In a recent directive towards his diocese, the Bishop of Meath has instructed priests not to have eulogies at a funeral Mass as theologically they have no place there. A eulogy is usually a speech given by the relatives or a poem to celebrate their loved ones lives here on earth. This is all very well and good and the Bishop is not against this practice.
Unfortunately the media and everyone else has latched on to this with great enthusiasm to express their disappointment about it. It’s very sad that people cannot seem to understand the theology behind the reason for such a removal of the eulogy from the funeral Mass ( note that it is not a removal from the funeral itself just the Mass) and this is largely the clergys fault and bad catechizing. afterwards they can do their speeches at the graveyard or a venue of their choosing where the wake will be to do a eulogy.
Allow me to attempt to explain it very simply and with as much clarity as is possible. The Divine Liturgy never allowed theologically for a eulogy or any secular music to be played. This was brought in somehow only recently and it always seems to be after Vatican II. There is nothing wrong with Vatican II but many after it decided to just rupture the liturgy and create what’s popularly known today as clown masses and a lot of abuses just managed to sneak their way in.
Good hearted parish laity don’t set out to abuse the liturgy with their wonderful eulogies but the fault mainly lies with those who should know better and that is the priests and the bishops. Now the Bishop is trying to restore the proper theology of it by banning eulogies and secular music once again. This is good because for at least one hour we should all be focusing on praying for the soul of our loved one and the Mass is the greatest prayer and time on earth to do this. After the Mass is over we can then move on to celebrating their life and telling stories at the venue of our choosing afterwards.
The Church is not a venue in which we offer a donation and expect to just waltz in and do whatever we like, its the house of God and we must respect the rules of our Church. We must respect our Priests and Bishops who are not there to ruin our day, but to simply guide us in the faith.
What is wrong with this? Nothing but everyone seems to have a bee in their bonnet about this banning of the eulogy. To give another example of how the eulogy doesn’t fit in a time that is meant for prayer take a look at it this way: you have all decided as a family at the wake that you are going to dedicate 20 minutes to praying the Holy Rosary for your deceased loved one. All of a sudden someone half way through this prayer requests we all stop praying and wants to give a speech and then finish the prayer. What would your response be? Surely you would say that it is more fitting to either give a speech before or after the prayer, am I right? Well its no different with the Mass and I hope my post has helped anyone upset with this directive by His Grace Michael Smith to ban the eulogy to understand the reasons why he did.