For many years clergypersons and funeral directors believed that, for most, the funeral was primary theological-oriented religious ceremony. Paul E. Irion was one of the first clergymen to write and speak. of the funeral as having more than simply theological value. In The Funeral and the Mourner, Irion suggested that the funeral could be an experience of value as it helped to meet other needs of those who mourn . Increased interest in dying, death, and bereavement brought the psychological and sociological needs of the bereaved to the forefront. In his paper, "Changing Patterns of Ritual Response to Death," Irion recognizes the contributions of these disciplines :
The new funeral orders manifest an integrated, more comprehensive understanding of the function of ritual. This sounds obvious: isn't it natural that religious groups would have an appreciation for ritual-which is so much a part of their lives throughout centuries? Probably the most influential new development which is seen can be described as increased pastoral sensitivity based on psychology and sociology, as well as being theologically motivated.