Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Where there's a will there's a......

....Tridentine Requiem Mass!

I have lost track of the number of TLM attending friends and acquaintances who have died and then been subject to an Ordinary Form Requiem Mass.

Image: Sancte Missa
Unbleached candles - the perfect send off!
 Not, I hasten to add, from any desire of theirs, quite the reverse. Usually, it is the priest who is to blame. I arrived once at the funeral of a good friend who had been solid in his attendance at the TLM and who had eschewed all other forms. What then took place was a disgraceful charade as the priest (acting out of consideration for his widow "because she would not understand the Latin") had arranged a pseudo Methodist service with hymns such as "The old rugged cross" and more of the same.

Not what Catholics
Because my friend was an old wartime mariner, the British Legion had been allowed into the church complete with berets (which they kept on) and military flags which I understand are not allowed at a Catholic Mass (one reason why we Catholics are such poor supporters of Remembrance Day services).

That episode was a result of priestly management but, often, surviving relatives who are not of the faith just do not see the need or distinction between OF and EF and, given the option, will, of course, choose that which is at least in English.
And then there's the issue of what happens afterwards. Sadly, many Catholics opt for the "crem" - it's quick, much cheaper and you don't have to worry about tending a grave afterwards (and often you can short circuit the church and have the whole shebang in the crematorium's Chapel of Ease) - ugh!
But it unnaturally destroys the temple that God created - much better to let the earth have your remains.

The only sure way to make certain that your wishes are observed is to stipulate it in your will or, fill in an instructional Funeral form,normally available from your Parish Priest. If you elect for the form you will have to put a red line through hymn choices 1 to 4 and write in capital letters TRIDENTINE LATIN MASS ONLY!

Photo: Lacrimarum Valle
While you are about it you might like to make known the fact, should you fall ill, that you would like to receive the "Sacrament of the Sick" or, as I prefer to call it "Extreme Unction" - the last rites of Holy Mother Church. Again, this is something that carries all the wrong connotations with it and often even strong Catholics will shy away from requesting this sacrament on the grounds that they believe that it is a sign they are about to pop their clogs. That may be the case but even more reason for accepting it. The effects of this sacrament are profound indeed and not only strengthen spiritually but, often, have a strengthening effect physically; I have know people make a good recovery from near death immediately after receiving EU. Again, you would expect me to play the traditional card and I do not like to disappoint. The traditional form of this sacrament is the one for me. It's a real 'belts and braces' form that does not leave any room for doubt and, believe me, if you are seriously sick, you do not want to leave anything to chance.
I have received the modern form (one of them) when I was not in a position to argue. It's rather like being handed a glass of 18 year old malt whisky that, when you put it to your lips, tastes like water!

This may all seem rather morbid but when you reach a critical stage in your life and are suffering illness or approaching death itself - you tend to have other things on your mind!

1 comment:

  1. One of the UK's Mitford sisters wrote a wonderful expose on our Yankee funeral monkey business. I think it is much more disrespectful (to the body) to pump it up with chemicals (after the blood and guts are washed down the municipal sewer)and place it in a concrete vault 6' under. What I would ideally like is to have a plain pine box carry my carcass into the church for an EF Requiem, then a quick incineration, then the "ashes" (ground up bones, actually) interred in consecrated ground with all due rites and tradition.
    Is there really anything wrong with this?