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Friday, October 28, 2016

Vatican Guide to Cremation

Saintly Fragments  (Photo by Broederhugo)
If death is nature’s way of slowing things down, then its aftermath could halt progress completely.

The Vatican is therefore concerned that cremation will somehow interfere with the resurrection of bodies on Judgment Day.  Putting “dem bones” back together is one thing:  reassembling charred remains, quite another.

For most of the past two millennia, the Roman Catholic Church “only permitted burial.”  In 1963, the Vatican cautiously added cremation, on (or in) the grounds that “it didn’t suggest a denial of faith about resurrection.”

What might suggest such a denial?  According to the Vatican, the following practices would:  keeping the ashes and fragments at home, dividing up the remains, and/or scattering the ashes into nature.  Any appearance of “pantheism, naturalism or nihilism” must be avoided.

Furthermore, cremated remains are not “the private property of relatives,” but rather a child “of God who is part of the people of God.”  And what about saintly relics that are housed in various nations (a skull here, a tooth there)?  The Vatican fears that reuniting fragments within one place could “start a war among the faithful.”   


Copyright October 28, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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