Hold Your Tongue?

Does the Catholic Church have a death wish? As a practicing Catholic, I have to wonder.

The Newark, NJ Roman Catholic Archdiocese is now saying no more eulogies at its masses. They are too long, too windy and too much. And so today -- poof -- they are gone. If families want to reminisce about a loved one, they can do it at graveside.

News flash, guys. It's cold out there and it's colder at graveside. But you know what? It isn't nearly as cold, or as callous as that sweeping indictment against families remembering their departed friends and relatives.

I know the Catholic Church wants to focus funeral masses on the message of Jesus. But part of that message is compassion, and camaraderie.

Part of that religious experience is laughter and remembering funny stories about someone who was here and now, sadly, is not.

For a church that has had more than its share of PR problems, it amazes me that it chooses to compound the arrogance of its aloofness with this.

If eulogies go on too long, so what?

If their remembrances aren't religiously, or politically correct, so what?

If the deceased was not a regular churchgoer, so what?

Knowing what I've read of Jesus, he would have welcomed all and all their tears, memories and pain.

He wouldn't judge. He wouldn't condescend. And he wouldn't demean.

I've unfortunately given my fair share of eulogies in my life -- always with a heavy heart -- but always hoping in some small way I'm remembering someone who has left this world and someone who was hopefully going on to better worlds.

For my world, eulogies have a place in every house. And yes, especially in god's house.

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