Originally written on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 3/11/13

We've all heard stories about deceased sports fans being buried in their favorite team jersey or with a valued piece of sports memorabilia but one Indiana church is telling a woman her late husband can't proclaim his sports allegiances —or the place he watched them from — above the ground in the hereafter. Shannon Carr commissioned a black granite headstone to mark the grave of her husband Jason Carr and show his love of sports and the outdoors. The $9,000 headstone is shaped like a couch and features images of a deer, a dog and color logos of NASCAR and the Indianapolis Colts. Now Carr is suing the St. Joseph Catholic Church for refusing to install it. The Rev, Jonathan Meyer, a priest at the church, said the headstone didn't meet the cemetery's standards because of its secular nature and couldn't be placed in the church's century-old graveyard. "We provided the family funeral rites, prepared a funeral meal and offered family members individual counseling after the services," Meyer said. "We were with them the entire way until this matter came up." Carr claims in her lawsuit that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis Properties Inc., which owns the cemetery, never produced any regulations for the plot until a year after she tried to have the headstone installed in 2010. The issue has divided the church community. "They told her not to move forward with the purchasing of the monument, but she went ahead anyway," Meyer said. "We have consistently communicated the same message prior to the purchase and after the purchase. We did not think a granite couch was an appropriate monument in our historic cemetery." Now maybe if Carr had been an Angels fan...

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50 Comments:
  • I am putting my money on the widow in this fight. Any woman willing to pay $9000 for a headstone shaped like a couch for her husband is definitely not one you want to mess with. By the time she gets done with this the catholic church is going to be paying her for the headstone and burial plot.
  • Wrong. The cemetery is privately owned and they can set their own rules. If widow Ovaltrack doesn't like it she can plant hubby somewhere else.
  • OUCH! I am Catholic...but I gotta say...the Church in Indiana is off base on this one. I've been in a few Catholic cemeteries...and seen some headstones that were somewhat ornate and referenced some past enjoyment of the deceased...sports, fishing, traveling etc. I think they're off base here. They might want to reconsider. It isn't as if it's done in garish bad taste or something.
    Now when she comes to visit her husband's grave, she can sit. Spend some time. Like people used to do. Spread a blanket and have a picnic.
    Let her have the bench!
  • >>> I am Catholic...but I gotta say...the Church in Indiana is off base on this one. I've been in a few Catholic cemeteries...and seen some headstones that were somewhat ornate and referenced some past enjoyment of the deceased...sports, fishing, traveling etc. <<<

    Also have been in a few Catholic cemeteries myself and never saw anything you described.
  • I agree with the church.
  • Ouch, I used to be Catholic, when it was a truly devout religion. Graveyards are no place for frivolity. It trifles life instead of giving tribute to it. Respecting the dead is not a joke.
  • exactly what mustang6984 said!! I am not Catholic but Jason was a friend of mine and this issue has our small community in an uproar!! I live only a few miles from this cemetary and just about a mile north on the same road is a commemorative park bench on a grave that is also right on the road! Let Shannon and his children honor his grave as it should!!!
  • If Shannon and her children insist on burying their deceased with a NASCAR-themed headstone, the were previously warned against using, then they can do so in the cemetery you described, a mile north on the same road. Or, they could ditch the cartoon headstone, buy one that meets the standards and honor their deceased in the Catholic cemetery. They have a choice.
  • It is well within the Chruch's right to do this. A TASTEFUL logo or two is one thing. But with that ugly NASCAR logo on top. that tombstone looks as tacky as a NASCAR car.
  • Hmmm... You are as out of line as the crazy ass priest in this one... I would hate to see what lands on your headstone at your time of passing... P.S. Might want a rag or some T.P. in there with you... Just say'n...
  • Do us a favor and go back to sleep, would you?
  • Lakawak is correct.
  • While I think it's great the wife wants to honor her husband I think that if she was told that the marker wouldn't be permitted then she shouldn't have gone ahead with the purchase. People do have to remember that cemeteries are all privately owned and some have more rigid policies than others. If this is truly a historic cemetery then a sofa head stone would take away from its appearance. If the wife wants this headstone on her husbands grave then she needs to shop around for a cemetery that allows it then pay to have the coffin moved. Don't forget BUYER BEWARE! even when it comes to funerals and burials.
  • I agree!
  • If you are going to be put in a Church Cemetary you follow the rules of the Church, its called having respect for the church. If you dont like the rules, you get a burial plot in a regular cemetary, there many many nice ones to choose from and the rules are pretty easy going. Most cemetaries will allow any headstone for a nominal fee.
  • A PERFECT example of the Catholic Churches hypocritical nature, it s ALL about money, when my wife (who is catholic) and I (not catholic) were married, we were told by the Church that since I was NOT Catholic we could not be married in their church, HOWEVER, after my father in-law made a sizable donation to the church we were allowed to wed Catholic, (IT WAS DEVINE $$$$ INTERVENTION).. Im sure that all this grieving widow has to do is donate ENOUGH money and the church will change their mind... My wife is no longer Catholic, I never was, we refuse to follow hypocrits....
  • >>> A PERFECT example of the Catholic Churches hypocritical nature, >> it s ALL about money,>> when my wife (who is catholic) and I (not catholic) were married, we were told by the Church that since I was NOT Catholic we could not be married in their church,>> HOWEVER, after my father in-law made a sizable donation to the church we were allowed to wed Catholic, (IT WAS DEVINE $$$$ INTERVENTION).. >> Im sure that all this grieving widow has to do is donate ENOUGH money and the church will change their mind... >> My wife is no longer Catholic,>> I never was, we refuse to follow hypocrits.... <<<

    What is clear is that you're short on knowledge about how the Church actually works, but long on delivering criticism. Typical.
  • >>> A PERFECT example of the Catholic Churches hypocritical nature, <<<

    What hypocritical nature?
  • >> it s ALL about money, <<<

    Says who?
  • >> when my wife (who is catholic) and I (not catholic) were married, we were told by the Church that since I was NOT Catholic we could not be married in their church,>> HOWEVER, after my father in-law made a sizable donation to the church we were allowed to wed Catholic, (IT WAS DEVINE $$$$ INTERVENTION).. <<

    Unlikely story. In a nutshell: Before the Vatican II council, non-Catholics were not permitted to marry in the Church. Period. After Vatican II, baptized, non-Catholic Christians were permitted to marry in the Church. Money doesn't enter into the question.
  • Isn't the cross a logo. It surely doesn't represent atheist,agnostic,ashram
  • Stop right there...
  • Maybe you missed the part where it said this was a CATHOLIC cemetary.
  • WRONG....
  • I also agree with the church. "THEY TOLD HER NOT TO...."
    Not appropriate. Fine for her own backyard.
  • First they illiminate the sport logos, then what will be next, Veteran markers? Height restrictions because you didn't give enough money to the church while you were alive.
  • Being that this is an historic cemetery, I have to side with the church on this one.

    I am sorry for the woman's loss. However, I think she needs to drop her frivolous lawsuit, choose a more appropriate marker for her husband's grave and install the brightly colored marble sofa in her own backyard or garden as a place for her to go to reflect on the memory of her beloved husband. This marker does not have to be on his actual grave to serve that purpose.
  • Nicely stated!
  • To me,respecting those who have past is to respect their life and how they enjoyed it and if they were into sports or what ever I am sure they would want that part of their life remembered and something on their grave should be just fine.
  • i think you catholic have the right to tell every one what they can do in life and now in death it is none of there or anyone elses how this woman wants to honor her husbands passing. I have seen some pretty ugly gravestones in churchs lots before i dont take offence of them each to their own. Stop being so judgemental beleive it or not catholic people are not god.
  • Nobody's "playing God" here. The Church, as the owner of the cemetery has a right to set and enforce their own standards. The Church will win this lawsuit before the judge has a chance to clear his throat.

    P.S. If this issue hadn't involved the Catholic Church, it wouldn't have even made the news.
  • Nobody's playing God, here. The cemetery is privately owned, by the Church and they have the right to set their own rules as to how it should look.
  • Hypocracy at it's best! If you don't like the way it looks then DONT LOOK! PROBLEM SOLVED!!!!! And who is to say what is
    "APPROPRIATE" ... remember, the Catholic Church thought it appropriate to cover up the molestation boys! SHAME ON YOU!!!!! Next thing you know the Catholic church will order all images of Jesus to have short hair!!! Live and let live! Support your team in LIFE and dump them after death huh? REALLY? GOOOO NASCAR!!!!!
  • >>> Hypocracy at it's best! <<<

    I fail to see where you are claiming hypocrisy.


    >>> If you don't like the way it looks then DONT LOOK! >> And who is to say what is "APPROPRIATE" ... <<<

    Um, ... I'm going to go out on a limb and say the owner of the cemetery has a right to say what is appropriate in their own cemetery.
  • >>> the Catholic Church thought it appropriate to cover up the molestation boys! <<<

    No, individuals working within the Church wrongly attempted to cover up the crimes you mention. The Church does not, never did and never will condone child molestation. Don't confuse the the gross mistakes of errant clergy with Church Law.
  • It is not a matter of telling someone "how" to honor their loved one. Rules are rules. Respect the rules.
  • Exactly!

    What I want to know is why this woman even chose an historical cemetery to begin with. Clearly, she does not truly appreciate the tradition and aesthetics of it enough to want to uphold the particular atmosphere one provides. There are plenty of modern cemeteries where this headstone would not have been a problem. She should have opted for one of those and left this one to people who want a more traditional resting place for their loved ones.
  • Am I the only one who thinks the Catholic Church should concentrate on the generational pedophile problem they have amongst their clergy instead of some headstone? From the looks of it, the problem dates back to the 1950's at least. I think it dates back a lot longer than that ..like centuries. Let's not pretend it doesn't exist and wish it would just go away. Children's lives have been ruined and they pass it down on to their children and then on and on. This is the cycle of abuse. The catholic church needs to punish ALL who were in anyway invovled...not pass them on to another parish so the molestation continues..What about all the fetuses they found under a Cleveland nun's quarters during an excavation of the grounds. I believe the Church has MUCH MUCH more MAJOR issues than some headstone!!
  • This isn't about that... AT ALL.

    Think about the families of the other occupants of this historical graveyard, many of whom no doubt opted to bury their loved ones where they did because they liked the tradition and aesthetics associated with that particular cemetery... don't THEIR wishes count for anything?
  • >> Am I the only one who thinks the Catholic Church should concentrate on the generational pedophile problem they have amongst their clergy instead of some headstone? <<

    Why do you feel the need to cast the question as a false dilemma?
  • I worked in the cemetery and funeral home biz for many years. All cemeteries, whether private, district or church owned have regulations regarding headstones; some only allow flat bronze, some only dark black granite, some have virtually no rules while others are somewhat strict, etc.

    I would question the company that sold her the headstone, they should have checked with the cemetery to see what they do and don’t allow.
  • The church told her from the start NOT to buy that stone. She does anyways , and now the church is the bad guy? And don't blame it on the stone company.....they just sell them.It is not their job to know if the church allowed it.PEOPLE HAVE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR BEING PIG HEADED AND STUPID !
  • Im catholic and think this is rediculos. Watch a nascar race some day and youll see its the ONLY sport where theres a prayer said before the race. Check out how many racers after a win first words are Id like to thank God. Come on even you stonch catholics have to admit the church has better ways to spend money then fighting a rediculos law suit like this. As to it angering the allready existing residents, Well there dead! I dont think they will be bothered much and to those snobs that are bothered i say get a life!!
  • >>> Watch a nascar race some day and youll see its the ONLY sport where theres a prayer said before the race. <<<

    So, what?
  • sounds to me like your just anti catholic not just against this marker being placed.
  • What?!?? Because I think it insignificant to this issue that NASCAR folks say a prayer before each race, makes me anti-Catholic? Let's just say your reading comprehension is a little lacking.
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