Thursday, July 21, 2011

On Cremation

I chanced upon an interesting article on the practice of cremation. Although I do not know who Bishop Michael Evans is, I would recommend this article because of the important consideration on the traditional view on this practice.

"As far as I know, since the publication of a decree in 1963 there is nothing to stop a Catholic from being cremated, even if the Code of Canon Law (1983) "earnestly recommends the pious custom of burial be retained" (n. 1176). The Church also usually requires that the body must be present for the public Requiem Mass - so that the temple which housed the Living God may be properly reverenced. Since 1997, though, the Holy See has allowed some Bishops' Conferences to permit cremation before the funeral, as long as the urn is placed on a stand next to the paschal candle during the Mass. After cremation, the Church teaches that the ashes must be kept in an urn for burial or deposition in a place such as a Columbarium - as far as I know, the scattering of ashes is still forbidden. Also, of course, the Catholic Church teaches that cremation should not be used to "demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body" (CCC n. 2301).

"Right from its earliest days, and rooted to its Judaic heritage, the Church taught that cremation was an abhorrent practice - both a denial of the resurrection of the body and a desecration of the work of God's hands. According to Fr John Dietzen, though, in his book Questions and Answers (quoted in a Catholic Culture article), "the first general legislation banning the burning of bodies as a funeral rite came from the Vatican's Holy Office in May 1886, noting the anti-religious and Masonic motivation behind the movement. The 1918 Code of Canon Law continued that ban because cremation was still considered a flagrant rejection of the Christian belief in immortality and the resurrection." To this day, though, even though it normally lacks any anti-religious motivation, many traditional Catholics remain opposed to the notion of cremation, and the practice is still banned in the Orthodox Church - in which those who normally choose to be cremated, unless it is for some "good cause", are usually denied an ecclesiastical funeral or the Church's official prayers for the dead. "

Follow the link: A Reluctant Sinner: Bishop Michael Evans' body will be cremated. Is th...:

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