Vatican orders Catholics not to scatter or keep ashes at home

A recent ruling by the Vatican prohibits Roman Catholics from spreading cremated ashes, keeping them at home or dividing among family members. The ruling from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) was released just days before All Souls’ Day.

Vatican orders Catholics not to scatter or keep ashes at home
PHOTO CREDIT: Religion News Service
The new guideline, which stresses that Catholic Church’s preference of burial over cremation, ashes must be stored in “sacred places” like cemeteries.

“It is not permitted to scatter the ashes of the faithful departed in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects.”

According to Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, author of the document, the dead body isn’t a private property of relatives. He reiterated that the body of the deceased is “a son of God who is part of the people of God.”

Furthermore, Mueller explained that keeping the cremated ashes at a cemetery decreases the risk of shielding the deceased from prayers for them.

Church authorities added that bishops can allow ashes to be kept at home in extraordinary circumstances. However, Vatican officials didn’t shed light as to which circumstances would qualify.

A report by The Daily Mail UK suggests that Catholics in countries where they are persecuted as well as places where Catholic churches and cemeteries have been destroyed may be exempted from the ruling approved by Pope Francis this year.

Not Applicable on Saints

Vatican officials also clarified that the new guideline will not be applicable to saints, whose various body parts are scattered in different churches around the world.

Vatican theological adviser Monsignor Angel Rodriguez Luno said doing so would start a war among the Catholics.

Since it was approved by the Vatican in 1963, cremation has become increasingly popular among Catholics for its economic as well as ecological benefits.

--Mini, The Summit Express

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