Christianity is one of the most widely practised religions in the world. The religion is divided into various sub-groups, with the Christians in Singapore generally identifying as Catholic or Protestant.
Despite both faiths deriving their teachings from Jesus Christ, there are subtle differences between both practices that may not be obvious to non-practitioners. And these distinctions extend to their funeral customs as well. But unless you have attended both funeral services respectively, it can be a challenge to spot the various differences.
Generally, Catholic funerals place greater emphasis on their rituals. In contrast, a Protestant funeral – simply referred to as a Christian funeral service in Singapore – is less ritualistic, with more focus placed on remembering the departed.
However, this is not the only difference between a Christian and Catholic funeral service. Read on if you are interested to learn more about the distinctions between both sets of funeral customs.
One of the core tenets of Christianity is the belief in a life after death, with both the Catholics and the Protestants believing in an afterlife. However, the Catholics also believe in the existence of purgatory – a state of waiting where the decedent can atone for their sins. As such, a Catholic funeral service usually focuses on praying for the departed’s soul.
Conversely, the general atmosphere of a Christian funeral is typically one of celebration than sorrow. The Protestants believe their loved ones have ascended to Heaven to be with God. As such, their death is considered an occasion worth commemorating.
Many people opt to commemorate the life of their loved ones by giving a eulogy during the funeral service. And in a Christian funeral, this tribute to the departed is often delivered during the service itself.
Conversely, a Catholic funeral tends to be more ritualistic, with more specific rites and customs to follow. As such, eulogies are not delivered as part of the funeral mass. Instead, it is more appropriate to eulogise the departed during the Prayer Vigil, as that is a time for friends and family to gather and remember the decedent.
There is generally one or more Catholic priests leading a Catholic funeral mass. And the ritual typically consists of a series of prayers, communion, and then the absolution of the departed.
The absolution process involves sprinkling holy water and incense on the casket while a hymn is sung. Subsequently, the body is transported to the burial site or crematorium for cremation.
In contrast, a Christian funeral is carried out by a pastor rather than a priest. Unlike a Catholic funeral service, there is no absolution ritual conducted by the pastor. Instead, the service usually consists of the readings of Christian scriptures and the singing of hymns.
Once the service concludes, the casket is either taken to the burial site to be buried or transported to the crematorium for cremation. Afterwards, the family may opt to take the urn and scatter the cremated remains or enshrine it in a government or temple columbarium.
Regardless of the difference in beliefs between these two faiths, it is clear that both funeral rites are designed to offer comfort and solace to the family during this turbulent time. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that all funeral arrangements are in order so the family can provide the departed with a dignified send-off. A reliable funeral parlour can assist the bereaved family with the arrangement, allowing them to focus on working through their grief.
At Confidence Funeral Services, we are one of the leading funeral service providers in Singapore. Our experienced team has assisted with the arrangement of numerous funeral services of various faiths. If you are looking to arrange a Christian or Catholic funeral service, do not hesitate to contact us to learn more about our packages and rates.