As folks have no doubt appreciated, I have kept quiet on the burning Catholic issue of Senator Kennedy's funeral last weekend. However, I was asked in another capacity to produce a short opinion on the matter, so I thought I would reproduce it here:
The real problem is that we as a Catholic culture have lost the sense that a funeral Mass is a prayer and sacrifice offered for the continuing journey and salvation of a sinner like the rest of us. As long as a funeral is executed as if it were a beatification, or 'celebration of life' as regular folks like to say, then those who object to beatifying the life in question will be offended, and sometimes rightly so. The funeral liturgy--Vigil, Mass, Committal--is meant to be prayers offered for the deceased as he continues his journey through purification on the way to the beatific vision. It thus is meant to have at least something of a penitential character. Let us not forget that priests were traditionally buried in the penitential color of violet! (Roman Ritual, De Exsequiis, 13.) Had Senator Kennedy's funeral Mass been offered in something closer to this spirit, instead of as a civil canonization, I'm sure many fewer good and faithful Catholics would have been offended.
But don't mind me, I turned it off after they failed to sing the Alleluia.