Dealing with the death of a loved one is no easy task. As much as we attempt to prepare ourselves for the emotions, planning, and interactions which arise at this time, we are always surprised by some feeling, detail, or person we could not have anticipated.
Cremation is one of the details surrounding burial which generates mixed feelings and reactions in family, friends, and community. This brochure hopes to provide information about cremation from both a secular and religious view. It hopes to bring comfort to a difficult time of decision-making while upholding the Church’s ongoing values.
The Church’s great respect for the dignity of the human body as temple of the Holy Spirit and destined for glory in the resurrection of the dead, has traditionally focused on taking great care to prepare the bodies of the dead for burial. This is not always a view shared by our society which tends to shorten the period of mourning and to reduce or eliminate rituals in a misguided attempt to deny the reality of death and/ or hope in eternal life. The Church wants to help our culture and more so, her members, to face death and to celebrate the victory over death, resurrection; to claim the hope which is ours, in Christ.
The 1917 Code of Canon Law forbade cremation. By 1963, it was allowed in cases of necessity and the new 1983 Code allowed cremation, while still recommending the burial of the body. The Church attempts to be sensitive to the pastoral, economic, geographic and family issues which make it a choice for nearly 20% of our people.
Discuss your options with your parish bereavement team. Do what your loved one would want, in keeping with the Church’s values of human dignity and hope of eternal life.
We give thanks for all the blessings God has given us and pray this information has answered some questions you might have about cremation. Thank you to the Diocese of Orlando, Lay Ministry Office, source of text. Modified from original text for use in the Diocese of St. Augustine.