Can I work in a Crematorium?

I have been offered a job working in a crematorium and doing a bit of everything including cremating of human remains.

It wouldn’t be my personal choice as I wish to be buried.

Would I be committing a sin?


The RCC accepts cremation so long as the ashes are treated respectfully

FROM the Catholic Catechism

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.

Easter Blessings,


You would be helping to bury the dead. Burying the dead is one of the corporal acts of mercy.

That is why I am an altar server at funerals.


It’s not a sin; go for it. Expect some odd looks at social gatherings when you mention your job, though :wink:

No problem, provided that you treat the dead with respect.

It wouldn’t hurt to review the Catechism on this:
Respect for the dead

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; 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.
Here the Catechism teaches that the bodies of the dead must be treated with respect. It must say elsewhere (but I can’t find it) that we should also respect the memory of the dead. Hopefully you won’t witness any irreverent shop talk or jokes about the deceased, but if it does happen, don’t take part in it.

My mother passed 4 weeks ago and we cremated her and while she and my dad are (were, in mom’s case) Protestant, they never even thought about keeping the ashes. Burying ashes is okay in the church’s teachings. My sis and I are Catholic but even we have made the final arrangements for cremation and burial of the ashes. The rent of a casket even for a viewing is pretty pricey believe it or not.

So no, you are not sinning. Be blessed.

When my husband died he was placed in a less-expensive, but metal coffin. I think it was a copper color.

$1,000 went up in flames. I did not know at the time that they could have placed his body in a combustible container.

Since he had a funeral mass, he needed a coffin for the church service. I think it would have worked to just bring his ashes to church, therefore no need for a coffin.

If anyone asks you where you work, you can always say it’s a dead issue.

Several years ago I was at the funeral of a former monk. When the last of his parents died he was obligated to leave the monastery to take over the family business. He remained single and lived a quasi-monastic existence all his life, reciting the Divine Office every day. Our schola chanted at his funeral. The coffin was made of plain, rough, unfinished plywood and 2x4 framing.

I’ve made it known to my family that I do not want an expensive casket that will end up in the ground until dissolving into worm food. I hope that one or all three of my sons will build me a coffin, from scrap plywood and 2x4s we have back of the shed on our property :stuck_out_tongue:

My mother was cremated and was in a combustible container. We only brought the urn to the church. I was fairly new back into the Church back then so AFAIK what I was advised in the parish office was OK.

This is very beautiful. Thank you for this.

The Cistercian monks near me offer “Green Burial” services in their cemetery. All natural, no embalming fluid, everything biodegradable. Some of the caskets are simple pine boxes, or wicker baskets, or just a sheet. Everything is in a natural setting.


I don’t think it would be a sin strictly speaking, but it is not advisable in the least to do such a job. Cremation is not favored by the Church at all.

The Church doesn’t have an issue with it.

It’s fine. The Church in her early days did have a little bit of an issue with it since it could be used in order to deny the future resurrection of the dead. But in more recent times the Church has allowed for it since nobody really uses it for something like that. It’s usually just a matter of personal choice. Personally, I want to be buried and not cremated.

Here is a delineation of the timeline:

*In May 1963, the Vatican’s Holy Office (now known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith) lifted the prohibition forbidding Catholics to choose cremation. This permission was incorporated into the revised Code of Canon Law of 1983, and its liturgies were written in the Order of Christian Funerals. At that time, it was standard practice to celebrate the funeral liturgies with the body present and have the body cremated following the ceremony. More recently, however, the bishops of the United States and the Holy See have authorized the celebration of a Catholic funeral liturgy with just the cremated remains present.

I remember when the latter change happened…I was visiting the United States in the late 1990s and did a funeral that was one of the early ones celebrated with only the presence of cremated remains. The parish had just received the new rites days before they were needed. And it is becoming ever more prevalent, my confreres tell me.

Over the years, many Catholic cemeteries have added a columbarium for the cremated…and even parishes now are erecting a columbarium.

You might run into some issues depending on where you are buried (and what laws may apply in your area as to where you might be able to be buried).

My mother had a fondness for our local Trappist abbey, and had found out that the Trappists ( New Melleray Abbey) make caskets, so it was up to me to take care of that for her funeral. Very simple pine casket, and many commented on it.

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