Good Riddance, 2011

This year sucked. It began with my little sister’s funeral, and ended with a malaise lingering on from my mother’s funeral. For my sister, Mary, death came quickly, and then it came slowly. She was very busy living a vibrant life, when she was suddenly smitten with a terminal cancer. Then she spent a year and a half dying. She tried to keep up the appearances of optimism, but everyone around her knew how the dance was going to end; we just didn’t know quite when. When it came, death came slowly, bleeding her life away as her ministeri...

“If the Dead are Garbage, then the Living are Walking Garbage.”

Every now and again, I find myself disputing with advocates of human cremation over the propriety of the process. Cremation has very rapidly become the preferred option, in certain sectors of society, for dealing with the corpses of the deceased. Whereas at one time its appeal may have been pretty much strictly economic to those not strongly influenced by oriental, non-Christian culture (or anti-Christian sentiment), it is these days often pitched as a morally compelling solution to a looming Malthusian crisis of usable land – the argument being that bur...

The Kennedy Funeral & the Faces of Scandal

There’s sure been a lot of chatter over the past week or so about the Ted Kennedy funeral, and Cardinal O’Malley’s participation in it. This is hardly surprising, given how divisive a character Kennedy was. Cardinal O’Malley, in what strikes me as a surprising move in several respects, has gone public with an explanation of his decision, in response to extensive criticism that undoubtedly ranged in impetus from befuddlement to anger. I appreciate his attempt at explaining himself – as I appreciate the difficulty of this whole problematic affair – but the...

Funerals and Community

Today was the Feast of All Saints. I slept a little late this morning, and went to Mass across town at St Linus (as I not infrequently do on Saturdays). I was surprised to see a Hearse in front of the church when I pulled up. It’s not unusual for the Saturday morning Mass at St Linus to be a funeral Mass, but with today being a Solemnity, I thought it was peculiar. But this funeral turned out to be quite different from the other Saturday morning funerals I’ve attended at St Linus. The difference? In this case, Msgr Giggi knew the deceased, ...