This story has appeared on a few blogs already, so it might as well appear here too: “Bishop issues rules for funerals to stop ‘dumbing down’ of Mass.”

I suspect there are few priests who sit around thinking, “You know, the Mass really needs to be dumber” so I am going to guess that priests who don’t have a problem with eulogies would say that they actually make the funeral liturgy better. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a eulogy that I thought made things dumber (though I have heard plenty that made them longer), and many I have heard have been profoundly moving, because they expressed the love that the speaker felt for the departed. That does not, of course, mean that eulogies are appropriate for the funeral liturgy.

I think one liturgical issue lurking in the background is that the Order of Christian Funerals envisions a complex of rites, with vigils, interment, etc. in addition to the funeral Mass. If there is nothing but the funeral Mass, then we can tend to overload that liturgy with things like eulogies that would actually fit better at a wake or some sort of prayer vigil.

What do people think?

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