Cremation: Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “ashes must be laid to rest in a sacred place”

“When, for legitimate motives, cremation of the body has been chosen, the ashes of the faithful must be laid to rest in a sacred place, that is, in a cemetery or, in certain cases, in a church or an area, which has been set aside for this purpose, and so dedicated by the competent ecclesial authority”. This section of the Vatican Instruction “Ad resurgendum cum Christo” contains indications for the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation. “From the earliest times, Christians have desired that the faithful departed become the objects of the Christian community’s prayers and remembrance”, the text recalls. “Their tombs have become places of prayer, remembrance and reflection. The faithful departed remain part of the Church who believes in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church”. “The reservation of the ashes of the departed in a sacred place – the document continues – ensures that they are not excluded from the prayers and remembrance of their family or the Christian community”. Furthermore, “it prevents the faithful departed from being forgotten, or their remains from being shown a lack of respect, which eventuality is possible, most especially once the immediately subsequent generation has too passed away. Also it prevents any unfitting or superstitious practices”.