Burrial, Cemetery

Below is a transcript the the video:

Hello and welcome to Funeral Facts with Deacon Marc.

It’s great to have you back. For this edition, last time we talked about final disposition, we talked about cremation, traditional body, and really what just in general final disposition is. I want to answer two questions that are fairly common I get.

One is, can I donate my body to science? And then the second question is, can we bury at sea?

And the answer to both is yes with some conditions and so, talk about both of them and start with can I donate my body to science?

Yes, but we want to ground ourselves in the overriding premise that that that is grounding for everything we do with the human body and that is stated in catechism paragraph 2300 that says:

“The bodies of the dead must be treated with respect and charity in faith and hope of the resurrection. The burial of the dead is a corporal work of mercy. It honors the children of god who are temples of a Holy Spirit.”

So the bottom line in everything we do, everything we talk about the treatment of the body. We’re talking about respecting it as children of the God of God and as a temple of the Holy Spirit. And so you need to look at it within that.

So then the question becomes can I have an autopsy? Can I donate my body to science? And the answer to that is yes. Paragraph two thousand three hundred and one says:

“Autopsies can be morally permitted for legal and or scientific research. The free gift of organs after death is legitimate and can be meritous”

And so not only is it a legitimate to do but it’s also something meritous to do to allow somebody else to have life from your research on your body or from donating the organs. Now, there’s a couple things that you gotta think about when donating a body to science and there’s two things I want you to consider.

One is that in donating a body to science, the research that’s being done under the use of the body and those parts needs to be done legally and morally. So, you don’t want to donate your body to science to research things that go against the Catholic church’s teachings or things that might go again be utilized to, for instance, promote the culture of death and so, we want to make sure that the research is legitimate is legal and also is going for a morally good purpose.

The second part of it is just like with any human body, we want to inter that body and whatever is left in a cemetery and so after the body is utilized for research, whatever is left is needs to be gathered back together and brought back to the family for a final disposition of burial or cremation and so yes, you can donate the science for legitimate, legal, and moral purposes and then, also at the same point in time with the intention of having that body brought back either cremated or traditional body burial for interment in a cemetery.

So, that’s the first question about can we donate Science. The other not so typical final disposition is burial at sea and yes, in Colorado, we don’t have the sea near us so we don’t see that many burials at sea but if you’re by the coast, you’re probably going to see more people wanting burials at sea.

Now, the first piece about the burial at sea is that it’s not normative. It’s not the normal disposition of the body but it can be utilized when it is necessary as what the different documents of the church has said is that it’s not normal but at the same point in time can be utilized as necessary and there’s nothing in cannon law that prevents the proper disposition of the final body as burial at sea.

Now, there is a couple conditions upon it. One, is that the body or the cremated remains must be buried at sea altogether. So, you can’t go out of your boat and you can’t go out of the boat and start splashing ashes all over the place. You take those cremated remains, you put them in a urn, you weight them down, and you bury them at sea all intact and the same thing with the human body.

The body needs to be placed in an appropriate container casket weighted down so that it’s buried and floats to the bottom and that it is buried as a whole body. The other piece is not church related is the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency has regulations about this.

For instance, you’re not allowed to do a burial at sea within three nautical miles I think it is of regulations as to what is allowed and permanent. The final thing I would tell you is check with your local diocese.

So, if you live in Florida, check with the diocese there. The bishop does have the authority to say this is what we’re going to do with regard to buried sea cremation all that kind of stuff. You’ll always want to check with your local diocese ‘cuz what happens here in Denver may be very different than what happens in Miami and so you do want to check there but the bottom line, Canon Law, nothing preventing burial at sea.

Donating your body to research is permitted and actually can be seen as a meritous type of thing for you to do. Next week, we’re going to talk an exhibition.

We’re going to talk about what are those things that are non options, what can’t we do, and why can’t we do them? With that, this is Funeral Facts with Deacon Mark.

Make it a great day.

Learn more about Catholic teaching and norms from our website: https://cfcscolorado.org/catholic-teaching/

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