Traditional Catholics/Funerals of non


QUESTION: Hello Griff. I have herd different responses about this issue and i would like to become familiar with the churches official teaching on the matter. Would won be able to attend a funeral of a family member that is not catholic. Furthermore would won be able to attend if the person was in the novus ordo yet is catholic at heart. Obviously i would not receive their "communion" or take part in their "mass" but would it be sinful to even attend?

Thank you.
God bless

ANSWER: It is not sinful to attend, passively, and for good reason (e. g. funeral of family member), a non-Catholic religious service of any kind.  Novus Ordo is just another flavor of non-Catholic, exactly on par with any other Protestant service.  If asked why you do not participate more actively it is enough to respond quietly with "because I am a Catholic," and leave it at that.  A funeral is not the place to take this up any further, even if someone is curious.  They can always ask you again sometime later on, after the burial and all other funerary events are completed, if they genuinely want to know.
Any truly sincere Protestant (the kind who might legitimately have an "implicit baptism of desire") could possibly be "Catholic-at-heart" insofar as they earnestly seek to follow Christ, according to their false, mistaken, and limited lights.  We cannot join in to their erroneous ways (for we Catholics know better), but God will have to judge what level of subjective guilt attaches to their failure to seek or find the true fullness of the Faith that Jesus Christ brought us, and how they have lived their lives as measured against the standard of the Law written upon all hearts (and they had to do this without the assistance of the sacramental graces).
Join in the sorrow (for you too also do mourn the deceased), be respectful by not creating a disturbance at the service.  You may sit or stand or enter or leave when everyone else does, but do not kneel.  Bowing of the head or closing of the eyes during prayer is somewhat more of a gray area, but most safely avoided.
Obviously do not receive any "communion" offered.  Take great care on this one, for they do often like to give it out to everyone, especially close family members, regardless of whether the person otherwise would receive it, and there may be no obvious way to avoid receiving it without making a scene; probably the best thing to do is excuse oneself during that part of the service so that your not taking it is not so conspicuous.
If asked to speak or reminisce the deceased, this is also a gray area; you might genuinely have something you wish to say to everyone about the deceased, some memory of them you might feel to be of significance to others, but this should be governed by what part of the service this occurs in and whether there might be some other opportunity to share this and how important you believe the memory to be for sharing.  A separate "memorial service" outside the context of a more direct and full example of false worship (e. g. their false "mass") might be a good way to go as a place for sharing memories of the deceased, if that can be arranged.

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QUESTION: What about the church's official teaching in regards to marriages of non catholic family members?

thanks and God bless

ANSWER: For marriages, one additional issue would be whether the couple can validly be so united.  A Protestant man and woman, neither of whom has ever been married, and between whom there are no other impediments, can marry, and (for good reason) a Catholic may attend, again passively.  In some rare circumstances, the Catholic can serve as bridesmaid or groomsman if it is clear that by doing so they in no way add any legal weight as witnesses in any official capacity by doing so, though this is something of a grey area and somewhat subject to locally accepted custom.  If the marriage cannot be valid, then the Catholic should not be present, even passively, and can give no gift of any sort that would imply approval of their having a life together.

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QUESTION: Can one possibly commit mortal sin by working on Sunday? If there are not any traditional valid masses near me am I committing sin by not driving the far distance every Sunday? (obviously lots of prayer on Sundays if not making it to mass)

Thanks and God bless.

Any kind of servile work, judicial acts, and commercial occupation is considered sinful on Sundays, apart from what is necessary (police, fire, medical emergency) or otherwise excused or may be dispensed with ecclesial approval.
Any kind of servile work, judicial acts, and commercial occupation is considered sinful on Sundays, apart from what is necessary (police, fire, medical emergency) or otherwise excused or may be dispensed with ecclesial approval.
A short moment may be only venially sinful, whereas about 2 or 3 hours or so or more it becomes mortally sinful.

From Moral Theology, by Fr. Heribert Jone:

Servile work is occupation primarily performed by corporal powers and for material purposes.  Such works are plowing, sowing, harvesting, sewing, cobbling, tailoring, printing, masonry work, all work in mines or factories, etc.  In some places, custom justifies shaving, hair cutting, knitting, crocheting, etc.

It is also permitted to go walking, riding, driving rowing, journeying, even though these may be fatiguing.

Liberal and artistic works are also lawful, studying, teaching, drawing, architectural designing, playing music, writing (also typing), painting, delicate sculpturing, embroidering, taking photographs.  These works are lawful even if done for renumeration.

Servile works are forbidden even though they are done gratis,a s a form of recreation or for some pious purpose - about two and a half or three hours of such work, according to its arduousness, is a grievous sin.  Thus, operating a modern washing machine, which consists of putting the clothes in the machine, pushing a button, removing and hanging clothes, would only be a venial sin if done for that length of time without an excusing cause or dispensation.

Forbidden in themselves are such activities as marketing, fairs, buying and selling, public auctions, shopping in stores.  Local customs, however, justify some of these actions.  It is not forbidden for private persons to confer or agree on the purchase or sale of cattle, lands, houses, etc.

Necessity excuses from Sunday rest if a considerable harm or loss would otherwise be sustained by oneself or one's neighbor.  Therefore all indispensible housework is legitimate Sunday occupation.  Poor people may work on Sunday if they cannot otherwise support themselves.  If there is no time or occasion to do so on week days one may mend clothes on Sunday.  For the same reason working people may tend their little gardens on Sunday.  Farmers may harvest their grain, hay, etc. or gather fruit on Sunday if a storm threatens.  Any necessary work is allowed in case of fire, flood, etc. - Mechanics may sharpen, repair, etc. tools that farmers and artisans need on Monday.  Tailors may work on Sunday if they cannot otherwise finish mourning clothes for a funeral.  Lighter manual labor is also probably lawful for charitable purposes or to avoid ennui.

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Griff Ruby


I focus on the "why" and "how" questions of the Faith and one`s need for the Church to overcome sin, live the life God wishes us, and to become what God wants us to be. My areas of expertise are particularly in the areas of practical morality, theology, Scripture, history, and personal problems and dilemmas that people face. It is important to bring a sense of proportion to the recent and current ecclesiastical situation that makes necessary having to add the clarification "traditional" to "Catholic," for a "traditional Catholic" today is simply what anyone would have called a "Catholic" only 60 years ago, and so on clear back to the beginning. I seek to provide insight and information such that you are then able to see for yourself the answer to your questions. Homework problems and trivia questions may be refused, and I am not interested in using Allexperts as a debating forum.


Years of extensive research, thought, and prayerful meditation on many of the issues that trouble Catholics today, taught catechetical classes to teenagers and adults, answered many questions already as Allexperts volunteer in Catholics category.

Legion of Mary, Knights of Columbus

Book: The Resurrection of the Roman Catholic Church Articles published in: DailyCatholic, The Four Marks

I have an Engineering degree from University of California, Santa Barbara, however this obviously has extremely little bearing on my expertise here other than to document the level of my education in general.

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I have been an Allexperts volunteer in the category of Catholics since at least as far back as 2001, having answered over 800 questions from over 600 different people.

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