Catholics in Italy told ashes of dead cannot be scattered
The Italian Episcopal Conference has prepared a new edition of the Rito delle Esequie, or Rite of Funerals. Credit: Italian Catholic Church, www.chiesacattolica.it
The Italian Episcopal Conference has prepared a new edition of the Rito delle Esequie, or Rite of Funerals. Credit: Italian Catholic Church, www.chiesacattolica.it
By David Kerr
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The Catholic Church in Italy has issued new guidelines that rule out scattering the cremated remains of a person or the keeping them in an urn at home.

“Cremation is considered as concluded when the urn is deposited in the cemetery,” says the appendix to the new edition of Funeral Rites issued by Italian Episcopal Conference.
“The practice of spreading ashes in the wild or keeping them in places other than the cemetery,” it adds, “raises many concerns about its full consistency with the Christian faith, especially when they imply pantheistic or naturalist conceptions.”
The new book of Funeral Rites was published earlier this month and will come into force in parishes across Italy on Nov. 2, All Souls Day.
Official statistics suggest that around 10 percent of Italians who die are cremated. Since 2001 the Italian government has permitted ashes to be kept at homes in urns or to be scattered on land or sea.

In the lead-up to the new Funeral Rites being produced this month, there was some media speculation in Italy that the Church would also accept these practices under certain circumstances.

Traditionally, the Catholic Church permitted cremation only when grave public necessity required the rapid removal of bodies, such as in time of plague or natural disaster.

The concern of the Church was that the rejection of Christian burial could be viewed as a rejection of Christian belief in the resurrection of the body and immortality of the soul. Indeed, the use of cremation was championed from the 18th century Enlightenment onwards by many anti-Catholic movements such as the Freemasons.

The practical application of the Church’s teaching on the issue was modified, however, in a 1963 Holy Office document “Piam et constantem.” It noted that cremation had often been used by people “imbued with the animosity of their secret societies” as a symbol of their “antagonistic denial of Christian dogma, above all of the resurrection of the dead and the immortality of the soul.”

But the document also pointed out that “such an intent clearly was subjective, belonging to the mind of the proponents of cremation, not something objective, inherent in the meaning of cremation itself.”
“Cremation does not affect the soul nor prevent God's omnipotence from restoring the body,” it stated, adding that “neither, then, does it in itself include an objective denial of the dogmas mentioned.”
It concluded that many contemporary advocates of cremation did not do so “out of hatred of the Church or Christian customs” but rather “for reasons of health, economics, or other reasons involving private or public order.”

The 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church confirms this position. “The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body.”

The 1983 Code of Canon Law is slightly more expansive and states that “the Church earnestly recommends the pious custom of burial be retained; but it does not forbid cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 30, 2015

Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 4:26-34


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 4:26-34