Q. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that life begins at conception and there is an eternal soul created. My question is why is there no funeral for a miscarriage since the fetus is a human being?
A. Here’s a reply from Father Reginald Martin:
When the Catechism of the Catholic Church considers the case of infants who have died without baptism, it states, “The Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them” (No. 1261). This, no doubt, presupposes the child has been carried to its full term and died after its birth.
What is the case of miscarried or aborted infants? The Church’s Code of Canon Law states very clearly, “if aborted fetuses are alive, they are to be baptized if this is possible” (Canon 871). The earlier Code of Canon Law (promulgated in 1917) also specified “baptism in the womb or in the course of delivery or the baptism of abnormal fetuses.” These specific cases have not been mentioned in the current code and are “left to pastoral theory and practice.”
If a premature infant has been baptized, it would seem to be entitled to the same funeral rites as any baptized child. This would, however, be quite unusual, and many — if not most — parents would probably not choose a public reminder of such a recent and painful event. But that need not prevent gathering for a private liturgy at a later time, if the infant’s family so desires.