Cremation Questions


I’m hearing of Catholics being cremated now, so I’m guessing that’s permitted, but what are the rules for that? Specifically, is the cremation done after the funeral mass? (Must the intact body itself be in a coffin at the funeral Mass prior to cremation?) I don’t think a husband and wife’s cremated remains can be combined together, can they? Thanks so much for your input. Sorry to sound naive.


Hi Brnaj,

Cremation is now allowed, however, it must be after the funeral mass so the body may be blessed prior to cremation. And, you are correct, the cremains cannot be combined together - the ashes must be treated with the utmost care and are not to be treated as property to be disposed of as one wishes, rather to be buried in a Catholic cemetery or some spot blessed by a Catholic priest.

God Bless


A funeral requires a body. The Church prefers that a funeral with a body be held, and then cremation be completed. But, if this is not possible, i.e. extraordinary circumstances, then a funeral with the cremated remains is possible with permission of the Bishop.

See here for further information:

No it would not be proper to comingle remains of two or more people. And, cremated remains are to be interred. They may not be scattered or kept in a home, etc.


In addition to the above, cremation should not be done as a way of rejecting bodily resurrection. In other words one cannot be cremated with the thought that once a person dies their body is just trash to be disposed of.


The Order of Christian Funerals rite provides different prayers based on whether the funeral is in the presence of the body or the cremated remains.

I know that in Canada, the Order of Christian Funerals says that the cremated remains are to be treated differently (no sprinkling, no incense) but that changed several years ago and now the sprinkling and incense are allowed although the ritual book hasn’t yet been updated. Sadly, because the book hasn’t been updated, I’ve experienced the confusion that happens when people aren’t aware of the changes.

Here’s an item from the CCCB on the topic of cremation.


Thanks so much to all of you for the info. I truly appreciate it. I am in the US, so I’m not sure if the requirements might be different here. God’s blessings to everyone for the assistance.


I’m not sure the above answers are true. I attended a catholic funeral a few weeks ago. The person had been previously cremated and there was no body there. We went from Mass directly to the cemetary so I know it had to have been cremated before the Mass.


[quote="AnneTeresa, post:7, topic:310662"]
I'm not sure the above answers are true. I attended a catholic funeral a few weeks ago. The person had been previously cremated and there was no body there. We went from Mass directly to the cemetary so I know it had to have been cremated before the Mass.


Was this in the USA? Thanks.


Several years ago a relative of mine died in a wilderness area and wasn’t found for several days. This, plus the fact that he was 2,000 miles from home and the cost of shipping his remains was cost prohibitive, led his parents to have him cremated. The urn containing his ashes sat on a stand in the sanctuary during his funeral mass.

I guess this qualified as an “extraordinary circumstance” as mentioned by 1ke in her post above.


Yes, if ever there were “extraordinary circumstances,” it sounds like those would be. Sad situation, but it’s good to see exceptions can be made for such cases. Thanks for sharing.


I am actually starting to research and pre-plan the day of my eternal rest. I am considering to be buried in Hawaii. My home state is Illinois and in a recent thread I started on this site, someone mentioned of extra fees for transporting of body etc. That made me think of cremation.

Will it be ok to have my funeral services here in Illinois, be cremated, then have my urn buried in a cemetery in Hawaii? As long as the urn plot is blessed by a Catholic priest.


Cremains are placed in a box, not an urn, if you decide to bury them.

Urns are used if the cremains are kept in a mausoleum.


The cemetery I am looking into refers to it as urn plots when looking to bury cremains. Not sure if they mean that an actual urn is used or not.

Below is the cite…


My father was cremated, but because he died on a Sunday of a holiday weekend, we didn't have his ashes back in time for the funeral which was Thursday. So technically we had a celebration of life not a funeral. We still haven't had an interment which kind of leaves some lose ends in my opinion. It bothers me that his ashes are still sitting in the house.


Cremation has been an option for Catholics since 1963 .


I have found this to be most helpful in the difficult process of planning a funeral.

-Catholics today have the option of considering cremation of loved ones. The Church has some important teachings on this that we must call to your attention before you make that decision.
-The Order of Christian Funerals, the ritual book for all Catholic funerals and associated times of prayer, offers the option of having a Vigil Service and a Funeral Mass with the body of the deceased present. Cremation would then occur at a later date, followed by the interment of the cremated remains.
-It is also permitted to have the body cremated first, followed by visitation and the Vigil Service, then Funeral Mass, with the cremains present for both. The option in either case is yours.
-In either instance, please keep in mind above all else that the cremains of the deceased are always and in every way to be treated just as the body of the deceased would be. It is not permitted, for instance, for cremated remains to be brought home in full or in part. We would not do this with the body of a deceased loved one; we do not do this with cremated remains either.
“The cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they come. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport and the final disposition. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering the remains on the sea, from the air, or in the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition the Church requires.” (Order of Christian Funerals, paragraph 417)
In accord with archdiocesan policy, a priest or deacon may not preside at a funeral without the guarantee that the cremains will be interred at the conclusion of the funeral rites. Credit:
Most Reverend Gregory Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans, Resources for Catholics


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