Cremation remains

I am a catholic and have read the rules about cremation remains. I know that burial at sea is permitted. Is burial in a pond permitted? My recently deceased husband was not catholic and no decision has been made regarding his remains and this is upsetting me. His family is not catholic. My husband loved to fish in a particular private fishing pond and I wonder whether that is acceptable.

NO it isn’t. Talk to a priest! God Bless, Memaw

But… She said neither he nor his family was Catholic. :confused:

Nothing to do with their religion. As Catholics we believe that a high level of dignity and respect needs to be accorded to the human body - every human body regardless of creed - which extends to how human remains are treated after death.

Simply scattering someone’s ashes is not dignified, whether at sea or on land. Neither is keeping them in an urn on the mantelpiece as though the departed were a good trophy or something.

Burial at sea - meaning disposing of a body and not ashes - at least sometimes is necessary, as storing a body shipboard may be impractical or even lead to the spread of disease.

She is and she is responsible for his burial~ God Bless, Memaw

I don’t understand this. Why is scattering ashes deemed undignified? One is returning the ashes to the earth, just as you would do with burial of those same ashes. As long as it is done in a reverent way, in a appropriate place, what is wrong with it?

The Church sees it as part of ones belief in the resurrection of the body. For a long time it was saying that about cremation as well. But now cremation is allowed, but not scattering of the ashes. I’m sure there’s something official out there about this, but it’s better to consult a priest about this.

Not at all. Burial (with or without a coffin) is a process which generally means that for years, even centuries, after the burial people will be able to look at that piece of ground and know that someone was buried there.

A piece of ground that someone has been buried in is markedly different from any other. Why have coffins at all if not, in part, to keep the body separate from the ground?

On Ash Wednesday we speak of ‘unto dust you shall return’, but the truth is our bodies are made in the image and likeness of God, formed by His own hand and with His own breath breathed into them. They may decompose, but they cannot revert to ordinary dirt, not ever. Nor can they be treated like it. And any 'scattering’m, no matter how supposedly reverent, does just that.

Well, that does make sense! :thumbsup:

Yes–the Church allows cremation so long as it is not done for motives contrary to the faith of the Church, such as denial of the resurrection: “The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the dead be observed; it does not, however, forbid cremation unless it has been chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching” (CIC 1176, 3).

For much the same reason, the cremains are treated as the body would be. We do not strew the bodies of those who have died across the landscape, nor do we preserve them in our homes, or split them up among the family members. We should not do these things with cremains either, but should bury them without unreasonable delay in any of the approved places.

Burial in a pond, as opposed to at sea, seems problematic to me. It seems very possible that a pond could be drained or dry up, or that the urn could be brought up at some point. This might not be respectful.

Perhaps consult with your pastor on this.

Let’s say the non-Catholic deceased had specifically requested scattering. Can the Catholic spouse honour those wishes?

I don’t think so but you would have to ask a priest to be sure. It’s is still her responsibility. God Bless, Memaw

Actually, burial of cremains at sea requires that the cremains be in a heavy container and NOT scattered.

In addition, the point is that a person’s remains be buried in “hallowed ground”, whether cremated or not. So I can’t bury my dad under the oak tree in our back yard, even if he’d like me to. It isn’t just a matter of burying the remains, but doing so in ground that has been consecrated for that purpose. So the Church doesn’t allow cremains to be left on a shelf in your living room any more than they should be scattered on a favorite fishing pond.

If it would help, perhaps you could arrange to have a bench put near the pond where you could sit and remember him.

Actually the church does not require that the ashes of the departed be buried in the ground at all.

The former long time Pastor of St. Mary’s died just last week in Penna and his ashes were shipped back home to Odessa’s St. Mary’s parish for memorial Mass and his ashes were placed in St. Mary’s columbarium.

It was so sad, I grew up at St. Mary’s and became a Catholic there. I really loved Fr. Frey.
Odessa has no Catholic cemetery and his remains can be right there in the church he loved and served for almost 50 years.

True–but as you say, they should be buried in a sacred place, one set aside for burial or interment, insofar as possible. The example of burial at sea is one case. Burial in a pond is not the same. Nor is even, say, scattering the ashes in a cemetery. In both of the latter cases a preferred alternative is readily available, namely burial in a cemetery or columbarium.

One of my aunts, a strong Catholic, held her husband’s urn in her house. When she passed away, it was her intention to have the urn in her casket. She did not display the urn in her house as a shrine, but simply hid it away in her closet. I’m thinking this is ok.

No it isn’t. She should have let the mortuary keep it till she died. Then her wishes would have been carried out I’m sure. Didn’t she have family that could have seen to it.? God Bless, Memaw

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