Hello and welcome to this week’s funeral facts with Deacon Marc.
If you remember back to our last session, we talked about cremation and we talked about is cremation permissible? and permitted within the Catholic Church? and the answer was: It is permitted, it’s still preferred to bury the body, but it is permitted, and you can go back to that video series to talk about all the different reasons why and what the church teaches about that.
So today what we want to look at is what are the do’s and don’ts with cremated remains? Essentially the bottom line of all that is we do what we do with the human body, and we don’t do what we don’t do with the human body.
All of that is grounded in an overriding principle of respect for the body whether the body’s intact or cremated there’s a respect for their body as a creation of God, created God’s image and in many cases someone who’s been baptized, received communion, received Christ body blood soul and divinity in communion with our Lord and savior.
There’s an overriding principle that we want to respect the body whether the body has been left intact and buried or whether the body is cremated.
So, what do we not do?
We don’t spread the ashes and we don’t make the ashes into things. There’s a variety of reasons why we don’t do those things beyond just the respect for the body. I was recently a couple years ago with a first or second grader who lost grandma she was given a necklace with grandma’s cremated remains within and she lost it, and she was devastated and wasn’t there she lost necklace she lost grandma.
We out of respect for the body what we do ask is that the cremated remains to be placed in a cemetery there are multiple reasons for that, respect for the body, security of the remains, giving you a place where you can go and visit your loved one, and finally putting someone into the cemetery provides for psychological and spiritual transition in the grieving process.
It’s very important there’s many different options available we’re going to talk about the ministry we have later about the crypt of all souls where we inter cremated remains but that’s a whole other podcast. So today we’re talking about the do’s and don’ts of cremated remains we do what we do with the body we don’t do what we don’t do with the body we don’t scatter we don’t make them into things and place them in a cemetery.
That is this week’s funeral facts with Deacon Marc have a great week!
Hello and welcome to Funeral Facts with Deacon Mark,
Excited to be here with you today, we’re going to talk about a topic that we get a lot of questions about and that is cremations.
I want to talk about cremation first and foremost and be very clear as to the approach we’re going to take and talking about cremations today because when you bring up cremations, you have people all over the place. Some that feel very strongly of cremation should occur. People that feel strongly of cremations shouldn’t occur.
We’re not going to go into what should or shouldn’t happen but really stick to what DOES the church teach about Cremation? And so there’s three pieces that we’re going to go through today we’re going to answer the question;
Does the church permit cremation?
How do you care for the ashes?
What happens at mass with regards to cremated remains?
Those will be the three topics we’re going to talk about but for today we’re going to start about with the question that we get all the time is that does the church permit cremation?
So the answer to that is yes, the church does permit Cremation. Since 1963, the Church has officially permitted Cremation and in the last couple years, they’ve given some great direction on helping us understand the why behind Cremation and so there’s two documents always helpful to learn a little bit about why the church teaches what it does, and so there’s two documents that I really encourage if you have questions about why does the church teach this, and what we’re going to talk about today.
I’d encourage you first and foremost to go to a document that was put out by Pope Francis in 2016, it’s instructions on regarding the burial of a deceased and the conservation of ashes of cremated remains and so that was put out in 2016 and the Vatican does a really nice job of explaining some of the background behind how we should care for a body whether it is a full body or whether it is cremated.
Just recently back in March the American Bishops put out an amazing document on the proper disposition of the bodily remains and so that one also goes into some great detail talking about why does the church teach what it teaches. Really would encourage you to look at those two and we’ll provide some web links for those as well.
So, the church does permit cremation but it’s very clear, we need to be very clear about it, Permits cremation, but the preference is always a bodily burial and so you might be asking why is that the case and so let me quote from what the American Bishops put out in the proper disposition of the bodily remains.
They wrote, “The church considers burial to be the most appropriate way of manifesting reverence for the body of the deceased. As it is clearly an expression of our faith and hope in the resurrection of the body. While the church permits cremation unless it is chosen for reasons contrary to the Catholic faith, the preferred method is burial”
There’s a couple key things within that.
One is a cremation is permitted but two that full burial of the body is what is preferred out of reverence for the body and also expression of faith in life everlasting and in the resurrection. There’s an interesting statement within that it says that the cremation is permitted as long as there’s you’re not doing it choosing it for reasons contrary to the Catholic faith.
So what is that mean?
You’re not doing you don’t want to do cremation to say hey “I don’t believe in the resurrection so I’m going to cremate my body” that’s not accordance with our faith and that would be a reason to say we shouldn’t really do the cremation because you we do believe in the resurrection that is a basis of our faith.
The idea being is that the cremation is permitted but still for a lot of different reasons spiritual psychological reasons for those that remain behind, the bodily burial is the preferred. The other piece that they wrote is the body is not something that is used temporary by the soul as a tool and that can ultimately be disregarded as no longer useful.
Jesus Christ has promised that one day at the final resurrection, the souls of the dead will be reunited with their bodies. Jesus himself did not leave his body in the tomb but rather rose from the dead with his own body.
Christ rose from the dead with his body and all. For that same reason as an expression of our faith in the resurrection. Burial of the body is what is preferred.
So, to answer this week’s question, is Cremation Permitted?
It is permitted. But the burial of the whole body is preferred.
Gave you two documents that the church has written. There’s another book that outlines his teachings and are the history of death and beliefs of Christianity around death and burial? That is a Scott Hahn book, Hope to Die is another great resource you can use to learn a little bit more about it.
So, That’s this week’s Funeral Facts with Deacon Mark,
While cremation services in Denver, CO. are accepted by many religions, the way the remains are handled may vary. In the Catholic faith, it is preferred that the remains stay together and not separated or scattered. Because of this, many families in this religion may choose to have their loved one’s remains interred in a columbarium niche.
What is a Columbarium?
For many, the word “columbarium” may be unfamiliar. While you may have seen one before either in person or maybe in a movie, you may be unaware of what it was at the time.
A columbarium is a structure that can be found as a wall, building, or part of another structure. What makes this structure unique is that it is made up of individual spaces called “niches”. These niches can all be the same size or vary in height and width. It is in these niches that families will have their loved one’s urns placed.
Types of Niches
With most all columbariums there are typically two types of niches, one being a metal front niche. This means that the front-facing wall of the niche is made of a type of metal. Because of this, the contents inside the niche are hidden from view. Most metal front niches will offer the families an opportunity to have a plaque or other marker engraved that will be on the outside of the niche.
The other type of common niche is the glass front niche. Because the front-facing wall of the niche is made from glass, the contents of the niche are able to be seen. Many families enjoy this type of niche because it offers them a chance to add photos or other special mementos in the niche to be seen.
Because of the glass front, some of these niches may have the ability to have an outside marker Due to this, families may have the actual urn engraved with the deceased’s name and other important information.
Considerations When Choosing a Columbarium Niche
If you are considering a columbarium niche for a loved one there are some key factors you should keep in mind. These include:
Location – You want a location that is easily accessible for those who wish to visit. If there are many family members who live far from one another, finding a niche in a central location so that it’s easier for everyone to visit may be a good idea. Also, think about if you would like a niche in an outside or inside columbarium.
Size – If you are in need of an oversized urn, make sure the columbarium can accommodate one. Many niches may not fit the larger size.
Condition – You want to make sure the columbarium you choose is in good condition. If you see cracks in the wall, weed overgrowth, or any other signs of damage or poor upkeep, choose another one.
Columbariums can be a great option for many families in the Catholic religion as they offer a beautiful setting to place their loved one’s remains. If you need more information about columbariums, niches, or cremation services in Denver, CO. feel free to reach out to us anytime as we welcome the opportunity to help you in any way you need.