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Our readers asked:

I miscarried my baby-can I have a funeral for her?

Mike Hayes Answers:

First of all, please accept my condolences on the death of your child.

Indeed, you can and should have a funeral for your child and any miscarried baby can have a Catholic funeral. Quite often hospitals and obstetricians give parents who don’t carry a child to term a hard time when they ask for the remains of their child. Catholic teaching professes that life begins at conception and that the child has a soul at that juncture as well. Often the healing that comes along with grief is not offered to the parents of a miscarried child, thinking that “they’ll get over it and have another child.”

A second common misconception is that a baby that dies needs immediate baptism. While it almost sounds cruel to say, the sacrament of baptism is for the living and not for those who are dead. Therefore, baptism is not available in these instances. The church also teaches in this instance that we believe in the sure and certain hope of God’s mercy for these children and therefore there is no need to worry about the child’s eternal salvation. Pope Benedict has been very vocal on this point going to the point of proclaiming that Limbo is not a state of being in Catholic theology anymore.

Many psychologists, grief specialists and mental health professionals talk about the need to grieve a miscarried child. So some suggestions for parents who lose a child are the following:

1) Have a funeral and name your child. The rite of funerals for infants can be used in this instance. Giving your child a name helps to say good-bye.
2) Request a blessing: In the Book of Blessings there is a “blessing of parents after a miscarriage” listed. Requesting this can bring much healing and perhaps can even be done while you hold your child in the hospital as a couple I know had done.
3) Find a burial place for your child. A local funeral director, pastor or pastoral counselor can make some suggestions.
4) Pray to your child and offer a mass or an hour of prayer for your child from time to time. Praying in community with others for your baby is a great way to feel the support of others during this tough time.
5) Lastly, seek mental health treatment or grief counseling. Pastors can make a recommendation for an expert who is properly trained in this case.

Know of our prayers here at Busted Halo® for your child. Know of this site online at the Church of the Holy Innocents where you can pray for your child and enter their name to be prayed for at the shrine.

 
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The Author : Mike Hayes
Mike Hayes is the senior editor for the Googling God section at BustedHalo.com.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Catherine

    I appreciate this post. We lost our child at 16 weeks in March, without reason, and we had to deliver him. We got to hold him, and named him as you suggest, and we had him cremated, with the recommendation of our priest. We had other plans that recently fell through, so we’re now searching for an appropriate place to bury our child. I’m trying to find a prayer to put on a prayer card that helps everyone remember that he was our child, as much as my 4 year old or 1.5 year old is, but also praying for him. Do you have any suggestions?

  • Shea

    My heart skipped a beat as well when I read “you can and should have a funeral for your child.” I lost my baby so early that there wasn’t anything that could have been held or buried. I never knew what to do, and people don’t have much sympathy for somebody that’s lost a baby so early. I did name her and had her name entered at the Church of the Holy Innocents. It made it seem that she was real to somebody else beside me that way.

  • mike

    Angie–

    No. If you did not have a funeral it is not a sin. Most hospitals don’t even give people that choice unfortunately and most people don’t realize that it is even an option.

    At this point, be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to unite your feelings of loss to God who holds your child in His arms. Having a mass said for your baby is another option that you could choose as well.

    Sorry if the post brought you any discomfort. Know that we hold you, your family and your child in our prayers as well.

  • Angie Trigoura

    I had a miscarriage 6 years ago on my 8th week, the baby stopped growing and when I went for my appt. the doctor realize that there was no heart beat and I was schedule for a DNC and today I realize through your post that I probably did wrong by not having a funeral.. what should I do now?? did I committed a sin against God?

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