In a culture that largely likes to pretend death does not exist, there are some vocations which don’t have the option of ignoring the most unavoidable aspect of human existence. For those in law enforcement, medicine, ministry, and mortuary services, death is a regular, if not constant, companion. Of those four, the minister and the mortician are most often called only after a person has died, and the family, doctors, and nurses have run out
A seemingly less discussed source of controversy within Christendom is the topic of prayers for the departed. In fact, I had never even heard of such a practice until more recent years. I believe that this is primarily due to a gaping paradigmatic difference in the understanding of soteriology [doctrines of salvation] from East to West that eventually led to the dispensing of this historically Christian practice from the memory of contemporary low-church Western traditions.