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Irish church crackdown on behaviour at funerals

Ireland's National Centre for Liturgy has issued guidelines designed to curb inappropriate behaviour at funerals including the telling of blue jokes and the placing of photos and football shirts on coffins.

The worst examples of inappropriate behaviour cited by priests range from cans of beer being drunk in memory of the deceased during one eulogy, to women's underwear being displayed on another occasion.

Centre spokesperson Fr Patrick Jones said the guidelines are intended to promote best practice rather than tell relatives how to grieve.

"Funerals often take place soon after the death and there is often not a lot of time for the family to make all the proper arrangements," he said.

That sometimes leads to inappropriate comments being made by friends or relations, which could cause offence.

The guidelines suggest that mementoes of the dead person should be not be placed on the coffin so as not to "displace the Christian symbols representing the baptismal calling of the deceased".

Instead a space should be provided for them nearby.

Eulogies are not ruled out as long as the text has been agreed in advance with the priest conducting the service.

This is not the first time liturgical authorities have seen the need to act. Earlier this year, pop songs were banned from weddings in County Kerry.

Irish priests bury 'a la carte' funerals (ABC/AAP 20/12/03)

National Centre For Liturgy
No drinking in the mourning, say priests (Sydney Morning Herald 22/12/03)
Irish bishops crack down on bad behavior at funerals (Catholic World News 19/12/03)

22 Dec 2003