The Editor: This is in reply to Gerald Regnitter’s letter of June 1, “Parishes exploit funerals as commercial opportunity.” He asks, “What is my relationship to the Catholic Church community?” I would ask Gerald the same question. What is Gerald’s relationship to the church in that he is so critical in this matter?
In our present-day church community, who should pay for extra costs for funerals, weddings, baptisms, etc.? If there are costs involved, and there are, such extra janitorial services and utilities, the parishioner who needs the services should pay. In our society there are people who are Catholic in name only, and they do not participate in the Sunday eucharist or contribute financially. Yet when they die, the church should not charge for their funeral? How do we manage this with limited resources? Many parishes are in a deficit position financially. Who is going to pay for the extra costs involved in funerals, weddings, etc.?
Gerald should really re-think his position. It is only fair that all of us Catholics should pay for the legitimate costs involved in funerals etc. As a participating Catholic, both for Sunday eucharist and financially, I do not want to pay for funeral expenses of people who are Catholic in name only or for Catholics who can afford these expenses. I feel that it is pretty crass to suggest that churches use funerals to exploit us commercially or financially. Our parishes need all of us to share in the expenses and costs of the church.
The $200 that our diocese charges for funerals is hardly commercial exploitation of parishioners. All pastors also have the bishop’s authorization to waive or reduce church fees if they are deemed to be a hardship. Nobody is deprived of church use because they are not able to pay church fees, such as the funeral fee. — George Meyer, Prince Albert, Sask.