The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Monk Casket-Makers Persecuted

Near Covington, Louisiana there is a Benedictine monastery, St. Joseph Abbey,  where 36 monks pray and work as monks always have. The work done by these monks is a bit unique, though. They make caskets, beautiful, hand-made, wooden caskets which they sell at reasonable prices; and they've been making these caskets for well over 100 years. This casket-making has been fairly successful for the monks, and the proceeds help support the abbey. And through it they also fulfill one of the corporal works of mercy (remember them?): to bury the dead.

But their success has become a problem for the monks. The funeral home industry has called on the state of Louisiana to stop the monks from competing against the higher-priced and far inferior products sold through funeral homes. And the state responded by telling the monks that they may not sell their caskets because they lack the appropriate funeral director licenses and haven't paid the associated fees. Several of the monks are now being threatened with civil and criminal penalties and could actually be imprisoned for their casket-making. As you might expect, the monks are fighting this injustice and the Institute for Justice has come to their aid. 

Deacon Keith Fournier of Catholic Online  has written an in-depth article on this story. I suggest you read it. It will only reinforce those suspicions you probably already have about the funeral industry and it's grossly inflated prices. Here's a link to Deacon Keith's article: Monks Persecuted for Burying the Dead.

The below video, made by the Institute for Justice, explains the case...

It continues...

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