In England it is becoming the default choice for dead people to have secular funerals with pop music. What are your experiences of these?
I find them horrendous. No room for prayer for a start. Secondly songs like ’ Imagine’ and ’ My Way which celebrate turning away from God.
Worst of all are the eulogies and such like. This person, a sinner like the rest of us, has died, and will be missed. But here is a close relative or friend, sobbing from the lectum, trying to paint the picture of a saint and bring that person back to life by words or poetry.
Christian funerals deal with reality of death, and look forward, not back like secular ones do.
Years ago a group of people from my church traveled to another state to represent our church at the funeral of a young man who had spent several years as an active part of our church. He died very suddenly in an accident involving drunk driving. His death was very sudden and traumatic for his family and friends. The impression we received was that he was not a practicing Christian when he died, but my pastor (his also during the time he was with us) was asked to preach the service. He did a good job. He didn’t try to preach him into heaven or anything. But there was also some of his favorite music played at the funeral. It was secular, and it expressed a secular worldview. So, this funeral was sort of secular but did have religious elements as well.
What was strange about it and what the church group I was with noticed was that when the family left the graveside our church group left with them as is customary. But there was this large group of young people, friends of his, who just stayed at the graveside, seemingly incapable of comprehending that he was gone. There was nothing remotely hopeful or redeeming in any of this for them. It was just completely tragic. The funeral that was supposed to give a measure of closure just could not give any comfort to these people.
That really illustrated for me the profound difference in a worldview that says God does exist and that there is an eternity for us all, and that God has a plan for everything-----the good, the bad, and the ugly-----in contrast to a secular worldview where even in tragedy and human brokenness, there is no redemption, no point to any of it.
Good topic. I think that the difference between “celebration” of the life and a “mass said for the repose of the soul” marks the problem. As I see it, we celebrate the life when they are still living. When they are no longer, we pray for their soul. And for their loved ones we offer hope and faith that we will see each other again.
I think secular funerals are almost useless. They don’t do much to focus on what death really is, and they only paint pretty pictures. People don’t like sadness since they choose nit to focus on reality.
I’ve been to one and I thought it was really nice. Very personal with lovely readings and sharing with those gathered to pay their respects. I thought it was carried out with great dignity and respect for the person who died and was designed to be a celebration of their life, which it clearly was. On the other hand, I’ve been to a funeral service, where the priest went to the home to gather information on the person who died, didn’t know him from Adam, and in the service went on about how important this man’s faith and church was to him. There was a suppressed snigger throughout because everyone knew the bloke hadn’t set foot in a church in 40 years.
If people want to celebrate my life (or say how much of a scoundrel I was) they can do it down the pub. I expect to be buried according to 1662, and there will be no eulogy nor any mention of me, except during the brief homily during which I hope the priest will use his memory of me to in some way bring those gathered into God’s embrace.
My sentiments, exactly. When I die, what good will it be to me if I was well-liked or accomplished a great number of things the world might admire. At death, it is determined by my Judge where I will spend eternity and I would rather have prayers for my everlasting salvation than shallow and pointless praises about the life I lived on earth. GOD k-n-o-w-s and we will be awarded accordingly.
As a Catholic, I am grateful that our funeral Mass has it’s own particular healing graces for the family and friends left behind. There’s no harm in remembering the sentimental and loving qualities of a person, and might help alleviate the grieving process, but I want NO eulogy at the liturgy. Remembrances would best be handled by the family over a cup of coffee the morning after!
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