemeteries under private or commercial auspices.

There is a Catholic Cemetery or Mausoleum located within convenient reach of every Catholic family in the Archdiocese.

It depends where you are.

Around here? There isn’t anything close. I’m talking hours away.

Exactly.

It is hard to tell from the OP, if the family refused to have a Catholic funeral or if they just didn’t know.

You would want to make sure your family knows what you want. Not just for your funeral and burial. But for your end of life medical care.

Thank you for your post.

I appreciate what you’re saying, so let me see if I can answer your concerns with my previous comments.

I don’t see in the cases you described where the family has “refused” to give their relative a Catholic funeral

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They did.

(and in one case, they did give the relative a Catholic funeral)

That is only because I intervened and the protestant person involved made it a point to have another funeral and the minister seemed to be aware of the previous, Catholic funeral and she made it a point to make the Catholics present feel uncomfortable. I tolerated it for about 2 1/2 hours before I had enough and me and several other people walked out. … It was almost as if she was trying to convert everyone there to her denomination. She spent more time on that then on the deceased. It was very awkward and I thought, very inappropriate. Afterwards, I had a discussion with the minister and in the most polite and tactful way as possible, let my feelings be known and my concerns landed on deaf, anti-Catholic ears. At the time there were a lot of people upset about this. This particular person, when he was dying, asked me to make him a rosary, which I did and for a copy of the Imitation of Christ, which I provided for him. I spent a lot of time in the hospital with him before he died and we talked about his desires after his death for several months before he died. This was one of my dearest friends for more than twenty-five years and I miss him very much and so do my children.

It might be that the deceased told them it doesn’t matter…or didn’t tell them anything…and they are just doing the best they can or what they think is right.

NO, this was done on purpose. I’m not going to get into the specific details of how I know this, other than to say, I have been part of this family for thirty years, by marriage. Everyone one in the family pretty much knows how the others feel and there are a lot of younger adults 18-40 who were raised Catholic and then left the church and some don’t even believe in God anymore… It’s sad, it comes up every once in a while at family events, especially religious holidays and my wife usually kicks me in the leg so that I don’t get involved in the discussion.

They all know how I feel and they came to me several years ago to asked me to help make funeral arrangement for their Catholic (102 Year old) Grandmother, when she died. They did this because they knew the my wife and I and a handful of others in the family are still observant, Roman Catholics. They also knew that we are very responsible people. I worked with one of my wife’s, older cousins, another devote Catholic and lovely lady and it was a beautiful Mass.

They didn’t have a problem with that funeral, or at least they didn’t say anything, so I was surprised they didn’t ask me for help this time around. Then again, some of the other younger ones not only don’t care for their Catholic cousin Jim or Catholic uncle Jim, and some they don’t care for their retired policeman uncle Jim. Let’s just say we have had our disagreements, over the years regarding morality, lifestyle choices and the fairness of the criminal justice system, crime and the police and so on… . They all know where I stand on those issues, so I don’t get a lot of Christmas cards from some of them. However, I do get a call whenever someone is in trouble and needs help and I do everything I can to help them.

I may not be their favorite uncle or cousin, but they all know they can can’t on me and on my wife. I do pray for them as well and I always try to be friendly, non-confrontational and helpful and with the exception of a few hippies at the funeral, most of them were very friendly towards me there. I was happy about that. I was also happy that the non-denominational minister didn’t go after the Catholic church.

How do you know the loved one requested a Catholic funeral and the non-Catholic/Christian family “refused”?

Because I knew her, she was a devout Catholic and she was an angel. Everything she did and everything she said was an expression of her Catholic faith. Everybody in the family knew how Catholic she was. She was in her eighties when she passed. She is one of the Catholic relatives who were so concerned with her (102 year old) mother’s funeral being Catholic and called me several times to make sure it was going to be done the way her mother wanted it… the readings, the prayers, the songs and so on. . She was very happy with how that funeral turned out but unfortunately she wasn’t afforded the same curtsey when she passed on and that’s just wrong. .

I hope this helps.

Oh, I’m sure this type of thing is done all the time… but often it also happens amongst people of the same faith too. It makes me extraordinarily mad; someone’s last wishes should be respected as far is humanly possible. If someone is unsure if their wishes will be followed, they can make them a part of the will, or arrange everything ahead of time, if possible (this can be done at any point in someone’s life).

As to the “why?” I’m assuming it is the same for most things; selfishness. If a person doesn’t share someone else’s faith, and has their own, it can be a comfort thing for themselves to handle end of life issues in the way they are used to, or in the way they think is “right.” Everyone thinks they know what is right for others. As a less inflammatory example, open vs. closed casket. Someone may have requested a closed casket when they die, but after the death the family talks themselves into ignoring that request. It’s incredibly sad.

Usually with religion another layer is added. A non-Catholic may feel that a Catholic funeral is “morally wrong” for some reason, and refuse to give consent to one despite the person’s wishes. :frowning:

Making it part of the will won’t help.

The person is certainly buried by the time the will is read.

What makes more sense is to make sure that your pastor knows. Or to make sure that friends and family knows. Or, to name someone as the beneficiary to your life insurance that will do the right thing. (If you have life insurance.)

But when all is said and done, there is no guarantee that your wishes will be followed.

My personal favorite story is about three years ago my wives aunt who had been to mass in 20 years reached out to me to go to mass we went a couple of times. And a very kind priest (father nagle, holy family kirkland) came to her home and heard her confession before she died. She wanted to have a catholic funeral but her husband had it at a very conservative baptist church. Her younger brother was asked to read something she wrote during the service at the baptist church he opened a sealed envelope and it said “I am a catholic and will always be catholic” Then went into a longer letter how she loved going to mass a a child and the hard ships of growing up with 15 siblings and also the joys of it in a very poor home but loving home. It was kind of a shocker but no one said anything about it.

Part of the will can be contingent; so say there is an inheritance you can set it up where certain things must be met, and the executor can insure those things are met (of course the people involved need to be informed prior to the person passing). In short, I guess one could see it as blackmail, except it is a legal help to insure someone’s last wishes are carried out.

In many states, mine included, it is even easier than that, written and notarized last wishes for arrangements are legally binding. The bad thing is, most people don’t like to think of such things prior to their death, and that means no legal documents exist.

What I really think is that the family doesn’t bother to have a funeral Mass for their loved one b/c they truly don’t understand WHAT a funeral Mass is or what a Mass is at all. They don’t understand that the Mass is the supreme sacrifice and that the graces can be applied to that person’s time in Purgatory or even to the time of the person’s death. Many Catholics don’t believe in Purgatory anymore, and many are under the delusion that all “good” people go to straight to Heaven. If people truly did understand these things, they would not be leaving the Catholic Faith.

That would be very hard to do.

Here is the problem. The will isn’t read when someone dies. And sometimes it isn’t read at all. :shrug:

In many states, mine included, it is even easier than that, written and notarized last wishes for arrangements are legally binding. The bad thing is, most people don’t like to think of such things prior to their death, and that means no legal documents exist.

Many people won’t even talk about it, let alone put something in writing. Which means that there isn’t anything anyone can do.

It must be set up that way by the person themselves, and it does take time and money. You are allowed to set up your will in specific ways to be legally binding, even being read before your funeral. However, the more detailed and specific your wishes are, the more complex it becomes, but there are lawyers who specialize in such things.

It would all be better if the families would just respect one anothers’ wishes. :frowning:

Many people won’t even talk about it, let alone put something in writing. Which means that there isn’t anything anyone can do.

I guess that’s my point; if one’s last wishes are really important to that person, they will need to plan ahead, esp. if they feel their family will not honor their wishes. For a Catholic who wants to ensure a Catholic funeral, it would be worth the time, money, and effort to ensure their wishes are carried out by making it legal, or as legal as they can in their state especially if the rest of their family isn’t Catholic. The same with other religions.

I’m sorry but let me see if I have this correct…

I can be baptized into the OHCA church, receive communion at the Lords table all my life, profess the Apostles or Nicene creeds every week, and the people close to me don’t know my wishes? I have to have a lawyer tell them what my wishes are? What’s wrong with this picture? :shrug:

To the OP - I feel your pain brother!

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