by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki
Death is an uncomfortable topic in our contemporary culture. We avoid talking about it and employ euphemisms to mask our discomfort. Rather than say someone has died, we say that he or she has “passed away.” Instead of wakes and funerals, people prefer to call such services a “celebration of life.” Cemeteries are renamed “memorial gardens.” There is nothing wrong with celebrating a person’s life or remembering them after they have died, but a theological and pastoral problem that emerges with such changes in terminology is that “celebrations of life,” “memorial gardens” and “memorial Masses” all look to the past. Christian burial practices, on the other hand, look to the future in anticipation of our bodily resurrection and eternal life.