Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Funeral of Ted Kennedy

Up to now I haven't commented on this, except obliquely here. I was in the US at the time and found the whole funeral Mass a scandal. It was not so much that Ted Kennedy was provided a funeral Mass, but the fact that it was, effectively, a canonisation.

Liturgically, it was all that a funeral should not be. A funeral is not a celebration of or thanksgiving for a life, but a humble petition to God for mercy and forgiveness. I don't think President Obama should have spoken - there was a wake the previous evening and he could have spoken then. The liturgy is the liturgy - what place did President Obama have in giving his views on his political friend in a funeral Mass?

I also regret the use of white vestments. Although this is allowed, I feel it neither adequately expresses the penitential/suffragial nature of the Requiem Mass (and purple/violet is the colour of penance as in Lent) nor the spirit of expectation of the resurrection of the dead and the second coming of Christ which is proper of Advent (during which season, again, purple is worn.) I don't see why black shouldn't be used. We use white to celebrate saints who are not martyrs and the Resurrection of Christ, which has already happened. All of us mere mortals still await the resurrection of the dead. Death takes us to Advent, not Easter.

Pro-life groups who expressed their sense of scandal that a politician who had supported abortion should be accorded such a public funeral ceremony received a great deal of criticism. But recently Archbishop Burke, the President of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, has weighed in behind them, condemning the political correctness that is part of the 'tyranny of relativism'. More details, links, etc at


  1. All excellent points and you hit the nail on the head, particularly about death leading to "advent" for most of us. [For a time, at any rate.[

    It was right to bury him from the church, but I think the only priest who should have shown up was the celebrant. Bishops really didn't belong there, and OBama should have been refused. In general, they don't want eulogies at the Mass either, but once again because "IT'S THE KENNEDY FAMILKY" they were given carte blanche to do what they wanted. I didn't think it was right that JFK, Jr's ashes were scatter at sea, contrary to canon law either, but they were.

    The "one law for the well conencted" and one law for the ordinary people has got to go.

    I won't even mention the fact that they seemed to skip right over the begining of the Mass with no introductory prayers and th missed doing an alleluia. And then the cameras also "treated" us to seeing the "pro choice" Caroline Kennedy coming back from the Communion line.

    It seems some priests and bishops are tone deaf to the phrase "Scandal to the faith." They try to make it seem like you are the one that's not capable of handling such "subtleties" and refinement of thought.

  2. Could't find the quote I was looking for re: Churchill's [I think] admiration for the Catholic priests serving in WWI. It was said of them that they fearlessly went out into the trenches to administer last rites.

    I did find this interesting article about Catholic chaplains of today.


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