Irish Catholic officials are insisting that eulogies should not be given at funerals, following a recent clarification by Armagh Archbishop Sean Brady.
   Jim Cantwell, director of the Catholic Press and Information Office said the instruction that eulogies should never been given at funerals is based on 2000 years of Church practice and not an innovation.
   "There is certainly a misunderstanding about the nature of the Christian funeral," he said.
   Archbishop Brady, Primate of the Church in Ireland, reiterated the guidelines in a letter last week in which he said that requests by members of the family to speak after the Prayer after Communion should be "firmly but sensitively refused." He said a homily based on the Scripture readings for Mass should always be given, but never a eulogy.
   "It is a rule that has been more neglected than observed by most priests," said Fr Brian Magee, a parish priest in Cork and a member of the committee which drafted the Order of Christian Funerals for Ireland. He said most priests take the general understanding of the Scriptures and apply them to the life of the person, leading to a blurring of the lines of the rules.
   Father Magee said that allowing friends or family of the deceased to speak during the Mass distorts the meaning of the funeral Mass. "It is about the worship of God, not the worship of the person who is dead," he said.


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