Intercessions at a funeral

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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77 Responses to Intercessions at a funeral

  1. I cannot imagine what the Franciscans of the Renewal must have been thinking. Why were they all serving? I’m mean it’s fine and all, I’m just wondering what the connection is.

    It was really interesting that during the video feed that I watched the camera did not show anyone receiving Communion. It just showed shots of the church ceiling, statues, flowers and closeups on the choir. Gee, I wonder if that was a coincidence?

  2. Matthew in Vancouver says:

    Did I miss it, or were there no prayers for the Holy Father, the clergy, or for the repose of Sen. Kennedy’s soul? Just askin’…

  3. jesusthroughmary says:

    I have never been so outraged at anything that has happened at a Mass as I was when that poor child was made to pray for (in not so many words) for that awful health care bill that is threatening to bankrupt our nation.

  4. Ttony says:

    This was, sort of, creepy. “Let’s find bits of the old boy’s speeches which might sound vaguely coherent and put the kids up to say them on TV.”

    Johann Strauss father wondefully begat Johann Strauss son. he had some bothers who played a bit too. The “dynasty” sort of carried on too, and the debasement of whatever the originals had stood for continued.

  5. erinalicia says:

    Wow – using a child to make a political statement about national health care…just wow.

  6. Liz F says:

    I was going to say, “unbelievable,” but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s such a beautiful church and it’s so very sad. It sure doesn’t sound like these are “petitions” but mini-campaign blurbs.

  7. I guess it’s not surprising that the Intercessions were essentially democratic party talking points.

    I still want to know why there were no photo’s of Communion…at least that I can find.

  8. ckdexterhaven says:

    “HE summoned us all to service”. Is it just me or does “HE” usually mean the man upstairs, The Lord?

  9. Jason Keener says:

    So much of this Funeral Liturgy today was a ridiculous canonization of Senator Kennedy. All of the eulogizing and these family intercessory prayers according to the words and ideas of Senator Kennedy should have been reserved for the services that took place OUTSIDE of the Funeral Mass. I also think our Catholic leaders should be ashamed of themselves for allowing such a spectacle to have taken place in a Catholic church where the primary focus should have been on the Sacred Actions of the Mass, begging God’s mercy, and prayers for the repose of the Senator’s soul. (I won’t comment on a certain notorious pro-abortion President who was allowed to eulogize at a Catholic Mass for a notorious pro-abortion “Catholic” Senator.)

    No where is the rupture between the “old” and “new” more evident than in the Church’s Funeral Liturgy. At Funeral Masses, we need to recover our sense of sobriety and prayerfulness. We need to stop this foolish instant canonization business. Where is our humility in the face of death and God’s awesome judgment seat?

    I pray that God will have mercy on Senator Kennedy and on all of us.

  10. TJM says:

    This was not the Church’s finest hour. I’m certainly glad I’m not part of that Archdiocese. If I were the Pope there would be a new archbishop there tres vite. But I’m not, so Archbishop O’Malley is lucky. Tom

  11. Jack Hughes says:

    I’m sure that the good Lord is filing most of these under *Not in conformity with my will*

  12. introibo says:

    Gag me.
    What the heck was that about “straight against straight and gay against gay”?

  13. priest up north says:

    Having a range of emotional responses on the tip of my fingers, I simply write to say:

    Some people just don’t get it.

  14. William says:

    When John-Paul II appointed Bernard Law as Archbishop of Boston, he quipped that “After Boston, it’s heaven.” Meaning, of course, that being placed in charge of such a large, important dioceses in the pinnacle of one’s ecclesiastical career. Well, folks out that way seemed to have put their own misguided spin on J-PII’s words.

  15. Emilio III says:

    Dr Peters has some interesting reflections in his Canon Law blog: http://www.canonlaw.info/2009/08/some-non-canonical-reflections-on.html

    His comment on this:

    The kid’s intercessions came out as unabashed advertisements for Democratic Party policy goals.

    My favorite paragraph:

    And finally, whodathunkit?, President Obama’s eulogy, though offered in violation of liturgical law, was actually the most palatable of what turned out to be three eulogies offered in violation of liturgical law, the first, Teddy Jr.’s, being maudlin, but mostly coherent if at times inappropriately partisan, while the second, that of Rep. Pat Kennedy, was embarrassingly pathetic and even included a joke about “that damn Kennedy” from the sanctuary. Sigh.

  16. thepapalbull says:

    Could anyone tell whether Pres. Obama received Communion?

    Before the camera view cut out I saw the President and his wife get up out of the pew, whether they were letting others through or else, I couldn’t tell. My respect for +Boston will drop to zero if he allowed the President to receive. Unthinkable.

    The first introduction made by the homilist was practically an open invitation to “the altar of the Lord.” If I were a protestant or unbeliever I would certainly have interpreted that line as an invitation to communion.

  17. jfk03 says:

    I am so sad for the Archdiocese of Boston. It was not the Cardinal Archbishop’s finest hour.

  18. Londiniensis says:

    There is a beautiful set of intercessions in the Ordo Exsequiarum* Ritual at the Graveside, which in my experience the celebrating priest has always allowed to be said during an OF Requiem Mass at the appropriate time. Certainly, I would wish them to be said at my obsequies (God willing, at my graveside, after an EF Requiem).

    (* certainly in the Polish edition approved by the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship in 1976)

  19. adagio48 says:

    Dear God and Father of mine, Lord of life and death, with immutable decree you have established that as a just chastisement for our sins, all of us have to die; look at me here, bent low before you. From the bottom of my heart I abhor my past faults for which I have merited death a thousand times, death that I now accept as atonement for my sins and as proof of my submission to your lovable will. O Lord, happily will I die at the moment, in the place, and in the way that you want. And until that day, I will take advantage of the days of life that remain, in order to fight against my defects and grow in your love, to break the bonds that tie my heart to creatures and to prepare my soul to appear in your presence; and from this moment on, I abandon myself without reserve into the arms of your fatherly providence. Amen

  20. Sandy says:

    I, too, tremble to think of those who may have gone to Communion. So many there were non-Catholics or non-practicing Catholics. I have avoided all the news and video of this debacle, but watched this clip Father Z provided. I’m still gagging.

  21. Jakub says:

    I heard alot of “Christian” during the eulogy/homily but don’t remember hearing “Catholic” mentioned that much…

  22. ssoldie says:

    I clicked it on and as soon as I saw all the marching out of the pews, I knew what was going on, so I clicked it off. I myself want a Requim Mass,(closed casket also)if you who have never been to a Requim Mass get a Missal and read the it pondering the words, pray for the soul of the dead one, and remember you to will be there one day, as we are all terminal, also read the words at the grave site, most beautiful. Pope Saint Gregory The Great, knew what he was doing and with the guidence of the Holy Ghost, gave to the Church “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven . The Mass.

  23. shoofoolatte says:

    I was very touched by the intercessory prayers.

    Ted Kennedy was a man with a passion for the poor, the outcast, the forgotten. They were remembered at his funeral Mass. I also thought it was interesting that the “youngest” members of the families were chosen to recite. Usually it is the eldest who are given these jobs/privileges. Being a youngest, myself, I found it special.

    As for the communion filming, I suspect that the videographers were instructed not to film who did and did not go to communion, just for the reason that observers might want to judge who was and was not worthy.

  24. patrick_f says:

    This was nothing short of scandal. What was the topper was Cardinal Sean’s presence. I thought he was above that, then again we dont know what Ted said with his dying breath. Still it was so disappointing to see him at attendance. It almost was a “blessing” over the situation. My only comfort, is that Holy Mass was celebrated, so there is some good that came out of it regardless. Obviously, there was some political pressuring going on here. I wouldnt be surprised if there wasnt some black mail. Yes I know that sounds crazy, but this was not anything the Cardinal Sean we all know would allow.

    The Intercessions….if you can call them that, were nothing more then “praise reports”. Nothing in there prayed for anything, except that we offered up to God, how great and courageous he was defending those who couldnt (except the unborn of course).

    I like how at the beginning we are told right away that he served for 47 years, so in other words “How dare anyone Criticize” , And they use the children to advance the socialist agenda. That was perhaps the most sickening. It the whole socialist agenda. Lets guilt people into championing what WE want them to champion, rather then what needs to be championed

    IN fact, ever “intercession ” … was nothing more then “This is how Ted Did it, God make everyone else do it that way”… that’s really what I got from it.

    I understand the man knew tragedy, I understand the man was a US senator. But that doesnt excuse the actions, nor permit the obvious abuses that occured here. This whole mass was a giant thumb on the nose for everyone who is actually fighting the fight for all God’s children, not just the ones that are “politically correct” to fight for.

    Sancte Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro nobis!!

  25. Gail F says:

    I could not make it past the kid praying for the health care bill. Totally egregious. I am shocked at the diocese allowing the family to make the intercessions in the mass an advertisement for the Democratic party — not shocked at the family’s wanting to do it, but shocked at them being allowed. Surely having THREE eulogies when the diocesan norms are only one (and the GIRM, of course says none are allowed) should have been enough of a platform. The mass is supposed to be about God.

    I concur with so many others — not Boston’s finest hour.

  26. Gail F says:

    shoofoolatte — I understand what you’re saying but I didn’t see it that way. The poor weren’t being remembered — Ted Kennedy was being remembered for how wonderful (according to the family) he was to the poor. And the listeners (I’m counting all of us who have seen it, not just the people there) were being admonished for not being as “great” at it as he was. I think that’s a grave misuse of a funeral mass.

  27. Traductora says:

    I read the intercessions elsewhere (they were too cringe-making to listen to, particularly the thing with the child – ugh) and it just topped off a depressing day. In many ways, this feels worse to me than Notre Dame and Georgetown, because there was at least a lot of opposition to those two events, while in this case, I have the feeling that we all realized that opposition was futile. Leftwing politics own the Church, and I think Obama was relatively restrained because he was feeling pretty good and secure about it. He knows he has nothing to fear from our opposition anymore. Heck, when the intercessions – which must have been approved in advance by somebody at that Mass, probably the Cardinal – are now reduced to asking God to implement statist policies, I think Obama has every reason to feel that, as he puts it, he won.

  28. Fr. John Mary says:

    “Dies irae, dies illa”
    What a good dose of this would have been most appropriate at this funeral Mass.
    The beautiful and (may I say this?) confrontational texts of the EF Requiem Mass situate the reality of death, human sinfulness, and God’s mercy into a profound reflection that we all will face “the day of wrath”. I find both consolation and challenge in the Church’s Tradition of Prayer.
    This whole spectacle these days is both saddening and frightening. And yes, it can enrage.
    May the merciful Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, His Holy Mother of Sorrows and Saint Joseph be our refuge and our strength.

  29. shoofoolatte says:

    Gail – every funeral Mass that I have ever been to has been a remembering of the person who died, and in most cases a remembering of the “good” things that person did and was. You are not being admonished for not being as “great” as Ted Kennedy was. I am sure that there are many wonderful things that you do in your life, and that you will be remembered well for them by those who love you.

  30. Bill in Texas says:

    All the above is exactly why I did not watch this travesty. Just reading the comments from those who did is enough to depress me. God have mercy on all of us.

  31. Jordanes says:

    Shoofoolatte said: every funeral Mass that I have ever been to has been a remembering of the person who died, and in most cases a remembering of the “good” things that person did and was.

    That only shows how widespread the problem is. Funeral Masses are not to be a remembering of the person who died and the “good” things he did and was. They are to be a committing of a poor soul into God’s mercy, to pray for a sinner (for all have sinned). Kennedy’s funeral Mass, and most U.S. funeral Masses, aren’t what the Church says they must be. This was just more political theatre by and for the rich and powerful. Erastian in spirit if not quite in fact.

  32. C. says:

    shoofoolatte, did you attend many Requiems before 1962? I have been told that these were not canonizations, and the liturgy surely reinforced the need for prayer. What Bugnini did to the funeral liturgy was perhaps his masterstroke.

  33. Jordanes says:

    Ugh. Just watched these “intercessions.” Simply nauseating. They’re not prayers at all. This is the total subversion of the Church’s liturgy to serve partisan political ends and for the mawkish indulgence of the Kennedy family.

    At least the priest at the end offered a real prayer, and one fit for a funeral Mass.

    God have mercy on us.

  34. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Dr. Peters answered a question that a friend and I had in discussing the public Catholic funeral. We wondered that, as a “public” sinner, if he had not made public repentence, if it were actually to be allowed. I submit to Dr. Peters’ interpretation of Canon Law and simply join others in praying for the repose of his soul. Even if there are arguments against the interpretation, I feel somewhat better about it. And yes, the Mass and the whole tone was unsatisfactory in so many ways. I thought also, The Senator is more fortunate than his two assassinated brothers. Was there even an instant when they had a chance to repent their lives, which had their own grave sins?

  35. Brusselscalling says:

    I am not American and am not au fait with the ins and outs of domestic US politics, but these intercessions and the introductory words by his daughter-in-law were truly cringe-making – mawkish, self-congratulatory, arrogant in the extreme. The whole thing just seems so alien to Catholic culture and our understanding of Christian death.

  36. Joannes says:

    The General Intercessions cease to be general (and therefore cease to be allowable) when you begin with “As my uncle Teddy always said…”.

  37. FrDavid says:

    The funeral liturgy is the responsibility of the priest who offers the Mass. If things were not done properly, it’s his fault, and not that of the family nor friends of the deceased.

  38. catholicuspater says:

    Who can deny that the whole thing felt like a Democratic caucus meeting superimposed on Archbishop Bugnini’s “handiwork.” I think the only things that were missing were placards and a quote “Sainthood Now!” demonstration before the end of Mass.

  39. curtjester says:

    Intercessory Talking Points

  40. Agnes says:

    Pray for Kennedy and for the rest of us.

  41. Jackie L says:

    I didn’t watch the funeral, but in the clips since I couldn’t see a Vatican II altar, how was the mass celebrated?

  42. patrick_f says:

    There was infact an altar. It sorta blended in at a distance. To the church’s credit, as detached altars go, it was very nice. However, the signs are “reckovation” are evident, for what its worth.

    I guess the question of responsibility then, is blurred, simply because, we had a parish priest, however, His Superior, (who the priest is a co worker of and works at the discretion of) was present, or his Boss. So either they truly didnt know, there was “bait and switch” (which I wouldnt put past that part of the Dems or the Administration…read the health care bill if you have doubts), or we are left to assume that not only both His Emminence and the priest knew. I certainly hope its one of the two prior, and not the latter

  43. Girgadis says:

    What we heard today were not prayerful intercessions but a political platform spelled out plank by plank. It was shameful. I’ve seen children and grandchildren permitted to read the prayers of intercession, but I’ve never been to a funeral Mass where the prayers were composed by the deceased’s family. Shouldn’t those “prayers” have been subject to approval by the priests presiding over the Mass?

    I don’t recall who, but one of the people who eulogized Kennedy, possibly the president, referred to him as a “devout Catholic”. What constitutes a devout Catholic these days?

  44. EXCHIEF says:

    The City of Boston plays party politics (liberal Democcrats for over a hundred years). Tragically it appears that the Archdiocese of Boston does as well.

    It was difficult enough (but possible) to explain to interested non-Catholics how Mr. Kennedy was entitled to a funeral Mass. It is absolutely impossible to explain how and why those types of intercessions and the multiple eulogies were permitted.

    The Church in the USA suffered great damage with the Obama-UND episode. But that event was not internationally televised by every conceivable network in the world. This funeral was. Thus the potential (and actual) scandal exceeds that of the UND fiasco. Way to go Archdiocese of Boston. Thanks for the favor…not!!

  45. Cavaliere says:

    We often hear about Sen. Kennedy’s love for the poor but how does he compare with other saintly royalty of the Church? St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Bridget of Sweden, St. Margaret of Scotland , St. Louis of France, St. Edward of England were all known for their generosity toward the poor, giving large sums from their own wealth and spending hours feeding and serving the poor who came to see them. What did Teddy do in comparison and on a side note how did he get an annulment when Henry VIII was denied one? Just think how history would have been changed if the current marriage tribunals were in place back then.

  46. EXCHIEF says:

    Cavaliere
    Perception is reality. The “poor” were Kennedy’s political base. He talked a great game…great enough to get his base to believe that he really cared about them….great enough to get re-elected numerous times. He’s not the only politician to play that game and be good at it. Doesn’t matter if he ever actually did anything for the poor (other than give them access to abortion). What matters is that they thought he did something for them.

  47. dawnmaria says:

    I am completely and totally shocked SHOCKED by the Intercessions. How could Card. Sean allow this to happen?? the Catholic Church has been co-opted by the Kennedys. How can the archdiocese be so foolish? For the first time, I am questioning whether I should be a Catholic. It is a serious issue for me. Un freaking believable.

  48. Cavaliere says:

    EXCHIEF, I understand what you are saying. My only reason for asking the question was to learn if there were any practical examples of his actually serving the poor other than advocating legislation of debateable benefit to them. I wouldn’t want to be critical of him not inviting the homeless out for a Thanksgiving dinner at the Kennedy compound or out for drinks in West Palm Beach if in fact he had done so. Did he ever volunteer at a soup kitchen, etc.?

  49. Supertradmom says:

    Then entire show of praise for the senator and democratic party line intercessions are shocking. I think having BO there at all is a scandal. I am worried even more about the future of the Catholic Church. Will there be members of the hierarchy persecuting the faithful?

  50. frjim4321 says:

    I did not think the General Intercessions were very good at all. For one there, there were way too many. Yes, they did seem a bit too much like talking points. They did not follow the estalished patter for General Intercessions.

    The funeral seemed too much like a canonization, also I would fault the communion procession for having three performances rather that a proper processional hymn sung by the assembly.

  51. ipadre says:

    Not General Intercessions. Political statements! An opportunity of Catholic Liturgy to shine for all the world to see failed miserably. If we only followed the red and did the black, we would not face these debacles!

  52. AngelineOH says:

    Sadly, I expected nothing less than the travesty that occurred today.

  53. Charivari Rob says:

    patrick_f – “There was infact an altar. It sorta blended in at a distance. To the church’s credit, as detached altars go, it was very nice. However, the signs are “reckovation” are evident, for what its worth.”

    Other than possibly the fact of the altar’s existence, to what signs of “wreckovation” do you refer? It’s still the old layout of pews facing front – they didn’t change it to altar at the crossing or church in the round. Elements such as the high altar, the side altars, the sanctuary rail, confessionals, stained glass, icons, and kneelers all remain. They haven’t added things that set traditionalists off, such as modern art and felt applique banners.

  54. Anne says:

    Yeah. This was predictably strange. I remember thinking, “Did they just ask us to pray for his sailing?”

  55. irish3509 says:

    I don’t even know what to say as I can’t believe that those “prayers” were “Kennedy family members reading from of Sen. Kennedy’s speeches,” at least I think that is what I saw on the bottom of the screen. Really was there a need of an introduction of who and what Sen. Kennedy was. Seriously, for a family that is so public not one of then really knew how to read in public. I know it’s not easy especially with the entire country watching you, but still. Not to mention that that one of them acknowledged the altar, or are laity not supposed to bow toward the altar as they walk up to read. I was taught to make a slight head bow, but that could just be my parish. Guess I’ll be adding a few more prayers to my list tonight.

  56. patrick_f says:

    Charivi -

    Respectfully,

    From the pictures this morning, it looked as if a good part of the altar wasnt there, not what one would expect for a high altar. IN other words they reduced it, to allow space for the new altar. Happens all the time. Its really quite sad to see too. Immigrants scrapped and saved to build it, only to have it “modified” to fit a “Spirit” of something that is neither Dogmatic nor fully agreed upon. For that much too, since these high altars become “Altars of the Tabernacle” (or however its noted canonically), would you not want the spot where our Lord is as beautiful as possible? And Lit? It looks rather bare. I being as young as I am, can only dream at its once manificence.

    Also there is the fact that an altar was placed in front of another altar. Thats my point I was making. A freestanding altar in these old churches was unnecessary. There already was an altar. To the credit, it matches better then some I have seen.

    And since you pointed it out, I was impressed that they left the altar rail. However, I would wonder if there was intent at least. I say this because at my own parish, the only reason why they left the rail is because it would have been too costly. What a great reason to leave something intended for prayer.. Obviously that line of thinking implies that God is a bargain… (which in reality none of us are truly worthy to even be in His presence)

    I think the point of blogs like this, and more importantly the discussion of this particular entry, is where our focus is. Is it about us? (Lets gather round the table…. lets hold hands and sing songs ), or is it about Almighty God. I dont consider myself a traditionalist, I consider myself unashamedly Catholic. There is a certain character to our worship we are losing, and its getting scary.

    This mass today, shows in great detail how things can end up. Granted the structure was there… but there was still innovations, non the less. There was still an unrelenting chorus of “ME ME ME ME ME!!! ” , which has to be pointed out. Its not “traditionalist set offs” to point out what is wrong, in the efforts that hopefully someone will see, or in this case hear, and perhaps fix the problems. The liturgy keeps this world in Balance. Without it, you will have chaos.

  57. Virgil says:

    Very typical set of Novus Ordo intercessions for a “Mass of Resurrection.” And three very typical eulogies. Kennedy’s funeral texts were no different from any you will find at any parish in America or Europe. Except that in the typical parish, they might not be phrased in complete or cogent sentences.

    Yes, we saw liturgical abuses.

    But in these texts, what a wonderful summary of a career spent in service to country. What a wonderful summary of how a single Catholic can spend a lifetime in government promoting the corporal works of mercy.

    May the angels lead you into paradise, brother Ted.

  58. Gail F says:

    Virgil: I don’t see how you can call those intercessions a “very typical set of NO intercessions.” I have never heard ANYTHING like it.

  59. archambt says:

    I think Ted represented one form of Catholic Identity, being a by-product of cultural-American-”institutional”-Catholicism (Institutional in the sense that I don’t think it was every really the involved in liturgy as it was involved in gaining and maintaining authority and power on these shores via party politics, especially in the Democratic Party). The funeral liturgy was a natural expression of this-light on liturgical accuracy, heavy on aggrandizement. It was only to be expected.

    In the end, of course, we could all take a break from complaining and stewing about it and pray for the repose of Ted’s soul, the conversion of the President, and the restoration of the liturgy in Boston.

  60. Fr Martin Fox says:

    One set of rules for the high and mighty, one for the rest of us.

    Sadly, princes of the Church are as susceptible to pressure and flattery as anyone else.

    God preserves the Church, despite some of us clerics!

    Not Cardinal O’Malley’s finest hour indeed!

  61. JimGB says:

    I was at first disappointed to see the Cardinal present, but I think we need to be understanding of the situation he finds himself in. Archbishops of major metropolitan Sees are political figures, not by their choice but by their circumstances. If he had not attended (too bad there was not some important meeting in Rome that he needed to attend) it would have been interpreted as a snub, not only to the Kennedy family but to the President and the other high governmental figures present. Maybe some think they should be snubbed given their positions on abortion, but I think Cardinal Sean made the best decision under the circumstances. At least he was not the celebrant, which I think would have sent a wrong signal.

    I was also frankly disgusted by the Intercessions, which were essentially Democrat Party talking points. Imagine if at a Catholic funeral of a prominent Republican the intercessions asked for a balanced budget, a missile defense shield, victory in the war on terror, and privitisation of Social security. The reaction of the media would be something to see!

  62. Cavaliere says:

    Virgil, promoting the forced redistribution of wealth through taxation is not promoting corporal works of mercy. In fact it does the quite the opposite because it denies me the opportunity to freely give alms to the poor.

    BTW, what would you call his forced promotion of murder?

  63. pjsandstrom says:

    The Kennedys have been a ‘hot potato’ in the Boston Archdiocese at least since the time of Cardinal Cushing and even before for Cushing’s predecessor. The present Cardinal was present in his choir robes — and did the absolute minimum (the absolution at the end) with propriety, but also minimal ceremony. He also was ‘polite’ in greeting the dignitaries present, but he did not utter a word about the man in the coffin except during the prayer of the absolution. It was quite noticeable that the service was not at the Cathedral, nor did the Cardinal celebrate. [The explanation about E. Kennedy's link with the Mission Church was 'spin' to save face for the family, etc -- but it was just that: 'spin'.] He put on a stole to receive the Eucharist at his chair, as a ‘presiding prelate’ is supposed to. After all, a nationally known Senator from such a family and such a ‘eminent’ list of guests present requires at least politeness.

    Knowing how ‘prayers of the faithful’ are often prepared on such occasions (a family funeral) there is rarely ‘exercise of prior censorship’ because of ‘time pressures’ among other things, though on this particular occasion it would have been an excellent idea, if for no other reason than the presence of the international media.

    The presiding celebrant was a Jesuit, the retired President of Boston College. The Boston College Chapel is not renowned in Boston for its ‘liturgical refinement’– but maybe that is not relevant. It is unfortunate that the homilist gave a ‘eulogy’ rather than speaking about the readings (it would have been challenging for that congregation especially if he had spoken clearly using the chosen Gospel reading of the ‘sheep and the goats’ and the Last Judgment from Matthew). Just imagine!

  64. St Chad says:

    Compared to most liturgies in Catholic churches in the U.S. today, the Kennedy funeral Mass evinced a very high tone. There was a real pipe organ and someone who knew how to play it. There was no chanteuse up front waving her arms and singing into the microphone to direct the “songs”; in fact, actual Christian hymns were sung. As for the intercessory prayers, these are typically written by the liturgy committee to show their concern over current events; and they usually reflect the personal interests or charitable concerns of the committee members. It used to be (many of you will remember this), that time was reserved for people in the congregation to chime in with their own personal concerns; and after each one ["For Aunt Mary's cocker spaniel who's having surgery tomorrow", or whatever, the congregation was expected to affirm the petition with the "Lord, hear our prayer" response...you don't see that much anymore...it was risky business and often embarrassing...Just like the intercessory prayers at Senator Kennedy's funeral yesterday.

    No, I'm not praising yesterday's proceedings. It was a shameless exploitation of the Mass of Christian burial to evangelize the far-left Democratic Party agenda and, as others have pointed out here, to beatify a flawed human being who needed the prayers of the Church for his immortal soul (just like all of us do). Death is the great equalizer; and the former funeral liturgy of the church underscored this fact. And, might I say, in prayers to the Almighty, one does not refer to the deceased as "Senator This," or "President That" or "our friend Bill"; only the Christian Name is needed for God to know of whom you speak: "Look down with favor upon your servant, Edward..."

    The responsibility for the Funeral liturgy in Boston yesterday is to be born by the priests who presided over this very public display. I knew, when the celebrant began with, "FRIENDS, the Lord be with you," that we were in for a bumpy ride! The first word out of his mouth, and he extemporizes, adds a homey touch, adds words to show he REALLY means what he's saying. They had a year to plan for this day; they knew that millions of people would be watching the funeral on television; and I believe that every word that was uttered in that church was known, and approved, by the priests in charge. And if I were the Archbishop of Boston, I would have thoroughly reviewed every detail of this funeral rite before I would have set my seal of approval upon it by having it proceed in my very presence.

    This was the spectacle they wanted; and I'm sure they're very satisfied with the results. They will not read this blog, nor any other, that would find fault or criticize their liturgical practices. The Archbishop of Boston will say nothing to them except, "Thanks for inviting me". Furthermore, I'm also sure that 95% of American Catholics, if asked, would see nothing wrong with what went on; in fact, would say it was a very dignified send off to a very important man. In truth, what was seen in the Mission Church in Boston yesterday was a perfect example of what the liturgy of the Catholic Church has become. And like the curate's egg, "parts of it were excellent!" *
    [*The curate was invited to the Episcopal residence for early Mass and a breakfast meeting with the Archbishop. The young cleric was served a scrambled egg that had decidedly gone off. When asked by the Archbishop how he was enjoying his egg, the ingratiating curate replied, "Parts of it, My Lord, are excellent!"]

  65. Greg Smisek says:

    Virgil: But in these texts, what a wonderful summary of a career spent in service to country.

    Because that’s what it’s all about, after all.

  66. Greg Smisek says:

    irish3509: for a family that is so public not one of then really knew how to read in public. I know it’s not easy especially with the entire country watching you, but still….

    Heaven forbid if the sacred ministers were to read the intentions. How ever would the non-ordained participate in the sacred mysteries then?

    irish3509: are laity not supposed to bow toward the altar as they walk up to read. I was taught to make a slight head bow, but that could just be my parish.

    The universal Church uses the following norms for gestures in the Mass according to the ordinary form (GIRM, IV, IV):

    275b. A bow of the body, that is to say a profound bow, is made to the altar….

    274. If, however, the tabernacle with the Most Blessed Sacrament is present in the sanctuary, the priest, the deacon, and the other ministers genuflect when they approach the altar and when they depart from it, but not during the celebration of Mass itself.

    Otherwise all who pass before the Most Blessed Sacrament genuflect, unless they are moving in procession.

    Ministers carrying the processional cross or candles bow their heads instead of genuflecting.

    No reverence is prescribed for a lay reader who goes from his seat in the sanctuary (GIRM 195: “the lector takes his own place in the sanctuary with the other ministers”) to the ambo or lectern without crossing the altar.

    For the anomalous situation where the lay reader is not seated in the sanctuary, he would reverence the altar upon entering and leaving the sanctuary. If the tabernacle is in the sanctuary, I suppose he would genuflect if he hadn’t entered with the rest of the ministers and genuflected at that time; otherwise, he would bow to the altar upon entering and leaving the sanctuary.

    Bowing one’s head to the altar or tabernacle is done only if one is prevented from genuflecting or bowing low, or when one is following the (minimalist) U.S. norms for receiving our Lord in Holy Communion.

  67. Frank H says:

    All the Kennedy funeral amd related events are available on C-Span’s website. It is clear that Pres. and Mrs. Obama stand up and step out to let the Vice President and his wife go to Communion, and then the Obamas sit back down. Whew!

  68. EXCHIEF says:

    Frank H
    So that would be one pro-abortionist getting out of the way for another pro-abortionist. At least Obama admits the issue is above his pay grade. The other one persists in receiving the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Shame.

  69. patrick_f says:

    “No reverence is prescribed for a lay reader who goes from his seat in the sanctuary (GIRM 195: “the lector takes his own place in the sanctuary with the other ministers”) to the ambo or lectern without crossing the altar.”

    there in lies the problem, GOD IS PRESENT in the tabernacle. Why wouldnt you bow, or show reverence. its GOD present. Not some shlup who is in the congregation. This is one item of the Girm that I think either should just be removed (its common sense, God present equals reverence from man), or it needs to go into greater details (Ie “Because Christ is present in the Sacrament, a genuflect is appropriate)

    Why is it we have to be told what is appropriate? Please dont misunderstand me. This is in no way meant to argue with Greg, he is merely pointing out what the GIRM has laid out for people. But the GIRM right there shows where the problem is. All I am saying is, its common sense to reverence God present in the Eucharist. We are catholic are we not? Its more then a “Consubstantiated Symbol” is it not?

    Like wise, petitions that are “Me centric” are equally in appropriate. I really think the key is the Most Holy Eucharist. When we as a people understand that Christ is truly present there, we will amend our behavior. Speaking in generality of course

  70. JimGB says:

    Patrick Thornton, I do not believe that the friars that were serving at the funeral were the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, but rather were from a small order called the Franciscans of the Primitive Observance, which has its house of formation in Boston and was founded under the auspices of Cardinal O’Malley. I believe that their friary is located near the basilica and they regularly use it for their professions, ordinations and the first masses of their newly ordained priests. Maybe some Boston readers of the site can add more information about this small, but growing order of friars.

  71. pseudomodo says:

    I think we all know who is in charge of that Archdiocese…

    He’s the one lying in that big box with the white pall covering it.

  72. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I made it about halfway through.

    Then I threw up in my mouth at little.

  73. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I’d just like to add that the commentator reminded me of everything wrong with the “Modernist American Catholic” liturgical vision: All sensitivity & emotion, but no substance.

    Feed the flock whole food, and they will grow.

  74. Are they kidding? I mean…really?
    “I made it about halfway through.

    Then I threw up in my mouth at little.
    Comment by Rob Cartusciello”

    I couldn’t have said it any better. I for one will not miss him or the cultural Catholicism he and his family, with few exceptions, represented so well.

  75. lacrossecath says:

    Embarrassing….. It looks like American Catholics need to recover their IDENTITY. It frightens me how much control that family has over their archdiocese. Domine, miserere nobis!

  76. Charivari Rob says:

    JimGB – “…I do not believe that the friars that were serving at the funeral were the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, but rather were from a small order called the Franciscans of the Primitive Observance, which has its house of formation in Boston and was founded under the auspices of Cardinal O’Malley. I believe that their friary is located near the basilica and they regularly use it for their professions, ordinations and the first masses of their newly ordained priests. Maybe some Boston readers of the site can add more information about this small, but growing order of friars.”

    Sorry, was out of town with limited computer time the last couple of days.

    I believe they’re the Little Brothers of Saint Francis.

    http://www.littlebrothersofstfrancis.org/about_us.php