Ed Peters weighs in on whether Ted Kennedy should have a Catholic funeral from a canonist’s point of view. I was curious about this and he certainly shows that canonically the Senator is eligible for a Catholic funeral. He ends with this:
Now, about President Obama giving a eulogy thereat, don’t even get me started.
Surely the President will give a moving eulogy on why we need to pray for the late Mr. Kennedy’s eternal soul. Either that or call him forth “Rise Ted Kennedy.”
Fr. Trigilio posts:
Sadly, as a priest, I have seen too many funerals become canonization events where the person is literally declared present in heaven because he or she was a ‘good’ person or because ‘we all end up in the same place, don’t we?’ Nothing could be farther from the truth. Being ‘good’ or just being a ‘nice’ guy will NOT get you into heaven. One must be HOLY to enter the Holy of Holies. Holiness comes from grace which comes from God. Look at the obituaries in your local paper today. Most if not all tell you esoteric things about the deceased like: they belonged to the Rotary Club, or the Elks, the Moose, Loyal Order of Waterbuffalos, etc. He or she liked fishing, shopping, travel, sewing, playing cards, ice cream cones, etc. They tell os of mundate and trite things the person did. The most important aspect, however, is not their extracurricular activities, their employment or their social life. Bottom line is their FAITH. Did they BELIEVE in God? Did they faithfully WORSHIP him every day and every Sunday? Did they OBEY his moral laws and Ten Commandments? Yes, I agree that those who served our nation and defended her in times of war and peace via our military ought to be recognized. That is a commendable act of patriotism. But we also need to hear about those brave souls who bore the cross of Christ in their own bodies and did so with dignity and deep faith. We need to hear about the sacrifices made for marriage and the family. We need to hear about those who struggled and persevered to live a devout life close to their God. I would rather read that than see a bunch of hooey telling me the hobbies of a dead person.
The doctrine of Purgatory is GREAT. It allows us to be purified when we are not fully detached from all stain of sin. The temporal punishment due to sin for an entire lifetime may be great or it may be small. While most of us are not Mother Teresas ready for the Pearly Gates the day we die, hopefully we are not Lucifers either, ready for the pain and torments of hell either. Purgatory is where most of hope to end up with the sure and certain hope we will eventually get to Paradise. Whatever sins we may have committed in life can still be remitted while there is still air in our lungs and blood being pumped from our heart. Pray for the dead and pray for the conversion of sinners. The battle to end abortion and euthanasia is far from over.