For so many years I have been afraid to preach about heaven, hell and purgatory at funerals. As many priest know, if you preach the truth, you probably will get a call from the diocese because someone complained and they want to know what you said and that you have better stop saying that or you will get in trouble. That is why the Church is in trouble, because we do not preach truth.
I am very sensitive to the people attending the funeral who have just lost someone they love. But this is also an important time to tell the truth to them. At most funerals everyone is automatically in heaven in spite of what Jesus claims.
Some how or other I would always bring up heaven, hell and purgatory, but in a very soft way. For an example if they were Portuguese, I would bring in what the 3 children at Fatima experienced and said about purgatory and hell. (Mary opened the earth and showed them people in hell like red hot coals jerking around). They would have died right there for fright, but Mary’s presence kept them from dying). I would also say Mary was so full of light and reflected the beauty of heaven.
I think that we traditional priest have suffered so much for the truth that we have become stronger and want to speak the truth even if we will still suffer for it. We traditional Catholics are fortunate to know the truth, but we also know that the truth says we need to tell the truth about the Last Four Things: Death, Judgement, Heaven or Hell. If we fail to do this, our souls ache and we feel like hirelings who just keep the sheep happy while the wolf devours them.
How can the pope, the bishops, priests, nuns, teachers, parents say that they love others and yet fail to do everything in their power to save these souls from eternal damnation and pain. The devil puts all sorts of fears and obstacles in our apostolates to keep the steady stream of souls pouring in to hell.
So I now preach with love about the last four things at every funeral. I begin with the readings and then explain the last four things. I remind them that the person who died was judged right where they died. In the funeral I had today, it was in a car accident. Where ever we end up dying, that is where we are instantly judged. Then I talk about heaven as a place where God is and there is so much love and peace. Then I talk about hell as a terrible place with the demons, pain, fire, and remorse. They say in spite of all the horrors of hell, remorse for not changing, when you had a million chances while you lived, torments you.
All people who sin are mentally ill. Why, because our conscience is good. It is constantly giving us messages about avoiding sin because it goes against God, hurts others and ourselves. But we act contrary to what our true self tells us, to conform with the world and to please ourselves and others, and that is mental illness. It is called Cognitive Dissonance.
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The mind can not be healthy and have to contrary beliefs. Our friends, our mind and our body tell us one thing and our conscience says another thing. We suppress what our true self says and live a lie to get pleasure and to conform to others.
In Hell you even get more mentally ill for all eternity. That does not sound like fun. Everyday remind yourself about hell where there are all sorts of demons picking at and biting you. The flames are inside and outside of you. The spiritual pain is horrific. The place is total darkness and full of screams. The putrid smell is noxious. And it all only gets worse.
How wonderful it is to be able to tell the people who are around death what is on the other side of the curtain. While people are still conscious, get a priest to confess them. Do not wait until they are drugged on morphine to call a priest. It is very hard for them to stay awake while they are making a confession.
Purgatory is also a church doctrine. If we are fortunate enough to go there, we will be in flames burning. But we will also be supported by the knowledge that we will never again risk going to hell. We have been saved and now long to be able to see God face to face. We will go to heaven for sure when we have made reparation (repair) for all the evil we had confessed while alive but have yet to repair the damage we have done to the Church, our families, our world and ourselves.
Yes, we must preach about these things at funerals with love for those who still have a chance to repent. Jesus always was saying “repent repent”. That means, change while you have time. Turn away from sin and start doing good.
Another terrible thing that happens at funeral is the people who receive Holy Communion when they are in mortal sin or are not even Catholic. Once I was verbally abuse for a long time by the son and daughter of the deceased woman for taking the host away from a muslim woman. The Extra Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion did not recognize the muslim dressing of the woman. I kindly followed her and asked for Jesus back.
Another time I was disciplined for telling the people at funerals that only those who were Catholic and confessed could receive Holy Communion. I was told to go to the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops to see who could receive Holy Communion. Thank God it was clearly stated that if you were not Catholic you could not receive. So I changed what I said to: “If you are Catholic and go to mass every Sunday and if you had a mortal sin and have confessed, it you could receive Holy Communion. Never the less, everyone would just march up and receive. I had no control.
Today I stated clearly that “only if you have confessed all your mortal sins and are Catholics can you receive Holy Communion. You have to be very very clear about it because most want to be part of the action and go get that little white host. They feel like it is a special day when they can receive even though they never go to mass or are married in the Church.
Long time ago, when running St. Francis Catholic Kitchen in Santa Cruz, California, I decided to protect Jesus in the Holy Communion no matter how much I would be hated for it. And for the last 31 years, I have been hated for it. I am sure many of you have been verbally abuse too for telling people not to receive Holy Communion when they have left the Church or married outside the Church or for many reasons. Here we will suffer greatly for protecting Jesus’ Body and Blood. But forever He will protect us and thank us for what we have done. Jesus is God. He deserves to be received into pure souls and by those who know exactly who they are receiving and are Catholic.
But I will also have to suffer in purgatory for a long time too because I have not done it well enough. I have been afraid of getting in trouble with the diocese and the verbal abuse I would receive. But I have tried to overcome this terrible defect and am trying, in every way possible, to only give Holy Communion to only those who are properly prepared.
Let us help each other please God and not others. Let us ask help from the Holy Spirit to be courageous and say the truth even if it will cause us great suffering. It is better to suffer these passing pains than to have to suffer the pains that never end in hell. It is a terrible sin to offend God just to please people. Forgive us Lord for all the times we have receive Holy Communion unworthily and have not protected you from profanation. We love you and that is why we pledge to do everything in our powers to protect You in the Holy Eucharist and to save souls from hell.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.