25 Jun 2022

This is the Catholic Church's stance on cremation

It is a custom becoming more popular in Ireland

This is the Catholic Church's stance on cremation

This is the Catholic Church's stance on cremation

Under direction from The Vatican, the Catholic Church recently reiterated that the scattering of ashes is against their teachings. According to the Church, cremated ashes must not be scattered or kept at home but buried on sacred ground.

The Catholic Church has approved cremation since 1963, however they do insist that the ashes must be buried in a holy place.

A spokesperson for the Church said, “Cremation is a valid and acceptable practice in the Catholic Church, provided it is not being chosen for reasons in opposition to our faith."

“When cremation is chosen, it will as a general rule take place after the funeral Mass. The cremated remains are shown the same respect as the body of a Christian; the vessel they are contained in, as well as how this vessel is treated, demonstrates respect and reverence for the sacredness of this person whom we now commend to the care of God.”

The instructions issued by the Catholic Church specifically say “the long held view that the Church is not opposed to the practice of cremation, though it continues to recommend that the bodies of the deceased be buried in cemeteries or other sacred places. However a new document insists that ashes should not be kept in private houses and that the scattering of ashes on land or at sea is not permitted.”

As people begin to move away from traditional church practices, crematoriums are facilitating civil funerals which are becoming increasingly popular. 

Due to the cost of burial plots, cremation is much more popular with around 20% of people outside of Dublin now opting for cremation.

Emphasising the church's beliefs, Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, published a pastoral letter following this consultation in which he said, “I firmly believe that the funeral rites of the Church, celebrated well in the local community, bring the soothing balm of Christ’s comfort and hope at a time of devastating loss.”

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