Does The Catholic Church Forbid Cremation At The Time Of Death

By: Ian Elliott
Thursday, July 14, 2022

Cremation is somewhat new to Catholic tradition, even though it is increasingly prevalent. The early Church adhered to the Jewish tradition of physical burial and condemned the widespread Roman pagan practice of cremation.

If you are considering cremation, Arbutus Funeral Service believes you must understand the process and your options. Then, you will be able to make a decision that benefits you and your family. There is a widespread misconception that the Catholic Church prohibits cremation.

Does The Catholic Church Forbid Cremation? Some Facts

Here are some facts on what is expected by the Catholic Church when cremating a deceased person:

  • Catholics oppose cremation since they believe in bodily resurrection after death. As Jesus Christ was buried in a tomb, they continued the custom of burying the dead. Nonetheless, the Church's perspective has shifted in recent years. It does not ban cremation unless adopted as a means of rejecting Christian teaching on the Resurrection and respect for the human body.
  • Nonetheless, the Church holds that cremated ashes should be accorded the same reverence as corporeal remains. The remains must be handled and transported with respect.
  • As for the eventual disposition of cremated remains must be interred or entombed in a columbarium, cemetery site, or mausoleum.
  • Options such as spreading the cremation ashes from the skies, on the ground, at sea, or keeping them in residence are not considered acceptable.
  • In addition, Catholics prefer that funeral ceremonies be conducted before cremating the deceased person, as opposed to direct cremation, since the body "better reflects the ideals the Church proclaims in its rites.
  • Nonetheless, it is now permissible to perform the funeral Mass with the cremated remains present.

At Arbutus Funeral Service, we help with pre-planning and organizing funerals. For more details about our pre-planning services and other services, contact us.

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