A question on Motral Sin

Would this fall into the category of mortal sin? A person who is Catholic dies, receives final confession, last rites and is cremated, but has left instructions that his ashes be scattered over a certain waterway commit a mortal sin? My understanding is that ashes are required to be buried or place in a vault. There will be no service, except a memorial service in a couple of weeks. He reason was to save his family additional grief. Would this fall into the category of mortal sin?

I don’t know about mortal sin, but it would definately go against Church teachings. Also, despite his will to throw his ashes somewhere, I think the family could talk to a priest and then either bury his ashes or put them in one of those things for ashes. I can’t think of the word right now, But I think many cemetaries have a place to put the urns with ashes. :shrug:

I think it’s called a ‘columbarium’. It comes from the word used for the nesting-spaces for doves (‘columba’ is Latin for ‘dove’), as the vault often has little shelves or niches.

Thanks for the information, as I am not familiar with issues surrounding cremation.

For a person to commit a mortal sin he must know what he is doing is wrong. Did the Catholic know that his request to have his ashes scattered violated Church teaching concerning the respectful treatment of human remains in view of the resurrection of the body? Probably not. His reception of the sacraments in the final moments of his life showed his desire to be reconciled and in communion with God and the Church.

I don’t really know. I knew he had planned to be cremated, but I never heard him say he wanted his ashes spread over water. If I had, I would have told him it was against Church teachings. I truly hope that he did not know, which is quite possible that he didn’t.

You should ask a priest. There are probably secular laws forbidding human remains to be scattered in a public waterway. I have a few relatives who have been cremated and have actually been buried in the local Catholic cemetery.

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