A priest who regularly presides at requiem masses
recently said that a requiem was not appropriate in relation to a
dead baby. Why?
An explanation of this comment may be found in a note appended
to the Roman Catholic "Order of Christian Funerals", which makes a
two-fold statement: "In its prayers the Christian community
confesses its faith and makes intercession for deceased adults that
they may reach their final happiness with God. The community's
belief is that deceased children whom through baptism God has
adopted as his own have already attained that blessedness."
This belief should not preclude or make a requiem mass
inappropriate: an unwillingness or reluctance to offer one can
indicate a failure to appreciate the purpose for which a eucharist
is offered at funerals and on the anniversary of death, whether of
an adult or a newborn baby. Many will contend that a requiem mass
not only seeks to advance the progress of adult departed souls
towards their final bliss, but, of equal importance, always
celebrates the paschal mystery of Christ.
At the altar, where time and eternity meet, mourners, and not
least the parents of a dead baby, are invited to share in and
rejoice with the communion of saints. A baby's funeral eucharist
will have a marked awareness that God in his infinite love and
mercy will "bring the whole Church, living and departed in the Lord
Jesus, to a joyful resurrection and the fulfilment of his eternal
kingdom", and that includes infants.
Common Worship: Pastoral Services supplies valuable
"Resources for the Funeral of a child" (pages 301-15), which can be
used in the "Order for the funeral of a child within a celebration
of Holy Communion" (page 298). At the eucharist, grieving parents
and relatives find consolation and strength.
(Canon) Terry Palmer, Magor,
How can a Christian explain the occurrence of walking on
water? [Answers, 12 and 19
Surely we have moved on from the 1960s, when every miracle had
to be explained in scientific terms rather than accepted for what
it was. The explanation is so much simpler than Canon Palmer (12
September) would have us believe.
Jesus was the Son of God - was God. Nothing is impossible with
God. Jesus walked on the water. Peter was human. Peter tried to
walk on water and failed. End of explanation.
(Dr) Robin Rowles (LLM/Reader), Bletchley,
When I was a lad, the celebrant at every eucharist
processed from the sacristy to the altar, carrying the sacred
vessels with burse, paten, corporal, etc. Now the sacristan places
them on the altar before the service. Why the change? R.
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