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Expert Answer Forum

by Catherine Frakas 07 Jul 2001

Funeral Mass QUESTION from Jane Gahlon October 20, 2000 I am writing to you addressing some concerns that I have regarding liturgical abuses in connection with a funeral Mass held here at our Church on October 12 of this year.
The funeral mentioned above was for the Catholic spouse of an interfaith marriage. The living spouse's Lutheran pastor co-officiated (concelebrated?)at the Mass, sharing in parts of the Liturgy. The Lutheran pastor, along with our priest, read the readings before casket and also the Prayers of the Faithful. The Lutheran pastor remained in the sanctuary with the priest during the entire Mass, at the chair as well as at the altar. He also read the Gospel.
After the Consecration, which was said while the congregation remained standing, the Our Father was prayed complete with the Lutheran doxology (the Deliver us, Lord… being completely omitted). The Lutheran pastor was allowed to pour the Precious Blood into the chalices and distribute it to the extraordinary ministers and was then allowed to help distribute the Body to the congregation. The congregation numbered some 600 people, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. Non-Catholic reception of Holy Communion was not discouraged although it is forbidden, and nearly everyone received including the Lutheran choir. We see many of these abuses of posture, prayer, and reception of Holy Communion by non-Catholics not in full communion with the Catholic Church, at the funerals and weddings that take place at St. Mary's. I guess, after all this, do we have grounds to take such on-going abuses beyond our priest and bishop who don't seem to take them seriously, and contact the Archbishop?
In Christ,
ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on October 21, 2000 Dear Jane,
What you describe is just terrible.
First of all PRAY. I'm sure you're already are praying but pray MORE. Here's what you might consider;
1. Try making a Eucharistic novena specifically for your priest. Go to Confessions first then go to Mass and receive Communion for nine consecutive days for the intention of the conversion of your priest. I've tried this in the past with excellent results.
2. Write a letter to your priest. Make sure to detail each abuse and ask him to respond and to tell you why these abuses have occurred and are occurring. Specifically ask him to cite the authority for such actions. Wait for 60 days before doing anything else.
3. If you haven't received a written response from your priest write to him again. Tell him that you are curious as to why he has ignored your letter dated xx xx xxxx. Wait for 30 days before doing anything.
4. Write to your bishop. Include in your letter copies of your letters to your priest and his response to you (if any). Ask the bishop to intercede and enforce the liturgical law. Make sure to ask him to respond to your letter. Wait 30 days for a response.
5. If you do not receive a reply from the bishop or his representative write to him once more asking why you haven't received a reply.
6. Assuming nothing gets done, you should consider sending copies of all correspondence to the St. Joseph's Foundation and ask for their assistance. The St. Joseph Foundation is a non-profit organization serving Catholics who seek to learn more about their rights in the Church. Whenever anyone believes his or her rights are threatened or have been violated, the Foundation assists them in using the Church's legal system to obtain remedies. You can contact them at;
St. Joseph Foundation 11107 Wurzbach Road, Suite 601B San Antonio, TX 78230-2553 Phone: 210-697-0717 Fax: 210-699-9439 Keep me posted, I'll be glad to help you in any way that I can. In Christ,
John Miskell
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