CATHOLICS AND CREMATION
Often we have questions concerning cremation and the Church. While the Church permits cremation, the Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites, namely for the vigil and the funeral liturgy. The "Order of Christian Burial" contains provisions for the cremation of the body after the final commendation that concludes the funeral liturgy.
When it is not possible for the body to be present for the funeral liturgy, the Church now permits the cremated remains of the body to be present for the vigil, the funeral liturgy, and the committal rite. The parish church is the preferred place for the celebration of these rites. New prayer texts have been approved for use when the cremated remains of the body are present for the rites. Archbishop Flynn has approved the use of these prayers in the parishes of this archdiocese.
The cremated remains of the body are to be treated and handled with the same respect and dignity given to the corporeal remains of the body. This includes final disposition. If cremation is chosen as the means of final disposition, the remains are to be buried in the ground of a communal cemetery, or entombed in a communal mausoleum or columbarium. Therefore, the cultural practices of scattering cremated remains, keeping them at home, or interring them at the lake cabin are not considered reverent or appropriate ways of disposition from the standpoint of the Church.
Whenever possible, appropriate memorialization of the deceased should be utilized at the place of burial.