Cremation for Catholics

Where does the Church stand on Cremation?

Because traditional funeral rites are intended to honor the body of the deceased, it is still preferred by the Church that the physical body of the deceased be present during Mass.  After the traditional rites of the service have been performed, cremation is carried out. There are two reasons for this practice.  The presence of the body at Mass shows reverence for the body and contributes toward the belief in resurrection of the body and the promise of eternal life.  For relatives and friends it is an opportunity to view the body, express condolences and come to terms with the passing of their loved one.

 Changes the Church has made.

Recently, the issue has become whether or not the presence of cremated remains at Mass should be acceptable.  Because many Catholics have found cremation to be a necessity at times, this important issue needed to be oficially addressed.  In 1997, the National Conference of Catholic Bishop's request for an indult allowing for cremated remains to be present at Mass was answered favorably.  The decision, passed down by the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, grants each diocesan bishop the right to decide whether this practice will be allowed in his diocese.

When permission is granted, certain changes in the wording of funeral rites, as well as ceremonial modifications, must be made.  These can be discussed in detail with your Clergy.


How does the Church feel about scattering ceremony?

Cremation itself is not a final means of disposition as it applies to the Catholic faith.  The scattering of remains, an irreversible process, or permanently placing a loved one's urn in the home of a relative, is not considered to be in harmony with the reverence that the Church requires.  The exception would be a burial at sea, in which a worthy vessel containing a complete set of remains is placed at sea in a formal "rite of committal" ceremony.


The Catholic Cemetery

There are many reasons for using a church cemetery.  It is consecrated ground shared with other brothers and sisters from the Catholic community.  Religious celebrations in the cemetery affirm the Catholic belief that prayer, on behalf of the souls of departed loved ones, is worthwhile.


If you would like to speak directly to your clergy at our local Catholic Church here in Lake Havasu City, please contact Our Lady of The Lake Roman Catholic Church.