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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Catholic Murderer's funerals- or not

I’ve been watching the media coverage of the funeral (that never was) for former Nazi Erich Priebke. 

"ROME — Former Nazi SS captain Erich Priebke, who died on Friday aged 100, never understood why he was found responsible for a wartime massacre when all he had done was obey orders."The order came directly from Hitler in Berlin," he told the Italian military tribunal which staged his first trial in Rome in 1996. "Anyone who refused to obey would have been tried by the SS."Priebke was sentenced to life in prison in 1998 for his role in the massacre at Rome's Ardeatine caves in March 1944, which left 335 people dead, including 75 Jews." [source: HERE]

The Catholic Church formally and officially refused Priebke a Catholic funeral.  I’m OK with that.  It’s Canon Law (#1184) and I actually think the Church should go further in actually following Canon Law #1184- more on that later.  
Preibke (according to most sources, though not all) never repented of his role in the deaths of just over three hundred people.   About as close to any sort of remorse I could find is his comment [from the same source as above]:

"He later described the massacre as "a horrible thing, a personal tragedy" in a long letter written at the time of his failed appeal.But he stopped short of real remorse. "If I could have stopped this horror I would have. My death would not have allowed for those innocents to be saved," he wrote."

Preibke says he was “just following orders”. 

“…Berlin ordered the Rome SS chief Herbert Kappler to draw up a list of prisoners, Jews and Roman citizens to be arrested.Kappler delegated the task to Priebke, who drew up the list and checked off those who went to their deaths. Priebke later admitted killing two of them himself.”

So Priebke follows evil Nazi orders, makes a list that results in the death of hundreds of people and actually kills two of them himself.  He’s a murder.  He’s broken the Fifth Commandment…

 You shall not kill.54You have heard that it was said to the men of old, "You shall not kill: and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment." But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment.55
2258 "Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being."56

And sadly he is an UNREPENTING murderer- according to sources anyway.

So why won’t the Catholic Church perform a funeral for an UNREPENTING murderer?  Because of Canon Law 1184

Can.  1184 §1. Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals:1/ notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics;2/ those who chose the cremation of their bodies for reasons contrary to Christian faith;3/ other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful.§2. If any doubt occurs, the local ordinary is to be consulted, and his judgment must be followed.
Now there are more ways to be a "murderer" than actually committing the crime with your own hands.  If you voluntarily- yet indirectly cooperate with the murder of someone, that murder is on your hands.  Such is the case with abortion and helping someone have an abortion.
2268 The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance.69Infanticide,70 fratricide, parricide, and the murder of a spouse are especially grave crimes by reason of the natural bonds which they break. Concern for eugenics or public health cannot justify any murder, even if commanded by public authority.
2269 The fifth commandment forbids doing anything with the intention of indirectly bringing about a person's death. The moral law prohibits exposing someone to mortal danger without grave reason, as well as refusing assistance to a person in danger.
The acceptance by human society of murderous famines, without efforts to remedy them, is a scandalous injustice and a grave offense. Those whose usurious and avaricious dealings lead to the hunger and death of their brethren in the human family indirectly commit homicide, which is imputable to them.71Unintentional killing is not morally imputable. But one is not exonerated from grave offense if, without proportionate reasons, he has acted in a way that brings about someone's death, even without the intention to do so.
2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,"77 "by the very commission of the offense,"78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

From most media reports, Preibke never repented or showed true remorse for the murders of hundreds of people aside from admitting it was a “horrible thing”. Presuming that is correct, he was RIGHTLY denied a Catholic funeral. 

That said, I find it sort of hypocritical that the Church doesn’t ALSO refuse funerals for pro-abortion supporters (public politicians specifically) when they die. They indirectly help in the slaughter of millions of children.  Murder is murder.  A beating heart is stopped by the abortionist.  A life ended. 

Now you might say "But you don't know if they repented just before death" and you would be right.  But the "sin of scandal" still holds.  The Church by providing a public funeral for such a person is a "cause for scandal among the faithful" (see Canon Law above).  It's causes confusion. To any non-Catholics or Catholics who don't know to "cause public scandal" is in itself a sin.  It must be confessed.  But that's an entirely different discussion for another time.

People who dedicate a good part of their "public service" life to ending the lives of others are indirect murderers.

Oh you know, folks like "Catholic" Senator Kennedy:

“On the question of the choice issue: I have supported the Roe v. Wade. I am pro-choice.” [Kennedy during debate with Romney]

Kennedy (like Pelosi and Biden today) supported the murder of MILLIONS of infants. He spent YEARS working FOR abortion.  He publicly rejected Church teaching and worked for abortionists to murder millions of children. 

Indirect murder is still murder.

These “Catholic” pro-choice politicians are either personally supporting abortion OR (as we often hear) “just doing what their constituents” want.  In other words, “just following orders” (like Priebke taking orders from his Nazi superiors) from other people (Kennedy from his voters).

Just "taking orders" doesn't mean you haven't directly or indirectly murdered someone.

So WHY does the Catholic Church SEEM to pick and choose which unrepenting MURDERERS to have funerals for and which ones to deny?  

It seems to me the “scandal” caused by the Church having a funeral for someone like Kennedy or Priebke is very different.  SOME Catholics were offended and even scandalized by Kennedy's Catholic funeral (myself included here), while other Catholics and the secular world CHEERED it. Calling it 'beautiful' and 'fitting' because Kennedy advocated for "so many Catholic issues like immigration reform" etc., completely ignoring the butchered little bodies of the infants his politics caused. 

While direct and indirect murderer Priebke is openly hated for his crimes in the secular world and among Catholics, all objected to his having a Catholic funeral and it was refused. 

Is it right to treat them differently according to the Catholic catechism on direct and indirect murder, abortion, or Canon Law?  Personally, I don't think so, but clearly those in the Church disagree, so perhaps I am wrong here.

In my opinion, IF Kennedy died without repenting (the public can only go by what we see and heard from him publicly) Kennedy WRONGLY got a funeral that looked like the Church was declaring him a Saint, while Priebke RIGHTLY is denied a Catholic funeral.  Should have been NO for both.

How about we say 'NO' to all of them?  

Saying "no" to all such unrepenting murderers would accomplish to very important things, 1) stop a scandal and 2) allow for teaching of Catholic doctrine on abortion.

People don't seem to understand INDIRECT murder.  Deny unrepenting pro-aborts Catholic funerals and TEACH the faith.

If the Church doesn't we are left to wonder why did the Church provide an amazing funeral mass with all Catholic “honors” to a man with the blood of MILLIONS of aborted babies on his hands, while denying the man with the blood of hundreds of innocent people on his hands?  Both were murderers (directly or indirectly).

One difference, is one man had influence, money and power in the United States.  Other did not.  Is that what we are think?  I honestly don't know, but I have heard others say that is why Kennedy was "allowed" so much from the Church.  There could be another reason, so no one should 100% presume to know the full truth- after all, we only have what we see and hear publicly to go on. The key is REPENTING.  Did the Nazi murderer repent?  Most sources say no, but one source I found seems to lean to a different conclusion...

In a statement, the society [schismatic Society of St. Pius X  ] said it agreed to perform the funeral at the family's request because "no matter what the guilt or sins" anyone who dies reconciled with God and the Church "has the right to celebrate Mass and a funeral."

Did he repent before his death?  I don't know.  Does any of us know for sure?
We (the general public) have decided that the former Nazi must not have repented so does not deserve a Catholic funeral, while just a few years ago many held a very different view for the funeral of an indirect murderer that we also had no idea if he ever repented.  But we judged one as unrepentant and the other as repentant or not in need of repenting because he was so well liked in secular society.

Now I have to point out here NO ONE but Kennedy's priests know if he decided to repent at the end of his life.  If he did, WONDERFUL.  If he did, he deserved the full Catholic funeral.  And perhaps he did, I hope for his sake that he DID repent before his death.  But even if he repented and "deserved" a Catholic funeral, the SCANDAL it caused among the Catholic faithful might not have been worth it.

But if he didn't... if he died as he lived supporting abortion... than he was an indirect murderer.

An unrepenting murderer is an unrepenting murderer. 

Acts 10:34
Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition
 34 And Peter opening his mouth, said: In very deed I perceive, that God is not a respecter of persons.

According to God, we are all one and the same, none above the other.  Equal. The Church should treat us that way in life and in death.  If that's how God see us, why can't Christ's Church do the same?

In Christ,

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner



  1. Perhaps you missed it, but his lawyer said he went to confession.

  2. Hi Maria!

    No I didn't miss it, that is why I wrote: "Preibke (according to most sources, though not all) never repented of his role in the deaths of just over three hundred people." at the beginning of the article.

    God bless and thanks for stopping by!

    Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

  3. Kennedy actually penned a letter to the pope which showed no signs of contrition for his insane support for legalized abortion (after once having opposed it publicly) for 25 years. To me it reeked of self-justification and an inability to accept that he had done any wrong. It sounded like he thought he had been a great Catholic and wanted to let the pope know that.

    The pope, apparently, had little sense of who Kennedy even was, the family having lost any influence with the Holy See long ago.


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Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

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