1 , 2019
know that I promised something else for this week,
but I can't get my head around it and I have had several
queries about the topic of cremation, so, here we
go on that!
For a believing
Christian, the body is not just a prison for the spirit
or a 'playground' of infinite delights; the body is
the place in which the believer meets God who created
him and who sanctified him in every Communion in the
Body of Christ. Thus, the body after death is not
just an accumulation of decaying organic matter; it
is all that remains of a Believer whose hope was not
of this world but of the world to come - the Resurrection
of the dead. It remains a place of meeting God.
reason, the Church has always taught that the human
body, at every stage, is to be treated with respect,
even reverence, and never to be used as a tool by
anyone but is possessor - think slavery, prostitution,
certain kinds of surrogacy.
reason, again, the bodies of those who have died have
always been treated with the respect and reverence
that is their due.
in the western world, has been a necessary expedient
in times of plague mass tragedy or as a post-mortem
punishment, but these were exceptions to the custom
of whole-body burial.
last quarter century, however, the Catholic Church
has allowed the faithful to request cremation, why?
and truest answer is a lack of cemetery space. This
is why cremation was always accepted as an option
in the land-poor countries of the Far East. It has
come home to us in the West only lately. But it would
be wrong to think that the Church has abandoned the
preference for whole-body burial or that just any
old customs involving the cremated remains of a Christian
practice has now made cremation a fully equal choice
for the burial of a Christian as long as the motives
are purely pragmatic, not philosophical or religious:
e.g. a challenge to God to find scattered ashes at
the Last Day or to express one's disbelief in the
reality of the resurrection.
is the cremation of the body of a believer. It is
expected that the same reverence and respect be shown
to the cremated remains as are afforded to a full
body; placement in Church for the funeral and burial
in blessed or consecrated ground with appropriate
prayers and ceremonies.
places, there is a custom of keeping some of the ashes
in lockets or on the mantel. Since this is not what
one would do in other circumstances, neither is it
permitted with cremains (yes, that's the word I have
is the scattering of ashes in various places an acceptable
way of treating the cremains. The body - and, thus,
the cremains - of a believer await the resurrection.
The do not enjoy a 'sentimental journey' to the eighteenth
more on this next time.
and truly, but not finally, yours,