Is direct cremation permitted by the Catholic Church?

Hello. I’m a man nearing 74 years old. I live in the UK. Unfortunately, I do not have any savings which will present problems when it comes to paying for my funeral. I have taken out a Pre-pay direct cremation plan which is much cheaper than a traditional Catholic funeral. It means that my body will be collected soon after death and taken to the crematorium for cremation. There will not be any Mass or church service. Is what I’m doing permitted by the Catholic Church? I’m an active church goer. I hope you can enlighten me. Thank you very much. rossaguile.

Dear friend,

The Church does allow cremation with the stipulation that the cremains be interred in a hallowed place, i.e. a Catholic cemetery. Your diocese, I’m sure, can provide such at a nominal fee or no fee if you cannot afford it.

Also, you ought to have a Funeral Mass offered for the repose of your soul. Again, no offering would be expected if you cannot afford a donation. Usually there is a photo of the deceased that is displayed for those attending the Mass.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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