Scattering ashes wrong, 1st class relics good?


Quick question, Why is it wrong to scatter the ashes of a cremated person but its OK to scatter parts of a saint around the world in the form of first class relics.

Thanks for the help
San Diego, Ca


I thought scattering was just a sanitary thing with govt? Theres a religious deal to it??


Are Catholics Allowed To Be Cremated And Their Ashes Scattered? Is There A Specific Protocol To Be Followed?
I’m A Newbe…so I Was Just Wondering If It’s Ok.:d


You can’t scatter someone’s ashes or have yours scattered. AFAIK, it’s considered a denial of the resurrection of all men’s bodies at the end of time b/c you’re pretty much obliterating all trace of the body. Cremation is OK in itself as long as the ashes are kept together (and I think they have to be interred).


The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in paragraph 2301 that
[t]he Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body.

Then in the Order of Christian Funerals paragraph 416 it says: “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.”


No, the ashes must be buried, just as you would a body.


Is it really possible to insure that the scattered ashes are going to be honored and treated with respect, as the relics are?


So it’s ok to be cremated…would it be ok to have my ashes buried in a garden, or where ever…as long as it’s all placed in one spot?


No, the ashes need to buried in a cemetery.


Well, I know theres civil laws supporting this in some areas, but in locales where ashes can be legally buried in a private garden, is there Church doctrine prohibiting this as long as it is a reverent disposition, including a suitable urn and marker?

Used to work in a funeral home/cemetery, & advised many families on the legal restrictions that they couldn’t bury the ashes on private property because of state law. The question came up quite often actually.


As long as local laws do not prevent this, your pastor will bless the ground at the grave side.


I think the danger of not being buried in a cemetery is because private residential land, unlike cemeteries are not protected by civil laws to prevent desecration of graves. For instance, if a community wishes to build a shopping center or highway where a cemetery is located, they need to disinter all the bodies and reinter them elsewhere. They are not allowed to disturb the graves. Now, if one buried a body (in casket) or ashes (in urn) in his back yard, if the property was sold, the new owners could do whatever they wanted. There would be nothing to prevent them from digging in the yard and discarding the cremains.


Thank you for your answer Br. Rich, always wondered about the religious side of this.

Totally agree. I’ve seen in my city where construction of new freeways actually went around established cemeteries in 2 places, as disinterring is almost impossible because many times contacting relatives is impossible, and if they can be contacted, the family refuses permission.

Also, there are health concerns burying on private property. Think about water tables and wells.

In Texas, a funeral home or civil authority cannot release a deceased body to a private party, so burying a casket on private land is very rare I imagine nowadays. However, I’ve counseled several families that have private family cemeteries that are 100+ years old on the back 20, they elected to cremate then bury the urn themselves. I just hope that land is never sold outside the loving family or the state decides to build a road through it.


I guess I’ll have to rethink where I want to be buried. I want any organs, tissues, bones to be used to heal others. Then I would like to be cremated and have my ashes put somewhere like in my garden…maybe under my Pope John Paul rose bush, I guess there are civil laws against such things. Just wanted to know what the church law was.:shrug:


So let me ask you this:

My grandmother keeps the ashes of my grandfather in her home. Given the quote cited above, she ought to give them a proper burial. How on earth am I to tell me grandmother (who, by the way, speaks almost no English) this news?

Should I? Yeesh… :confused:



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