Vatican: No More Scattering Of Cremation Ashes
UNDATED - The Vatican has set guidelines for Catholics who want to be cremated. It says remains cannot be scattered, divvied up, or kept at home but rather need to be stored in a sacred, church-approved place.
Timothy Johnson is from the Diocese of St. Cloud. He says this isn't new for Catholics in the United States. Bishops here released the same guidelines back in 1997.
Because of baptism we've been made into the temples of the Holy Spirit, our bodies are sacred. And our whole funeral liturgy reflects that. So, not to scatter ashes or to not make them into jewelry, or different things. Cremated remains deserve the same dignity and respect that the body would have if it were present at the funeral liturgy.
He says it wasn't until 1963 that the Catholic Church even approved of cremation.
Historically it was seen as a way to disrespect the body and so the church was always leery of that. And so in 1963 there was a shift and theologians came together and Vatican approved, saying as long as we celebrate the funeral liturgy with reverence and dignity to the human body there would be no contradiction.
The new document from the Vatican repeats that burial remains preferred, but lays out guidelines for conserving ashes for the increasing number of Catholics who choose cremation.