- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

New guidance to the faithful from the Vatican reminds Catholics that cremated remains are to be treated with reverence and accordingly should be inurned in a sacred space, not scattered outdoors nor kept in the home nor incorporated into jewelry or other mementos.

Failure to do so, the document warned, will mean the Church will not participate in the funeral services for the deceased.

“By burying the bodies of the faithful, the Church confirms her faith in the resurrection of the body, and intends to show the great dignity of the human body as an integral part of the human person whose body forms part of their identity,” explained Cardinal Gerhard Mueller in the document, backdated to August 15 but was officially released Tuesday.

“She cannot, therefore, condone attitudes or permit rites that involve erroneous ideas about death, such as considering death as the definitive annihilation of the person, or the moment of fusion with Mother Nature or the universe, or as a stage in the cycle of regeneration, or as the definitive liberation from the ‘prison’ of the body.”

“In order that every appearance of pantheism, naturalism or nihilism be avoided, 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,” Cardinal Mueller added. “These courses of action cannot be legitimized by an appeal to the sanitary, social, or economic motives that may have occasioned the choice of cremation.”

Accordingly, Pope Francis’s chief advisor on doctrine concluded, “When the deceased notoriously has requested cremation and the scattering of their ashes for reasons contrary to the Christian faith, a Christian funeral must be denied to that person according to the norms of the law.”

“The dead body isn’t the private property of relatives, but rather a son of God who is part of the people of God,” Cardinal Mueller, who heads the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told reporters at a press briefing, reported the Associated Press. “We have to get over this individualistic thinking.”

The document, “Ad resurgendum cum Christo,” comes one week before the Church’s annual celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, observed on Nov. 1 and 2, respectively.

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