Marriage, divorce and burial

if you have been attending catholic church all your life, living as if you were a catholic, would you be eligible for burial in the church.
my mother, age 88 was married by a Lutheran pastor at the parsonage in 1937, she ws a methodist and baptized as one. She later divorced.
She married my father , a roman catholic, in a civil ceremony and they began to live as practicing catholics with no intervening conversion for my mother.
My father was buried from the catholic church in 1982.
My mother has decided that she will have no service at all, and I am thinking that it is because she could not prove she " is " a catholic except by her practice of faithful attendance and taking the sacraments.
Obviously we have never discussed a conversion just accepted all these years that she was a catholic.
What are the requirements for her to be buried in a catholic cemetery?

also: is it required by the catholic church to bury cremains in a cemetery or anywhere.
thanks:)

cathcemchgo.org/tradsaltsregs.htm
These are the regulations of the Archdiocese of Chicago, which I am pretty sure are observed for most of the US Catholic cemeteries. WHO MAY BE BURIED IN A CATHOLIC CEMETERY?
The church expects the burial of Catholics in Catholic cemeteries. To avoid breaking close family ties, non-Catholic members of Catholic families may be interred in a Catholic cemetery. In the Archdiocese, Catholic burial, including the funeral Mass, is permitted for a baptized non-Catholic who might reasonably be presumed to desire or prefer Catholic burial services. Such a decision would be appropriate where the non-Catholic party worshipped regularly at the Catholic Church or identified with the Catholic Church more than any other.I think that pretty much describes your family’s situation.

This site will also talk about the requirement and care of cremains which the Catholic church allows. I think after you check this site and share it with your family member, they will be very much at peace at whatever choice they decide for their burial. Peace to all of you!

[quote=jtamchay]if you have been attending catholic church all your life, living as if you were a catholic, would you be eligible for burial in the church.
my mother, age 88 was married by a Lutheran pastor at the parsonage in 1937, she ws a methodist and baptized as one. She later divorced.
She married my father , a roman catholic, in a civil ceremony and they began to live as practicing catholics with no intervening conversion for my mother.
My father was buried from the catholic church in 1982.
My mother has decided that she will have no service at all, and I am thinking that it is because she could not prove she " is " a catholic except by her practice of faithful attendance and taking the sacraments.
Obviously we have never discussed a conversion just accepted all these years that she was a catholic.
What are the requirements for her to be buried in a catholic cemetery?

also: is it required by the catholic church to bury cremains in a cemetery or anywhere.
thanks:)
[/quote]

She should speak with the pastor, it is possible he could Confirm her given her age and the fact that she has attended and pracuticed the Catholic faith. But in either case a non-Catholic Christian can have a Catholic funeral Mass and be buried in a Catholic cemetery.

Yes, cremains must be treated just as a body would be.

thanks…my mother will no doubt be happy to learn that her cremains can be buried if she so chooses, in a catholic cemetery.

I n reading the supporting documents from The Chicago Archdiocese I see no direct requirement that they need to be buried…I see an “expectation” and that leaves “wiggle room” in my mind.

:wink:

[quote=jtamchay]thanks…my mother will no doubt be happy to learn that her cremains can be buried if she so chooses, in a catholic cemetery.

I n reading the supporting documents from The Chicago Archdiocese I see no direct requirement that they need to be buried…I see an “expectation” and that leaves “wiggle room” in my mind.

:wink:
[/quote]

You are correct they do not have to be buried. But as I answered they do have to be treated just like a body. They can even be buried at sea, but just like a body this must be all together in a container. Just like a body cannot be dismembered and scattered, the ashes must be buried or otherwise interred all together, they cannot be scattered.

My mother has decided that she will have no service at all, and I am thinking that it is because she could not prove she " is " a catholic except by her practice of faithful attendance and taking the sacraments.

I’m sorry to ask but has she been receiving the Holy Eucharist? She should probably talk to her Priest about this if she was presenting herself without the Church’s blessing. I’m sure her and her priest can work through this without a big to-do.

Christ’s Peace,

yes, she has always received communion and I never have seen her go into a confessional but she does go to Mass daily and prays the rosary etc…very devout in her worship…if you knew my mother you would know she is never going to admit that she has been practicing a faith without the proper credentials…can’t imagine how my dad thought this was okay… he came from a very roman catholic background …he was educated by the jesuits!

Guess we should have been asking more questions as we were growing up. We just always went to church togetrher so knew nothing different.

I’m pretty sure that mother is going to go with the original plan of three containers and no burial…one for each of us kids.
:bigyikes:

[quote=jtamchay]yes, she has always received communion and I never have seen her go into a confessional but she does go to Mass daily and prays the rosary etc…very devout in her worship…if you knew my mother you would know she is never going to admit that she has been practicing a faith without the proper credentials…can’t imagine how my dad thought this was okay… he came from a very roman catholic background …he was educated by the jesuits!
[/quote]

Why not have the priest formally receive her into the Church through some simple ceremony? In a situation like hers, I would think that could be handled without too much trouble.

I’m pretty sure that mother is going to go with the original plan of three containers and no burial…one for each of us kids.
:bigyikes:

I would argue that such is not permissible. By “expectation”, what is intended is that one WILL inter the remains (or cremains) entire somehow, in accoradance with the norms. Playing loose with words like “requirement” V “expectation” really is stretching things in abuse of the intended norm.

well, asking a priest to admit her in any fashion opens up the question of why she was pretending all these years and that is not going to be a discussion with this woman.
First of all she would have to relive the history of a first marriage that we kids ( ages 64-60) have never known about until last month… tripped on it in some old genealogy materials…in my own home not hers…God leads in mysterious ways and I truly believe he was guiding this find!
A life of deception by both of our parents has rocked us and now answers some of the questions we had about the “funeral” she had planned for herself.

There will be a cremation, no service and no burial…the only factor was whether she would be allowed burial in a Catholic cemetery if we kids wanted to do that later. She has prepaid for the above and there will be three boxes of cremains.
One brother is talking about just burying her in his backyard…not in a consecrated cemetery.

Life is too short to start confronting this issue with our mother as she has failing memory and am sure deeply locked this secret away.
:slight_smile:

[quote=jtamchay]well, asking a priest to admit her in any fashion opens up the question of why she was pretending all these years and that is not going to be a discussion with this woman.
First of all she would have to relive the history of a first marriage that we kids ( ages 64-60) have never known about until last month… tripped on it in some old genealogy materials…in my own home not hers…God leads in mysterious ways and I truly believe he was guiding this find!
A life of deception by both of our parents has rocked us and now answers some of the questions we had about the “funeral” she had planned for herself.

There will be a cremation, no service and no burial…the only factor was whether she would be allowed burial in a Catholic cemetery if we kids wanted to do that later. She has prepaid for the above and there will be three boxes of cremains.
One brother is talking about just burying her in his backyard…not in a consecrated cemetery.

Life is too short to start confronting this issue with our mother as she has failing memory and am sure deeply locked this secret away.
:slight_smile:
[/quote]

I would suggest that the three children get together and agree that when your mother passes away that the funeral home will be instructed after the cremation that the cremains are to be kept intact (not divided) and that proper burial either in a Catholic cemetery or other proper place be considered. There is no need to discuss this with her. It is also possible to speak with the pastor after she is no longer able to attend Mass. If he has known her in her practice of the Catholic faith. He may be able to if she is in danger of death, Confirm her and celebrate the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, which forgives sins of those who are unable to Confess their sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Pastor would need to be reasonably certain that she would have wanted to be Confirned.

thanks for the replies…much to think about…
The parish priest will not be involved except for annoiting of the sick…I have no intentions of speaking about this with him. I am the local kid and will deal with whatever happens when it happens.
She has expressed a desire, in her health directive, that she receive the last rites and I will see that she has those.
God will deal with all of this;) on the other side!

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