ROME, October 16, 2013 ( – The grandiose Catholic funerals of notorious and never-publicly-repentant pro-abortion figures such as Senator Ted Kennedy and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau caused scandal throughout the world.  However this week, the Diocese of Rome — the Pope's own Diocese — has provided a concrete example of how to respond to the death of a notorious, public sinner.

Erich Priebke, a Nazi officer who took part in the retribution killing of over 300 civilians in Rome in World War II, died this week in Rome. In an official statement, the Diocese has denied him a public funeral.  The Vicar General, Cardinal Agostino Vallini has forbidden any Catholic Church in Rome to hold the funeral rites.

As Cardinal Vallini notes in the statement, no one is denying Priebke the mercy of God — no one can possibly put limits on God's mercy. But in view of his acts, and his failure to give any public sign of repentance, the Diocese ordered that any funeral must take place privately, in the residence where he died.

This is in stark contrast to the practice in many places of giving a public funeral even to people notoriously opposed to the Church. The solution of the Diocese of Rome is respectful of the spiritual good of the deceased, giving him every spiritual help possible, while avoiding the scandal that would inevitably accompany a public funeral.


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