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Ted Kennedy: A Catholic Funeral?

This is a tricky question. Should Ted Kennedy receive a Catholic funeral? It's not up to me and as I'm not sure I even know the criteria used to decide such things. But I'm sure some of our readers know a lot more. I'll be interested:

In 1979, Terence Cardinal Cooke of New York denied a funeral Mass to slain mafia boss Carmine Galante after he was gunned down at an outdoor cafe. Cooke told the press:

"The Archdiocese of New York cannot permit a public celebration of a funeral liturgy for the late Carmine Galante. We extend our sympathy to his family, but we are not able to grant liturgical services in the church because of the scandal that would ensue."
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6 comments:

patt s said...

my bet is that he will get one...
I don't think it is right though.

Patty in CT said...

imho, I think he should get one, afterall this is a time for us to petition God for His mercy, and who are we to judge Ted Kennedy's last moments? (No, no, I mean the moments after those last moments:)
I'd hate to be on my deathbed and know there was someone who thought I "didn't deserve" a Catholic funeral. That's all.

Rick said...

Canons 1184-1185 say:
"Canon 1184 §1. Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals:
1/ notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics;
2/ those who chose the cremation of their bodies for reasons contrary to Christian faith;
3/ other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful.

"§2. If any doubt occurs, the local ordinary is to be consulted, and his judgment must be followed.

"Canon 1185. Any funeral Mass must also be denied a person who is excluded from ecclesiastical funerals."
In fact, these strictures are rarely applied. In part, this is because many sinners do show signs of repentance before death.

Likewise, the canons are open to some interpretation. In No. 1184 §1 notorious would mean publicly known. Therefore someone who had abandoned the faith and joined some other group would be denied a funeral; someone who harbored private doubts or disagreements would not.

Cases of those who choose cremation for reasons contrary to the faith are extremely rare and are hard to prove (see the follow-up in our column of Nov. 29, 2005).

The most delicate cases are those in No. 1184 §1.3. Many canonists say that for denial of a funeral the person must be both widely known to be living in a state of grave sin and that holding a Church funeral would cause scandal.


I wonder if those who publicly support abortion must be denied Holy Communion as they are separated from the Church, then should it follow that they must be denial a Catholic burial as well?

Patty in CT said...

Okay, but was Ted Kennedy denied communion by his Bishop? I'm not in the know on that...
I guess that would make sense - and it would be devastating.

patt s said...

I doubt he was ever denied anything except a miracle cure. I hear there will be a Catholic funeral for him, what message does this send?

Anonymous said...

Obviously having people killed is much worse then a lgally pro-choice position on abortion. I am a Catholic and I do oppose abortion and think ist' wrong butI would not want to make it illegal because it would be back to the backroom abortions and more women dying. You can't be pro-life and want that to happen.


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