Professional Keeners To Run Catholic Funerals in Liverpool

Now see, this is stupid and fisked up. Even if you have to double up funerals, you ought to be able to get a priest there, unless, say, you’re in the middle of several hundred years of the Catholic Church being banned, as in Japan or Ireland under their oppressive governments. And if you can’t get a priest, you should be able to get a deacon.

But the bishop of Liverpool thinks that it’s a shame to waste a priest and a Mass on a funeral with non-Catholics in attendance, or so it appears. Care of the dead? What’s that?

The Irish word for keener is bean-chaointe (keening woman) — or fear-chaointe, if you should happen to be a male lay funeral minister. This may be more dignity than the lay funeral ministers deserve, because a ban-chaointe was a improvisational poet and artist, in her way, and also tended to know a great deal about religion and the Irish vernacular hymn tradition. A lot of lay ministers, sadly, know very little about anything, and what they do know is wrong. (Compare and contrast the training of today’s Catholic cantors with that of a Jewish one, for instance. And I speak as a Catholic cantor myself.)

A Reluctant Sinner tells us the many ways that this is fisked up, in today’s fairly priest-filled Liverpool.


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