"A NEW row has erupted over Catholic Church rules for funerals.
It flared up after jazz musician Paddy Cole revealed yesterday that he was not allowed to play at his mother's funeral Mass.
The flames had earlier been fanned when priests in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan circulated a leaflet at the weekend setting out the rules for funeral Mass from the Bishop of Clogher, Joseph Duffy.
The leaflet states that specially composed poems and favourite songs are in breach of the diocesan regulations.
And even the traditional practice of mourners lining up to shake hands with bereaved families in church is banned during Requeim Mass, although it is still permitted during the removal ceremony.
Mr Cole's comments sparked a rash of calls to a radio show from bereaved families who had been banned from playing "goodbye songs" or giving funeral eulogies.
The jazz star, who comes from the area, said he had played at funerals of friends in Dublin and other parts of the country but had been banned from performing a musical tribute at his mother's funeral.
Listeners then called RTE's 'Liveline' to vent their anger that they were not allowed to recite their memories of loved ones from the altar."
I've been to a few funerals over the last few years and I find them hellish affairs at the best of times, but overly wrought funerals all the more so. I understand the church's stance on this, left unchecked funerals can go on for hours, long rambling eulogies, long weepy songs like 'My heart will go on', it's unreal.
I understand the desire to say good bye to a loved one, to pay your respect, but there are ways of doing so with turning the funeral into a mawkish affair.
This is why wakes are a terrific idea, people can come and trade stories, cry, sing, drink, gain comfort from one another, remember the person who has passed. Let the church do its job, perform it's rites and solemn duty.
On this one I agree completely with the Catholic Church.*
* Awaits thunder clap and possible bolt of lightening.