Saturday, September 4, 2010

Costly Grace: America's Great Denial

While we fight over temporal things, there is a great denial of ultimate things. Fr. Hall of St. Paul's, Brookings (pictured) shares his thoughts,

Costly Grace: America's Great Denial

You need to pay attention to him. He recently asserted that his ankle had declared autumn, and lo our temps have cooled.

But seriously, his thoughts are deep yet accessible. Churches spend too much time seeking bandwagons to ride - Fr. Hall is in the sanctuary caring for the treasures God gave us to steward.

"I was in a liturgy class in Britain a few years ago when I was at Westcott House, and the topic of funerals came up. The professor asked point blank who in the class had actually ever seen a dead body. This was a fairly large group of mostly Anglicans. Most of whom were in the 21 to 50 age range. An Irish guy and myself were the only two people in the class that raised our hands. Ireland still has a wake tradition, and America still sometimes has an open casket at the receiving of friends or visitation at the funeral home.

I was astounded by that, particularly coming from a group of Anglican church mice. One would think that they would have seen a body somewhere, sometime, if they had grown up around the church and gone to funeral masses at some point. But in Britain, it turns out that no one ever sees a dead body unless they stumble upon it by accident.

Westerners just seem to have an aversion to anything having to do with death. I think America is quickly going down the path that Britain and other places in Europe have already tread. The trend in secular circles is to not even call them funerals anymore. They are referred to as "Celebrations of Life" or such as that. Even in Church circles, liturgical black is no longer permitted for funerals unless specifically requested. The liturgical color is white. I still have a black chasuble for requiem masses, if requested, but I'm a hold out. Even the Catholic priest in town has to come borrow mine if someone requests a requiem mass."

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