823. Where does the desire of immortalizing one’s memory through funeral monuments originate?
“It is the last act of pride.”
a) Is the extravagance of funeral monuments more commonly due to relatives who want to honor the memory of their deceased loved ones, than to the desire of the deceased themselves?
“It is an act of pride on the part of relatives who want to glorify themselves. These demonstrations are not always for the deceased rather they gratify their own vanity by making an impression on others and displaying wealth. Do you think that the memory of their loved ones is less strong in the hearts of the poor, because they can only place a single flower to lie upon their graves? Do you think that marble can save the name of a person who has led a useless life on Earth from oblivion?”
824. Is funeral pomp and circumstance reprehensible under all circumstances?
“No, it is fair when honoring the life of dignified individuals, and it conveys a good example.”
The grave is the inevitable end of all human distinctions and the destiny of all human beings. Erecting ostentatious monuments is a vain attempt by wealthy individuals to immortalize the memory of their lives. Time will destroy these monuments as surely as it will destroy their bodies. The memories of their deeds, whether good or bad, are more resistant than their tombs. The pomp of their funerals will neither wash away their immoral actions nor raise them a single step on the ladder of the spirit hierarchy. (See no. 320 et seq.)