Catholic Funeral Rites for Non-Catholics

1. Ecclesiastical funeral rites can be celebrated in the diocese for baptized non-Catholics under the following conditions:

   a. the intention of the deceased was not evidently to the contrary;

   b. the minister of the deceased is not available or there is none, and

   c. the general provisions of canon law do not forbid it. [1]

2. They are suitably celebrated for candidates for reception into the Church but may also be celebrated when a Catholic requests them for a baptized non-Catholic member of the family.

3. If a just cause exists in the judgment of the pastor, such as the request of a Catholic family member, the Mass of Christian Burial may be celebrated for a baptized non-Catholic using the proper adaptations in the rites. Similarly, except for the Mass of Christian Burial, funeral rites may be celebrated with the proper adaptations in the rites for deceased non-Christians when their Catholic family members request them. [2]

[1] See cc. 1183 §3 and 1184; Ecumenical Directory, n. 120.    

[2] See Order of Christian Funerals, n. 398-36 and Part III, chapter 15. Number 398 provides a prayer for a deceased non-Christian married to a Catholic. Also see burial of the dead as a corporal work of mercy in Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2300.

Date approved by Bishop

Posted by
Msgr. S. J. Raica, chancellor