On Tuesday, the Vatican made an announcement in regards to cremation. The Vatican still accepts the idea of Catholics getting cremated but they don’t want their ashes to be scattered or spread somewhere that is not a holy place. This means no dumping ashes into the sea or outside in the deceased person’s favorite place. In fact, they don’t even want you to keep the ashes in an urn at your house either.
So, what can you do with the ashes? The Vatican’s doctrinal office released new guidelines for cremation which state that ashes need to be placed somewhere sacred like a church cemetery. This news may be shocking to some Catholics because the Vatican has accepted cremation for many years and they never really told anyone what they could or couldn’t do with the ashes of their loved ones.
The reason for these new guidelines has to do with the Vatican’s growing concern that people have the wrong idea about death. When people request to have their ashes spread somewhere, it often comes from the belief that their spirit will merge with nature or it will help them get reborn. As for family members who keep the ashes, the Vatican doesn’t believe the remains of a dead person should become a memento to keep or carry around. The only place the remains of a dead person should be is in a holy place made in God’s image. That is why people get buried in cemeteries to begin with. Why should ashes be any different?
This news is obviously going to affect Catholics more than nonbelievers. With more people choosing to be cremated rather than be buried, Catholics are going to have to adjust to the Vatican’s new guidelines if they wish to stay as avowed followers of the religion.