Tuesday 19 December 2023



Cremation is devil worship by profanely desecrating the human body, which is a good gift from God. Since Jesus died for His elect's bodies, they have yet another reason not to cremate.    I Cor 6:19-20; I Cor 10:20-22

Genesis, the first chapter of the Bible, the holy book of Christians, says in no uncertain terms that God made man in his own image (1, v 26). Catholic interpretation of human beings is that God made man a composite of three parts, the body, soul and spirit. Therefore, each part should be dedicated to His glory and He reserves the rights of how you treat yourself, in life and in death. The Bible forbids cremation. So does the Quran, the holy book of Muslims. The Protestants are ambivalent about post-death formalities and recommend burial. But in the Catholic church cremation was anathema till 1963.

        In May 1963, the Vatican’s Holy Office (now the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith) lifted the prohibition forbidding Catholics to choose cremation. This permission was incorporated into the revised Code of Canon Law of 1983 (Canon # 1176), as well as into the Order of Christian Funerals. It then became standard practice to celebrate the funeral liturgies with the body and then take the body to the crematorium. Most recently the bishops of the United States and Holy See have authorised the celebration of a Catholic funeral liturgy with the cremated remains when the body is cremated before the funeral.

          Post-death formalities are listed by the Catholic church. The body is bathed, cleaned and dressed in spotless clothing. All mourners visit the bereaved and pay their last respects to the departed soul. The coffin is taken to deceased’s church in a procession. A Mass is held in  church and a specific ritual observed. Most often it is a hymn to open the service, a psalm after the first reading, a Communion hymn, and a hymn to end the service. At times, another hymn is sung during the offertory. In a Catholic church hymns are the means of communing with God and requesting the Almighty to take care of the soul of the deceased.

A headstone is a marker that is placed over a grave about a year after the burial ceremony. This is because the deep grave needs to settle and one set of seasons is considered adequate. They generally bear the deceased's name, date of birth, and date of death inscribed on them, along with a short personal message. Many types of stones are used, with marble looking the most elegant, but the prudent man uses a granite headstone. Granite is hard and long lasting. Initially, it requires more work and skill to carve by hand. Modern methods of carving include use technology, with the ubiquitous computer controlling the creation of the letters, numbers and emblems virtually printed on the stone.


  • Do I need to ask permission to be cremated?

No, but it is a good idea to discuss your reasons with your pastor, deacon, or other parish ministers.

  • When should cremation take place?

The Church prefers that cremation take place after the full funeral liturgy with the body.

Sometimes, however, it is not possible for the body to be present for the Funeral Mass. When extraordinary circumstances make the cremation of a body the only feasible choice, pastoral sensitivity must be exercised by all who minister to the family of the deceased. Order of Christian Funerals, Appendix II)

  • What is the proper container for cremated remains?

Appropriate containers (not necessarily expensive) such as a classic urn are proper for the cremated remains. At the present time, the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy has determined only what is not a proper container. Although jewelry, dishes, statuary, and space capsules are now being offered, they are unacceptable in Catholic funeral practices. It is also unacceptable to have your cremated remains made into jewelry, dishes, and the like.

  • Must cremated remains be buried/entombed?

Yes. There are many beautiful options for cremated remains which include a family grave in a cemetery marked with a traditional memorial stone or an urn garden, a special section in a cemetery with small, pre-dug graves for urns, or a columbarium.

  • What is a columbarium?

A common practice is the entombment of the cremated remains in a “columbarium”. It is an arrangement of niches, either in a mausoleum, a room, or wall into which an urn or other worthy vessel is placed for a permanent memorial.

  • May I scatter the ashes?

No. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires. (Order of Christian Funerals, Appendix II)

  • May anything be added to cremated remains such as the cremated remains of other persons, pets, or other objects?

No. The principle of respect for the cremated remains of a deceased Christian embraces the deeper belief in the individuality of each baptized person before God. Throughout history, the mingling of remains has never been an accepted practice, except in extraordinary circumstances.

  • Who decides if I am to be cremated?

In most cases, you make the decision to be cremated. However, your survivors may decide to have you cremated, generally due to special family circumstances, but rarely against your will.

  • How do I make my wishes known?

You make the decision to have your body be buried or cremated if you prearrange. However, your survivors may decide to have you cremated, generally due to special family circumstances or if they do not know your preference.

  • What funeral rites are celebrated when a person is cremated?

All the usual rites which are celebrated with a body present may also be celebrated in the presence of cremated remains. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has written new prayers and has printed them as an appendix to the Order of Christian Funerals. During the liturgies, the cremated remains are treated with the same dignity and respect as the body.

Canon Law on Cremations

  • Can. 117 S 1 Christ’s faithful who have died are to be given a Church funeral according to the norms of law.
  • S2 Church funerals are to be celebrated according to the norms of the liturgical books. In these funeral rites the Church prays for the spiritual support of the dead, it honors their bodies, and at the same time, it brings to the living the comfort of hope.
  • S3 The Church earnestly recommends that the pious customs of burial be retained, but it does not forbid cremation unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching.

         A common practice is the entombment of the cremated remains in a “columbarium”. It is an arrangement of niches, either in a mausoleum, a room, or wall into which an urn or other worthy vessel is placed for a permanent memorial.

Cremation Products

        The simplicity, dignity, and affordability of cremation have made it a popular choice among followers of most faiths. Throughout the cemetery, indoors and out, there are wide-ranging selections and memorialization plans for those choosing cremation, providing considerable freedom to personalize the remembrance of loved ones.

        Outdoors, the cemetery provides beautiful cremation garden walks, cremation graves, and garden niches in natural surroundings. Made of the finest granite materials in a wide variety of designs. Producing an enduring memorial in a beautiful, inspirational environment. Both individual and companion spaces are available.

The Rites

        The Catholic Church offers distinct occasions for common prayer at the time of funerals. The Order of Christian Funerals contains three clusters of Rites:

  •     The Vigil
  •     The Funeral Liturgy, and Final Commendation and Farewell
  •     The Rite of Committal

        The Funeral Rites also provide other opportunities for prayer. These Related Rites and Prayers are: Prayers after Death, Gathering in the Presence of the Body, and Transfer of the Body to the Church or to the Place of Committal.

        The Funeral Rites, like all the Church’s liturgy, are primarily worship of God. Care needs to be taken to preserve the integrity of the Church’s prayer, and of the homily while remaining personable and sensitive to those present.

        The Rites for adults are different from the Rites for children and infants. These Rites apply to baptized Catholics, and also catechumens, unbaptized infants, and in special circumstances, those who are not Catholic.

        By family preference or pastoral concern, any single rite may be used as the sole Funeral Rite. Consultation with your priest or parish minister can help determine your funeral selections.

The Vigil

        This Rite presided over by a priest, deacon, or prepared layperson (or member of the family) generally consists of Introductory Rite, Liturgy of the Word, Intercessory Prayer, and Concluding Rite and Blessing. Also strongly recommended is the Office of the Dead from the Liturgy of the Hours.

        The rosary, or a portion of it, maybe included as part of the petitions within this Rite, or preferably, it may be recited by the family at a time other than the Vigil. If the Vigil is celebrated in church, it begins with the Rite of Reception.

The Funeral Liturgy

        The Funeral Liturgy (Mass) is the community’s principal celebration. Generally, the Funeral Liturgy comprises The Rite of Reception (unless already celebrated as part of the Vigil), the Liturgy of the Word, The Liturgy of the Eucharist, and the Final Commendation and Farewell.

        The priest presides at Mass, assisted by a full complement of liturgical ministers – lectors, canto, musicians, servers, etc. These ministerial roles are performed by trained parish ministers or by members of the deceased’s family or friends if properly prepared.

The Rite of Committal

        The Rite of Committal, the final of the Funeral Rites, may be presided over by a priest, deacon, or layperson. It is best celebrated in close proximity to the actual burial place – grave, tomb, or crematorium.

        This rite is intentionally brief. However, if this is the sole Funeral Rite, it may be expanded to include the Rite of Final Commendation or additional music and readings, a brief homily, and petitions.

What Should I Do When a Loved One Dies?

        When a death occurs, after you provide for the initial care of the body of the deceased, the parish should be contacted first.

Is Cremation Allowed?

          Although traditional burial procedure which reflects respect for the body is still normal Catholic practice, cremation is allowed by the Catholic Church for justifiable reasons. Cremation would ordinarily take place after the Funeral Liturgy. These remains should never be scattered or handled in an undignified manner, but are to be interred or inurned in a cemetery columbarium


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