From a reader:
An unhappy and scandalous situation has just occurred in my family. My aunt passed away last week. I live in a different state, and am not sure at what level she was still engaged in her Catholic faith, but she certainly did practice when I was in closer proximity to her, and I know that a few years ago when her husband died she provided for him a normal funeral, with wake the night before and a funeral mass the next day. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that she will receive the same treatment.
Her surviving children, neither of whom practices their faith anymore, decided NOT to arrange for any funeral mass. They had my aunt cremated and are having a “remembrance” luncheon instead.
So, Father, my quandary: if a person’s own children do not arrange for a funeral mass such as in a situation as this, can another more distant family member arrange for a funeral mass at the deceased person’s parish, even though the remains are not present?
This is going to happen more and more frequently, I’m afraid.
So many of the generation following the Council, so many aging children of the now elderly devout, are either unchurched or, having seen so much of the unworthy in their churches during their youth, simply drifted off into the warm embrace of the world, the flesh and the devil.
We cannot impose our will on the deceased’s immediate family. We can, however, on our own initiative arrange for Masses to be said for the one who died.
It would be a fine spiritual work of mercy.
[From my iPhone... broadband not to be had right now]