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Benedictine Brother Brian Harrington, left, and novice Dustin Bernard pull a casket handle from a press.
Associated Press/Photo by Patrick Semansky
Benedictine Brother Brian Harrington, left, and novice Dustin Bernard pull a casket handle from a press.

Monks win! Monks win!

Business

That’s not a football victory call but the final verdict in the case of casket-making Benedictine monks in Louisiana. We wrote about them in March and can now report good news: The U.S. Supreme Court let stand an appeals court ruling that St. Joseph Abbey can sell simple cypress caskets without setting up a funeral parlor with embalming equipment, and without enrolling monks in courses on how to be funeral directors. 

The Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors had battled the monks on the grounds of protecting consumers, but the Institute for Justice rightly labeled the suit an attempt to constrain competition. Scott Bullock, of that public interest law firm, said, “The abbey’s victory in this case will not only protect their right to sell caskets, but the rights of entrepreneurs throughout the country.”

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The monks sell their coffins for $1,500 (monastic model) and $2,000 (traditional). Walmart coffins today range in price from $1,498 to $2,998. Costco today features a coffin for $949.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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