Death knell for football songs at funerals
THE Archbishop of Melbourne has banned football anthems and popular songs from funerals at the city's 200 Roman Catholic churches, claiming they are inappropriate and can even make grief worse.
The edict follows a study that found the signature songs for Melbourne's Australian Rules Football teams Geelong and Collingwood were among the top requests at the city's funerals, along with Frank Sinatra's 'My Way' and Bette Midler's version of 'The Wind Beneath My Wings'.
Archbishop Denis Hart said sports songs were not appropriate for a service that emphasised the solemn nature of death.
"Secular items are never to be sung or played at a Catholic funeral, such as romantic ballads, pop or rock music, political songs, football club songs," Archbishop Hart writes in the new guidelines.
"At the funerals of children nursery rhymes and sentimental secular songs are inappropriate because these may intensify grief."
The guidelines stress that the wishes of the deceased and their family and friends should be taken into account, but say the Catholic funeral Mass is a sacred rite rather than "a secular celebration".
The move in Melbourne, a city that prides itself on its fanatical attachment to Australian Rules Football, has received a mixed reaction.
One parish priest, Father Bob Maguire from south Melbourne, said the policy could not stop his flock singing football anthems outside the church.
And funeral directors said football songs helped mourners celebrate the deceased.
"It's important to focus on celebrating the life of the person," said Andrew Pinder, the managing director of Jensen Funerals in Melbourne. (© Daily Telegraph, London)