Can a deceased catholic be cremated?


#1

Can anyone please advise me if the catholic doctrine has any guideline on burial for deceased catholic e.g. Is cremation permissible?

Tks v much.


#2

Yes. But the cremated remains must be buried respectfully. They can not be left on the mantle, on the night table, or scattered. Try doing a search on the Ask an Apologist forum. I recall this question was asked of an apologist once. Also, look in the Catechism–cremation is discussed there.


#3

[quote=La Chiara]Yes. But the cremated remains must be buried respectfully. They can not be left on the mantle, on the night table, or scattered. Try doing a search on the Ask an Apologist forum. I recall this question was asked of an apologist once. Also, look in the Catechism–cremation is discussed there.
[/quote]

My father was cremated. We had a Mass Of The Dead and then his "box " was placed in a nice niche in a Catholic cemetary.

                         ~ Kathy ~

#4

Cremation is discouraged, but it is not forbidden.

This is because cremation may cause people to doubt or be confused about the resurrection of the body.


#5

[quote=La Chiara]Yes. But the cremated remains must be buried respectfully. They can not be left on the mantle, on the night table, or scattered. Try doing a search on the Ask an Apologist forum. I recall this question was asked of an apologist once. Also, look in the Catechism–cremation is discussed there.
[/quote]

Le Chiara is right, and if I understand correctly a Catholic must bury even if the deceased was not Catholic, so I must refuse requests from non-Catholic relatives to scatter, etc.

Scott


#6

Last year, I purchased a lot in our Church cemetery, and asked my pastor about cremation. He did confirm that it is permissible, as the Church has relaxed its previous position forbidding it. The beauty of it is that both husband and wife can be placed in one lot rather than two, since the box is rather small. The cost of interrment and opening the grave is about five times less than for a casket.

Incidentally, some people can choose to be laid out in a casket, brought to the church for funeral mass, and then have the cremation take place afterwards.


#7

Thank you very much for all your good advice.


#8

[quote=Scott Waddell]Le Chiara is right, and if I understand correctly a Catholic must bury even if the deceased was not Catholic, so I must refuse requests from non-Catholic relatives to scatter, etc.

Scott
[/quote]

Hi Scott…do you have any links about this?

It has been on my mind as my parents have expressed wishes to be cremated and have their ashes scattered. They are not Catholic.

While I hope it is many, many years before I have to act on those wishes, I would really like to know what my responsibilities are.

Malia


#9

:frowning: We seem to have an uncomfortable situtation in my family.
My parents made their wishes known a long time ago that they are to be cremated and scattered together in the ocean.

My father, not a Catholic, died several years ago and he was cremated. My mom kept the urn at home.

I’ve recently moved back home and my mom has moved out into a smaller place. She left the urn. :o I’m not sure how to ask her to take my father, her husband. Maybe she thinks…well, I really don’t know what she’s thinking.

I guess I have to find a time to tell her about not being able or even wanting to scatter their ashes. I just got her to start going back to Mass each Sunday after over 30 years away.


#10

[quote=Maria3m]:frowning: We seem to have an uncomfortable situtation in my family.
My parents made their wishes known a long time ago that they are to be cremated and scattered together in the ocean.

My father, not a Catholic, died several years ago and he was cremated. My mom kept the urn at home.

I’ve recently moved back home and my mom has moved out into a smaller place. She left the urn. :o I’m not sure how to ask her to take my father, her husband. Maybe she thinks…well, I really don’t know what she’s thinking.

I guess I have to find a time to tell her about not being able or even wanting to scatter their ashes. I just got her to start going back to Mass each Sunday after over 30 years away.
[/quote]

Good for you! You are doing God’s work, one step at a time.:thumbsup:


#11

[quote=Feanaro’s Wife]Hi Scott…do you have any links about this?

It has been on my mind as my parents have expressed wishes to be cremated and have their ashes scattered. They are not Catholic.

While I hope it is many, many years before I have to act on those wishes, I would really like to know what my responsibilities are.

Malia
[/quote]

Quarterly News from SS. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Parish
February 2000
Catholics & Cremation
Reprinted, January 2000, Archdiocese of Chicago: Catholic Cemeteries and
Liturgy Training Publications

(Scroll down to page three)

stcyril.org/newpews/FebNews2000.pdf


#12

[quote=Joysong]Last year, I purchased a lot in our Church cemetery, and asked my pastor about cremation. He did confirm that it is permissible, as the Church has relaxed its previous position forbidding it. The beauty of it is that both husband and wife can be placed in one lot rather than two, since the box is rather small. The cost of interrment and opening the grave is about five times less than for a casket.

Incidentally, some people can choose to be laid out in a casket, brought to the church for funeral mass, and then have the cremation take place afterwards.
[/quote]

This is what we did for my dad. He was cremated and buried several days after the funeral mass. He was buried in a military cemetary that only had room left for cremated remains, not caskets.


#13

Whew, I’m glad you qualified the question such that it only referred to deceased Catholics.


#14

From the catechism:
2300 The bodies of the dead must be treated with respect and charity, in faith and hope of the Resurrection. **The burial of the dead is a corporal work of mercy;92 it honors the children of God, who are temples of the Holy Spirit. **
2301 Autopsies can be morally permitted for legal inquests or scientific research. The free gift of organs after death is legitimate and can be meritorious.

The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body.93

From canon law:
§3. The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the deceased be observed; nevertheless, the Church does not prohibit cremation unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine.

Nevertheless, scattering of ashes is not allowed, one must have a burial for the ashes.


#15

Cremation in western culture was once promoted by the Masons as a repudiation of christian belief in bodily resurrection. Thus, during those times when cremation typically was meant as such a ‘message,’ the church opposed it.

As time rolled on, cremation was also desired for purposes of efficiency, stewardship of land use and economics. Thus, the policy changed, but the warning against denial of resurrection remains.

Just in case anybody claims this is a case of the church changing a moral teaching. Not so. It is the culture and meaning of cremation that changed.


#16

Oooh…but I don’t trust the cemetaries after the number of stories I’ve read where remains are missing, caskets moved and/or lost.

And I also don’t want to confine my children to one location. We are a family who is not likely to have a ‘home base’. Hubby’s from Los Angeles (his family has plots there), I’m from San Diego (my family has plots there), my kids are being raised in the midwest but one is likely to end up in New York, Los Angeles or France, the other is leaning toward Japan or anywhere in the U.S. We’ve belonged to 3 different parishes/dioceses over the years as well, so we have no real ties to any Catholic cemetary.

Our plan was to be cremated but kept intact in a sealed container (tastefully designed) and then our son could keep one of us in his home one year, while the daughter kept the other, and then keep exchanging it…

but I see now that would still pose a problem when they die, huh?

Now I’m worried… :frowning:

Any suggestions???


#17

[quote=HagiaSophia]Quarterly News from SS. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Parish
February 2000
Catholics & Cremation
Reprinted, January 2000, Archdiocese of Chicago: Catholic Cemeteries and
Liturgy Training Publications

(Scroll down to page three)

stcyril.org/newpews/FebNews2000.pdf
[/quote]

Thank you, but unless I missed something, I still don’t have an answer to my question.

I know that, as Catholics, me and hubby would have to be buried whether or not we were cremated. I know that I should insist the same for my parents, but I also need to respect their wishes. Can anyone else help?

Malia


#18

[quote=Feanaro’s Wife]Thank you, but unless I missed something, I still don’t have an answer to my question.

I know that, as Catholics, me and hubby would have to be buried whether or not we were cremated. I know that I should insist the same for my parents, but I also need to respect their wishes. Can anyone else help?

Malia
[/quote]

Oh, sorry about that.
Do you have siblings?

Here’s where it would be for me.
Since your parents are not Catholic they are not obliged to have their ashes buried. So they are free to request being spread out.

Me, being Catholic,
would be obliged not to spread their remains because I know the Truth and I’m the one being held accountable for that at my Judgement Day.

Therefore, I would respectfully ask my parents to hand that responsibility over to someone who is free to honor their request, as I am morally obliged not to do that to their remains out of respect for their dignity according to my faith.

I would still be honoring my parents by respectfully declining their request and offering a solution for them.


#19

[quote=YinYangMom]Oh, sorry about that.
Do you have siblings?

Here’s where it would be for me.
Since your parents are not Catholic they are not obliged to have their ashes buried. So they are free to request being spread out.

Me, being Catholic,
would be obliged not to spread their remains because I know the Truth and I’m the one being held accountable for that at my Judgement Day.

Therefore, I would respectfully ask my parents to hand that responsibility over to someone who is free to honor their request, as I am morally obliged not to do that to their remains out of respect for their dignity according to my faith.

I would still be honoring my parents by respectfully declining their request and offering a solution for them.
[/quote]

thank you…that is actually what I told my mom in a discussion the other day. I told her that if they want their ashes scattered it would be up to my sister so please don’t ask me to do it as it is contrary to my beliefs. I just wondered after the fact what my responsibilites were in regards to Catholicism. For example, should I try to get them to change their minds? Or should I tell them that getting a dispensation (I think I read that in the article in another post) could be an option?

I am just confused. I totally understand and agree with their wishes. They do not want me or my sister to be obligated to visit a place (cemetary)…my mom’s parents are buried out of town and she feels guilty for not being able to get there often…it is not an issue of disrespecting the body or God.

For myself I will obey Church teaching because that is what I agreed to do when I became Catholic…but if the soul leaves the body at death I guess I just don’t see why it is so wrong to scatter ashes. We return other Holy things to the earth when we are done with them…

malia


#20

[quote=Feanaro’s Wife]thank you…that is actually what I told my mom in a discussion the other day. I told her that if they want their ashes scattered it would be up to my sister so please don’t ask me to do it as it is contrary to my beliefs. I just wondered after the fact what my responsibilites were in regards to Catholicism. For example, should I try to get them to change their minds? Or should I tell them that getting a dispensation (I think I read that in the article in another post) could be an option?

I am just confused. I totally understand and agree with their wishes. They do not want me or my sister to be obligated to visit a place (cemetary)…my mom’s parents are buried out of town and she feels guilty for not being able to get there often…it is not an issue of disrespecting the body or God.

For myself I will obey Church teaching because that is what I agreed to do when I became Catholic…but if the soul leaves the body at death I guess I just don’t see why it is so wrong to scatter ashes. We return other Holy things to the earth when we are done with them…

malia
[/quote]

hmmm…dispensation…I wonder if that was for the Catholics who wish their ashes be scattered - and whether the Catholic doing the scattering would need dispensation to do so, especially when the ashes being scattered are not of Catholic remains??

I suppose you can ask your priest. Maybe he would know?
I’ll ask mine next time I get the chance.

According to that article we are called to return the ashes to earth, but in one sealed container, not scattered. But then I think about the Catholic victims of the holocaust and 9/11 and others who perish in fire. If the reasoning behind the rule is so that on the Last Day our bodies can be reunited with our souls (which was the reason for a long time against cremation all together) then what does the church believe happens with people who perish by fire? Certainly their bodies will be reunited along with those buried in the ground in a single container or casket And I always got caught up in the ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’ thing…scattered seems to follow that reasoning… If it’s a matter of being on ‘hallowed ground’, then that too raises the question of those who perish by fire.

But until I find out more, I’m like you, I’ll follow what I know for certain is the teaching and keep asking…like you.


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