Another very confused blog post from a rather confused blogger priest, who will not profit financially – as he normally does – from a link here.
The priest in question feels his duty to criticise those Catholics who point out to a very simple truth: Protestants cannot receive a Catholic funeral in any way, shape or form. This is not me, or my cat, or Mrs Johnson down the road. This is Canon Law and, even before that, it is common sense.
Canon Law – and Catholicism, comes to that – is not about emoting; it is about thinking. A Protestant cannot have a Catholic funeral because, with his dying a Protestant, he has visibly put himself for all the world to see outside of that (only) Church outside of which there is no salvation.
Now, it can happen – I do not know how rarely; but I do know that it would be senseless temerity and self-righteous arrogance for anyone to presume he does not need to convert – that the dude or dudette in question does die within the Church, because that very Christ to Whom the final decision is given admits him to be part of the only Church in the last moment of his or her life, and the dude or dudette therefore dies a Catholic and avoids hell. But the fact remains that for the world he has died a Proddie, and therefore he will still – whether he has saved his backside from eternal barbecuing, or not – not be entitled to a Catholic funeral, lest scandal be given.
Is this so difficult to grasp? No. It makes perfect sense. Until one stops thinking and starts emoting.
Then, this person will reflect that the deceased Proddie might have been – as human standards go – a better man, a more faithful husband, a more thoroughly recycling and better driving citizen than the Catholic small crook who died on the same day after a life of expedients, but in the fear of the Lord and at peace with Him. Which, the reasoning goes, would not justify the double standard and make it unjust, or unreasonable, or too “pre-age of Mercy”.
But this is not an argument. There is a double standard for those “in” or “out” of the Church because there is only one Church; and this Church makes – she must make, if she is to be the Church – a very clear distinction between in and out, and must attach to it a concrete risk of horrible, eternal consequences for those who choose to die… out.
In this respect – that is: considering whether one died in or out – how “good” one was is neither here nor there. He wasn't good enough to be entitled to a Catholic funeral, for sure, and he should be happy enough if he has saved his ass; which, seeing his death as a Protestant, is ipso facto uncertain.
This mentality that “goodness”, not right thinking and right choices, entitles one to something – a Catholic funeral but, by extension, salvation; which is the big underlying issue, and the one that gives rise to the prohibition – is a very emotional, very irrational, and very effeminate one. It is the thinking of the emoting wussie, who does not get that adults make choices and pay the consequences.
The atheist “missionary” who spends his life fighting Ebola and dies in his atheism will still go to hell, because the offence to God of dying in one's atheism is infinitely – as in: infinitely – graver than any brownie point his humanitarian activity might earn him in one million lives. It is humanitarian effort without God, and therefore without any charity, and therefore voiding – as far as the issue of salvation is concerned – any contrary argument.
Is this difficult to understand? No. Is it rational? Quite. Is it uncomfortable to hear? You bet.
But this is what Catholicism is: as hard and as beautiful as a diamond. He is wise who understands that the diamond will not become soft for the sake of the Protestant glass. He is a fool who thinks that he is quality glass, and the diamond will have to yield to him.
Those who understand Truth know what the Church is: a barque helping us, wretched sinner as we all are, to cross the perilous sea of our sinful lives and safely reach the opposite shore. What profits the Proddie that he is a better swimmer than most Catholics on the barque if he is still out there, in the cold, swimming? Many a swimmer dies, who thought he had no need for the barque. Many a horrible swimmer lives, who with the grace of God understood where he had to be in order not to perish in the cold water of sin. The Protestant “virtuous” man may fancy himself better able to face the cold water; he can, in fact, be undoubtedly the better swimmer. I do not doubt many of them are. But in the end, he is still there, swimming alone in the cold, whilst the awful swimmer was smart enough to stay or get on the boat. Many a virtuous swimmer will, therefore, perish; and many an awful one safely reach the other shore one day.
Ultimately, then, who is the more virtuous? Since when has it become virtuous to be a heretic? Invincible ignorance certainly excuses; but if we look around us we will see very little of it, and an awful lot of presumption and arrogance or, if you prefer, a lot of idiots who want to swim alone because they think they are too good for the Barque, which is so full of hideous sinners, or uncomfortable rules, or both.
At the end of the day Heretic is who heretic does, and heresy can never be good, or pleasing to God, or in any way desirable. It is not cruel or unreasonable that the Church refuses a Catholic funeral to those who die in their heresy. It would be cruel and unreasonable if she did otherwise, because in this case the Church Herself would set up to massively confuse the faithful about what is right and what is wrong.
What some priest – many, in fact – must understand is that Catholicism is neither easy nor comfortable. On the contrary, by its very nature it will cause the harsher conflicts where the commingling of Catholicism and Protestantism, or of Catholicism and Atheism, is more pronounced. I grew up in an environment deprived of even one single Protestant, and Catholic Truth about heresy never divided my family. But if in the middle of a family Catholicism and Protestantism mingle, then the Catholic Truth will perforce cut through it like a knife, or if you prefer like the above mentioned diamond cuts the lies of Protestant glass. Any attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable will, then, only water down the Truth, damaging – to little or great extent – the very Catholic members of that family; which, let it say it, is another reason why it is desirable that there be no Protestants among that family in the first place.
All very simple, very logical and very Catholic. But not if you depart from the straight and narrow, and start to reason about how oh pious the Protestants are, and how oh inflexible – generally one adds here “judgmental”, “self righteous” or another of the adjectives loved by those who have no argument – the orthodox Catholics.
To die a Protestant is a serious threat to one's eternal salvation. It is a threat that does not have to end in tragedy, but leaves one exposed to this risk. It is, besides, a scandal that encourages other to believe that it be allowed, even normal to die in one's heresy. And therefore, rightly and wisely the Church forbids that such people may have the Protestant cake and eat the Catholic funeral.
That V II priests seem unable to see such self-evident truths tells you a lot about your V II priests.