Is it wrong to taxidermy a person?


Would the Church be against it or can/does it count as donating to science, if it was for that purpose?


This is disallowed by not only the Church but by civic society.

Preserving the skin and external shape of a human body in no way advances science.



Are you talking about Gunther von Hagens’s plastination process? His institute uses donated bodies for his Body World exhibits. I went to one in Denver, long before I returned to the Church. As I walked through the beginning of the exhibit, I was fascinated and open to it all. But by the time I’d walked all the way through, I was deeply disturbed and even a bit sickened.

Not sure what the Church’s stance is on these sort of exhibits. They could be used for education, but mostly – it seems to me – the exhibit was about “art” and shock value.

But if you’re talking about taxidermy, as in preserving a body for display for comforting the grieving loved ones – then it’s clear the Church would be absolutely against that. Human remains must be interred.



I cannot see how it would advance science to taxidermy a human body. The church requires that the body be respected after death AND that the body be buried. To be put on display is not respect and taxidermy would prevent burial.

From the Catechism:

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.

The reason we can “donate our bodies to science” is because after the body is used it is generally cremated and the Church now allows for cremation. Although this delays burial it does not prevent burial, which taxidermy would do.


“art” and shock value are not excuses for this disgusting idea.



The plasticized human exhibits are wrong?


I would say yes; at the very least, disrespectful to the live human beings those bodies once were.

There also are issues, IMS, with how the bodies were obtained.

The exhibit never came within 300 miles from me, but I would not have patronized it.





My understanding of how the bodies are plasticized is that they’re essentially turned into statues. Some of the “statues” demonstrate basic anatomy, but many of them are displayed so as to be “artistic” – hence my being so disturbed by the whole exhibit. Even in my years away from the Church, something about the exhibit just disgusted me – call it residual grace or the natural law.

In any event, I doubt very much that the institute that creates statues out of real human bodies is going to discard their “products” once they’ve spent their time and money making them. Some may say they are treated with respect, but really they are only valued as objects to be used at the whims of the “artists.” It’s sick, really.

Having read the Catechism and more about the process, I cannot see how the Church could approve human bodies being used in such a way. If nothing else, the bodies are never given a proper burial, just shipped around the world or stored in a warehouse somewhere.



It’s questions like that which keep me coming back to this forum.


How could it possibly be not wrong?



It’s just terrible to even think about.

Reminds me of Hitler having lampshades made out of human skin.

Wrong, wrong, wrong!


Dang, I don’t know what’s going on CAF today, but I feel like I’ve stepped into a whole 'nother dimension.


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