'You sleep alone in the dark world'

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"The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living" Marcus Tulliuis Cicaro

There are more than 10,000 saints recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, though the names and histories of some of these holy men and women have been lost to history. The saints of the church are a diverse group of people with varied and interesting stories.

 Catholics believe those who have died are separated from us physically, though spiritually they remain connected to us. Death does not sever the bonds of communion. Catholic tradition holds that when a person dies; if they are in a state of grace – they will enter heaven; if they reject God; they enter hell; and if throughout their lives they showed by works of charity and/or profession of belief in God; though they are not be in a state of grace; they enter Purgatory.

A few women were married by use of proxy to soldiers that had died weeks earlier. This practice came to be called posthumous marriage. Posthumous marriage for civilians originated in the 1950s, when a dam broke and killed 400 people in Fréjus, France, including a man named André Capra, who was engaged to Iréne Jodart. Jodart pleaded with French President Charles de Gaulle to let her go along with her marriage plans even though her fiancé had died. She had support from the media and within months was allowed to marry her fiancé. It is likely that posthumous marriage (un mariage posthume) was made as an extension to France's proxy marriage

In 2009 a posthumous wedding ceremony was held in Batavia, Illinois, for Annie Hopkins, who had died of spinal muscular atrophy. Annie Hopkins had said that she wanted a wedding celebration instead of a funeral. The wedding celebration was open to the public and was a fundraiser for the Annie Hopkins Foundation Scholarship Fund, named after her. Since there was no apparent groom in this marriage, it is better classified as a wedding-themed funeral than a posthumous marriage.

On March 10, 1987, a man from Miami named Isaac Woginiak died of a heart attack, without marrying his alleged fiancée. Two weeks later, Circuit Judge George Orr ordered the court clerk to sign a marriage license on behalf of Woginiak.

South Korea

In December 1983, Heung Jin Moon, the second son of Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han (who were leaders of the Unification Church), was in an automobile accident in New York and died on January 2. Moon's death came before his planned arranged marriage to ballerina Julia Pak, daughter of Moon's interpreter, Bo Hi Pak. According to Unificationism, only married couples are allowed to enter the highest level of heaven. Moon's parents conducted a posthumous marriage ceremony on February 20, 1984.

In 1982 the fiancée of Duk Koo Kim, a Korean boxer who died of injuries, held a posthumous wedding when a funeral for Kim was conducted in Kim's gym. Kim's fiancée, Lee Yon-mi was three months pregnant with Kim's first child at the time wanted to marry Kim to console the boxer. Lee Yong-mi told Korean media that she would remain celibate for the rest of her life and commit to raising their child. In Korea, it used to be customary for people to marry the soul of a fiancé that died before a planned wedding. The living spouse would then stay celibate for the rest of his or her life, but the tradition is not currently legally binding.

Germany

In The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, one of the characters is a man named Fritz Pfeffer, under the pseudonym Albert Dussel. In the 1930s Pfeffer met Charlotte Kaletta. Pfeffer and Kaletta moved in together but were forbidden from marrying because of the 1935 Nazi Nuremberg Laws that outlawed marriages between Jews and non-Jews.

Charlotta married Pfeffer posthumously in 1950, with retrospective effect to 31 May 1937.

South Africa

In 2004 a man in South Africa shot his fiancée and then himself during an argument. The two were later married because the families and friends wished to remember them as a happy couple, to marry the families together, and because in African culture death is instead thought of as a separation of body and soul.

Japan

In Okinawa, which has been under the influences of China for centuries, there has been a custom of posthumous marriage. The reason is to correct the rules of the placing of spirit tablets. There are strict rules of placing spirit tablets, and if the rules are broken, the spirit tablet under question is moved to a proper place with ceremonies at the order of a spiritualist.

Ghost marriage

In China there is a rare tradition called ghost marriage, also known as a minghun or a spirit marriage. This can be performed between two deceased singles, or between a dead person and a living person.

Reasons

In traditional Chinese culture it is shameful to be the parents of an unwed daughter, and unmarried girls are often shunned from society. For men, ghost marriages were often performed for the sake of progeny. In addition, ghost marriage for men let the family's lineage carry on. The spouse of a deceased male could adopt a child who would carry on the lineage of the man's family. Other reasons for performing ghost marriages for deceased males are dreams and séances from the spirits of the males who want to be married. Chinese tradition also says that younger brothers do not marry before their older brothers, so sometimes a Chinese ghost marriage will be performed to stay in line with this tradition.

Arrangement

Sometimes the family of a deceased person will use a priest as a matchmaker. Other times they will leave out a red envelope with gifts and believe that the deceased person's spouse will reveal himself.

Sometimes when a woman's fiancé died, in order for her to participate in the ghost marriage, she would have to participate in the man's funeral service, which included uncomfortable mourning standards, taking a vow of celibacy, and to immediately take up residence with the man's family. There are no requirements for a man doing this but this has not been recorded.

Performance

These ghost marriages were similar to both a wedding and a funeral.The families of the participants will exchange gifts of various sizes which can include cakes, dresses, and money.

To represent the deceased person(s) effigies made of bamboo will be used. These are clothed in what people would wear to weddings and are usually burned afterwards. Most of the rites of the marriage are actually performed in the same way regular Chinese marriages are usually performed.[21][22]

Theft of female corpses

The practice leads to reported cases of female corpses being stolen. In 2017-19, it is reported that a black market of female corpses has appeared in the provinces of Shandong, Shanxi and Shaanxi. A female dead body can be sold in the range of several hundred thousands RMB for the purpose of minghun. Even corpses of married, elderly women have become targets of such illegal trade. In 2019 some graveyards in Henan province resort to CCTV cameras and concrete coffins to prevent thefts.

Outside China

In Sudan there is a tradition that when an engaged man dies his brother replaces him at his wedding and any of his children are considered children of the deceased brother. Women will marry men to continue their blood line. Women will also marry deceased men so that they can retain their wealth instead of losing it after getting married.

Mormonism

 Modern plural marriage theory within the LDS Church

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) believe that, with the appropriate authority, marriages can be performed for "time and all eternity," rather than just "until death do us part." They believe that Jesus gave this authority to the Apostle Peter; in Mathew 16:19, Jesus tells Peter, "And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt lose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Consequently, the practice of marriage for eternity is referred to as a sealing or an eternal marriage. Sealings can be performed posthumously, as well as for the living. Posthumous sealings can be performed to eternally wed a living person and a deceased spouse (with a live church member standing as a proxy for the deceased), or, more commonly, between two deceased persons (with a living man and woman standing in as proxies). In either case, the couple must have been married while alive. Thus, this practice is perhaps better described as a posthumous sealing rather than a posthumous marriage.

In current practice, men who are dead may be sealed by proxy to all of the women to whom they were legally married while alive. Recent changes in church policy also allow women to be sealed to multiple men, but only after both she and her husbands are dead. Sealings are also performed posthumously for deceased couples, even for couples that divorced in life. This ordinance is similar to the church's practice of baptism for the dead, although it has not been as controversial with non-Mormons.

The church's doctrine is not entirely specific concerning who should be sealed to whom when there are multiple spouses, and the church permits a sealing to take place any time there was a valid marriage between an opposite-sex couple. One possibility is that regardless of how many times a man or woman is sealed, only one marriage will remain in the afterlife. Another possibility is that multiple sealings will be valid in the next life. The church does not clearly teach whether or not polygamous marriages exist in the afterlife. It is believed that the proxy sealings, like the church's proxy baptisms, are only offered to the deceased souls, and that deceased persons must accept the ordinance for it to take effect. The LDS Church opposes same-sex marriages and does not perform them for either living or deceased couples.

Levirate marriage

Levirate marriage is a tradition related to posthumous marriages or ghost marriages. In a Levirate marriage, the brother of a deceased man is obligated to marry his late brother's widow.

Online Memorials

 

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Alternative Funerals

 

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Death Certificates

 

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After Care

 

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