Vatican City, Oct 25, 2016 / 08:44 am
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released an instruction Tuesday regarding burial and cremation, reiterating the Church's teaching that cremation, while strongly discouraged, can be permissible under certain restrictions – and that scattering the ashes is forbidden.
Ad resurgendum cum Christo, or "To rise with Christ", published Oct. 25, states that while cremation "is not prohibited" the Church "continues to prefer the practice of burying the bodies of the deceased, because this shows a greater esteem towards the deceased."
The document explains that after "legitimate motives" for cremation have been ascertained, the "ashes of the faithful must be laid to rest in a sacred place," such as in a cemetery or church. It goes on to state that is not permitted to keep the ashes in a home or to scatter them "in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects."
"The burial, the last liturgy for us, is an expression of our hope for the resurrection," Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the congregation wrote, "and therefore the Church continues to teach that the normal burial of the body is the normal form."