What if the Church evangelized with the same boldness as funerals?
While this effort to advertise and sell Catholic funerals in of itself can be seen as providing a needed service, at the same time we can ask this question: why isn’t the local Church evangelizing with the same boldness and effort as they do for Catholic funerals?
Here watch this video:
And this One:
And this One:
And one more:
While many parishes in the Archdiocese of Toronto don’t have an active parish plan most do provide information about Catholic funerals and estate planning. Why? Because the archdiocese has made it a priority. Money, time and much human thought have into the planning the selling of a Catholic funeral. But have parishes been given videos and other resources to share with parishioners on how best to evangelize? How to fight against the culture of death: the evils of abortion and euthanasia? How to push back a radical sex curriculum that children must be taught? Readers can best answer these questions for themselves. What we do know is that our local parish there is silence on these issues.
At a recent parish fundraiser, we were given a booklet for the event. There was one page to describe the evening’s program, and the remaining thirty or so pages contained publicity for businesses. It included a full-page advertisement about diocesan Catholic cemeteries. The heading stated, “A sacred crypt in honour of a sacred life.” The words are there and on the background is the image of a church entrance with a steeple and a cross on top. Then the ad goes on to say, “The growing preference for above entombment is based on the most ancient Catholic tradition. Our mausoleums, provide affordable, elegant alternatives to ground burial that allow for all season visitation.” Is this not the marketing of death? The advertisement was bought by the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Toronto.
Without question we must respect a family’s need to give loved ones a proper and dignified funeral. But with the celebration of the Holy Mass and our prayers for the souls of the deceased, we can do little else for them. The rest is left to the kind of life the deceased has lived and the mercy of God. As pilgrims, this is our faith journey. Christians don’t live so that in the end they can have the “highly desirable single and double crypt options.” And what about all those funeral cars often filled with flowers that in just days are discarded. Is this not a waste of resources? Is it the proper way to end the Christian life on earth?
Do the deceased really need above ground entombments where inside walls are finished with the world’s best quality marble from Massa or Carrara? Is this not an extravagant and unnecessary luxury sold and advertised for profits? If the place and type of burial chosen is done with dignity and respect, all the other material extras are of small consequence. There is no need to show that even in death we can buy something others cannot afford. This is hardly being responsible stewardship of God’s creation and a good Christian.
In death, the separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body. God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus’ Resurrection. (997)
Christian funerals and legacy trusts have their place but too much focus on them and fundraising projects turns churches into places of commerce. Goods and services are advertised so that the faithful can buy them. Much more attention needs to be given on how to live the Christian life. We conclude with what we said at the start: just imagine what could happen if the Church evangelized with the same boldness as they presently do for funerals? The Church should first be promoting God’s gift of life and not put so much emphasis and money into death services.