The Absolution of the dead is a series of prayers for pardon and remission of sins that are said in the Catholic Church over the body of a deceased before burial. Sadly, this beautiful rite has gone into serious lack of use since the second Vatican Council.
"In the Catholic Church the Absolute are said over a deceased Catholic following a Requiem Mass and before burial. The absolution of the dead does not forgive sins or confer the sacramental absolution of the Sacrament of Penance. Rather, it is a series of prayers to God that the person's soul will not have to suffer the temporal punishment in purgatory due for sins which were forgiven during the person's life.
The absolution of the dead is only performed in context of the Tridentine Mass. Following the Second Vatican Council, the absolution of the dead was removed from the funeral liturgy of the Mass of Paul VI."
Very happily - I came into possession of an early 1900's pocket missalette called "Manna of the Soul" This is the little gem I've been bringing with me to Mass. I have taken to the practice of reading from the Mass of the Dead at differing times before and during mass. The prayers are so beautiful, so uplifting - at times they cause my soul to soar. Although these are prayers for the dead, I have found them among THE most consoling prayers ever written.
I encourage anyone - everyone to obtain an old missal, or simply download them from the internet and try them out. Pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, they desperately need our charity - especially now during the month of the dead.