So long, 'Danny Boy'
July 20 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

So long, 'Danny Boy' | Friday, July 20, 2001

Friday, July 20, 2001

So long, 'Danny Boy'

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor You talk about denominational control. We Baptist types occasionally cringe when we fear that convention overseers will get inordinately involved in local church affairs. Here's one of the reasons why: Irish Catholics in Rhode Island may soon find that the beloved "Danny Boy" can no longer be sung at their funerals. According to a recent Religion News Service story, the Diocese of Providence is planning to "educate" its churches about appropriate funeral music. Irish ballads and other songs that reflect one's ancestral heritage should not be included because they detract from the funeral Mass' celebration of the Roman Catholic faith, according to a newsletter published by the diocese. If that's not bad enough, the priest can't say much good about you in Boston. Cardinal Bernard Law of the Archdiocese of Boston has issued an order that a funeral can include only one eulogy, and it has to be less than five minutes in length. The Cardinal said funerals had "gotten out of hand."

I presided over at least a hundred funerals in 26 years as a pastor. I've heard a lot of bad and inappropriate music (including an organ rendition of "Aloha Oe"), and I've stood in line with a parade of preachers more than once. While we joke about families rounding up a plethora of pastors to try and preach the deceased into heaven, we know that several ministers and others may have played significant roles in the dearly departed's life, and it is not inappropriate to have more than one speaker - so long as they don't take 30 minutes each.

I would have planned some of those funerals differently, but they weren't my funeral. Christians only die once, and if it comforts a family to have five preachers, two quartets and a guitar picker at a loved one's funeral, it's their business.

Everyday Baptists may worry not a whit about theological pronouncements from convention headquarters, but you don't mess with their funerals.

Some things are worth fightin' for.

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7/20/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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