Does the Catholic Church forbid Cremation at the Time of Death?

By: Greg Hurd
Tuesday, September 5, 2017

As a catholic, you don’t want to have to worry yourself with the finer points of Catholic doctrine. This being said, many Catholics are still not clear about the exact stance the Catholic Church takes when it comes to cremation, so we figured we’d help make things a little easier. While the basic answer is that the Catholic Church does allow cremation, there are a few guidelines that they require adherents to follow. These were laid out and approved by Pope Francis to address growing concerns and confusion within the Church as a whole.

While the Catholic Church does allow for cremation, one Cardinal Müller, speaking for the Pope, recently made it clear that this does not cover the scattering of ashes, which they do very much still look down upon. The Cardinal also decreed that urns containing ashes should not be kept in the home under any circumstances and should instead be kept and maintained in predetermined areas. The acceptable locations for keeping urns containing the ashes of loved ones are either in cemeteries or other sacred places, such as mausoleums, tombs or crypts. Furthermore, the combination of jewelry and a loved one’s ashes is strictly forbidden and officially unacceptable in all forms.

These rules were much more strict up until relatively recently, with cremation being banned outright until 1963. At that point, the Church declared that cremation was acceptable only if it didn’t interfere with other aspects of doctrine. This move was made in response to a growing number of Catholics, especially in the US and Canada, seeking alternative methods of laying their loved ones to rest than the more traditional act of burial. The Catholic Church has clarified that it cannot budge when it comes to these new restrictions and felt the need to release a public statement in October of 2016 to ensure that there was no margin for error
and everyone was on the same page.

So while you are allowed cremation, a good rule of thumb would be to check with a local clergyman to ensure that you don’t accidentally overstep. If you still have any questions or comments for us here at Hurd Funeral Home, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our friendly, professional staff are always available to help.

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