Nov 9, 2016

Sunday Sermon, November 6th -- Why the Church is still against cremation

Sunday Sermon, November 6th -- What the Church really teaches about cremation, and why she still strongly discourages the practice and desires full body burial.

From the Code of Canon Law:

"The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the deceased be observed; nevertheless, the Church does not prohibit cremation unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine." (Canon 1176.3)

From the official liturgical book of the Church, on cremation (Order of Christian Funerals, Appendix):

"The human body is inextricably associated with the human person … Although cremation is now permitted by the Church, it does not enjoy the same value as burial of the body. The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites … The Church's teaching in regard to the human body as well as the Church's preference for burial of the body should be a regular part of catechesis on all levels and pastors should make particular efforts to preserve this important teaching." (411, 413, 414) The document continues to speak of cremation as "extraordinary" and as to be chosen when it is "the only feasible choice". (415)

There are real circumstances in which cremation would be appropriate (examples: when the body will be buried in a place far distant from the place of death; times of war or plague; when there is not sufficient cemetery space for burial), but the Church does not desire that we would choose cremation as a first option, nor does she place cremation as a good choice. The Church does not want us to be cremated, whenever full body burial is a viable option.

Many chose cremation so as to cut funeral costs - there are many ways to avoid an expensive funeral. The law does not require embalming (in most cases) and we can certainly opt for a pine box rather than an expensive casket. Don't let the funeral home or societal pressures force you to chose something that the Church has always forbidden and still strongly discourages. Educate yourself about options available for the preparation of the body for burial (a simple google search will reveal a great many options).

Listen online [here]!