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FAQs on Funerals

1. Can children, whose parents had intended to have them baptised but who died before baptism be allowed Church funeral rites?

Yes.  According to the provisions of Canon 1183 §2 children whose parents had intended to have them baptised but who died before baptism, may be allowed Church funeral rites by the Local Ordinary.

2. Is it permissible to perform funeral rites if the person concerned has not been baptised but is only a catechumen?

According to the provisions of Canon 1183 §1, as far as funeral rites are concerned, Catechumens are to be reckoned among Christ’s faithful.

3. Is it permissible to perform the funeral rites for a baptised person who does not belong to the Catholic Church if his/her own minister is not available?

According to the provisions of Canon 1183 §3, provided that their own minister is not available, baptised persons belonging to a non-catholic Church or ecclesial community may, in accordance with the prudent judgement of the Local Ordinary, be allowed Catholic funeral rites, unless it is established that they did not wish this.

4. If a person is a manifest sinner can the person be given a Church funeral?

According to the provisions of Canon 1184 §1, Church funeral rites are to be denied to manifest sinners to whom a Church funeral could not be granted without public scandal to the faithful unless they gave some signs of repentance before death.  In case of doubt the matter should be referred to the Local Ordinary.  
Since the denial of a Church funeral to one of its members is always a sensitive issue, one must bear in mind that the Church funeral is primarily to pray for the spiritual support of the person who has died, i.e. to plead for God’s mercy so that the person may be admitted to the eternal life merited by the death and resurrection of Christ; and also to honour the dead body which had been a temple of the Holy Spirit by reason of baptism; and to bring to the living  the comfort of Christian hope which carries the certainty of reunion in eternal life.  

5. Is it permissible for a person to be cremated?  If so, is it necessary to obtain permission from the Local Ordinary?

According to the provision of Canon 1176 §3 the Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burial be retained; but it does not forbid cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching.
It is not necessary to obtain the permission of the Local Ordinary for cremation.


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