Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

"Hotel Weddings and Humanist Funerals"

Funerals in England certainly are getting to be... special.
Special and beautiful.

A vicar in Tunbridge Wells is disgusted with 'crumbling clerics', secularists and others taking funerals. Father Ed Tomlinson, of St Barnabas, a Forward in Faith parish, complains on his blog about the 'death of death'. He says that he hardly ever gets invited to the crematorium to take a funeral any more, and when he is he doesn't like what he finds: people being 'popped in the oven with no hope of resurrection'.

'I have then stood at the Crem like a lemon, wondering why on earth I am present at the funeral of somebody led in by the tunes of Tina Turner, summed up in pithy platitudes of sentimental and secular poets and sent into the furnace with ‘I did it my way’ blaring out across the speakers!'
'Once upon a time the beautiful requiem mass would have been the norm and not the exception in my parish,' he writes. 'Once upon a time even funerals at the Crem would have been sincerely Christian in character. But that was another England, a time when Christianity was worshipped on these shores. We must accept that, for now, such days are past and that this has inevitable consequences.

'Atheists and secularists might delight in this fact but is it really the victory they imagine? After all, I am not the one who suffers. Along with my fellow Christians, I will still have the gorgeous liturgy of the requiem mass to look forward to. Whereas the best our secularist friends (and those they dupe) can hope for is a poem from nan combined with a saccharine message from a pop star before being popped in the oven with no hope of resurrection.

'It might offend those who see choice as a wonderful thing, but whenever I consider humanist funerals (or hotel weddings come to that) I am only ever reminded of those words from scripture, ‘forgive them for they know not what they do.’ As Britain delights in grabbing hold of its new found secular identity it seems totally oblivious to the fact that so much meaning, beauty and ultimately life is, in fact, slipping through their fingers.

'Perversely then: it is as the church loses its grip on death that death itself gets stronger for the society in which we live.'

(Addition: After reading the entire post of the Vicar in question, I think I can say that without actual untruths, being written, what he meant seems to have been misrepresented.)

Incidentally, I've never had "My Way" requested, (although I have had to gently refuse to do "Over the Rainbow")
Cooperative Funeralcare [in the UK,] have done a survey of music played at funerals. They surveyed 242 funeral homes and 30,000 services and found that 58% of people in England and Wales chose pop music rather than traditional hymns. The top ten pop picks are:
1 My Way - Frank Sinatra/Shirley Bassey
2 Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler/Celine Dion
3 Time To Say Goodbye - Sarah Brightman/Andrea Bocelli
4 Angels - Robbie Williams
5 Over The Rainbow - Eva Cassidy
6 You Raise Me Up - Westlife/Boyzone/Josh Grobin
7 My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion
8 I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston
9 You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry and the Pacemakers
10 Unforgettable - Nat King Cole

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