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UK archdiocese to permit lay-led funerals

Catholic World News - September 17, 2012

An English archbishop has commissioned 22 lay ministers to lead funerals in his archdiocese.

“In some of our parishes in the diocese, priests are being asked to celebrate over 120 funerals each year,” said Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool. “That does not neatly work out at two or three times a week.”

If a lay minister leads the funeral, Mass should “be celebrated for the deceased at the earliest convenient time,” he added.

In a 1997 instruction, eight Vatican dicasteries taught that

in the present circumstances of growing dechristianization and of abandonment of religious practice, death and the time of obsequies can be one of the most opportune pastoral moments in which the ordained minister can meet with the non-practicing members of the faithful.

It is thus desirable that Priests and Deacons, even at some sacrifice to themselves, should preside personally at funeral rites in accordance with local custom, so as to pray for the dead and be close to their families, thus availing of an opportunity for appropriate evangelization.

The non-ordained faithful may lead the ecclesiastical obsequies provided that there is a true absence of sacred ministers and that they adhere to the prescribed liturgical norms. Those so deputed should be well prepared both doctrinally and liturgically.

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  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Sep. 17, 2012 4:52 PM ET USA

    Wonder how many Baptisms these priests have to perform. Also, they need to institute Eucharistic Adoration in their dioceses. It's a better use of laypersons' time and IT WORKS!

  • Posted by: koinonia - Sep. 17, 2012 11:23 AM ET USA

    Sad. Indeed it does not "neatly work out" at all for the living or the dead. "King of Majesty tremendous, Who dost free salvation send us, Fount of pity, then befriend us! Think, kind Jesu! -my salvation Caused thy wondrous Incarnation; Leave me not to reprobation!" -From the Sequence of the Reguiem Mass (EF) Pray for many good and holy priests. Pray for the Church Suffering.

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