Une polémique en sourdine : l’introduction d’une liturgie funèbre dans les Églises réformées francophones au XIXe siècle

Even if it was possible to speak of “deritualization” in the context of Reformed funerary customs, “declericalization” is actually the more apt term. Beginning in the sixteenth century, the absence of pastors at Reformed funerals formed a strong confessional marker, giving visual representation to the rejection of ecclesiastical intervention in the spiritual destiny of the dead as a superstition. However, starting at the end of the eighteenth century and even more so in the nineteenth, Reformed funerary practices started to transform, particularly under pressure from rivalling Catholic rituals. However, another century was to pass before the Reformed liturgical forms began to codify funerary practices. This gradual development forms the topic of the present article, which distinguishes a first period marked more by debate from a second period during which specific innovations were introduced to practice before the liturgies gave them an official status. During this process, the Reformed churches appear to have been content to pay their last respects to at least a part of their funerary tradition.