Sunday 11 December 2016

Comment: Church is right: how we treat our dead is not an individual choice

Published 28/10/2016 | 02:30

The Catholic Church has permitted cremation since 1963 – now the Vatican has issued instructions as to how treat a loved one’s ashes (Stock picture)
The Catholic Church has permitted cremation since 1963 – now the Vatican has issued instructions as to how treat a loved one’s ashes (Stock picture)

When my mother died, she was cremated. That's what she wanted even though my father thought there was something a bit impersonal about a funeral ending not with the burial of the coffin in the family grave, but with the coffin disappearing into the crematorium.

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The urn and the ashes were buried a couple of weeks later. There were far fewer people there for it compared with the funeral, and for me at any rate, it didn't feel the same as a traditional burial. But to each his own, I suppose. Or is that the case?

The Catholic Church doesn't think so and that's why the Vatican issued an instruction this week telling Catholics that while cremation is permitted, the ashes of the deceased should be buried in a consecrated place and not kept in an urn on the mantelpiece at home or scattered at sea or in some other place.

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