Catholicism and cremation: a tricky conversation.
With more than half of Americans choosing cremation over traditional burial–and an expectation that this number will jump to three-fourths or more in the next 15 years–it’s a conversation worth having.
Thankfully, Pope Francis and The Vatican shared specific instructions for Catholics considering cremation. Let’s discuss a few key takeaways from the update that you might want to know about as you make plans for yourself or a loved one.
Thoughts for Catholics to Consider When Choosing Cremation:
1. Catholics prefer traditional burial for a reason.
As explained by the Vatican, “In memory of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord, the mystery that illuminates the Christian meaning of death, burial is above all the most fitting way to express faith and hope in the resurrection of the body.”
2. Cremation is an approved practice.
As long as you or a loved one chooses this option for sanitary, economic or social considerations, the church finds no fault with cremation. Ashes must be laid to rest appropriately.
Cremated remains should be placed in what the church calls a “sacred place” such as a cemetery, a church or an area “set aside for this purpose.” This purposeful home allows members of the Christian community to honor and pray for the deceased and to remember them for generations to come.
3. Ashes cannot be scattered or divided.
The church does not permit members to scatter ashes, keep them in urns at home, or wear jewelry designed to hold ashes. They also do not allow people to share or divide ashes out of respect for the body.
If you or your loved one is a practicing Catholic and interested in cremation, we’re more than happy to help you navigate these difficult decisions as you work toward a solution that meets both the tenants of your faith as well as your own needs and personal preferences.
We know the importance of considering cost when making decisions about cremation. If you have questions that would help you better understand these costs–either the price or the value–our advisors are more than happy to assist you. Give us a call at 310-361-3252.