The Death of the Proper Religious Funeral

Excellent piece in the Spectator of the value of liturgical rites for the dead, from an Anglican POV.

Today’s emphasis is more on celebrating a life past than honouring the future of a soul. While I am not averse to a celebratory element, the funeral is morphing into a spiritually weightless bless-fest. 

Having “done” or attended my share of Masses of Christian Burial where there was a need for me to explain why Little Drummer Boy, Somewhere Over the Rainbow or Toora-loora-loora might not be the best choice for the Offertory procession; or where Mardi Gras beads were distributed, (not with the usual quid pro quo from the ladies, at least); or where the eulogist told a slightly bawdy story or toasted the deceased by popping open a malt beverage, may I salute those of you, priests and musicians, still in the trenches, and thank you for “proper religious funerals,” where the “ancient formulae” offer,

liturgical material which reassures us that the man with the scythe will not have the last word.

(All the above examples of dysliturgy, by the way, taken from life.)