Funeral customs ‘too hard to alter’ in Cork and Kerry

The committee in charge of the funeral liturgy in the Diocese of Kerry has ruled out guidelines which would standardise funeral behaviour there, saying it would be too difficult.

Councillors in Kerry had passed a resolution calling on the Bishop of Kerry, Dr Ray Browne, to put in practice a method whereby the huge crowd of mourners normally turning up at Kerry funerals would be allowed to sympathise with the bereaved within churches.

This was in order to save bereaved people being mobbed outside, particularly in inclement weather, and so that all mourners across the diocese would have a similar approach, regardless of which parish they were in.

Practises vary and offering sympathy inside churches is not the custom in many parishes across Kerry, West Cork, and North Cork which form the diocese.

A resource booklet on funerals has been produced and it contains advice on “appropriate” hymns, Christian symbols, scriptures and how to deal with death.

After studying the council request, the Diocesan Liturgy Committee has said standardising funeral practices in Kerry “is not so simple”.

Funeral practices varied due to local customs, it said.

“Some parishes might have someone to visit the funeral home for the prayers, but most do not,” it said.

“Some parishes have the funeral arrive to the church at a certain time, while most leave the funeral home at an agreed time.

“Town funerals are generally earlier, while the later times seem more suitable for rural parishes.

“In all these matters, there are no liturgical issues involved but rather local practices at the time of a funeral.

“It is very difficult to standardise many of these because they are usually best resolved in the local area and with the awareness of local issues.”


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