"Danny Boy" is a staple of Irish American home life, sung to children in lullaby tones and boomed as a raucous send-off at wakes.
But the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence says it has no place at a funeral Mass. Catholic doctrine dictates that Mass be reserved for liturgical music because it is a time to give praise to God.
When a Rhode Island church recently refused to allow the ballad to be played at a funeral, it prompted a spate of letters to the editor of the diocesan newspaper, the Providence Visitor.
Father Peter J. Andrews, director of worship at the diocese, said restrictions on music have long been disputed but only recently been debated so publicly.