Funerals and Creamation

Funerals and Cremation

The following article looks at Funerals & Cremation

In 1997 the Catholic Church published an appendix to the Order of Christian Funeral concerning “Cremation.”

“Although cremation is now permitted by the Church, it does not enjoy the same value as burial of the body. The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites, since the presence of the human body better expresses the values which the Church affirms in those rites.” (413)

Sometimes, however, it is not possible for the body to be present for the Funeral Mass. When extraordinary circumstances make the cremation of a body the only feasible choice, pastoral sensitivity must be exercised by priests, deacons, and others who minister to the family of the deceased.” (415)

The cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they come. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and the final disposition. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium. 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. Whenever possible, appropriate means for recording with dignity the memory of the deceased should be adopted, such as a plaque or stone which records the name of the deceased.” (417)

“When the choice has been made to cremate a body, it is recommended that the cremation take place after the funeral liturgy. (418)

“By virtue of an indult granted by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the celebration of the funeral liturgy, including Mass, in the presence of the cremated remains of the body of a deceased person is permitted in the dioceses of the U.S.A under the following conditions:
a. That the cremation not be inspired by motives contrary to Christian teaching that is laid down by the Code of Canon Law (canon 1176.3).

“…The cremated remains of the body are to be placed in a worthy vessel. A small table or stand is to be prepared for them at the place normally occupied by the coffin. The vessel containing the cremated remains may be carried to its place in the entrance procession or may be placed on this table or stand sometime before the liturgy begins. (427)