Before and After Death, Without an Uncompromising Priest

Catholic Candle Note:  The following article is a ready reference for end of life issues.  We recommend you keep it handy.

 

                                                           

The following is a short summary of final arrangements to be made before and after death in our current circumstances where there is no uncompromising priest available (at least in most places in the world).

 

This article (with links) is divided into eight sections.  It condenses into four pages, material which has been gleaned from 63 pages of more detailed information.  Except for Section 4, where there is a source footnote, other sections have links for information from earlier Catholic Candle articles. 

 

 

Section 1:  Medical information to be given prior to death[1]

                   

If I should have an incurable and irreversible injury, disease, or illness judged to be a terminal condition by my attending physician who has personally examined me and who considers that even with maximum medical treatment, I have less than three months probable, foreseeable life expectancy, I direct that I not be kept alive artificially through major surgery, chemotherapy, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.  However, in no case do I wish to be deprived of food, fluids, oxygen, and common medications such as any antibiotics.

 

 

Section 2:  Our duty to use ordinary care to preserve life even as a person is dying[2]

 

We are free to choose (or not choose) to make extraordinary efforts to preserve our life.  However, there is a minimum, ordinary effort we must make, in order to avoid the sin against the Fifth Commandment, of failing to protect our life.  As St. Thomas teaches:

 

God commands man to sustain his body.  Otherwise he would be his own killer…By this commandment man is bound to nourish his body and do those other things without which his body cannot live.[3]

 

Father John Slater, in his Moral Theology, describes this minimum effort to preserve our life:

 

We are obliged to take ordinary means to preserve our lives, for to do otherwise would be virtually to commit suicide.  There is no obligation to take extraordinary, unusual, or very painful or expensive means to preserve our lives.  And so, one in feeble health, who will probably die if he spends the winter in England, is not bound to expatriate himself and go and live in a milder climate.  Nor am I bound to undergo a painful and costly operation in order to save my life; I may if I like choose rather to die, unless my life is of great importance for the common good, for then the public good must be considered first.  Except in such a case as this, a superior could not oblige a subject to undergo a very painful operation or to submit to the amputation of a leg; obedience to human authority does not seem to extend to such matters as these.[4]

 

 

Section 3:  How to assist a person in dying a holy death[5]

 

Dying persons are often aware even when they are non-responsive and apparently unconscious.  Because a dying person needs our help in his final spiritual battle, we should persevere helping until we are as certain as we can be, that he is dead and no longer needs our help.

 

We cannot know with certainty when this separation of soul and body (death) occurs, so we should “err” on the side of remaining longer to assist the person in dying a holy death.  A person might be non-responsive to stimuli and apparently not breathing, yet fully aware and undergoing a final spiritual battle for his soul.

 

Do your best to give the dying person strength, encouragement, and human moral support.  Remember that love “divides” sorrows, including the sorrows of death.  Human contact with a dying person is very important.  Hold his hand.  Reduce (divide) his sorrows of death, as much as you can.  Give him frequent strokes/touches so he knows we are still there.  (Without movement, we easily lose awareness that something/someone is touching us.)

 

 

Section 4: Perfect Act of Contrition without a priest

                  

The prospect of dying without (an uncompromising priest for) confession would be horrifying were it not for the knowledge that a merciful God has provided for this with a perfect Act of Contrition.  This prayer, said sincerely and with God’s help, is literally a God-send.  United with a pledge to go to (an uncompromising priest for) confession when available, this heartfelt prayer restores the dying person to grace at once.[6]

 

 

Section 5:  The Catholic Church permits a dying person to confess to a compromising or bad priest[7] 

 

In the 1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon #882 states, “In danger of death, any priest, even one not otherwise approved for hearing confessions, may validly and licitly absolve any penitent from whatever sins”.

 

The Council of Trent is the origin of this permission (viz., quoted immediately above) for a dying person to confess to a compromising or bad priest.

 

 

Section 6:  A traditional Catholic funeral and burial when there is no uncompromising priest available[8]

 

Part A:  We must avoid a compromise wake, funeral, and burial.  But God lovingly placed us in this time of Great Apostasy, for His greater glory and for our good.  He does not want us to have a Requiem Mass for our funeral when no uncompromising priest is available to offer one.  Such a compromise funeral (viz., with a compromising priest) is a sin.

 

Part B:  How do we conduct a wake, funeral, and burial of our loved one without a priest?  After our loved one’s death, we plan the schedule and invite/announce the schedule in a manner similar to the customary way for any funeral and burial.  Everyone is welcome!  Praying together is an occasion to benefit from our Lord’s promise: “Where there are two or three gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.”

 

 

Section 7:  Our duty not to “donate” our vital bodily organs or accept one donated[9]

 

“Harvesting” a person’s vital organs is premeditated murder.  Your organ donor card might be your death warrant.  Catholics should be careful to opt out of organ “donation” in those countries such as England, where permission to “donate” organs is assumed unless a person opts out.

 

 

Section 8:  Guidance concerning a Medical Power of Attorney[10]

 

Granting a “power of attorney” simply means giving a person the legal authority to act for you in certain matters.  In other words, granting a “power of attorney” merely makes that person your agent.  It does not refer to the person being a licensed attorney for the practice of law.  A Power of Attorney for Healthcare (also known as a Medical Power of Attorney) is a document through which you grant to your agent the legal authority to make medical decisions for you, when you cannot do so yourself.

 

As you know, God will not allow you to be tempted to sin beyond your ability to resist, and He also will not allow you to lose your soul without the Sacraments, beyond your ability to secure a happy death.  God will give you the necessary grace for that happy death.

 

St. Francis de Sales says that to wish to do the will of God is of unspeakable merit.  He states that if a Christian learns of his impending death and accepts it because it is God’s will, he may go straight to heaven.

 

Pope St. Pius X seems to have had this doctrine in mind when he granted a plenary indulgence at the hour of death when this prayer is said:

 

O my God, from this moment forward I accept with a joyful and resigned heart the death Thou will be pleased to send me, with all its pains, sufferings, and anguish.[11]

 

Is it not wonderful that you love God and accept His will completely, and all that happens is for the best?  God knows what you need.  He will not abandon you in this time of crisis in the Catholic Church.

 

 

 



[3]           Words of St. Thomas Aquinas, quoted from his Commentary on II Thessalonians, 3:10, ch.3, lecture 2.

 

[4]           A Manual of Moral Theology, Rev. Thomas Slater, SJ., Vol I., Fifth and Revised Edition, Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., London, ©1925, Part 5, The Fifth Commandment, Ch.1, On Suicide.

 

[6]           Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908, Vol. 4, article on Contrition, page 339.

[11]         From the book How to Be Happy, How to Be Holy, by Father Paul O’Sullivan, O.P.

 

Use of ordinary care even as we are Dying

Catholic Candle note: Recently, Catholic Candle examined the permission the Church traditionally gives to a person who is in danger of death, to confess to a priest whom an uncompromising Catholic could not otherwise support (or confess to) because that priest is a compromiser, an apostate, or someone whom it is otherwise impermissible to support.  Find the article here: http://www.catholiccandle.org/2020/01/01/using-a-compromised-priest-when-dying/

Catholic Candle also addressed how uncompromising laymen can bury their dead in these times of great apostasy when an uncompromising priest is not available.  Find the article here: http://www.catholiccandle.org/2020/04/02/a-traditional-catholic-funeral-and-burial-when-there-is-no-uncompromising-priest-available/

Between this last confession (discussed in the first of those articles) and the burial (discussed in the second article), is the crucial moment of death.  We gave recommendations how to assist at a person’s death, based on the experience of some of the Catholic Candle Team, who recently assisted at the deaths of two uncompromising Traditional Catholics.  Find the article here: http://www.catholiccandle.org/2020/06/01/how-to-assist-a-person-in-dying-a-holy-death/

Also, in our last days of life, we must continue to give sufficient care to sustain our life – even as it is waning – and must not yield to the culture of death, which promotes euthanasia.  Below, we examine the minimum care we are obliged to provide to sustain our life even when we are dying.

We recommend that you save these articles for future reference and use.

Our Duty to Use (at least) Ordinary Care to Preserve Our Life, even as we are Dying

We are free to choose (or not choose) to make extraordinary efforts to preserve our life.  However, there is a minimum, ordinary effort we must make, in order to avoid the sin against the Fifth Commandment, of failing to protect our life.  As St. Thomas teaches:

God commands man to sustain his body.  Otherwise he would be his own killer. …  By this Commandment [viz., the Fifth Commandment], man is bound to nourish his body and do those other things without which his body cannot live.[1]

Even though we foreseeably will die in the near future, we must continue to make ordinary efforts to preserve our life.  So just as our impending death (e.g., from disease) does not allow us to jump off of a cliff (and so hasten death), likewise we cannot hasten our death in any other way, such as by starving ourselves to death.  If a person starved himself to death even one day before he would have died of disease, he has committed suicide.

Although we know we must do those things without which our body cannot live – as St. Thomas teaches (quoted above) – what are those things?  We do not need to do strange, extreme, and unreasonable things to preserve our life.[2]  However, we must preserve our life by making efforts which are reasonable, common, and ordinary under our circumstances.[3]

 

What specific ordinary efforts must we make to preserve our life?

There is no complete list of ordinary efforts required to preserve our life.  In part, the list of what is common, reasonable, and ordinary depends upon our physical condition and our access to health care. 

We do not need to do those things which, when taking into account our circumstances and medical condition at the time, would not help us preserve our life.  For example, we normally must take nutrition and hydration (food and drink) to sustain our life.  However, in the final short period of our life, if our body’s organs are shutting down and no longer functioning, and the nutrition and hydration are no longer being absorbed and no longer usable by our body, then we do not have the obligation to take nutrition and hydration since they no longer help us to preserve our life.  In other words, we do not need to do things that won’t help to preserve our life in the circumstances at the time.

 

Common, ordinary, and reasonable efforts to sustain life

We observe that, generally, the list of common, ordinary, and reasonable efforts to sustain life has grown with the safety, ease, and widespread use of those procedures.  So, e.g., in a past time, using a hypodermic needle was extraordinary.  (They did not even exist before the 17th Century.)  But now hypodermic needles are used daily by many ordinary persons, e.g., diabetic persons needing insulin injections.  Here are a few examples of procedures we consider ordinary, common, and reasonable means of preserving a person’s life, in most developed countries of the world:

  Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) These have become an ordinary means of preserving a person’s life when he has a heart rhythm problem.  AEDs are routinely used by paramedics[4] and are made available to the untrained general public, for use in an emergency, e.g., on planes, trains, and in public buildings. 

  Injections, shots, intravenous feeding/therapy (IVs), EpiPens (Epinephrine autoinjectors) – These have become ordinary means of preserving a person’s life.  They are routinely used not only by paramedics[5] and nurses but also by the general public, e.g., for administering insulin to diabetics, for administering adrenaline where a person suffered a severe reaction to a bee sting, etc.

  CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation).  This is an ordinary procedure.  The public is taught to perform this common emergency procedure.  It is also routinely performed by paramedics.[6] 

Obviously, though, CPR has its reasonable limits.  We know of a dying man whose heart stopped and he was revived several times, only to have his heart stop again, each time, a short time later.  The pattern became plain and there is no obligation to interminably revive a very sick, dying person.

 

A “Do not resuscitate” (DNR) order directs that CPR not be administered.  Such DNRs must be used carefully to apply only when CPR would be beyond reasonable limits.

 

  Gastro-intestinal tubes.   These are routinely and ordinarily used (as necessary), and are inserted in the nose or mouth, or directly into the stomach, to administer liquids and liquified food.

 

  Supplemental oxygen.

 

  Kidney dialysis.

 

  Common medicines including antibiotics.

 

Conclusion of this section of the article

We have a duty to take reasonable care of our life, including using the ordinary, common, and reasonable means generally employed.

 

What can we do to ensure (at least) ordinary means are taken to preserve our life, even when we are dying and we are unable (or less able) to defend ourselves from those seeking to end our life?

We live in a “culture” of death, of murder, and of suicide.  For example, in Britain and The Netherlands, people are sometimes murdered by the medical establishment because they are inconvenient.[7]  This also happens in other countries too.

Further, we should not think that we are protected from being murdered (euthanasia) because we receive care from a “Catholic” hospital, nursing home, or hospice organization.  Even care facilities which assure you that they follow Catholic rules, are sometimes ready to murder their patients. 

The conciliar church now promotes euthanasia, even for the mere convenience of the caregivers![8]  Even the “conservative” wing of the conciliar church – e.g., the Society of St. Pius X – has now sunk so low as to promote a conciliar booklet which approves of starving people to death for the convenience of their caregivers![9]

Clearly, we need to take precautions to avoid being murdered (euthanasia).  We should make known our insistent refusal to follow the new, sinful standard of the conciliar church, as approved by the N-SSPX.  We should sign a carefully-drafted Living Will, stating our determined will for end-of-life care in the absence of our ability to make those decisions at the time. 

 

Use a Living Will

Below, we give a draft declaration regarding medical treatment a/k/a a Living Will.  This draft might need to be revised based on the laws of a particular jurisdiction.

 

DECLARATION CONCERNING MEDICAL TREATMENT

This declaration is made this         day of ____________________, 202__.  I, [name], currently residing at [address], being of sound mind, willfully and voluntarily state my desires concerning medical treatment that would postpone the moment of my death.

Except as specifically provided below, I direct my healthcare providers to use all medical treatment that would 1) preserve my life; 2) cure or improve my physical or mental condition; or 3) reduce or prevent my physical or mental deterioration.

I direct my healthcare providers to provide me with food and fluids orally, intravenously, by tube, or by other means to the full extent necessary to preserve or extend my life and to assure my optimal health.

I direct that medication be administered to me, including painkillers, provided that this medication is not used to cause or hasten my death.  I direct that cardiopulmonary resuscitation and all other necessary medical and surgical procedures be used to the full extent necessary to correct, reverse, or alleviate life threatening or health-impairing conditions, and complications arising from those conditions.

I reject any treatment that uses an organ or tissue of another person obtained in a manner that causes, contributes to, or hastens that person’s death.  I reject any treatment that uses a vital organ “donated” by any other person who is declared “dead” (usually this declaration of “death” is made shortly before the organ is removed).  I also reject any treatments that use an organ or tissue of an unborn or newborn child who has been subject to an induced abortion.

I direct that I receive all medical treatment and care to preserve my life without regard to my age, physical or mental ability, the “quality” of my life, or the “dignity” of my death.

If I should have an incurable and irreversible injury, disease, or illness judged to be a terminal condition by my attending physician who has personally examined me and who considers that even with maximum medical treatment, I have less than three months probable, foreseeable life expectancy, I direct that I not be kept alive artificially through major surgery, chemotherapy, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.  However, in no case do I wish to be deprived of food, fluids, oxygen, and common medications such as any antibiotics.

I do not want any of my organs to be donated.  I wish my bodily remains to receive a traditional Catholic burial as outlined in my letter to my executor.

In the absence of my ability to give directions regarding my medical treatment, it is my intention that this declaration shall be honored by my family and physician as the final expression of my legal and moral right to direct the medical or surgical treatment I am given.                                          

 __________________________________

                                                                                                            [name]

City, County and State of Residence: ________________________________

The declarant is personally known to me and I believe him to be of sound mind.  I did not sign the declarant’s signature above for or at the direction of the declarant.  At the date of this instrument, I am not entitled to any portion of the estate of the declarant according to the laws of intestate succession or, to the best of my knowledge and belief, under any Will of declarant or other instrument taking effect at declarant’s death.  I am not directly financially responsible for declarant’s medical care.

 

Witness:                                            Witness: _______________________                       

 

Address:                                            Address: _______________________                                 

 

What should we do with our Living Will after it is signed?

After our Living Will is completed and signed, we should not merely put it with our important papers or in a safety deposit box at a bank (although it is good to place a copy there).  We should give a copy of our Living Will to our family, friends, and caregivers – because when we have a medical emergency, they are going to be focused on our treatment, not focused on searching through our important papers.

Therefore, we should disseminate widely our Living Will to our family and friends and to all of our caregivers who have a patient file concerning our treatment, e.g., our hospital, our primary care doctor, our specialist doctors, our dentist, our assisted living facility, etc

Broadly disseminating our Living Will makes it more likely that it will be known and used in an emergency because more people will know about it and have access to it. 

Further, broad dissemination is an act of religious courage – standing up for the Natural Law (and God’s Law), against euthanasia.  Our Living Will provides a good example to others who might otherwise yield to the culture of death.

 

Conclusion

We have a duty to preserve our life using (at least) all common, ordinary, and reasonable means, based on our physical condition at the time.  We should prepare a Living Will, which is an important tool to ensure that happens.

 



[1]           Words of St. Thomas Aquinas, quoted from his Commentary on II Thessalonians, 3:10, ch.3, lecture 2.

 

[2]           Here is how McHugh and Callan describe this minimum effort to preserve our life:

 

A very painful and uncertain operation or mutilation is not obligatory, unless one has dependents, and the danger to life from the operation is slight.

 

Moral Theology, by John A. McHugh, O.P., and Charles J. Callan, O.P., revised and enlarged by Edward P. Farrell, O.P., published by Joseph F. Wagner, Inc., New York City, © 1958, quoted from section #1571(b).

 

Here is how Slater describes this minimum effort to preserve our life:

 

We are obliged to take ordinary means to preserve our lives, for to do otherwise would be virtually to commit suicide.  There is no obligation to take extraordinary, unusual, or very painful or expensive means to preserve our lives. And so, one in feeble health, who will probably die if he spends the winter in England, is not bound to expatriate himself and go and live in a milder climate.  Nor am I bound to undergo a painful and costly operation in order to save my life; I may if I like choose rather to die, unless my life is of great importance for the common good, for then the public good must be considered first.  Except in such a case as this, a superior could not oblige a subject to undergo a very painful operation or to submit to the amputation of a leg; obedience to human authority does not seem to extend to such matters as these.

 

A Manual of Moral Theology, Rev. Thomas Slater, SJ., Vol I., Fifth and Revised Edition, Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., London, ©1925, Part 5, The Fifth Commandment, Ch.1, On Suicide.

 

[3]           Here is how Henry Davis, S.J., describes this minimum effort to preserve our life:

 

Section 2.  Preservation of Life

 

By Natural Law, man enjoys the use, not the dominion of his life.  He neither gave it nor may he take it away.  God only is the Author of life.  Man must preserve it by the use of ordinary means; he is not bound to employ extraordinarily expensive methods, nor methods that would inflict on him almost intolerable pain or shame. 

                                                                                                                     

Quote from Moral and Pastoral Theology, by Henry Davis, S.J., Sheed and Ward, © 1959, Vol. Two, page 113.

[9]           The N-SSPX made an end-of-life presentation to parishioners which was approved by N-SSPX Bishop Bernard Tissier.  This presentation included the promotion of a conciliar booklet approving of starving a patient to death even for the mere convenience of the caregivers.  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/priests/tissier-praises-euthanasia-booklet.html

 

How to assist a person in dying a holy death

Catholic Candle note: Recently, Catholic Candle examined the permission the Church traditionally gives to a person who is in danger of death, to confess to a priest to whom an uncompromising Catholic could not otherwise support (or confess to) because that priest is a compromiser, an apostate, or someone whom it is otherwise impermissible to support. Find the article here: http://www.catholiccandle.org/2020/01/01/using-a-compromised-priest-when-dying/

 

Catholic Candle also addressed how uncompromising laymen can bury their dead in these times of great apostasy when an uncompromising priest is not available. Find the article here: http://www.catholiccandle.org/2020/04/02/a-traditional-catholic-funeral-and-burial-when-there-is-no-uncompromising-priest-available/

 

Between this last confession (discussed in the first of those articles) and the burial (discussed in the second article), is the crucial moment of death. Below, we give recommendations how to assist at a person’s death, based on the experience of some of the Catholic Candle Team, who recently assisted at the deaths of two uncompromising Traditional Catholics.

We recommend that you save these articles for future reference and use.

How to assist a person in dying a holy death

What is death and when does it occur?

Death is the separation of body and soul. This separation occurs at an instant, not progressively, over time. However, we say a person is “dying” when his body becomes progressively less able to perform the physical functions of life. A person’s soul leaves his body sometime after his body ceases to function.

 

Cessation of breathing and of heartbeat are not death. Those two bodily functions cease before death. Likewise, so-called “brain death” occurs before death and is not real death. “Brain death” is merely the ceasing of those brain functions that can be measured by a monitoring machine.

 

Although we cannot be sure of the exact moment of death, we are sure it occurs after those bodily functions cease. We know that death has already occurred when the body undergoes a general corruption (i.e., throughout the entire body). Localized corruption of a particular part of the body is not a reliable sign of death. That localized corruption is called “gangrene” and can occur while a person is alive.

 

 

A dying person especially needs our help because temptations are often very great while a person is dying

 

We usually do not know the spiritual battles a person is waging in the last moments of his life, because he is usually too weak and frail to indicate “on the outside” the battles which are raging within him. But these battles occur!

 

The devil is a far better “doctor” than human doctors and he knows better than the human physicians when a person is about to die. In a person’s final hours, the devil knows it is his last chance to influence where the dying person will spend eternity.

 

As every faithful and informed Catholic knows, death is the most important moment of life. The devil knows that too. The devil also knows that the dying person is in a weakened state and has less strength to fight the devils and sin.

 

Although these final battles are usually hidden, occasionally God Wills that they become known to us, for our good. Here is the account of the death of one man we know of, written by his close relative, describing the man’s spiritual combat against the devils and sin during the last moments of his life:

 

My uncle was a pious and humble, bedridden traditional Catholic who was in veterans’ hospice care. On his death bed, he was under attack by the devil to such an extent that fear took over and he was able to get out of bed and run down the hall shouting, “They [viz., the devils] are trying to get me to commit mortal sin!” The attending nurse recited a psalm to him as she helped him back to bed. One hour later, his esophageal cancer pierced his aorta and he began coughing up blood. Being frightened, he leaped out of bed and ran to the door of his room, where he collapsed and died.

 

Because our loved ones especially need our help during their final struggle, we should be generous, remaining at their side and helping them to the very end.

 

 

Dying persons are often aware even when they are non-responsive and apparently unconscious

 

Because a dying person needs our help in his final spiritual battle, we should persevere helping until we are as certain as we can be, that he is dead and no longer needs our help.

 

We cannot know with certainty when this separation of soul and body (death) occurs, so we should “err” on the side of remaining longer to assist the person in dying a holy death. A person might be non-responsive to stimuli and apparently not breathing, yet fully aware and undergoing a final spiritual battle for his soul.

 

We should not stop helping a dying person even if he is non-responsive and is apparently unconscious. There are reports of persons being well aware but unable to manifest consciousness or react to stimuli. For example, in 2014, a woman suffered a stroke and slipped into a coma, becoming non-responsive. While in a coma, she was “painfully aware” of all around her. She could not move, see, or speak. She could hear and think but could not respond. She panicked but her panic did not manifest itself exteriorly. This woman later recovered and told her story.[1]

 

Even when dying persons are in a coma or in a “sleep” from which they cannot be awoken, they often can hear us, are conscious and are able to pray. The sense of hearing is the last sense to cease functioning.

 

Recently, we assisted an uncompromising Traditional Catholic during her fifteen-hour final death struggle. About six o’clock in the morning, she slipped into a non-responsive state, no longer reacting to any stimuli. She was breathing but seemed to be in a “sleep” from which she could not be awoken.

 

About six hours into her ordeal, as we were at her bedside, one of us asked her to squeeze his finger if she could hear him. She immediately gave his finger a quick and firm squeeze before again becoming entirely unresponsive to all stimuli for the remaining nine hours in which she showed signs of life.

 

 

How to assist the dying

 

Death is a frightening and lonely occasion. Death is a time of sorrow – so make sure you assist the dying person with as much moral support as you can, being ever-present and attentive, in order to encourage him in his death struggles.

 

Do your best to give the dying person strength, encouragement and human moral support. Remember that love “divides” sorrows[2] – including the sorrows of death. Human contact with a dying person is very important. Hold his hand. Reduce (divide) his sorrows of death, as much as you can. Give him frequent little caresses or movements/touches, so he knows you are still there. (Without movement, we easily lose awareness that something/someone is touching us.)

 

Let him know he is dying and that you came to help him prepare to die well. The dying person shouldn’t be given false hope that he will live. He should not be denied the truth of his situation any more than those around him should lie to themselves. It is not a loving act to ignore reality out of fear of alarming him. To do so might imperil his immortal soul.

 

The dying person needs to face his mortality, to repent of his sins, to pray, to receive Extreme Unction (if an uncompromising priest is available), to be encouraged to trust totally in Jesus and His forgiveness and love, etc. The dying person must spiritually prepare himself for judgment. To help him do this is the single greatest act of love you can show him.

 

We should not take salvation for granted, e.g., we should not tell him, “soon you will be in heaven”. This imperils the dying person’s salvation because it encourages him to merely “wait for heaven” rather than spend this precious time preparing to die as well as possible.

 

It is very valuable but taxing work, to assist a dying person hour-by-hour. It is not necessary that we get him to respond to us frequently or at all. The important thing is that he knows we are there, not that he gives us proof that he is paying attention to us.

 

Throughout the dying person’s time on his deathbed, it is good to offer him short ejaculations that encourage a focus on Christ, our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, who is the patron of the dying and of a happy death. We should frequently ask for the prayers of the Saints, especially the dying person’s patron saints.

 

Even if the dying person is non-responsive, pray out loud (or whisper in his ear) and encourage him to pray inside himself, along with you. Also, frequently, lovingly, and calmly repeat prayerful ejaculations for him, such as:

 

  Into Thy hands, Oh Lord, I commend my spirit.

  Heart of Jesus, once in agony, have pity on Thy dying servant (handmaid).

  Eternal Father, I accept with a joyful and resigned heart the death it will please Thee to send me, with all its pains and sufferings.

  O Lord Jesus Christ, receive my spirit.

  My Jesus, mercy!

  Be merciful to me, Oh Lord, a sinner!

  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

  Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in Thee!

  Holy Mother Mary, pray for me.

  Holy Mary, Mother of grace, Mother of mercy, do thou defend me from the enemy, and receive my soul.

  St. Joseph, obtain for me grace and mercy!

 

 

Interspersed with these ejaculations, give little expressions of moral support such as:

 

  We [your names] are here with you.

 

  We love you.

 

  We are praying for you.

 

  Offer up your sufferings; this is very pleasing to Our Dear Lord.

 

  Place all of your trust in the Sacred Heart of our dear Lord, and in our dear Mother Mary.

 

  Our Lord is merciful! Offer up your sufferings to Him!

 

As you are helping with these prayerful ejaculations and words of moral support, it is not necessary that you be continually speaking. Use your best judgment mixing words and silence, so that the dying person keeps a spiritual focus and knows that he is not alone.

 

Even if the dying person appears non-responsive, pray either out loud or in his ear. Continue until you are sure he is dead. If the dying person is able to pray with you (either audibly or interiorly), coax him to do so.

 

 

What to avoid

 

We are not assisting the dying person principally in order to soothe him or make him comfortable. Our main job is to help him die well and save his soul. Therefore, don’t impede his effectively waging his spiritual warfare. For example, don’t:

 

  Distract the dying person from his spiritual struggles.

 

  Minimize his situation or “sugarcoat” the fact that he is dying.

 

  Hold out false hope that he will recover or distract him with thoughts of a false recovery.

 

  Play or sing secular songs.

 

  Talk to the dying person about secular things unconnected with his dying, e.g., events in the news, happenings in the family, etc.

 

  Excessively puff him up with praise or give him assurances that he has already finished his final job (preparing well for death).

 

 

Make use of sacramentals when assisting the dying

 

The sacramentals of the Church are very powerful at a person’s deathbed. When helping the dying, use these:

 

§  A St. Benedict medal

 

§  Holy water

 

§  Bring your rosary (and maybe one for the dying person).

 

§  Bring a blessed candle, a candlestick, and matches. Light the blessed candle unless oxygen use in the room prevents that.

 

§  Bring a crucifix for the dying person to hold. If necessary, hold the crucifix with him so that it does not leave his hand. Have the dying person kiss it often, if possible.

 

§  Confirm that the dying person is wearing a brown scapular. Bring one in case he is not wearing one. Often non-Catholic caregivers take a patient’s scapular off (for whatever reason). So, a dying person who “always wears a scapular” might not have one on while he is dying.

 

§  Bring holy water and use it to sprinkle the dying person, make Signs of the Cross on his forehead, senses, hands, and, perhaps, his feet.

 

 

Prayers to use in assisting the dying

 

·         Sing Traditional Catholic hymns, e.g., Oh Sacred Head Surrounded.

 

·         Recite the Traditional Catholic Prayers for the Dying (see below).

 

·         Frequently, invoke the help of St. Joseph, the patron of a holy death.

 

·         Recite acts of Contrition, Faith, Hope, and Charity.

 

·         Recite the Memorare (“Remember, Oh Most Gracious Virgin Mary …”).

 

·         Recite Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glory Bes.

 

·         Pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary with him.

 

 

Traditional Catholic Prayers for the Dying when death becomes close

 

As death approaches more closely, the sick person’s soul should be commended to God. Here is a good traditional formula through which to do this:

 

Go forth, O Catholic soul, out of this world, in the Name of God the Father almighty, Who created you; in the Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, Who suffered for you; in the Name of the Holy Ghost, Who sanctified you, in the name of the holy and glorious Mary, Virgin and Mother of God; in the name of the angels, archangels, thrones and dominions, cherubim and seraphim; in the name of the patriarchs and prophets, of the holy apostles and evangelists, of the holy martyrs, confessors, monks and hermits, of the holy virgins, and of all the saints of God; may your place be this day in peace, and your abode in Holy Sion. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

O merciful and gracious God, O God, according to the multitude of Thy mercies Thou blotteth out the sins of such as repent, and graciously remit the guilt of their past offenses, mercifully regard this Thy servant (handmaid) N.____ and grant him (her) a full discharge from all his (her) sins, who with a contrite heart most earnestly begs it of Thee. Renew, O merciful Father, whatever has been vitiated in him (her) by human frailty, or by the frauds and deceits of the enemy: and associate him (her) as a member of redemption to the unity of the body of the Church. Have compassion, Lord, on his (her) sighs, have compassion on his (her) tears; and admit him (her), who has no hope but in Thy mercy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


I commend you, dear Brother (Sister), to the almighty God, and consign you to the care of Him, whose creature you are, that, when you shall have paid the debt of all mankind by death, you may return to thy Maker, Who formed you from the dust of the earth. When, therefore, your soul shall depart from your body, may the resplendent multitude of the angels meet you: may the court of the apostles receive you: may the triumphant army of glorious martyrs come out to welcome you: may the splendid company of confessors clad in their white robes encompass you: may the choir of joyful virgins receive you: and may you meet with a blessed repose in the bosom of the patriarchs. May St. Joseph, the sweetest Patron of the dying, comfort you with a great hope. May Mary, the holy Mother of God, lovingly cast upon you her eyes of mercy. May Jesus Christ appear to you with a mild and joyful countenance, and appoint you a place among those who are to stand before Him forever. May you be a stranger to all that is punished with darkness, chastised with flames, and condemned to torments. May the most wicked enemy, with all his evil spirits, be forced to give way: may he tremble at your approach in the company of angels, and with confusion fly away into the vast chaos of eternal night. Let God arise and His enemies be scattered, and let them that hate Him fly before His Face, let them vanish like smoke; and as wax that melts before the fire, so let sinners perish in the sight of God; but may the just rejoice and be happy in His presence.

May then all the legions of Hell be confounded and put to shame; and may none of the ministers of Satan dare to stop you in your way. May Christ deliver you from torments, Who was crucified for you. May He deliver you from eternal death, Who vouchsafed to die for you. May Jesus Christ the Son of the living God place you in the ever-verdant lawns of His Paradise; and may He, the true Shepherd, acknowledge you for one of His flock. May He absolve you from all your sins, and place you at His right hand in the midst of His elect. May you see your Redeemer face to face, and standing always in His presence, behold with happy eyes the clearest Truth. And may you be placed among the company of the blessed and enjoy the sweetness of the contemplation of your God for ever. Amen.

Receive, Lord, Thy servant (handmaid) into the place of salvation, which he (she) hopes to obtain through Thy mercy. R. Amen.

 

Deliver, Lord, the soul of Thy servant (handmaid) from all danger of Hell; and from all pain and tribulation. R. Amen

 

Deliver, Lord, the soul of Thy servant (handmaid) as Thou didst deliver Enoch and Elias from the common death of the world. R. Amen.

 

Deliver, Lord, the soul of Thy servant (handmaid), as Thou didst deliver Abraham from the midst of the Chaldeans. R. Amen.

 

Deliver, Lord, the soul of Thy servant (handmaid), as Thou didst deliver Job from all his afflictions. R. Amen.

 

Deliver, Lord, the soul of Thy servant (handmaid), as Thou didst deliver Isaac from being sacrificed by his father. R. Amen.

 

Deliver, Lord, the soul of Thy servant (handmaid), as Thou didst deliver Lot from being destroyed in the flames of Sodom. R. Amen.

 

Deliver, Lord, the soul of Thy servant (handmaid), as Thou didst deliver Moses from the hands of the Pharaoh, King of Egypt. R. Amen.

 

Deliver, Lord, the soul of Thy servant, as Thou didst deliver the three children from the fiery furnace, and from the hands of an unmerciful king. R. Amen.

 

Deliver, Lord, the soul of Thy servant (handmaid), as Thou didst deliver Susanna from her false accusers. R. Amen.

 

Deliver, Lord, the soul of Thy servant (handmaid), as Thou didst deliver David from the hands of Saul and Goliath. R. Amen.

 

Deliver, Lord, the soul of Thy servant (handmaid), as Thou didst deliver Peter and Paul out of prison. R. Amen.

 

And as Thou didst deliver that blessed virgin and martyr, Saint Thecla, from three most cruel torments, so be pleased to deliver the soul of this Thy servant, and bring it to the participation of Thy Heavenly joys. R. Amen.

 

We commend to Thee, Lord, the soul of Thy servant (handmaid) N.____, and we pray Thee, Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, that as in mercy to him (her) Thou becamest man, so now Thou would be pleased to admit him (her) to the bosom of Thy patriarchs. Remember, Lord, he (she) is Thy creature, not made by strange gods, but by Thee, the only living and true God; for there is no other but Thee, and none can equal Thy work. Let his (her) soul rejoice in Thy presence, and remember not his (her) former iniquities and excesses, which he (she) has fallen into, through the violence of passion and the corruption of his (her) nature. For although he (she) has sinned, yet he (she) has always firmly believed in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; he (she) has had a zeal for Thy honor, and faithfully adored Thee as his (her) God, and Creator of all things. Remember not, Lord, we pray Thee, the sins of his (her) youth, and his (her) ignorances; but according to Thy great mercy, be mindful of him (her) in Thy Heavenly glory. Let the heavens be opened to him (her), and the angels rejoice with him (her). Let the archangel St. Michael, whom Thou didst appoint the chief of the heavenly host, conduct him (her). Let the holy angels come out to meet him (her), and carry him (her) to the city of heavenly Jerusalem. Let blessed Peter the apostle, to whom God gave the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, receive him (her). Let St. Paul the apostle, who was a vessel of election, assist him (her). Let St. John the beloved disciple, to whom the secrets of Heaven were revealed, intercede for him (her). Let all the holy apostles, who received from Jesus Christ the power of binding and loosing, pray for him (her). Let all the saints and elect of God, who in this world have suffered torments in the name of Christ, intercede for him (her); that being freed from the prison of his (her) body, he (she) may be admitted into the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with Thee and the Holy Ghost, lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.

 

 

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

 

May Mary the most merciful Virgin Mother of God, kindest comforter of them that mourn, commend to her Son the soul of this His servant (handmaid), that through her maternal intercession, he (she) may overcome the dread of death and, with her as guide, joyfully reach his (her) longed-for home in the heavenly fatherland. R. Amen.

 

 

Prayer to St. Joseph

 

To thee I have recourse, St. Joseph, Patron of the dying; and to thee, at whose blessed death watchfully assisted Jesus and Mary, by both these dearest pledges I earnestly recommend the soul of this servant (handmaid) in the sufferings of his (her) last agony, that he (she) may by your protection be delivered from the snares of the devil and from eternal death, and may merit to attain everlasting joy. Through the same Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

 

 

Prayers following Death

 

After the person has apparently died, the following prayers can be said:

 

Come to his assistance, all you Saints of God: meet him, all you Angels of God: receiving his soul, offering it in the sight of the Most High. May Christ receive you, who hath called you, and may the Angels conduct you to Abraham’s bosom. Receiving his (her) soul and offering it in the sight of the Most High.

 

Eternal rest give to him (her), Lord: and let perpetual light shine upon him (her).

 

Kyrie eléison.

 

Christe eléison.

 

Kyrie eléison.

 

[Our Father (silently)]

 

V. …and lead us not into temptation.

R. But deliver us from evil.

V. Eternal rest give to him (her), Lord.

R. And let perpetual light shine upon him (her).

V. From the gates of Hell.

R. Deliver his (her) soul, Lord.

V. May he (she) rest in peace.

R. Amen.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.

R. And let my cry come to Thee.

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with thy spirit.

 

Let us pray. To Thee, Lord, we commend the soul of your servant (handmaid) N.____, that being dead to this world he (she) may live to Thee: and whatever sins he (she)( has committed in this life through human frailty, do Thou in Thy most merciful goodness forgive. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

 

Grant, O God, that while we lament the departure of this Thy servant (handmaid), we may always remember that we are most certainly to follow him (her). And give us grace to prepare for that last hour by a good life, that we may not be surprised by a sudden and unprovided death, but be ever watching, that, when Thou callest, we may, with the Bridegroom, enter into eternal glory: through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

Conclusion of the article

 

Death is the most important moment of life. Life is the preparation for this moment. Be generous helping the dying person die well.



[1] May 2, 2016 article ‘I was still in there’: A 32-year-old learns what it’s like to be trapped inside her own body, by Lindsey Bever, found here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/05/02/i-was-still-in-there-a-32-year-old-learns-what-its-like-to-be-trapped-inside-her-own-body/

 

[2] “Friendships multiply joys and divide griefs”, written by author and historian, Thomas Fuller and found here: https://www.azquotes.com/quote/353382

 

A Traditional Catholic funeral when there is no uncompromising priest available

Catholic Candle note: Recently, Catholic Candle published an article examining the special permission that the Church traditionally gives to a Catholic who is dying, which allows him to confess to a priest to whom he could not otherwise confess because that priest is an apostate, a sedevacantist, a compromiser, or had some other serious problem.  That article is here: http://www.catholiccandle.org/2020/03/26/using-a-compromised-priest-when-dying/

 

The article below is based on the authors’ experience of assisting at three Traditional Catholic funerals and burials without a priest, because we knew of (and know of) no uncompromising priest to help us.  It seems that funerals and burials without a priest might now become the usual method.  Truly, we seem to be in the time prophesied by Our Lady of La Salette when she predicted in 1846 that “the Church will be in eclipse.”[1]

 

However, it would be an error and overreaction to the evils of our present time, to rashly suppose that we have no pope and hierarchy (as bad as that pope and hierarchy are).  Catholics are not in a time without shepherds.  We are in a time of exceedingly bad shepherds.

 

Sedevacantism is wrong and is (material or formal) schism.  Catholic Candle is not sedevacantist.  On the contrary, we published a series of articles showing that sedevacantism is false (and also showing that former Pope Benedict is not still the pope).  Read the articles here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/against-sedevacantism.html 

 

 

A Traditional Catholic funeral and burial when there is no uncompromising priest available

 

At our death, we would want a Traditional Requiem Mass, including the hymns of the requiem Mass.  This is good and reasonable.

 

 

We must avoid a compromise wake, funeral, and burial.

 

But God lovingly placed us in this time of Great Apostasy, for His greater glory and for our good.[2]  He does not want us to have a Requiem Mass for our funeral when no uncompromising priest is available.  Such a compromise funeral (viz., with a compromise priest) is a sin.  It would anger God if we were to use a compromising priest – through our rationalizing that “he is the best we can find” and that “we need our funeral Mass”.  Such compromises are sins for us and do not help our dearly departed.

 

If our loved ones told us while alive that they want a funeral which is, in reality, a compromise, we should not agree.  Further, after their death, we should not cooperate with their compromising plan.  This is like our obligation not to consent to their wish for cremation nor to cooperate in carrying out that wish.[3] 

 

Before our loved one died, he might not have understood why we must stand firm and refuse his wish for a compromise funeral and burial.  But after his death he will see we are correct and he will understand then.  Seeing more clearly after death, he would not want us to follow the sinful wishes he expressed while alive. 

 

Our relatives and friends might become upset because we remain firm in the Faith out of love for God.  If our relatives get angry, this might be a Providential opportunity for discussions through which they might learn the truth.  In any event, their negative reaction would be a Cross that our Dear Lord lovingly sends us for our good and for His greater glory.

 

 

The Natural Law[4] shows us the importance of conducting respectful, loving funerals for our dearly departed.

 

Our love for our dearly-departed and the Natural Law require us to respectfully, prayerfully bury them.  St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, describes the natural piety all men should have, which demands respect for the dead even on the natural level:

 

[I]f the dress of a father, or his ring, or anything he wore, be precious to his children, in proportion to the love they bore him, with how much more reason ought we to care for the bodies of those we love, which they wore far more closely and intimately than any clothing!  For the body is not an extraneous ornament or aid, but a part of man’s very nature.  And therefore, to the righteous of ancient times the last offices were piously rendered, and sepulchers provided for them, and obsequies celebrated; and they themselves, while yet alive, gave commandment to their sons about the burial.[5]

 

All civilized peoples honor their dead and treat the bodies of the dead respectfully.  Not only those persons who live the true Catholic Faith, but even the more civilized pagan peoples wish to keep alive the memory of their dearly departed, even though those same pagans flounder in great error, in other ways.

 

 

Our holy Faith elevates to a supernatural level our obsequies which are prompted by our love for our departed relatives and friends.

 

But our Holy Mother the Church does so much more than foster these natural attentions!  She is a true mother of Her children and She lovingly cares not only for their deceased bodies and their memories but more importantly, for their immortal souls.  Our Faith teaches us that at the moment of our death we are judged and our eternal destiny is fixed.  Although most people go to hell,[6] among those who save their souls most of them must endure the great sufferings of Purgatory. 

 

Holy Mother Church knows their great need and lovingly channels our grief into helping them in their plight.  The Church has us devote ourselves to praying for them.  This is a very consoling aspect of our holy Catholic Faith.

 

 

But what good can we do for our departed loved ones, without obtaining a Requiem Mass for them?

 

When we refuse to accept a Requiem Mass from a compromise priest or group, out of love for God, He will bless our loved one through other means instead.  For example, God has given incredible power to the Holy Rosary in our times since we do not have the Mass and sacraments.[7]

 

God is not abandoning us or our loved ones.  He is merely changing His means of sanctifying us and them, to fit the circumstances into which He lovingly put us. 

 

Out of love for God and the true Faith, Catholics must courageously stand against liberalism and compromise.  But God is never outdone in generosity and in His rewards!

 

Nor is it the first time in history, that faithful Catholics had to bury their dead without a priest and Requiem Mass.  Sometimes, physical persecution caused the absence of a good priest and Requiem Mass.  For example, God called Japanese Catholics to this condition for almost 300 years (1587-1873).[8]  At other times, the sheer expanse of great wilderness meant that faithful Catholics died and were buried without the assistance of a priest.[9]

 

 

How do we conduct a wake, funeral and burial of our loved one, without a priest?

 

Not all wakes, funerals and burials present the same extent of opportunities for our Catholic acts of piety.  Below, we briefly recount our recommendations, some of which are based on what we have done in past wakes, funerals and burials without a priest.  We add some additional recommendations that we will use in the future, according to circumstances.

 

After our loved one’s death, we plan the schedule and invite/announce the schedule in a manner similar to the customary way for any funeral and burial.  Everyone is welcome!  Praying together is an occasion to benefit from our Lord’s promise: “where there are two or three gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them”.[10] 

 

We recommend that you combine the wake/visitation and the funeral at the funeral home.  We have found funeral homes to be very accommodating.  Schedule the wake/visitation to occur first, leaving the appropriate number of hours based on the number of people you expect.  Schedule the funeral prayers at the end of that visitation.  Right after those funeral prayers, accompany the body in a funeral procession to the cemetery.

 

 

Funeral prayers

 

We have used the funeral home’s director to announce the beginning of the funeral prayers, similar to the customary way that funeral home directors have often announced that the recitation of the Rosary was about to begin at a wake.  Again, we have found funeral homes to be very accommodating. 

 

Recite the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.  Reason and Catholic Tradition show that the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary are the fitting set of mysteries for a funeral, whereas the liberals and conciliar Catholics often use the Glorious Mysteries at a wake or the graveside (if they pray the rosary at all) to suggest that the deceased is already in glory and that everyone goes to heaven. 

 

The Sorrowful Mysteries fit with the other signs of sorrow the Church has customarily used on a funeral day, e.g., black is the liturgical color of the day, with ornaments removed from the altar or shrouded in penitential wrappings, purple is the color of the tabernacle veil, symbolizing penance.  Requiem Masses omit the Gloria and other signs of rejoicing.  Clearly, a wake or graveside is not the time for the Glorious Mysteries and for rejoicing.

 

In addition to the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, say such other prayers as are fitting, for example:

 

·         The Memorare (“Remember, Oh Most Gracious Virgin Mary…”)

 

·         The Hail Holy Queen

 

·         Oh God, Whose Only begotten Son

 

·         The St. Michael the Archangel prayer

 

·         Psalm 129

 

·         Psalm 50

 

·         Various invocations of St. Joseph, patron of a holy death

 

·         Eternal rest grant unto him (or her), Oh Lord …

 

The prayers listed above are the ones we have used to date (based on the length of the funeral prayers requested by the family of the dearly departed).  But perhaps in future funerals we will read the prayers of the requiem Mass.  This could be done slowly and prayerfully, in Latin – this works out surprisingly well.  Meanwhile, everyone else reads the translated prayers in his own missal.  Many of you might choose that the Mass prayers be read out loud in English, although reading them in the Roman Church’s own language (Latin) is a great idea and allows everyone else to use his own missal’s translation.

 

Another idea we have reserved for a possible future use is to have one of the men read a Traditional Catholic sermon for a funeral Mass or On Death, especially one from a Doctor of the Church.[11]  Such a sermon would be a good reminder and source of instruction for the faithful and would be a work of apostolate, “planting seeds” among non-Catholics and conciliar Catholics who are present.  

 

Don’t open the occasion up to everyone offering his own public prayers.  Do not allow people to ad lib “prayers”, protestant style, such as: “Lord, thank you for giving me those years playing basketball with [name]”.  Keep the prayers Catholic!  Keep them Traditional! 

 

In our times of great apostasy, the moral support and consolations from these prayers, which the bereaved family and friends experience, is similar to what customarily occurs at a Catholic funeral and burial.

 

 

Requiem hymns

 

Besides these traditional prayers, sing Traditional Catholic requiem hymns.  As St. Augustine assures us: “He who sings, prays twice.”[12]

 

Our Faith is wonderfully rich in traditional Catholic hymns, especially Gregorian Chant.  Challenge yourself!  Be generous and sing all of the verses.  Our Lord is never out-done in generosity!

 

If possible, put together a schola to sing some of the traditional funeral hymns, e.g., the Dies Irae and the Libera me from the Requiem Mass.  If you don’t know these hymns, then learn them now so you are ready!  They are beautiful and will prepare you to assist in this schola for future funerals “in the catacombs”. 

For the glory of God, if you are learning the requiem hymns, you can use the sheet music here: https://www.scribd.com/document/452943209/Requiem-Mass-Sheet-Music

You can practice these hymns by singing along with these recordings (linked below):

 

 

Gradual from the Requiem Mass

 

·         Audio recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZS23Z94NLM

 

·         Scrolling sheet music and recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zpHs8bf4k4

 

Tract from the Requiem Mass:

 

·         Scrolling sheet music and recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np_slIOn5Jk

 

·         Audio recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTJH-vbTY8Y

 

 

Dies Irae, the sequence of the Requiem Mass:

·         Audio recording: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f2/Dies.irae.ogg

·         Alternate sheet music and recording: http://gregorian-chant-hymns.com/hymns-2/dies-ire.html

 

 

Libera me:

 

·         Audio recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2_pnxN-tes

 

·         Audio recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sI0gZkYFGk

 

 

In Paradisum:

 

·         Audio recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gu7mM_zqapA

 

·         Audio recording and scrolling sheet music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7F-N-Yd8dE

 

These are the Requiem hymns we have used in funerals to date. 

 

The above Catholic prayers and hymns give fitting and traditional channels for our grief.  No one knows how to grieve and to pay his last respects better than a Traditional Catholic.  The Church shows us how to do this – with these prayers and hymns.

 

 

No Eulogy

 

Do not give a eulogy!  Our goal at this funeral is primarily to do good to the deceased.  This means praying for the deceased, not praising him so that people suppose that the deceased does not need prayers, e.g., “He (or she) never said an unkind word in his life.” 

 

Likewise, we should never say the deceased is in heaven: “He is looking down from a better place, smiling upon us”.  That is un-Catholic! It sends the wrong message in three ways:

 

Ø  It falsifies the truth.  Despite our love for the deceased (and, perhaps, our personal admiration for him), we don’t know he is in heaven, so we should not suggest that we know he is there.

 

Ø  It tells people they should not pray for the deceased and he does not need prayers, since he is already in heaven.  For the same reason it is bad for us to say “let us pray for him in case he is not in heaven already.”  This suggests that praying for him is not very important because it is unlikely that he needs the prayers anyway. Some so-called “conservative” conciliar groups, such as the indult groups (including the N-SSPX[13]) incoherently say both that the person is in heaven and also that we should pray for him.[14]  This is not only inconsistent but is also contrary to what the deceased person now would want.  The deceased person does not now care that people think he was wonderful.  He wants and needs prayers for his repose!  Don’t work against what he needs by eulogizing him!

 

Ø  We are not exceptionally holy, nor are our deceased loved ones.  If we suggest by our eulogy that ordinary Catholics (like us and them) go straight to heaven (bypassing Purgatory) so that we know they are in heaven at the time of the funeral, it misleads people into falsely believing that it is easy to go straight to heaven.  Although all of us should explicitly have as our goal to be straight-to-heaven saints, this is difficult to accomplish (although a very worthy goal).  The great saints achieved this goal.  But we mislead people and falsify the difficulty of being straight-to-heaven saints when we suggest ordinary Catholics achieve this goal.

 

 

Burial at the cemetery

 

When the funeral procession arrives at the cemetery, recite the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary again, together, and lower the casket into the grave during the Rosary.  Remember, the Rosary is especially powerful in our times when uncompromising priests are unavailable to us.

 

Continue the Rosary while witnessing the dirt being placed in the hole.  Witnessing the burial itself serves to add further closure to the event and our grief. 

 

At one burial, we placed flowers on the casket before it was lowered into the ground (and before the start of the Rosary).  At another burial, we dropped flowers onto the casket as soon as it was lowered into the ground.  These are pleasing human gestures, symbolizing that our hearts are buried with our loved one’s body.  We used flowers we brought from the funeral.  You could use these gestures if you wish.

 

At two burials, we instructed the cemetery (ahead of time) to provide a pile of dirt and a shovel.  Then one of the men starts by placing a few shovels-full of dirt into the hole, then offering the shovel to other men (especially the close friends and relatives) to follow his example and place shovels of dirt into the hole.  This is literal participation in the Corporal Work of Mercy, To Bury the Dead

 

In our experience, the cemeteries have been very accommodating to these requests.  It is not necessary to continue this burial ceremony longer than you deem best.  The cemetery workers will complete the task. 

 

With the burial concluded, we find our souls consoled.  We have the satisfaction of having truly grieved in the way the Catholic Church wants us to grieve and knows we need to.

 

After leaving the cemetery, you can have a post-burial luncheon, as is customary in many places.

 

 

Additional reflections

 

Keep things organized.  Arrange ahead of time for one of the men to lead the prayers, with everyone else answering.  We have found that some conciliar Catholics join in answering too, praying with us, and even some protestants do also.  Although Catholics must never participate in non-Catholic prayer assemblies, the funeral we are describing is a Catholic funeral and the Church does not bar non-Catholics from joining in these Catholic prayers recited by Catholics at a Catholic event.[15]  This is no different than anytime in the history of the Church when a non-Catholic attended a Catholic wake or Catholic funeral or burial and joined in the public (Catholic) prayers recited there.

 

We find that this funeral and burial open up conversations afterwards, with non-Catholics and conciliar Catholics and provide opportunities to inform them about the Catholic Faith.  However, whether non-Catholics and conciliar Catholics react negatively or positively, this funeral and burial are a great opportunity to stand for Christ the King and live our Faith openly and fearlessly.

 

Of course, our attire for the funeral and burial should be our best funeral clothes (church clothes).   This is important.  It reminds us that what we are doing is important and is dedicated to God.  Our fallen human nature inclines to sloth and responds to this idea by saying “we know we’re speaking to God even without dressing up.”  True, but the proper clothes show the proper respect for the dead and, besides that, we need the help of this reminder.  This is just like it is important (and is the Catholic way) for a priest to dress like a priest even among persons who don’t need to be informed by what he wears, that he is a priest.

 

Proper attire also helps us give a good example to others, who often come to funerals in casual, torn and slovenly clothes.

 

Sprinkle holy water on the grave and the casket.

 

Select funeral cards and prayers which pertain to seeking mercy for the deceased.  Pick pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, of the Crucifixion, of the Agony in the Garden, etc.

 

Avoid all suggestion on the funeral card (in the picture and the text) that the deceased is known to be in heaven.  For example, do not select a resurrection picture for the funeral card.  Do not select a conciliar prayer for the back of the card.  Have the funeral card state when the person died, not when he “entered into eternal life” because “entering into eternal life” means he went to heaven.[16]

 

 

Conclusion

 

The best thing we can do for our deceased loved one, is to give him an uncompromising Traditional Catholic funeral and burial.  We must uphold the Faith and not succumb to the sentimentality or human respect of using a compromise priest or group because our dearly departed “needs his Requiem Mass”. 

 

The above article provides ideas how to conduct an uncompromising funeral and burial.  Many of these ideas have been successfully used in three funerals and burials.



[1]           This is a portion of the message of Our Lady of La Salette on September 19, 1846.  Of course, the Church will continue until the end of the world because She is indefectible.

[2]           “All things work together unto the good for those who love God.”  Romans, 8:28.

 

[4]           The Natural Law is what we know we must do by the light of the natural reason God gave us.  One example of the Natural Law is that we must never tell a lie.  We naturally know this because we know that the purpose of speech is to convey the truth and so we naturally know that telling a lie is abusing the purpose of speech. 

 

Here is how St. Thomas explains what the Natural Law is:

 

[L]aw, being a rule and measure, can be in a person in two ways: in one way, as in him that rules and measures; in another way, as in that which is ruled and measured, since a thing is ruled and measured, in so far as it partakes of the rule or measure.  Wherefore, since all things subject to Divine providence are ruled and measured by the eternal law, as was stated above [in Summa, Ia IIae, Q.91, a.1]; it is evident that all things partake somewhat of the eternal law, in so far as, namely, from its being imprinted on them, they derive their respective inclinations to their proper acts and ends.  Now among all others, the rational creature is subject to Divine providence in the most excellent way, in so far as it partakes of a share of providence, by being provident both for itself and for others.  Wherefore it has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end: and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law.  Hence the Psalmist after saying (Psalm 4:6): "Offer up the sacrifice of justice," as though someone asked what the works of justice are, adds: "Many say, Who showeth us good things?" in answer to which question he says: "The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us": thus implying that the light of natural reason, whereby we discern what is good and what is evil, which is the function of the natural law, is nothing else than an imprint on us of the Divine light. It is therefore evident that the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature’s participation of the eternal law.

 

Summa, Ia IIae, Q.91, a.2, respondeo.

[5]           City of God, St. Augustine, Bk. 1, Ch. 13.

 

[6]           Our Lord tells us that most people go to hell.  For example:

 

Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat.  How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!

 

St. Matthew’s Gospel, 7:13 (emphasis added).

 

See also, the sermon of St. Leonard of Port Maurice, On the Small Number of those who are Saved, in which he quotes a long string of Doctors of the Church and other sacred writers who teach that most people damn themselves.


[7]           There is an Increased Power of the Holy Rosary during the present Great Apostasy, when an uncompromising Requiem Mass is unavailable, at least in most places.  Sister Lucy, seer at Fatima, revealed to Fr. Fuentes:

 

God is giving two last remedies to the world: the Holy Rosary and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  …  Prayer and sacrifice are the two means to save the world.  As for the Holy Rosary, Father, in these last times in which we are living, the Blessed Virgin has given a new efficacy to the praying of the Holy Rosary.  This in such a way that there is no problem that cannot be resolved by praying the Rosary, no matter how difficult it is – be it temporal or above all spiritual ….

 

Words of Sister Lucy, seer at Fatima, from her December 26, 1957 interview by Fr. Augustin Fuentes, vice-postulator of the cause of beatification for Francisco and Jacinta.  (Emphasis added.)  This interview can be found at: http://radtradthomist.chojnowski.me/2019/03/is-this-interview-that-caused-her.html


[8]           See, 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia, article: Japanese Martyrs

 

[9]           For example, there was an acute priest shortage in the vast expanses of Ecuador in the 1800s.  Read about this here: Latin America, A Sketch of its Glorious Catholic Roots and a Snapshot of its Present, by the Editors of Quanta Cura Press, p.119, © 2016.


[10]         St. Matthew’s Gospel, 18:20.

[11]         St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Preparation for Death would be an excellent source.

[12]         Although this quotation is very often attributed to St. Augustine, we cannot find where this quote is in his works in this exact form.  However, St. Augustine teaches the substance of this quote in his Commentary on the Psalms, Ps., 73, §1.

 

[13]         The N-SSPX is correctly counted among the indult groups because Pope Francis has given the liberal SSPX two indults: for confessions and marriages.

[14]         Read, e.g., the N-SSPX’s declaration that one of their deceased priests is known to have entered heaven on the day he died: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/priests/sspx-travels-the-conciliar-path-toward-promoting-universal-salvation.html

[15]         From the beginning of the Church, She has forbidden Her children to take part in ecumenical prayer groups with non-Catholics.  Pope Pius XI reflected this consistent prohibition when he declared:

 

So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ.

 

Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928. ¶10. 

 

For more information regarding the Church’s prohibition on praying in ecumenical or non-Catholic assemblies, read Lumen Gentium Annotated, by Quanta Cura Press, p.141, footnote #147, © 2013, available at:

v  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B49oPuI54eEGbzRhdmQ3X0Z6RFE/view (free) and

v  https://scribd.com/doc/158994906 (free)

 

v  at Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/1492107476?tag=duckduckgo-ffab-20&linkCode=osi&th=1&psc=1 (sold at cost).

 

[16]         The phrase “Eternal Life” means heaven. For example, here are Our Lord’s words, when He is describing how at the Final Judgment, at the end of the world, everyone will go to either hell or heaven:

 

And these [viz., the wicked] shall go into eternal punishment: but the just, into

Eternal Life.

 

St. Matthew’s Gospel, 25:46 (emphasis added).

 

Here is another example of Eternal Life meaning heaven – i.e., the Beatific Vision which Our Lord describes here:

 

Now this is Eternal Life:  That they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 

 

St. John’s Gospel, 17:3.

The Catholic Church permits a dying person to confess to a compromising or bad priest

 

As a general rule, in normal times, weekly confession is an excellent practice.  But during the current Great Apostasy, there are no uncompromising priests to confess to, at least in most places.  Priests who are objectively compromising are not an option and we should avoid them.  This situation – the world now being a “sacramental desert” – has lasted a long time already and might continue to last a long time.

 

Being completely without the Mass and sacraments, at least in most places, fits with the revelation given to Sister Lucy of Fatima, that:

 

God is giving two last remedies to the world.  These are the Holy Rosary and Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  These are the last two remedies which signify that there will be no others.[1]

 

Sister Lucy’s words show that, as of 1957 (shortly before Vatican II), God was giving these last two remedies, which continue to be the last two remedies in our time.  In these words, she seems to indicate that the Mass and sacraments will not be available to uncompromising Catholics at the present time, at least in most places. 

 

Because uncompromising Catholics refuse Masses and sacraments from a compromising or bad priest, God blesses those Catholics through other means instead.  God does not abandon them.  He merely changes His means of sanctifying them to fit the circumstances into which He lovingly put them.[2]  They should be perfectly content without the Mass and sacraments, as long as God wills that the Mass and sacraments are unavailable without compromise.[3]

 

When God wills that His dear children are without the Mass and sacraments for a time, He gives the incalculably precious gift of a great increase in Faith.  We see that illustrated in the love and devotion of the faithful Catholics living during the Masonic French Revolution, as recounted by Bishop Bruté, who lived through that period in France.  Here is how Bishop Bruté described this priceless increase in Faith among the French Catholics who were living without the Sacraments:

 

How strong and imperishable was [the Catholic Faith’s] hold upon thousands of hearts; how fervently did every true Christian family pledge its love and life to our blessed Lord; how constantly did Christian mothers require of their offspring, that, no matter what happened, they would never forget their duty to God.  With how much anxiety, and yet fidelity, did they endeavor, especially on Sundays, to supply the want of public exercises of Religion and sanctify the day in their family.[4]

 

Bishop Bruté referred to that period as “a time when all those virtues [viz., Faith, Hope and Charity] acquired additional merit, by the test they were put to.”  Id., p.171.  Throughout the world, we are now living in a comparable – and comparably glorious – time to fight for Christ and to sanctify our souls. 

 

Being unable to confess to an uncompromising priest, is it possible for Catholics to still make a final confession on their deathbed, without compromising?  As explained below, such a confession could be possible, because of the Catholic Church’s unique, broader permission given to a person on his deathbed to confess even to a compromise or bad priest.

 

 

The Church’s traditional law permits a dying person to confess, without compromising, to a compromise or bad priest.

 

In the 1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon §882 states, in pertinent part:

 

In danger of death, any priest, even one not otherwise approved[5] for hearing confessions, may validly and licitly absolve any penitent from whatever sins ….[6]

 

The Council of Trent established the permission in this form (viz., quoted immediately above), for a dying person to confess to a compromise or bad priest.[7]  However, this permission in some form, goes back long before the Council of Trent.  Id.

 

 

The meaning of the phrase “in danger of death”

 

What does “in danger of death” mean, as that phrase is used in Canon §882?  It appears to include not only a person being on his deathbed because of a very severe illness from which he will soon die, but also other perils from which imminent death is a serious danger.  Here is how one Traditional canon law commentator explained the phrase “in danger of death”:

 

[The] danger of death exists, not only in a very serious sickness, but also when there is danger to life from an external cause, for instance, before a battle, upon setting forth on a perilous voyage, before a difficult childbirth, etc.[8]

 

These examples have in common the understanding that death could occur soon due to a particular foreseen and significant danger.  By contrast, anyone could die at any time and everyone will die of something, at some time.  Poet and songwriter, Roger Whittaker, takes to an absurd (and amusing) extreme the idea that, in a way, we are all in danger of death.  Whittaker declares:

 

They say the moment that you’re born, is when you start to die.[9]

 

It would be an abuse of Canon §882 to interpret it to allow use of a compromise priest virtually anytime, rationalizing that we could die at any time.  Thus, using this abusive interpretation, any car ride places us in danger of death because it could result in a fatal accident.  Similarly, any sneeze could develop into death by pneumonia. 

 

These are clearly false interpretations of Canon §882.  Rather, this canon shows us that normally it is forbidden to confess to a compromise/bad priest except when we are in danger of an imminent death, that is, in significant danger of dying soon, from a foreseeable cause.  

 

 

The permission given in Canon §882 applies to valid priests, but apparently not to doubtfully-ordained (doubtfully-valid) “priests”.

 

This extraordinary permission to confess without compromising, to a compromise or bad priest, applies to any priest who is validly ordained.  One Traditional canon law commentator explained that this permission includes confession to:

 

any validly ordained priest, even though belonging to a heretical or schismatic sect, or apostatized or censured”.[10]

 

Thus, uncompromising Catholics in danger of death, could confess to any of the priests who were ordained by a bishop of the N-SSPX or Bishop Williamson’s group, because those priests are validly ordained, although they compromise Faith and morals.  Such priests include those sedevacantist priests who were originally ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre.

 

But this permission apparently does not extend to those (supposed) “priests” whose “ordinations” are doubtful, e.g., those “priests” who obtain their “ordinations” from:

 

The Thuc line[11];

The Mendez line;

 

William (so-called “Ambrose”) Moran;

 

Use of the new conciliar rite of “ordination”[12]; or

 

A (supposed) “bishop” who was “consecrated” using the new conciliar “consescration” rite (including the supposed “priests” in the indult groups such as the Institute of Christ the King and the Fraternity of St. Peter)[13].

 

These doubtful “priests” are apparently not included in this permission because the “ordination” of a doubtful “priest” must be treated as invalid, not because we are sure he is not a priest, but because his “priesthood” is doubtful[14] and so he cannot be treated as “any validly ordained priest”[15].

 

To help you discern between certainly-valid priests and doubtful ones, you can use Catholic Candle’s List of Priests and Those Who claim to be Priests.[16]  This list contains our best information, cited to the sources.  We do not intend this list as the final word on every priest listed.  Rather, it is often a beginning of an uncompromising Catholic’s own investigation.

 

 

The permission to confess to a compromise or bad priest requires that no scandal be given to the faithful.

 

One of the conditions placed upon this permission for a dying person to confess to a compromise or bad priest, is that no scandal is caused by this confession.  Here is how the Vatican Holy Office warned in 1864, about the danger of scandal:

 

When answering the question “whether it is permitted to demand absolution of a schismatic priest [when the penitent is] in danger of death if no Catholic priest is at hand”, [the Holy Office answered as follows:] Yes, provided no scandal is given to the faithful. …”[17]

 

This question and answer were in the context of a validly-ordained schismatic priest.  However, the same reasoning and concern would equally apply to a heretical priest or other bad or compromise priest.

 

Scandal is giving the appearance of evil which makes another person more likely to sin.[18]  (In this case, the sin would be supporting or approving the bad or compromise priest.)  When a dying person (and his caregivers) arrange his deathbed confession to a compromising or bad priest, it is important to guard against people being misled into believing the dying man (or his caregivers) approve of, or condone, that priest.  This includes guarding against scandalizing that priest’s own parishioners since people are social creatures, and those parishioners would tend to more firmly accept their compromise priest, the more they see other people also accepting him.

 

 

The permission to confess to a compromise or bad priest requires that there be no danger of perverting the dying person.

 

Another condition placed upon this permission for dying persons to confess to a compromise or bad priest, is that even in their weakened condition there is no danger of being led into compromise by contact with the compromise or bad priest.  Here is how the Vatican Holy Office warned in 1864, about the danger of perversion:

 

When answering the question “whether it is permitted to demand absolution of a schismatic priest [when the penitent is] in danger of death if no Catholic priest is at hand”, [the Holy Office answered as follows:] Yes, provided … no danger of perversion threatens the sick person ….”[19]

 

This question and answer were in the context of a validly-ordained schismatic priest.  However, the same reasoning and concern would equally apply to a heretical priest or other bad or compromise priest.

 

In our present circumstances, it is foreseeable that some compromise or bad priests might pervert the dying person.  For example, an N-SSPX priest might try to convince the dying person that he should confess his (supposed) “sin” of not attending his local N-SSPX chapel, and that the dying person should consent to burial by the N-SSPX, etc.  Thus, by contact with such a priest, there might be a real danger of perverting an uncompromising Catholic who is in a weakened state, near death.

 

 

The permission to confess to a compromise or bad priest requires use of the Catholic Church’s correct, valid form of absolution.

 

A further condition placed upon this permission for a dying person to confess to a compromise or bad priest, is that the compromise or bad priest use the Catholic Church’s correct, valid form of absolution.  Here is how the Vatican Holy Office warned in 1864, about the required use of this valid form of absolution:

 

When answering the question “whether it is permitted to demand absolution of a schismatic priest [when the penitent is] in danger of death if no Catholic priest is at hand”, [the Holy Office answered as follows:] Yes, provided … that it may be reasonably presumed that the schismatic minister will absolve according to the rite of the Church ….”[20]

 

This question and answer were in the context of a validly-ordained schismatic priest.  However, the same reasoning and concern would equally apply to a heretical priest or other bad or compromise priest. 

 

It is probable that conciliar so-called “priests” (who should not be used because of their doubtful “ordinations”, as explained above) are the ones who would be most likely to use some new conciliar invalid form of “absolution”.

 

 

Even when a person is dying, he is not permitted to receive Extreme Unction or to receive the Blessed Sacrament from a compromising or bad priest.

 

Apparently, because a dying person’s confession is of greater importance to his salvation than receiving the Blessed Sacrament or Extreme Unction, the Traditional Catholic law (Canon §882) permits confessing to a compromise or bad priest but does not give an equivalent permission to a dying person to receive those other sacraments.

 

 

Although a dying person is permitted to confess to a compromising/bad priest, that does not mean that he will be able to find such a priest who is willing to hear his confession and absolve him.

 

A Catholic Candle reader recently informed us that she tried to receive confession from an N-SSPX priest based on the permission given in Canon §882.  Further, she told him she did not want to receive Communion from him.  The priest refused her absolution.

 

 

Although a person in danger of death is permitted to confess to a compromising or bad priest, is it better (and more pleasing to God) to do so?

 

The Catholic Church permits some things that She does not recommend.  For example, the Church permits marrying a non-Catholic, but never recommends it.

 

Because Canon §882 gives a person permission, when in danger of death, to confess to a compromising or bad priest, we know that it is not wrong to do so.  However, Canon §882 simply permits this confession.  The code does not go further and affirmatively recommend making such a confession.  Canon §882 does not strongly endorse such a confession, using language such as “whenever possible …” or “wherever a dying person is able …”.

 

Canon §882’s mere permission raises this question:

 

Could it be better, higher, and more noble to decline such a confession to a compromise/bad priest if the dying person does so out of love for God and for the Catholic Faith, in order to stay away from such a priest?

 

That is a very good question!  Here are three things to consider:

 

A Catholic can make a perfect act of contrition, with the desire to receive the sacrament of Penance if it were available.  This perfect contrition restores a person to the state of grace when he is in mortal sin.[21]

 

Perhaps any dying person who is conscious of mortal sin on his soul should confess under Canon §882, not trusting that his contrition is perfect.  Often a dying person, especially if he is in mortal sin, has more sorrow for his sins because he fears hell (imperfect contrition) than because he loves God (perfect contrition).

 

Perhaps any dying person should confess under Canon §882 because the essential fruits of a sacrament do not depend on the state of soul of a priest, even a compromising or bad priest.

 

 

Examples to consider: the deaths of King Louis XVI of France, General Charette, and Queen Marie-Antoinette, all executed by the Masonic Revolutionaries of France 

 

During the French Revolution, the Masonic, anti-Catholic revolutionaries required that all priests swear an oath of loyalty to the new Masonic constitution.  Pope Pius VI declared those priests who swore this oath to be “heretical and schismatic”.[22]  Most priests swore this evil oath but some did not.

 

In 1793, after the French Masonic revolutionaries sentenced King Louis XVI to death, he asked to make a final confession to a priest of his choice.  The revolutionaries permitted this and the king confessed to a priest who had not sworn an oath of loyalty to the revolutionary constitution.[23] 

 

When the Masonic revolutionaries condemned to death the royalist, counter-revolutionary general, General Charette, he likewise asked to make his last confession to a priest who had not sworn an oath to the revolutionary constitution.  The revolutionaries refused Charette’s request and so he confessed to a priest who had taken the oath.[24]  Charette was permitted to do this under the conditions set out in the 1917 Canon Law §882 (and the Catholic Church’s predecessor law in the 18th Century).

 

When the Masonic revolutionaries condemned Queen Marie-Antoinette to death, she likewise asked to make a last confession to a priest who had not sworn the oath.  The revolutionaries refused her request and offered her only a priest who had sworn the oath.  The queen refused him and she went to her death without confession.[25]

 

Did Queen Marie-Antoinette do the better, nobler thing and take the higher course?  The answer seems difficult to know.  Whether or not she did the better thing, we can admire her firmness of Faith, if that is the cause of her stalwart refusal to have any part with a bad and compromising priest.  For, as St. Paul teaches:

 

For what participation hath justice with injustice?  Or what fellowship hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial?  Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever?

 

2 Corinthians, 6:14-15.

 

The queen refused the oath-swearing priest in the context of the heroic stand which had been taken by her people in the Vendee region of France, against the revolution.  In the Vendee, the Catholics were so hostile to the compromising priests that those oath-taking priests often needed armed guards to protect them from the people, and those compromising priests were hooted at, jeered, and even kicked when they appeared in public.[26]

 

The good Catholics of the Vendee were brave and noble soldiers of Christ indeed!  It is in this context that we perhaps see Queen Marie-Antoinette’s motive in refusing to confess to an oath-taking priest.  Possibly she took the higher, nobler, and better road than her general, Charette. 

 

It also seems that we Catholics now should take the Catholics of the Vendee as models of fighting for the Faith and opposing error – in their firmness of Faith unto death, although not in their physically attacking compromising priests!

 

 

Conclusion

 

When we are near death, Canon §882 allows us to confess to a compromising or bad priest, under certain conditions.  This confession:

 

v must not cause scandal;

 

v must not expose the dying person to perversion by the compromising priest;

 

v requires that the priest’s ordination be valid, without doubts; and

 

v requires that the priest use the Church’s valid form of absolution.  

 

If those conditions are met, then a dying person is permitted to make this confession.

 

 



[1]        Words of Sister Lucia dos Santos of Fatima in her interview with Father Augustin Fuentes, December 26, 1957.  This interview can be found at: http://radtradthomist.chojnowski.me/2019/03/is-this-interview-that-caused-her.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+RadtradThomist+%28RadTrad+Thomist%29

 

[2]           For example, God has given an increased power to the Holy Rosary during the present Great Apostasy, because Mass and the Sacraments are unavailable to uncompromising Catholics, at least in most places.  Sister Lucy, seer at Fatima, revealed this truth in the following words addressed to Fr. Fuentes:

 

God is giving two last remedies to the world: the Holy Rosary and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  …  Prayer and sacrifice are the two means to save the world.  As for the Holy Rosary, Father, in these last times in which we are living, the Blessed Virgin has given a new efficacy to the praying of the Holy Rosary.  This in such a way that there is no problem that cannot be resolved by praying the Rosary, no matter how difficult it is – be it temporal or above all spiritual ….

 

Words of Sister Lucy seer at Fatima, from her December 26, 1957 interview by Fr. Augustin Fuentes, vice-postulator of the cause of beatification for Francisco and Jacinta.  (Emphasis added.)  This interview can be found at: http://radtradthomist.chojnowski.me/2019/03/is-this-interview-that-caused-her.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+RadtradThomist+%28RadTrad+Thomist%29

 

[4]           Quoted from Memoirs of Bishop Bruté, by Bishop James Bayley, from the chapter called Our Sundays in 1793, p.169, Sadlier & Co., New York, 1861.

 

[5]           The 1917 Code of Canon Law was intended for use in normal times in the Church.  There are many provisions which do not apply during the particular emergency circumstances in which we now live.  This is because the Salvation of Souls is the Highest Law (“Salus Animarum, Lex Suprema”) and the Church’s laws should not be used to harm souls.

 

Examples of canon laws which are not presently (and practically) applicable, include the requirement that Catholics fulfill their Sunday obligation by attending Mass, whereas this is impossible in most places because there is no uncompromising Mass to attend.

 

Similarly, the requirement that a priest have normal jurisdiction for confessions and marriages does not apply to emergency times when the very reason that an uncompromising priest is denied this jurisdiction is because he opposes the errors and evils of the hierarchy which gives such jurisdiction.  Any uncompromising priests, wherever they are, would have supplied jurisdiction to provide these sacraments based on the state of necessity, because the faithful need them and have no other access to them.

 

Where Canon §882 broadly permits a dying person to confess to a priest not otherwise approved, that permission should be understood to refer to an objectively compromising or bad priest, who otherwise should be avoided. 

 

[6]           Quoted from the 1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon §882 (emphasis added).

 

The 1983 conciliar Code of Canon Law is similar on this point.  1983 Code of Canon Law, §976. 

 

However, Catholics should be very wary of using the 1983 conciliar code as a guide for their conduct in any situation where this conciliar code is more permissive than the 1917 code.  This 1983 code permits many evils which were forbidden by the 1917 code and which remain sinful despite the permission and approval by the 1983 code.  For example, the 1983 code permits Catholics to receive communion and other sacraments from heretical and schismatic sects.  1983 Canon 844 §2.  Likewise, the 1983 code permits heretics and schismatics to receive the sacraments of the Catholic Church.  1983 Canon 844 §3.
 

[7]        A Commentary on the New [viz. 1917] Code of Canon Law, by Rev. P. Chas. Augustine, O.S.B., D.D., Book III, Vol. IV, Herder Book Co., St. Louis, 1920, page 287.

 

[8]        A Commentary on the New [viz. 1917] Code of Canon Law, by Rev. P. Chas. Augustine, O.S.B., D.D., Book III, Vol. IV, Herder Book Co., St. Louis, 1920, page 287.

 

[9]           Quoted from The First Hello, the Last Goodbye, found here:             https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/364465/Roger+Whittaker/The+First+Hello,+the+Last+Goodbye

 

[10]       A Commentary on the New [viz. 1917] Code of Canon Law, by Rev. P. Chas. Augustine, O.S.B., D.D., Book III, Vol. IV, Herder Book Co., St. Louis, 1920, page 287 (emphasis added).

 

[11]         Catholic Candle holds that a priest ordained under normal conditions, by the Church in normal times, properly receives the presumption of the validity of his ordination.  In other words, the fact that he was ordained under the Church’s normal conditions, in normal times, causes an appropriate presumption that he is a valid priest.

 

However, this presumption (of the validity of such a priest’s ordination) could be rebutted by a positive doubt concerning his particular ordination.  Read more about this principle here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/new-ordination-doubtful.html

 

We hold that the ordinations performed outside these normal conditions and not during normal times, do not deserve such presumption of validity because the Church does not vouch for those ordinations.  Those ordinations should not be taken as valid unless they are proven.

 

We hold that the ordinations (as of the present date – January 2020) performed by the bishops of the N-SSPX and of Bishop Williamson’s group have been proven to be valid, even though those groups are compromising Faith and morals in other aspects.

 

We assess that the Thuc line, Mendez line, William Moran line and other supposed lines are, at a minimum, unproven and, on occasion, range into the obviously invalid.

 

[12]         For further information about the doubtfulness of the conciliar “ordination” rite, read these analyses:

 

v  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/new-ordination-doubtful.html

 

v  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B49oPuI54eEGd2RRcTFSY29EYzg/view

 

[13]         For further information about the doubtfulness of the conciliar “consecration” rite, read this analysis: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B49oPuI54eEGZVF5cmFvMGdZM0U/view

 

[14]       Read more about this principle (viz., our duty to treat doubtful ordinations as invalid) here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/new-ordination-doubtful.html

 

[15]       This phrase is quoted from A Commentary on the New [viz. 1917] Code of Canon Law, by Rev. P. Chas. Augustine, O.S.B., D.D., Book III, Vol. IV, Herder Book Co., St. Louis, 1920, page 287.

 

[17]       Quoted from A Commentary on the New [viz. 1917] Code of Canon Law, by Rev. P. Chas. Augustine, O.S.B., D.D., Book III, Vol. IV, Herder Book Co., St. Louis, 1920, page 288 (emphasis added; bracketed words added for clarity).

 

[18]         Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas, greatest Doctor of the Catholic Church, explains this truth:

 

[W]hile going along the spiritual way, a man may be disposed to a spiritual downfall by another’s word or deed, in so far, to wit, as one man by his injunction, inducement, or example, moves another to sin; and this is scandal properly so called.

 

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.43, a.1, respondeo.

[19]       Quoted from A Commentary on the New [viz. 1917] Code of Canon Law, by Rev. P. Chas. Augustine, O.S.B., D.D., Book III, Vol. IV, Herder Book Co., St. Louis, 1920, page 288 (emphasis added; bracketed words added for clarity).

 

[20]       Quoted from A Commentary on the New [viz. 1917] Code of Canon Law, by Rev. P. Chas. Augustine, O.S.B., D.D., Book III, Vol. IV, Herder Book Co., St. Louis, 1920, page 288 (bracketed words added for clarity).

 

[21]       Here is how the Catholic Encyclopedia explains this truth:

 

Perfect contrition, with the desire of receiving the Sacrament of Penance, restores the sinner to grace at once.  This is certainly the teaching of the Scholastic doctors (Peter Lombard in P.L., CXCII, 885; St. Thomas, In Lib. Sent. IV, ibid.; St. Bonaventure, In Lib. Sent. IV, ibid.).

 

1917 Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 4, article: Contrition, page 339.

 

[22]         Taken from the electronic edition of Michael Davies’ book For Altar and Throne.

 

[23]         Taken from the electronic edition of Michael Davies’ book For Altar and Throne.

 

[24]         Taken from the electronic edition of Michael Davies’ book For Altar and Throne.

[25]       1917 Catholic Encyclopedia, article: Marie-Antoinette.

[26]         Taken from the electronic edition of Michael Davies’ book For Altar and Throne.