Vatican: Cremation OK, but keep ashes off mantel

October 25, 2016 USA Today Cremation is OK for Catholics, but don’t keep those ashes on the mantel or scatter them in the ocean. And don’t put them in jewelry, either.
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued updated instructions Tuesday on rules for cremation. The church reiterated its approval of cremation, but emphasized the need to bury them — all in one place — in cemeteries or other “sacred places.”

“It is not permitted to scatter the ashes of the faithful departed in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects,” the instructions say.

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On the question of cremation –

First of all, it can be simply stated that the Church does permit its members to be cremated. The Code of Canon Law states the following:”The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burial be retained, but it does not forbid cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teachings. ..(Canon 1176.3)

Bearing this canon in mind, the Church requires that Catholics follow these principles when choosing cremation: The Church clearly prefers that the full body be present for the funeral liturgy and the cremation of the body occur after the funeral liturgy. If it is not possible for the body to be present for the funeral liturgy, the Holy See has granted permission for the cremated remains of the body to be present for all of the funeral rites.

In all cases, the funeral rites should be celebrated in a church. The cremated remains of the body should then be reverently buried or entombed in a cemetery or mausoleum, preferably in a Catholic cemetery. The Church does not permit the scattering of cremated remains, the retention of cremated remains at a place other than a cemetery, or the division of cremated remains into more than one container.

The church recommends that whenever possible, an appropriate means for marking the grave, crypt, or niche should be utilized. The memorial celebrates the life of the person who has died and provides a permanent place for family to visit and remember.

Taken from The Catholic Cemeteries Heritage

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