My sister’s ex-husband succumbed to the horrors of alcoholism and was found dead in a hotel room the other day. My sister has fallen away from the church years ago. Her ex-husband converted to the Catholic faith after they were married, but he too did not practice his faith in recent years. My sister is having her ex-husband cremated. There is to be no Mass or church service. She is having a “priest” do a service who told her it was OK to sprinkle her ex-husband’s ashes in the ocean sometime next month. This “priest” is going to do a little prayer service at the funeral home, then my sister is taking the ashes home with her until she decides to fly to the Outer Banks at some future date. I am so sad about this total disrespect for the body of my former brother-in-law. I told my sister she was making a grave error in the way the funeral arrangements are being made, and she wanted to hear none of it. Is it OK for me to go to this service? Am I bearing false witness to a pagan practice and giving silent approval when I know none of this is right? Please advise. The funeral is this Wednesday.
The following links should assist you in better understanding the Catholic Church’s teaching on the norms for proper cremation and burial of ashes. If you have any further questions or concerns that are not answered by these links, please contact Catholic Answers directly.
*]Does the Church allow cremation?