Should a funeral be carried out in a serious manner or in the way desired by the dead person? If the deceased prefer his or her funeral to be carried out in a more humorous way, should it be done?

story.jpg Now some rules have been set in Australia’s Catholic Church for people who deliver eulogies. To protect the sacred character of the liturgy, the cardinal has ruled that any speaker at a funeral must confine himself to at most a 5-minute talk. Only one talk is allowed, and the tone of the eulogy should be in keeping with the spirit of prayer for the deceased, avoiding jokes about his weaknesses. The speaker is not allowed to mention sex or drunkenness. The rules are set after an increase in the number of inappropriate comments at funeral masses. This prompted Australia’s most senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, to impose a five-minute deadline on eulogies and deem some areas of a person’s life off limits. This will cut short the long-winded eulogies by friends or family members at funeral masses, and to ensure the funeral mass keeps its main focus as an act of worship to God and a place for prayers for the deceased.

It’s no doubt that in some cases, a series of eulogists spoke at length, resulting in overly long services; in other cases a highly emotional speaker added to the grief of the families. In most extreme cases, laughing references to the drinking or sexual conduct of the deceased profaned the ceremony. This has embarrassed the deceased’s family members and the priest. However, having said that, a funeral is an occasion for paying the last respect to the deceased. It shouldn’t be ruled but it should be carried out in the way desired by the dead person. This is the meaning of last respect.