From a reader…
My wife and I have just learned that we are probably losing an unborn child to “Vanishing Twin Syndrome” (where one twin embryo fails to grow on pace with the other and is absorbed back into the mother’s body early on; this occurs in something like 20-30% of pregnancies after a woman’s second pregnancy. Historically most people would never know there was a twin to begin with before recent technological advancements.).
Is it appropriate to ask my pastor to say a funeral Mass for the soul of the twin that didn’t make it? I know there are funeral mass texts that can be used after the death of an unbaptized child in the 2011 Roman Missal with the permission of the local bishop. I’ve heard of these being used after a miscarriage; I assume the same logic would apply in our case since life likely begins at conception, but there seems to be little Catholic info out there on vanishing twin syndrome specifically (since it is medically distinct from miscarriage), nor any pastoral guidance I’ve been able to find.
As we will almost certainly lose this child due to lack of growth and no heartbeat, I feel that the only thing I can do for them as their father is pray, but I don’t know if a request for a funeral mass in this case is a “typical” request, especially as there will be no body.
Firstly, I am impressed with your Catholic sense of the circumstances.
I checked around a little with those whom I trust. I cannot do better than to share this succinct response from a trustworthy bishop:
The articulation of the situation makes sense to me. There was a human life there which has now ended. A Mass would seem appropriate in this case.
You might inform your local priest about this and establish a date when you could have such a Mass. If permission of your local bishop is required for the use of the texts you mentioned, I am sure that your priest would be able to make the necessary petition.
My prayerful best wishes to you and your wife.