The Blessing for Death

Especially in the business of death, there are a variety of rituals and traditions. This applies equally to the soldier’s as well as the hunter’s stand. And who would be better suited for serving as a master of ceremonies for carrying out some such rituals than the Catholic Church?

Here and there weapons are blessed. A special ritual in the context of hunting is the so-called Hubertusmesse. This takes place every year on 03. November, on the feast day of St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunters. It is said that the legend of St. Hubertus should tell us that as a hunter you turn away from the hunt for pleasure and turn to the care and nurture all. However, if you look at the life story of the saint mentioned a little more closely, you must you realize that this capture is not necessarily justified or the conclusion that is drawn.

Hubertus was a nobleman who, out of sadness over the early death of his wife, indulged in hunting. He did it to forget the pain. One day he saw a white stag. After Hubertus had pursued this magnificent animal for days, it apparently stopped, turned to the hunter. Between the antlers appeared a cross. Jesus himself wanted to alert Hubertus to saving his life. Then Hubertus laid down his arms, not to devote himself to the care and nurture, but to give away all his possessions and become a priest.

This day is therefore taken as an opportunity to bless weapons, hunters, dogs and dead animals. In the end, there is probably something to be seen about what is going on throughout the history of the church, the fraternization of the church with the nobility. For a long time the hunting was a privilege of the nobility, who by no means had to feed themselves from necessity, but saw it as a pastime, while people who hunted not to starve were persecuted and condemned as poachers. A remnant of this feudal fun hunt can still be found today in the hunting lanes, which are still allowed in four federal states in Austria, and in which bred animals are hunted. This combination of authority and church is therefore still celebrated and displayed, which is very apt in a democratic society.

But it is also fitting in that the church, by its very mandate, has a genuine relation to death. That’s why it’s only fair that she gives her blessing. For who believes that man is the crown of creation, he also believes that he can do whatever he wants with his fellow creatures. It also includes murdering them as the mood takes you.

Amen!

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