"... stood at the Crem like a lemon, wondering why on earth I am present at the funeral of somebody led in by the tunes of Tina Turner, summed up in pithy platitudes of sentimental and secular poets and sent into the furnace with ‘I did it my way’ blaring out across the speakers!"he probably didn't expect the negative publicity. His comments were reported in the local and national press, leading to criticisms that he was "insensitive" and "heartless".
Ed doesn't get it. Why would anyone want to have a personalised funeral ceremony, when he can offer "the gorgeous liturgy of the requiem mass"? That's just it, Father Ed. Ask most people who're rejecting the "gorgeous liturgy" option and they'll say that they've been to a funeral where the priest talked about God and Jesus but said hardly anything about their dear departed; certainly nothing that they recognised. "It could have been for anyone," they'll say, or, "I wondered if I'd come to the right funeral; I didn't know who he was talking about."
Father Ed despairs of hearing "My Way" blasting out of the crematorium speakers; I sympathise. It is very popular. Having heard it many, many times, I groan inwardly when anyone asks for it. However, as long as no one asks for "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam", I'll cope.
Father Ed thinks that his parishioners don't know what's good for them and he does. He says,
I know that ‘dwindling funeral syndrome’ is the shared experience of most every priest I speak to, save those served by undertakers of genuine faith or respect.Does he mean that "undertakers of genuine faith or respect" should ignore their clients' wishes and point them in his direction anyway? I know some do, and if their client is determined to have a non-religious funeral they might give in very grudgingly.
Father Ed seems to think that Humanist funerals are inferior to his liturgical ones, but he probably hasn't been to many, if any (I've known priests turn up at Humanist funerals, exuding disapproval). There are rubbish Humanist funerals, and some great religious ones. No one has a monopoly of quality, but many families will say that the Humanist funeral they'd arranged was satisfying, honest, and moving; that it reflected the life and personality of the person who died without cloying sentiment; that it made them laugh and cry. And, Father Ed, contrary to what you might believe, we don't all do it for the money.
But he won't care. Father Ed is from the patriarchal, "we know best" Church tendency that can't understand why its authority is dwindling, fast. He'll sulk and sulk.
He wrote that when he dies, "I will still have the gorgeous liturgy of the requiem mass to look forward to." Pity he won't be there to enjoy it.