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Are eulogies proper for funerals?

Full Question

I heard somewhere that a layperson cannot deliver a eulogy at a funeral Mass. Are there any circumstances in which it would be acceptable?


According to the Order of Christian Funerals, there is never to be a eulogy at a funeral Mass (OCF 27), although the celebrant may express a few words of gratitude about the person’s life in his homily, or he may allow a relative or a friend to say a few words about the deceased during the concluding rite (GIRM 89). The remarks must be brief and under no circumstances can the deceased person be referred to as being in heaven. Only the Church has the authority to canonize.

Contrary to common assumption, the purpose of the funeral Mass is not to celebrate the life of the deceased but to offer worship to God for Christ’s victory over death, to comfort the mourners with prayers, and to pray for the soul of the deceased. Relatives or friends who wish to speak of the deceased’s character and accomplishments can do so at a prayer service to be held in a home or funeral home or at the graveside following the rite of committal.


1 comment

  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    ” the purpose of the funeral Mass is not to celebrate the life of the deceased but to offer worship to God for Christ’s victory over death, to comfort the mourners with prayers, and to pray for the soul of the deceased.”
    I don’t get this. I understand that upon death, one is judged instantly and goes straight to heaven or one of the four Hells – probably Gehenna, formerly known as the Jerusalem town dump. Those in Hell are there for an eternity (actually, an “age” as the original word aionion really means), while the one who has made it to heaven is in no further need of prayers….. oh wait…. I forgot. There’s that Purgatory thing, where you just get scorched with the blowtorch, then they let you in and stip you of your free wil, and turn you into a blissful zombie. I guess prayers can move along the transition to full zombie status in heaven…. ?
    And where is this “victory over death?” Why are we having a funeral if there was a victory over death?

    Jesus didn’t sacrifice anything or really die if he was God. He knew he would not be permanently killed, so he didn’t really sacrifice anything, did he?

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