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Catholic Cremation Beliefs

Contrary to popular belief, the Catholic Church does not forbid cremation. The Vatican revised Code of Canon Law in 1983 formally lifting the prohibition, allowing Catholics to choose cremation as a valid option for handling the remains of the deceased. 

However, there are certain rules to be followed to stay within the church's core principles of its faith. ↓

Vatican Rules on Cremated Remains

Scattering of cremated remains is strictly prohibited. Permanent storage in private homes, funeral homes, or any other place is not allowed; they must be buried according to the Vatican.

It is forbidden to mix with those of another person or divide them for placement in multiple locations, lockets, or jewelry. Any practice that compromises the integrity of the remains and hinders proper burial or disposition is also prohibited. 

Burials at sea require the use of a solid and durable container, with scattering expressly forbidden.

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Why Can't Catholics Keep Cremated Ashes? 

The primary concern is to maintain the sacredness of the human body and to avoid practices that might suggest a denial of the belief in the resurrection of the body

The Church advises against scattering ashes or keeping them in private homes as these practices may be seen as inconsistent with the reverence for the deceased and the resurrection theology.

The Church asks Catholics to preserve the ashes in a sacred place, such as a cemetery, a church columbarium, or another designated area where the faithful can come to remember and pray for the deceased.

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Can You Have A Catholic Funeral Mass After Cremation?

Yes, Catholics who choose cremation can have a Funeral Mass as part of the funeral rites. 

If the family chooses to have Funeral Mass it can take place before or after cremation. Some may choose to have the Funeral Mass with the body present before cremation, while others may prefer to have it afterward with the cremated remains. 

Families are encouraged to seek guidance from The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange offices for specific instructions and pastoral support during this process. 

Learn more at rcbo.org 

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