Praying for Geraldine

Above and beyond the lively debate about whether Geraldine Ferraro merits a Catholic funeral, I think we can all agree on this: God is merciful, and prayer can’t hurt.  That’s the gist of my column this week.

From “All Things New”:

Msgr. Peter Elliott, writing about the notion of purgatory, once offered another beautiful thought:

“Eternal rest,” “pardon,” “peace,” “refreshment,” and “perpetual light” are words we use when praying for the dead. Each has its own tradition stretching back to earliest Christian times. Each has its own nuance, always pointing to our eternal goal — union with God in the beatific vision. But each word reminds us that God wants us to play an active part in His mercy to the departed who are one with us in the Communion of Saints.

What a wonderful and comforting idea: that we, by offering our prayers and petitions for those who have died, are able to collaborate with God in His mercy. As a great old hymn tells us, “There is a wideness in God’s mercy,” a breadth that opens its arms to include all of us who have failed Him, disobeyed Him, even betrayed Him.

Check out the rest.

Comments

  1. oldestof9 says:

    Thank-You, Deacon Greg.

  2. Ted Stevens says:

    If Sen Ted Kennedy can get the royal Catholic treatment with Bishops at his funeral given his history of killing a woman and trying to get away with it, spousal abuse, public support for abortions, and confirming pro-abortion Supreme Court judges; I don’t think the church has any moral standing to deny Geraldine Ferraro a Catholic funeral.

  3. Yes, God’s mercy! If only we could convince those who support the pro-choice ideology that mercy needs also to be extended to the children in the wombs who face extinction through abortion.
    Another thought, Deacon- how about some mention of Ellen McCormack, another feminist trailblazer who died this past Sunday?

  4. Deacon John M. Bresnahan says:

    TED–decisions like whether a Catholic can receive a church funeral is made by the deceased’s bishop in controversial cases. It is not THE CHURCH that approves or denies a church funeral.
    The wider Church does, however, set the general rules to be followed. And the rules do make sense–the trouble is, those putting the funeral together sometimes totally abuse the situation as the Kennedy family did (in turning it into a virtual political soapbox). The talk is that Cardinal O’Malley feels he was “snookered” by the K. Clan. (I have no inside information on whether that is true).
    Sadly, eulogies are commonly abused in Catholic funerals. Undertakers tell the family 10 minutes max. –to avoid overshadowing the Mass. However, it is rare for eulogists to follow that rule and I have sat through eulogies that have gone on for a half-hour or more.

  5. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Ted …

    In the Church’s theology, how one lived is less critical than how one died — whether or not a person repented before the moment of death.

    In my experience, I know of only one case in which a prominent figure was denied a Catholic funeral: John Gotti. He was offered the opportunity to see a priest on his deathbed, and refused. While he was buried in a Catholic cemetery in Queens, no funeral mass was celebrated. I believe the family held a private memorial mass afterward.

    Dcn. G.

  6. Scripture teaches that ” justification ” is a declarative act of God. Jesus promised immediate salvation to believers.
    ” He who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life .” John 5 : 24
    On the basis of faith alone , sinners pass out of death and into eternal life.
    Sanctification is a result, not a pre-requisite, and purgatory is never even mentioned in the Scriptures.
    ” collaborate with God in His mercy ? ”
    ” but after death they under go purification ?”

  7. Here is a great review of Sen Ted Kennedy and his relationship with the church.

    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1919064,00.html

    Cardinal Theodore McCarrick did Kennedy’s funeral service, which is top drawer service for a man who was unrepentant in his views on abortion.

    Basically, the Vatican and Pope had issues with Kennedy that the local Archdiocese of Boston ignored. This included giving him Communion despite the Pope’s orders not to.

    “While the highest authorities in the Vatican and indeed the Pope himself have insisted that pro-abortion Catholic politicians be denied Holy Communion, several prominent US bishops with the leading of now-retired Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick have refused to follow such direction from Rome.”

    “The Kennedys have always been defiantly in opposition to the Roman Catholic magisterium.”

    So, there is no reason why Geraldine should not get a Catholic funeral, not doing so would viewed as pure hypocrisy.

  8. A priest gave a sobering sermon not too long ago saying that death bed conversions are extraordinarily rare. The reason is not that God doesn’t want them, it’s that a person who lives for many years with no regard for the eternal consequences of his or her actions rarely deviates from that way of thinking. A little chilling.

  9. From the Washington Post March 28th – Article by Ellen Goodman:

    “… She (Geraldine Ferraro) told us a story with relish about the day her priest ended Mass by offering a blessing to everyone from “natural conception to natural death.” An outraged Ferraro stormed after him, demanding to know why he refused to bless her two grandchildren created by IVF. She delighted in reporting of his terrified retreat. Mama Grizzlies are not just found in Alaska”

    I will pray for her and am glad to see her receive a private Catholic funeral. But this is no way to treat a priest.

    [She may have been rude, but the priest was wrong to deny a blessing to someone because they were conceived through IVF. It wasn't their fault. Dcn. G.]

  10. George:

    In your post #7, where did you get this following quote? I didn’t find it in the Time Magazine article.

    “While the highest authorities in the Vatican and indeed the Pope himself have insisted that pro-abortion Catholic politicians be denied Holy Communion, several prominent US bishops with the leading of now-retired Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick have refused to follow such direction from Rome.”

  11. “An outraged Ferraro stormed after him, demanding to know why he refused to bless her two grandchildren created by IVF.”

    Wow I guess she didn’t know the Church’s position on IVF either.

    [Actually, she has a point. It's not the grandchildren's fault. They shouldn't be denied graces because of the choices of their parents that they had no control over. Dcn. G.]

  12. She may have been a little quick to take offense at the priest’s blessing, if the story was true, as it seems likely to have been a rhetorical flourish intended to call attention to two important issues and not intended to actually exclude anyone. I’m sure the priest wouldn’t have intended that victims of euthanasia be excluded from his blessing either.

  13. Phyllis Zagano says:
  14. I agree with sj.

    I’m sure ms ferraro has been shown the error of her pro legal abortion ways by now.

  15. According to Ellen Goodman , she and Gerry and possibly Pat
    Schroeder ( what a crew ! ) were discussing spiritual life and after life. Gerry insisted that when she died, she would be with her mother. ” I don’t know how, but i believe it ! ”
    Gerry believed she received strength from her Church and sadly, it seems , she received no proper and truthful teaching about what happens after death for one who dies in their sins, or for a ” born -again ” blood washed believer.

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