Terri

Posted on 14. Aug, 2013 by in Pre-Vatican II Catholicism, Priests, Uncategorized

Terri focuses on the trials of an adolescent of no particular religious persuasion. He is responsible for the care of his invalid uncle, is overweight and considered unattractive, and his appearance and grades are slipping. In an attempt to shore up Terri’s mood and self-esteem, the principal makes Terri one of a small number of “special” students who attend regular meetings that take the form of amateur counseling sessions in his office.
Terri and the rest of this group get to know the school secretary a little better; and at one point the principal informs Terri that she is dying “of cigarettes”, and that the shouting he is doing at Terri is “for her benefit”, because “she really likes it when I lay onto you kids”. (She is seen smiling outside the door of one such session when a kid is being yelled at off-screen).
However, that’s about all anyone knows of this inconspicuous older woman with a conspicuous smoker’s cough.
One fine day, the inevitable happens, and the principal drafts Terri and another kid to accompany him to the school secretary’s funeral.

It seems she had nobody else in the world; the principal and his students don’t meet any of her relatives, and indeed, nobody else shows up to the funeral, except, belatedly, the priest.

One thing that had not been referred to previously in the picture had been the fact that she had been Catholic, and if anything is indicated by the priest and the rite, ultra-traditional Catholic. The priest is a short, unimpressive man in an old-fashioned cassock. He has a high, squeaky voice, with which he says the funeral service in Latin by the side of the grave, preceding his reading from his book by blessing both the coffin and the few funeral attendees with holy water. While the high school students assumed a silent and respectful demeanor throughout, no one was seen to explain the significance of the proceedings or translate parts of the reading.
This is a misleading portrayal of priests in general, and is not a typical, modern day, funeral rite, which is in English.

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