Vatican: Don't Scatter Cremation Ashes, And Don't Keep Them At Home
The Vatican has issued recommending that the cremated remains of Catholics be buried in cemeteries, rather than scattered or kept at home.
"Following the most ancient Christian tradition, the Church insistently recommends that the bodies of the deceased be buried in cemeteries or other sacred places," state the guidelines released Tuesday by the Vatican.
The guidelines do not represent a change the church's overall policy on burial and cremation, but rather underline "the doctrinal and pastoral reasons for the preference of the burial of the remains of the faithful and to set out norms pertaining to the conservation of ashes in the case of cremation" in light of the increasing popularity of cremation in many countries, according to the introduction of the document.
Cremation has been steadily growing in popularity in the United States. , an industry group for cremation-related businesses, nearly half of all people who died in 2015 in the U.S. were cremated, up from about a quarter in 2000.
The newly articulated ash norms include not storing human cremains in the home and refraining from scattering ashes "in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way ... in order that every appearance of pantheism, naturalism or nihilism be avoided."
The creation of jewelry and other ash-containing mementos is also explicitly prohibited by the guidelines.
Since its founding, the Roman Catholic Church as an institution has always preferred burial to cremation. For periods, cremation was outlawed entirely. However, since the , the has been that cremation, while not preferable, is also not banned.
The new recommendations reiterate that policy, quoting the church's canon law in stating: "The church continues to prefer the practice of burying the bodies of the deceased, because this shows a greater esteem towards the deceased. Nevertheless, cremation is not prohibited, 'unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine.' "
Reasons contrary to Christian doctrine, the church says, include "a denial of Christian dogmas, the animosity of a secret society, or hatred of the Catholic religion and the Church."
I do not like the TONE of this Vatican document. In the 21 st century the Church should not be using IT IS FORBIDDEN language on issues like this.
By all means let the church teach and preach its teachings on death, burial, cremation, the resurrection of the body etc.
But to issue ORDERS and INSTRUCTIONS to people is counterproductive.
As a Christian I believe in heaven and the resurrection of the body. I have a personal preference for burial. I have already purchased a grave and even erected a headstone without my name on it. It will save someone else doing it after I die.
As Christians we do believe in the resurrection of the body. But will our resurrected bodies not be like Christ's resurrected body? His resurrected body could pass through walls etc but he was also able to eat with his disciples and appear to them in the form in which they perfectly recognised him.
If we believe that God is all powerful is he not capable of putting us back together from ashes in the sea - just as he is capable of putting us back together from the tummies of worms?
Is the Vatican not arguing about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin?
Heaven and the eternal life is a great mystery. Why should we try and quantify they mystery? Why should we be telling God what he can and cannot do?
There is also the very important point that cremation is a whole lot cheaper than burial. It is easier for poor families to afford a cremation. In Dublin a grave can cost you Euro 1,000. In London one can cost you £10,000 plus.
Its okay for wealthy cardinals in Rome to pontificate from their marble halls with places reserved for them in marble tombs.
Should we not be more interested in world hunger, drought, poverty, disease etc than we are in after death mysteries.
The Church should be more interested in the HERE AND NOW rather than in the HERE AFTER.
If your life is good now it will be good after.
A FEW MORE FLOWERS ON THE PATHWAY OF LIFE,
AND FEWER ON THE GRAVES AT THE END OF THE STRIFE