Sacred Heart of JesusQuestion: When a Catholic is cremated, must the ashes be buried or can they be scattered or kept in the home?
Answer: More and more, people are choosing cremation for the final disposition of the deceased. In 2010, over a third of all funerals involved cremation. And that rate is estimated to increase to over half by 2025. It is done for many reasons, including economic and environmental reasons, or to follow the wishes of the person who died. In the past, cremation was rare for a Catechism of the Catholic Church (2301) and canon law (Canon 1176: 3) allow for cremation, provided that it is not done as an act of denial of our belief in the resurrection of the body. Catholics are still encouraged to honor the age-old custom of bodily burial (Pastoral Companion). The catechism also instructs that we honor the bodies of the dead with respect and dignity, since they were the temples of the Holy Spirit. Burial of the dead is one of the corporal works of mercy. The final disposition calls for the ashes to be placed in a urn and placed in consecrated ground or inside a mausoleum. Leaving the ashes on the mantel or scattering them in some significant spot is contrary to Church practice and belief.
— 2013 Liturgical Publication Inc.
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