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Cremation And Catholicism: A History

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La cremación es sagrada. In 1963, after hundreds of years of prohibition, the Vatican announced that Catholics could now choose cremation. Since then, the Vatican has issued additional guidance on how cremation can continue to be compatible with the faith and traditions of the Catholic Church.

Cremation can be a beautiful part of traditional Catholic funeral rites, and we are here to answer your questions and provide guidance about incorporating cremation services into your or your loved one’s final farewell. Below, we cover the history of this important decision, and the Church’s official guidance on cremation and the Catholic faith.

Cremation And Christianity

Resurrection of the body is central to the beliefs and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Because of this belief, the Church had a ban on cremation for most of its history. However, in 1963, Pope Paul VI lifted this ban, stating that cremation does not affect a person’s soul, and does not prevent God from resurrecting the deceased’s body to new life.

Then, in 1966, the Vatican announced that Catholic priests could officiate at cremation ceremonies. This opened the door fully for Catholics to consider cremation as they planned their loved one’s funerals.

Today, while burial of the body is still preferred by the Church, cremation is becoming a common choice for Catholics.

Burial After Cremation

Through burial, Catholics confirm their belief in the resurrection of the body. The Church requires that cremated remains be buried in an urn in a sacred place, such as a Catholic cemetery, the Catholic section of a secular cemetery, or at sea. Burial can take place in the ground or in a columbarium niche.

In the rites of a traditional Catholic funeral, cremation must take place at the point of committal. At this time, the body will be taken to the crematorium instead of being buried. Once cremation has been completed, burial in a cemetery can occur.

However, since 1997, the Church has allowed traditional Catholic funeral rites for those who have been cremated before the ashes are brought to a church. In this case, the urn is placed on a stand near the Easter candle, and the word “Body” is replaced by the words “Earthly Remains” in prayers.

The Catholic Church does not allow the scattering of ashes, nor the keeping of ashes in a home or elsewhere. Burial ensures that your loved one will have a permanent resting place, and will be remembered and prayed over until the resurrection.

How We Can Help

We share your faith and are dedicated to helping you plan a Catholic cremation that honors your loved one’s beliefs. If you are unsure if your funeral or cremation services are compatible with a Catholic funeral, we can provide guidance.

We maintain close relationships with Catholic churches all over the Denver area, and we can put you in touch with a priest who can also provide guidance. No matter what your family’s situation is, we are dedicated to helping you express your loved one’s faith one final time.

Go en paz.

As members of Denver’s Hispanic communities, we feel a deep responsibility to help its families through some of their most difficult days. We are here for you and your loved ones, and our staff is available to answer any questions you may have. Llámanos al (303) 996-0701.

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