Parents don't want to be buried


#1

**My mom was just talking to me about getting some life insurance for her and my dad so that my sister and I won’t go bankrupt trying to pay the ridiculous costs of a funeral (and who knows how much it could cost in 20 or 30 years:eek:).

Now to the problem…neither of my parents are religious. They would both like to be cremated but NOT have their ashes buried. They would like them either spread somewhere or kept at one of our homes in an urn.

I explained to my mom how that would go directly against my beliefs. I think I did an ok job of explaining how we (as Catholics) need to bury our dead to respect the fact that they are not just dust. They need to be in Holy/consecrated ground. Am I even right??? As a fairly new catholic I don’t have a huge grasp on the things that I have not yet had to deal with directly. I just know that cremation is permitted but that the remains still need to be buried…can any help me understand more of the “why?”

Has anyone been in a family situation like this? How did you handle it? Any thoughts or advice would be really helpful to me. No one wants to think of their parents dying, then this adds a whole 'nother dimension of discomfort:( **


#2

My parents want the same thing. They are Catholic and are willing to give up the scattering in deference to Church teaching but tell everyone who will listen that they disagree. :rolleyes:

I don’t think the Church says the ashes have to be burried however. Would they be willing to have the urn go to one of those buildings for urns at a cemetary?


#3

I know cremation is okay…
Here’s the Canon Law text…

vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P4A.HTM

TITLE III.

ECCLESIASTICAL FUNERALS (Cann. 1176 - 1185)

Can. 1176 §1. Deceased members of the Christian faithful must be given ecclesiastical funerals according to the norm of law.

§2. Ecclesiastical funerals, by which the Church seeks spiritual support for the deceased, honors their bodies, and at the same time brings the solace of hope to the living, must be celebrated according to the norm of the liturgical laws.

§3. The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the deceased be observed; nevertheless, the Church does not prohibit cremation unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine.

It doesn’t say anything about disposition of the ashes… so you may want to talk to a priest about that.
I don’t think there are any major issues with distributing the ashes, but that’s just a guess…


#4

Perhaps you can locate a Columbarium that would be agreeable for your parents - go ahead and make the purchase of a spot now so it is settled before that emotional time comes.

Here are a couple around our area:

holysouls.org/ip.asp?op=Pictorial%20View&Photos=pictorialView&col=2&pp=12&back=No

arkansascatholic.org/article.php?id=1082


#5

My parents are divorced. My mom is an atheist, and wants to be placed in a wall crypt. She has huge issues with being buried in the ground - the idea just creeps her out. She has never mentioned cremation for her to me, but who knows what she might have going on in her head at any given moment. I believe her husband influences her to a great deal when it comes to such things. He is an atheist as well. :rolleyes:

My grandpa (her father) was cremated and is currently on her mantle in her living room in an urn. Well, some of him is on the 18th hole of a golf course too. :frowning: He was baptized Baptist but never practiced his religion.

My dad I’m not worried about - he’s Catholic to the core. :smiley:

So - when it comes to what will be done with my mom when the time comes, I will follow her wishes and place her in a crypt. She doesn’t want a funeral anyway - only a memorial service.

~Liza


#6

My mom wants to be scattered in the ocean. :frowning: I have told her that’s not Catholic teaching too but she’s pretty stuborn and I think she already put it on her living will.

ETA: The reason my mom wants this is so that she doesn’t have to worry about us going to a cemetary to cry by her grave. She says she doesn’t want anybody crying. :shrug:


#7

I think most of the issue is that they don’t want to pay for a “plot”…or rather have us pay. None of us has any money so they see it is a huge expense for “nothing”. So any sort of place where one would have to pay to keep their ashes is out too… for now. I just want to be sure that I am telling her the actual Catholic teaching and not just what I assume…so help! I will be researching this too but you guys are always such a big help I count on you to give me a good start:thumbsup:


#8

I had similar discussions with my parents. They are so far from Church teaching that when my brother died, they had him cremated and kept the ashes, unburied, for four years. Then they buried him in unconsecrated ground. :mad:

Cremation is allowed in the Catholic Church, however, as it was explained to me, the ashes should be given all the due respect of the body of the deceased; hence, scattering, not a good thing. Burial within a year is strongly encouraged.


#9

My parents aren’t Catholic either.

The issue, the way I see it, is not what conforms with my religion, but rather, what conforms with their religion. My parents will not be receiving Catholic funerals, nor being put to rest as Catholics, so the rules of the Catholic Church really don’t apply to them.

Because the rules of the Catholic Church don’t apply to them (unless they miraculously convert on their death-beds - that’s not very likely, I don’t think) I am free to respect their wishes.

I think it would be problematic if a Catholic relative wanted to be cremated and have his or her ashes scattered, but as long as they remain non-Catholic, they can have whatever they want. :slight_smile:


#10

Here is one document:

Cremation is also a contemporary phenomenon in virtue of the changed circumstances of life. In this regard, ecclesiastical discipline states: “Christian obsequies may be conceded to those who have chosen to have their bodies cremated, provided that such choice was not motivated by anything contrary to Christian doctrine”(369). In relation to such a decision, the faithful should be exhorted not to keep the ashes of the dead in their homes, but to bury them in the usual manner, until God shall raise up those who rest in the earth, and until the sea gives up its dead (cf. Aps 20, 13).

vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20020513_vers-direttorio_en.html

This is what is in 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;92 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.93


#11

My parents aren’t Catholic either.

The issue, the way I see it, is not what conforms with my religion, but rather, what conforms with their religion. My parents will not be receiving Catholic funerals, nor being put to rest as Catholics, so the rules of the Catholic Church really don’t apply to them.

Because the rules of the Catholic Church don’t apply to them (unless they miraculously convert on their death-beds - that’s not very likely, I don’t think) I am free to respect their wishes.

I think it would be problematic if a Catholic relative wanted to be cremated and have his or her ashes scattered, but as long as they remain non-Catholic, they can have whatever they want. :slight_smile:


#12

Scattering is Catholic no-no.

americancatholic.org/newsletters/cu/ac1097.asp

“The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium [a cemetery vault designed for urns containing ashes of the dead]. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.” The instructions also state that, if at all possible, the place of entombment should be marked with a plaque or stone memorializing the deceased.

Order of Christian Funerals


#13

You mentioned that you are a “fairly new Catholic”. Are your parents Catholic? If they are not, then they would not be receiving a Catholic funeral. They would only be obligated to follow the funeral rules or customs of their religion (if they have any religion and that religion has any rules). You would not need to worry about how they choose to have their funerals if they are non-Catholic.


#14

I would add the caveat that Catholics can not be the ones doing the scattering. If the parents are obstinate against Christian burial no matter how much you’ve tried to explain it, so be it. BUT, they need to arrange to have someone else handle it.


#15

This is correct. :thumbsup:


#16

our old diocese has a mausoleum where containers with ashes or cremains can be stored reverently and properly, above ground.


#17

Would it be possible for non-Catholics to be interred there? From the OP’s mentioning that she is a convert to Catholicism, I am guessing that her parents are not Catholic.


#18

I struggled with this upon my husband’s death…he arranged for his cremation long before he passed away and asked me to spread his ashes in a particular place; because he didn’t want me to deal with the expense of a plot/marker etc. He was Catholic. I went ahead and did the proper thing; I suppose some would agree that that would have been to respect his wishes, but above all I needed to do the right thing which was bury him, I did.


#19

I am sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. :hug1: You did do the right thing, since he was Catholic.

It seems that we need to know more from the OP. Whether or not her parents are Catholic will determine what needs to be done.


#20

**That is what I told my mom. I told her that she would have to specify that my sister handle that part of the arrangements because it would go against my beliefs. I also told her that whatever they decide i would respect their wishes but that to keep in mind that if it’s not super-important to them that they also consider how it would affect me as a living person.

And, NO, they are not Catholic. They are both technically Ukrainian Orthodox (much stricter “rules” for things like funerals etc) but are both very lost right now, as is my sister (who is really nothing…never been baptized). They are in the"yeah, God exists but not in organized religion and not with any rules"… Please add them to your prayers!!!**


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.