5.B.11 Right of Christian Funeral and Denial

1. No person otherwise eligible is to be deprived of Christian funeral.

   a. The Christian faithful departed are to be given ecclesiastical funeral rites according to the norm of law. [1]

   b. Catechumens are counted among the Christian faithful for purposes of funerals, and candidates for reception into full communion are to be treated on a similar basis in the diocese. [2]

   c. Ecclesiastical funeral rites may be granted in the diocese to a child who died before baptism and whose parents, even if non-Catholic, intended to have it baptized Catholic. [3]

   d. Ecclesiastical funeral rites may be granted in the diocese to non-Catholics in other circumstances under the norms of # Catholic Funeral Rites for non-Catholics.

2. The pastor is to consult the local Ordinary and follow his judgment:

   a. before a deceased Catholic is deprived of ecclesiastical funeral rites on the basis of

   b. when doubt arises about the suitability of ecclesiastical funeral rites for a non-Catholic.

   c. 1184, or this is proposed to the family or others involved in funeral arrangements, [4] or

3. Suicides may not be deprived of Catholic funeral rites on that basis alone. [5]

4. The mere non-practice or continued neglect of the faith does not exclude the right of a deceased Catholic to a Christian funeral. [6]

5. No one can be deprived of ecclesiastical funeral rites because of poverty. [7]

[1] c. 1176 §1 and see the special entrustment of the pastor in c. 530, 5º.  

[2] c. 1183 §1. 

[3] See c. 1183§2. See Provincial Faculties For Priests, n. 13 and Faculties of Permanent Deacons, n. 8. 

[4] c. 1184 §2. 

[5] Order of Christian Funerals, approved NCCB [USCCB], 1985; confirmed by decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship, 1987, appendix approved November 1996, confirmed July 1997, and made mandatory November 2, 1997. [Hereafter OCF.] No. 398 provides prayers for suicides. 

[6] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, letter (May 29, 1973) in Canon Law Digest 8:862-63. Also see National Catholic Cemetery Conference, Christian Burial Guidelines (January 28, 1975) in Canon Law Digest 9:694-695 from which policies of the Diocesan Policy Manual of 1992 were drawn. [Hereafter Christian Burial Guidelines.] 

[7] c. 1181.

Date approved by Bishop

Posted by
Msgr. S. J. Raica, chancellor