Sacramento bishop issues revised funeral guidelines

Bishop Jaime Soto has issued new funeral guidelines for the Diocese of Sacramento, spelling out in detail by whom, for whom and how Catholic burial rites should be performed.

The new guidelines, officially promulgated on March 7 and published on the diocesan website on March 12, include instructions on who may officiate at Catholic funerals, for whom funerals may be held, music, controversial personalities and eulogies, among other details.

Below are excerpts from the bishop’s funeral guidelines:

“The rites do not presume a life of exemplary faith or virtue. Under certain circumstances Christian burial is inappropriate, but before denying Christian burial rites to anyone or granting burial rites to someone with a ‘notorious’ reputation, the parish priest is to contact the Office of the Bishop. The decision of the bishop or his delegate in these matters is determinative.”

“The funeral rites may be celebrated when the deceased committed suicide.”

“Only an ordained priest or deacon is allowed to preach the homily at the funeral liturgy.”

“Priests preside at the funeral rites, especially the Mass. When no priest is available, deacons preside at rites within their faculties…”

“Lay persons should participate as lectors, musicians, ushers, pallbearers, and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, as required…”

“Secular music (live or recorded) is not appropriate during funeral liturgies.”

“A eulogy is never appropriate when a homily is preached, but excerpts from the person’s life may be used in the homily.”

“Video retrospectives on the life of the deceased have become a more common way to share memories. This is not permitted during the liturgy in the church. These presentations are more suitable for the reception or other occasions.” (Emphasis in original.)

“Biblical readings may not be replaced by nonbiblical readings.”

To read the Revised Funeral Guidelines in their entirety, Click Here.