The Catholic Church on Natural Burial / “Green Burial” │ Funeral Facts

Below is a transcript the the video:

Hello and welcome to the funeral facts with Deacon Marc

We’ve been going on about a three-week now this is our 4th edition around the final disposition. We talked about what his final disposition? The traditional ways of final disposition, the not so traditional but permitted ways, and then last week we talked about non options and why they were non option.

This week we’re going to talk about a question that like goes on the fringe of all that and it all comes down to how do you define this answer.

Is natural burial permitted?

And anytime, I get that question all the time, can I have natural burial? and first thing I gotta ask them is: what do you consider a natural burial? because in many cases they go back into the composting and different things like that when we’ve already talked about that and that’s not a go and this is why it’s not a go, but we can do an environmentally friendly burial and the church embraces and encourages us to respect the environment and to be environmental friendly so natural burial done properly within the Catholic view is something that is greatly permitted.

So what is a natural burial that is environmentally friendly and aligned with Catholic teaching? And so I can talk about a couple of different things first of all, you don’t have to be embalmed. You can say no to embalming we don’t have to have all those chemicals in your body we don’t have to have all those chemicals in the world you can say no to embalming.

I do need to let you know though if you say no to embalming you have to have a closed casket in most cases. Most cases, most funeral homes will not let you have an unemblamed, open casket. I don’t think your family wants to have, see you unembalmed in an open casket. It just is not, the body deteriorates way too quickly. so you don’t have to have embalming.

You don’t have to have a casket, in most cases. I’ve had people asking I buried in a big sheet type of thing and the answer is yes there’s no requirement that you have a casket. Can I be buried directly on the ground? Can I my body be touching dirt? The answer is yes you can.

And then the final thing I’ve been asked is can we do it so that there’s no machinery digging the grave the answer is yes depending upon the cemetery you can do that, but it probably is going to be very expensive because it costs a lot of money to hand dig the hole that is needed for proper burial.

So those are things that you can do people to minimize the environmental impact the and all that on on the environment is that you can do no embalming, you can do no casket, you can do directly upon the ground, and you could do no machinery if you wanted to do so.

All those contribute to a natural burial so really you can have a burial where someone passes away and you’re put into the ground, but you gotta talk to the cemetery because even in our cemetery we do have one condition upon all that is that we do require that there is a cement vault placed over top of your body so that it prevents the ground from caving in.

What we don’t want to have happen is a safety issue where we have this flat cemetery then all of a sudden we have this deep ditch that is provides with the safety issue and an issue for us to do the landscaping and upkeep of it and so in our cemetery you can be buried on the ground but you have to have a cement vault over top of you to prevent that ground from caving in and make sure that it’s a safety issue.

So all those things can be done it really is a matter of if you want a natural burial call it the cemetery call us up talk to us here about all of it Saints Simeon we can work through the different issues with you and talk to you through what you can and cannot do but in the bottom line is; We want to be environmentally friendly we want to support human being environmentally friendly and there’s a lot that we can do to accomplish that

That is this week’s funeral facts with Deacon Marc make it a great day.

For more information about Catholic Church teaching, visit our website: https://cfcscolorado.org/catholic-teaching/

Catholic Church on Water Cremation / Aquamation and Human Body Composting

Below is a transcript the the video:

Hello and welcome to funeral facts with Deacon Marc.

We’ve been going through a series talking about final dispositions and this one is an interesting one to me and I call it the non options. What are the things that are not options for us as Catholics and more importantly why? Why are these not the right options for us as Catholics not just because someone told us no but why are they not in options.

And so if you’re looking at the funeral industry today, it is absolutely crazy all the different options that you have we have, burial, cremation, donation of the body to science, burial at sea, alkaline hydrolysis, natural organic reduction, cryogenics, mushroom suit. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera; the list goes on and on.

So how do we navigate all this what has permitted and at some points we need to trust those that are studying morality as a church to give us some guidance but we always have to remember that whatever we’re going to do with the body at the end has to be guided by really one major thing and two other sub things of it and that is number one that paragraph 2300 in the catechism that reads:

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

Bottom line with anything we wanna both respect the body and how we treat it and also respect the body in its final disposition and then the other two parts that really come out of that is that the body should be interred as one unit. That doesn’t mean one solid unit but as  one unit in its entirety in a cemetery and it has a you should have the means to do that

And then the other piece of that we don’t often think about is there needs to be that promise of the long term care of the remains and that’s why a lot of places are hesitant to open up cemeteries at local churches and many diocese prefer to have diocesan cemeteries, just because we can make sure that those cemeteries are there forever rather than the church that may close in 15, 20 or 30 years and then you’re like what do we do with all these with this cemetery we have here so three things that we always want to take into consideration and we respect the body both in how are treating it and what we’re doing with it are we in turning the remains and is there long term care possibilities for those remains.

So when you’re thinking about that we have appropriate final dispositions that meet all three of those criteria burial, cremation, burial at sea, donation to scientific research with internment. All those have meet those 3 criteria could be done with respect with internment with long term Care now if we look at all the others and I’m not going to go into each one of them you can look them up if you want I know there’s a lot of curiosity about the mushroom suit but let’s look at two of the most common ones.

Alkaline hydrolysis (sometimes referred to as “water cremation” or “aquamation”) and natural organic reduction (sometimes referred to as “human body composting”) are processes where essentially your body is put into a stainless steel tube, water is combined with some different chemicals is put in and in a short amount of time that combination of the water and chemicals deteriorates all body other than the skeletal remains that water and the chemicals are then released into the sewage system and then the bones are broken down and returned to the family the other one is composting and if you think of having a compost heap back in your backyard that’s exactly similar to what’s it’s doing but a more deliberate purpose for the human body is that you’re combining the body with different things that will allow for the compost over the course of about a month in many cases is what I’ve read so now you might be asking “well what’s the problem with both of those?”

But both of those have problems and that in the respect for the body and in the internment of the remains and with regard to respect for the body both of those processes really aren’t respectful that this is part of the gods the body of that are made in the image of God and also the internment issues are an issue with both and particularly the alkaline hydrolysis much of the body other than the skeletal remains are going down with the tubes with the water rather than being buried with the individual and so in both cases individuals who when the churches looked at this with people who specialize in moral theology have really deemed that these other processes are not respectful of the human body and that we need to stick with the more traditional burial, cremation, burial at see, or donating the body to science with Interment at a later date

A lot to go into a lot of nuances with it there’s some great research and great publications out there with regards to these alternative practices that aren’t accepted we’re going to include in the notes below this video some websites that you can go to that actually have question and answers about all these different processes and can outline them a little bit better than I can in the short video but the bottom line is we got 4 dispositions that are permanent because they respect the body there’s internment of the remains and there’s long term care possibilities there and there many others that are not that way because of lack of respect of the body.

Next week we’re gonna look at one that goes I get a lot of questions about natural burial and how does that apply into these situations we’re gonna talk about that next week in funeral facts with Deacon mark make it a great day.

For more information about Catholic teaching and norms for funerals, cremation, and burial, visit our website: https://cfcscolorado.org/catholic-teaching/

Non-Traditional Methods of Disposition │ Body Donation and Burial at Sea

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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