Q: A priest friend did a funeral this week for a child who died by miscarriage. Do you think that was the best way to handle that situation? I dissuaded him from putting a pall on the casket.
A: How terribly sad that this family has to endure the sorrow of a lost child.
In my view, it’s a tossup. When I’m faced with that situation, I tell the parents that they are entitled to a funeral for the lost child if they recover the fetus and desire such a service. If they would derive some comfort from it, I’d go ahead and do it. As you know, we do have a funeral rite for a child who dies before baptism.
Other parents might not find this comforting at all. Some have lost the fetus altogether. They are already dealing with trauma. In that case, the Book of Blessings offers a good solution: The Order for Blessing Parents after a Miscarriage (Chapter 1, IX). I’ve used it before and have found it very helpful.
Your advice is sound, not to place a white pall on the casket. That coheres with OCF 266.