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Fury at funeral songs ban - Comments

dazzjazz's Avatar Comment 1 by dazzjazz

ah - the warm hand and heart of the catholic church.

I live in Sydney and we're beseiged by this cult this week - what a joke. And our govt gave 'em $80 million.


Tue, 15 Jul 2008 13:37:00 UTC | #200295

Nairb's Avatar Comment 2 by Nairb

This is so stupid in so many ways

I can only laugh.
It makes you wonder how much good luck was involved in man becoming the dominant species on this planet.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 13:39:00 UTC | #200303

IaninPA's Avatar Comment 3 by IaninPA

Keep up the good work catholic leadership!

Your continual alienation of your own followers is a delight to see.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 13:42:00 UTC | #200306

skeptictank's Avatar Comment 4 by skeptictank

One of my buddies died in iraq, and his parents were catholic, so they had a catholic funeral for him. The priest was completely out of line, trying to use his untimely death for recruiting new catholics. He said things like "Nick was a good catholic, and its not too late for you all to be saved from the tortures of hell as he was". Knowing that he wasn't religious in the least bit, I just got up and left.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 13:48:00 UTC | #200313

steve8282's Avatar Comment 5 by steve8282

Even if we let the Monsignor watch the kids during the mass?

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 13:48:00 UTC | #200315

IaninPA's Avatar Comment 6 by IaninPA

Comment #211185 by skeptictank:

He said things like "Nick was a good catholic, and its not too late for you all to be saved from the tortures of hell as he was".

Are you serious?

Un - fucking - believable.

I think walking out was the dignified response.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 13:59:00 UTC | #200324

Alan Canon's Avatar Comment 7 by Alan Canon

My "in group" are largely secularists (many of them, though not overtly atheists, would describe themselves as "spiritual, but not religious.") Now that we're approaching middle age, we've had, in recent years, to absorb the sadness of having dear friends die, some "before their time."

I have been so touched by the secular memorial services that have been organized for several of our deceased friends. What has been interesting to me is that certain members of our community have come to the fore as the equivalent of "spiritual" leaders in these sad events. A sort of non-clergy clergy, in a way.

The memorial events themselves are very like the secular funerals that Richard Dawkins has often described. Many of us are musicians, and we now have a tradition of playing, continuously and improvisationally, for many hours while a memorial picnic takes place. During one such service for a fallen musician, we had piles and piles of musical instruments laid on blankets under a tree, so that anyone who liked could pick one up and join in. This in addition to eulogies and readings by friends and family members.

The families of the deceased, even if they are religious, have been very touched by our younger-person efforts to memorialize and grieve, and to celebrate the life that is now over, in our own way. Often, especially when the family is from another city, this is their first opportunity to know the community of friends who loved the deceased family member.

In contrast, we've also had to endure purely religious funerals, organized by families, for friends of ours who we knew did not share their family's religious beliefs. After one such dreadful service, in which the Bible got a lot of exposure, and the life of our deceased friend got none, I overheard someone saying, "Jesus already had his funeral. This should have been Kym's, not his." Another friend who attended the same funeral said that she was on the verge of laughing out loud during the service, recalling Dawkins' comment about his wife Lalla's reaction to the prayers during religious services. For my part, I was very angry during the same funeral. I wanted to jump up and shout "She didn't believe in that bullshit! This is not her! How dare you besmirch her memory by bringing your Baptist crap into her funeral!"

Since becoming an atheist, I've adjusted my ideas to exclude the persistence of the human mind after death. But as a materialist, someone who believes that the mind is not other than the activity of the human brain, I have a sort of neo-spiritual view of life after death: the minds of the dead do live on in the virtual-reality simulation inside the minds of those who remember them. When I dream about my deceased grandmother, or remember something a dear friend said to me long ago, I can, metaphorically speaking of course, imagine that a part of that person's "soul" is alive in a sort of distributed way, both in the memories of those who loved the deceased, and in our very makeup, inasmuch as we are changed forever by knowing such good people.

What about your experiences? Do you find that there are members of your secular community who are prized for their secular spirituality, the ability to provide comfort without resort to religious platitudes?

p.s. I've used the word "spiritual" in this posting, and I hope the word doesn't give offense. I hope it's obvious what I meant from the context.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 14:03:00 UTC | #200326

decius's Avatar Comment 8 by decius

They are doing all the hard work for us. I can hardly think of anything that could alienate people more than dictating them how to mourn.
Well, actually I can.
But let's leave sex and money out of the picture.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 14:07:00 UTC | #200327

Dinah's Avatar Comment 9 by Dinah

I loathe the false comfort of religious funerals, with the priest mouthing empty promises about the deceased's soul being received by God. It is a great temptation to stand up and shout 'Evidence, please!' Humanist funerals are much more moving and uplifting, because they are rooted in reality. We know we will never see the dead person again, so we are free to weep, if we wish, and/or rejoice in having had the privilege of knowing him or her in life. There is no pretence that the person somehow continues to exist somewhere else. And usually the music is better, too. No ghastly, dirge-like hymns, with the congregation battling it out with the organist to see who finishes first (or last).

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 14:40:00 UTC | #200340

Gregg Townsend's Avatar Comment 10 by Gregg Townsend

Alan Canon,

I'm tearing up.

the minds of the dead do live on in the virtual-reality simulation inside the minds of those who remember them.
I've said it before; my only chance at immortality is to live on in my children's and grand-children's memories. This is all the incentive I need to live a moral life.


Tue, 15 Jul 2008 14:47:00 UTC | #200343

Logicel's Avatar Comment 11 by Logicel

Humanist funerals are meaningful services. The absolute idiotic religious funerals I witnessed in my childhood only contributed to my disgust that I felt towards the clergy.

Often it is said that religion is used to mark important events. Well, it cheapens every event, whether it is a birth, a marriage, or a death. The clergy are just clueless, and yet the common held wisdom is that the clergy perform valuable services in this regard.

I have suspected for a long time that the so-called comfort that is associated with religion is a big, f*cking myth. And perhaps that is why for some religious brands, they are relinquishing their hold, because as the adherents mature, they can finally see with clear eyes, that there are many better ways to cope with life's challenges than putting oneself on the religious autopilot of intoning gibberish, swishing robes, and putrid incense.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 14:57:00 UTC | #200347

Naturalist1's Avatar Comment 12 by Naturalist1

First...My condolences to Paddy Cole..respected jazz sax musician...and his whole family on the death of his mother.
I have been a jazz musician since I was 11 years old (yes, I loved it even then)and I was outraged by this. In saying goodbye to ones mother it is healthy, even essential for the individual to be able to find a way to bring closure to the event.
Mr. Cole is an accomplished Tenor Sax player. What comes out of a learned jazz musician is his inner emotional essence expressed through his love of all that is important to him. Had he been allowed by these medieval clerics to do these things he would have found more peace in his mother's passing....not to mention the increadible things they would have heard in that church.
I sincerely hope the catholic church keeps pissing people off this way.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 15:04:00 UTC | #200349

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 13 by Laurie Fraser

I gave the eulogy at my father's funeral. Like your experience, Alan, his funeral was full of music and song (he had been a fine baritone, and three of his children, including me, became musicians.) It was the best funeral I've ever attended, and allowed the grieving process to be natural and normal.

I keep him alive every day, by recalling all of those memories, including the great memory of the celebration of his life at his funeral.

These lunatics deserve the strongest possible condemnation for the damage they do to the family and friends of the deceased by disallowing their ownership of the grieving.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 15:12:00 UTC | #200352

LaurieB's Avatar Comment 14 by LaurieB

I have kept my issue of Free Inquiry Magazine that has the cover title, "Dealing with Dying". October/November 2007. Vol 27 No. 6. It has wonderful ideas for a secular funeral including some nice readings and advice on how to not let religious people hi-jack a secular person's funeral, etc. A very useful issue indeed.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 15:19:00 UTC | #200356

Opisthokont's Avatar Comment 15 by Opisthokont

Wow. Yes, this is insensitive. It is disrespectful. But also, there is something telling in the concept of "celebrating a funeral".

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 15:27:00 UTC | #200363

Alan Canon's Avatar Comment 16 by Alan Canon

Here's a link to the Free Inquiry Magazine article, "Dealing with Dying". October/November 2007. Vol 27 No. 6., referenced above by Laurie B.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 15:47:00 UTC | #200367

Quine's Avatar Comment 17 by Quine

No problem, the friends and family just need to let the parish know that along with no music there is going to be no donation. If that catches on, the bishop will do a turn-around quite soon.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 16:07:00 UTC | #200376

justaperson's Avatar Comment 18 by justaperson

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of nothing. A quick cremation, no ceremony, no tears, no sappy speeches. Let those who knew me remember me as I was and get together for a drink if they wish. It won't matter to me.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 16:11:00 UTC | #200379

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 19 by Laurie Fraser

Wow. Yes, this is insensitive. It is disrespectful. But also, there is something telling in the concept of "celebrating a funeral".

Well, you're not actually celebrating the funeral - you're celebrating the life of the deceased. A bloody fine thing to do, and when it's done well, it is cathartic for we who are grieving. Maybe the clergy like to celebrate the "funeral" because it reinforces their lunatic beliefs about the "real" purpose of living: i.e. dying.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 16:18:00 UTC | #200382

Al420's Avatar Comment 20 by Al420

How dare you try to mourn the dead, we're trying to have a funeral here!

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 17:12:00 UTC | #200409

Godfree Gordon's Avatar Comment 21 by Godfree Gordon

Alan Canon

Great post

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 17:16:00 UTC | #200411

William1w1's Avatar Comment 22 by William1w1

It's the family's fault for having the Catholics host the event. You can't expect those crazy Christians to behave rationally.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 17:59:00 UTC | #200425

appaZ's Avatar Comment 23 by appaZ

The stupidity of religious institutions knows no bounds.

Before my father died, he told my mother that after he went, he did not want a priest within ten miles of him . At the funeral, my elder brother held his head up and spoke of my father in a manner that only someone who truely knew him and loved him could. Not some regurgitated crap from an individual who, in life, my father thought was at best, a dickhead.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 19:03:00 UTC | #200435

Tasida's Avatar Comment 24 by Tasida

I went to a religious funeral once for the wife of one of the professors at my college. It was creepy as hell to hear the preacher say that this wonderful woman "thirst for the blood of christ."

Every xtian service I've been to is the same: they give lip service to the wonderful character and actions of the deceased, then proceed to holy crap on all of that by saying, "none of that matters one bit- all that matters is that she accepted Jesus Christ as her lord and savior."

What disrespectful non-sense.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 19:49:00 UTC | #200438

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 25 by mordacious1

And no crunching any frackin' crackers either.

When I go, I want my friends to party...lot's of music, lots of booze...and no religious BS.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 20:16:00 UTC | #200441

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 26 by TIKI AL

In the absense of the inquisition the Catholic Church has to get creative to show who is still in charge and all powerful.

We played Les Elgart music at my Mother's funeral.
My sister and I were in charge, so no delusional clergy were allowed in.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 20:46:00 UTC | #200447

Mbee's Avatar Comment 27 by Mbee

I understand that the second most popular song played at funerals is 'look on the brighter side of life' by the monty python troupe. This doesn't seem to fit into what the catholics want!

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 20:48:00 UTC | #200448

mewletter's Avatar Comment 28 by mewletter

Which is why I hardly attend funerals anymore; to avoid cretins. And we all know what cretin originally meant... heh heh heh.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 20:55:00 UTC | #200450

Andy_Allen's Avatar Comment 29 by Andy_Allen

Alan Canon, in Comment #211201, nails my situation exactly; and far more eloquently than I could possibly have done. Great post, thanks.

I'm going to make sure that all my family and friends know this is the way I want to be sent off - and will endeavor to ensure the same for them.


Tue, 15 Jul 2008 20:56:00 UTC | #200451

8teist's Avatar Comment 30 by 8teist

Dump your religion then ,problem solved.Save yourself a shitload of cash ,sleep in on a sunday morn,pretty fucking easy really.

Shit, what am I doing ? I should be selling this advice.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 21:48:00 UTC | #200460