A high-profile funeral was celebrated today. I did not see any of it; Saturdays have developed into quite busy days, and today was no exception. As a liturgist, I’d like to offer a few comments on some aspects I’ve heard or read about.
I heard yesterday on NPR that Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica was “chosen” for the liturgy. Was the Mission Church Kennedy’s home parish? I read the news that he prayed there frequently. Most Catholics don’t have a choice for funeral locations. Some will choose where to marry. Most choose their home parish. Maybe Liam knows where the late Senator was a parishioner.
private memorial service at the (JFK) library (in Boston) for Friday night, according to a schedule of events released by Kennedy’s Senate office.have planned a
I suppose this would be one of three possibilities: the funeral vigil, a rosary service, or some other kind of prayer for the family. It is the appropriate place, by the way, for people to eulogize their loved one. I wonder what the public reaction would be if the Vigil had been celebrated publicly with eulogies, and the funeral and internment had been smaller affairs.
I’m aware that a few Catholics have mustered some protest at the public funeral of someone many consider an obstinate sinner. “Scandal” has been used to define this liturgy. I find it hard to muster much support for the thought. Lots of conservative Catholics use the term “scandal” to describe “something we don’t like.” Is it a value for the sake of the innocent who may be corrupted to bring the event more to a focus in the news?