Cremation – or the disposal of personal remains – is not considered by the Catholic Church to be a sacred act, nor does it have an obligation for any particular reason.
However, the Catholic Church does encourage all Catholics to be cremated, for a variety of reasons:
Cremation is less expensive, and, with the availability of advanced funeral planning and the ability to arrange to be buried in a cemetery, the family may choose cremation for more than one family member.
Cremation is an alternative to burial.
Cremation is a humane alternative to euthanasia.
The choice to be cremated is up to the family, and not a matter for others.
Cremation is permitted under the “doctrine of the Resurrection,” which requires that one be buried or cremated.
Cremation is an alternative to the Roman Catholic Church’s policy on cemeteries – the prohibition on interment within the boundaries of a church.
The Catholic Church does not approve of the idea that “God can save a person at death”, as it is a doctrine of “the supernatural” and the belief that Christ can be resurrected.
What does the Catholic Church say about burial?
The Catholic Church does acknowledge the right of individuals to be buried following their death. However, the Church does not endorse the practice of burial within the boundaries of a burial place, either of a church or of another, such as a private home. This would involve the burial of their remains outside the cemetery, not within it.
This right could also be exercised by the family, which could choose to cremate after all family members are removed from the cemetery. The principle of individual choice is recognized, as Catholic cemeteries are not allowed to be closed.
How can I find out if I’m Catholic?
The Catholic website “Ceremonies” (www.catholics.org/) has a link to a list of all of the Catholic churches that are considered to be part of the Church of England. Catholic Church information is also available from online directories such as bibliolatry.org and CatholicChurchToday.com.
In an effort to “reclaim the word ‘craven,'” I recently wrote about the many ways that the word “craven” is overused by the media. A number of writers and commentators have offered rebuttals, suggesting alternatives. It’s been argued that