From a reader:
My grandmother recently died. She was a Lutheran, but we, her descendents, are Catholic. Who, then, should do the burial? A Lutheran minister, or our Catholic priest? Thank you, and please pray for her soul.
Canon 1183.3 states,
“In the prudent judgment of the local ordinary, ecclesiastical funerals can be granted to baptized persons who are enrolled in a non-Catholic Church or ecclesial community unless their intention is evidently to the contrary and provided that their own minister is not available.”
In this situation, it seems the grandmother’s minister is available.
Since grandma did not convert prior to her death, it seems imprudent to go against her wishes and deny her a funeral in the ecclesiastical community of which she was a member.
Turning the sock inside out for a moment, we often hear of tragic cases in which a good Catholic person dies, but because the children are no longer practicing, she is denied the benefits of a funeral. Yes, funerals benefit the dead! The poor dead person might be given a prayer service at the funeral home or buried without ceremony.
In former ages, respecting the last wishes of the deceased was something that was sacrosanct.
So, unless the Lutheran minister is not available, inquire of the pastor about having the funeral at grandmother’s church. Go, pray for her (do not receive communion at the Lutheran funeral, even if invited), bury her.
Masses can be offered for the deceased, even those who are not Catholic. You can later have a Mass or Masses offered for her, even a Requiem Mass if your pastor is available and amenable.
Everyone, pray for the dead. Do not forget to pray for the dead.