Catholic Church Guidelines On Cremation

Nov 13, 2016

The columbarium where cremated remains are kept at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
Credit Getty Images/NPR

The Vatican recently announced that Catholics may be cremated, but should not have their ashes scattered at sea or kept in urns at home. The Church has allowed cremation for decades, but these guidelines aim to make the position clearer. 

"In the document there is really nothing new.  The law hasn't changed," said  Father Daren Zehnle with the Springfield Diocese.  "but because conferences of bishops across the world are seeing an increase in the practice of cremation, numerous questions have been posed... about how does the Church approach cremation."


 Robert Fells,  Executive Director and General Counsel at International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, said there has been a big change in recent years.  "People are much more outspoken today about what they want for their funeral, burial or disposition."