Cremation OK?

Hi CA,

Is it OK to get cremated? I have a feeling that this question has been discussed ad nauseam, but I’m asking it again anyway.


From the code of canon law:

Can. 1176 §1. Deceased members of the Christian faithful must be given ecclesiastical funerals according to the norm of law.

§2. Ecclesiastical funerals, by which the Church seeks spiritual support for the deceased, honors their bodies, and at the same time brings the solace of hope to the living, must be celebrated according to the norm of the liturgical laws.

§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.

Though it can be permitted their are strong reasons against it. One priest/Moral Theologian I have some writings from says:

"Cremation is not an acceptable practice, except in extreme cases of danger due to plague or other infectious disease. It must still be regarded as a practical denial of Catholic dogma concerning the body as the temple of the Holy Ghost and the resurrection of the body. "

So as far as I can tell if it is at all possible to avoid cremation then it should be avoided.

But see 1ke’s post above – while not optimal, it is acceptable unless it is chosen specifically to deny Christian doctrine or dogma.

Not if your alive! :slight_smile:

I go with the ancient Christian practice of burial…now if I could just find a catecombe…

:rotfl: Unless you’re in Italy, odds are not good on finding that catecombe . . . :smiley:

As also seen the Church warns against it quite strongly. It can also be seen that most times cremation would not be acceptable as the very act of burning the body as we do in the west weakens belief in the dogmas of the faith. Cremation looks only acceptable in certain cultures and in cases where it would be bad for public health to do otherwise.

That is not the teaching of the church. Creamation is acceptable (although not preferred) even in the west, as long as there is a regular funeral and as long the cremeans are not spread, but buried or placed in an acceptable location, i.e. ground or mauseleum, not the mantle e.g.

Some Catholic churches are being built with (or retrofitted with) columbariums.

At least two in my city.

despite plague or not,there is the question of sheer land mass available/population.God should be able to resurrect,whatever in terms of Africa/Ebola burials,land will be unusable for food/housing etc


An interesting question, in Ireland we now have creamations and funeral homes, how times have changed. A priest friend of mine who died was cremated (UK),

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this:

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.

From my experience working with the geriatric terminally ill, most often the reason for cremation is financial.

I will say, as Deacon Jeff mentioned, the mantle is not ok, nor is spreading. At a funeral once I had a couple proudly tell me their mother loved the casinos so they took the ashes to Atlantic City and Las Vegas, poured some on top of their car and drove up and down the strip while they blew off. I learned later they got the idea from a movie.

I am seeing more people also wearing jewelry with a portion of the ashes of loved ones within; necklace, rings etc. This is pretty reminiscent of pagan ancestor worship.

Just to add to your reply, we had a letter (church bulletin) from our Bishop (UK) telling us that if we get cremated we are not allowed to scatter our ashes that they must be kept intact according to the law of the church. This may apply to the UK only I’m not sure if the same applies stateside.

A few Catholic Churches near me have been fitted with columbariums if new build or have had a section within the grounds set apart for the burial of cremated remains. Personally, I find cremation a far better choice (especially as the UK is an island nation).

There is a huge difference in cost.

My parents died within 6 months of each other. Mom died first. Her total cost was right around $3,000. When Dad died, his cost was $10,000. Cremation vs. buried.

The cost listed doesn’t include the actual plot, opening or closing of the grave or the headstone. Dad was military, and they are both buried in a Military Cemetery, so that was included as part of his retirement benefits.

My Lutheran church also has a columbarium which seems like a good choice to me. Spending $10,000 or more for burial seems excessive.

That’s about average (unfortunately).

Sad part is, as I said that didn’t include the actual burial. Or the plot.

Most of that was the casket. We went with the least expensive one we could. Now, you can order a cheaper one, maybe, from somewhere else. But then, in the midst of your grief you have to be able to pull it together to do that. I couldn’t.

Oh, and transportation. Because it isn’t like you can put dear ole Dad in the back of the family car to take him from the hospital to the funeral home. Or to the cemetery.

With cremation, transport is easy. Mom did in fact ride in the back of the car. And no one batted an eye.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit