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Can Catholics be cremated? I was taught that cremation is a pagan ritual and therefore forbidden.

Full Question

Can Catholics be cremated? I was taught that cremation is a pagan ritual and therefore forbidden.

Answer

Early Christians opposed cremation because pagans often cremated their dead as a sign of disdain for the Christian’s belief in the physical resurrection of the body. To protect belief in this doctrine of faith, the Church forbade cremation. That prohibition was lifted in 1963.

The Church still recommends that the faithful be buried, but Catholics may be cremated so long as cremation does not demonstrate a denial of belief in the resurrection of the body (CCC 2301).










26 comments

  1. Nina Reply

    I Love these articles. The comments are a problem. I find Catholics criticizing others over minor things distasteful. If people would worship as Jesus taught us to do and give their full attention to worship, they would not find time to look around and be critical of others.

    1. emily ward Reply

      I really agree to this, attend worship, love your neighbour as yourself as best you can, try to follow the laws of God s near as you can as humans and live a peaceful life, accepting others as they are or choose to be or look, remembering that none of us are without sin, and judgement only will bring judgment back upon us. We are all unique human beings, we are all different in our ways, our choices and the way we dress or prepare ourselves, in order to have the confidence to live a normal life. For some it may be a simple wash and clean clothes, for another it may be brushing the hair in a certain way, putting a bit of colour on, special supported shoes, crutches, a certain style of make up, hiding a scar, OCD behaviour in order to feel confident enough to leave the house, everyone is different and as Christians we should accept these differences, and not make others feel unwelcome, unworthy, or shunned. As long as we are not deliberately hurting anyone, it is our human right to chose the way we appear, the way we communicate, and our lifestyle. God has given us free will, and it is from him only that we need approval. We can all learn something from each other, and in embracing others in genuine friendship without nit picking, insulting or drawing attention to our differences, and ways, we can learn all kinds of things, new recipes, crafts, languages, ideas, how to repair things, or get to know others who can be a blessing in our own life, helping each other with things we are able to do.

      1. Veronica Reply

        Lovely testimony ❤️

    2. Richard Reply

      Being prudent is a gift of the Holy Spirit, it is what keeps us out of sin.

    3. missyl1818@yahoo.com Reply

      You just did the same thing.. You commented on something minor.

    4. linda Reply

      I am a Catholic born and reared and my in-laws were Baptist , they would always criticize my religion, until one day I started to lash back at them which finally shut them up. I believe that as long as you have the Faith in whatever you believe in, it doesn’t matter what Religion you are and what God you serve.

      1. DARRAN Reply

        Excepting the fact there is only one God, and He is quite concerned that we follow the correct religion.

    5. Diana Hernandez Reply

      Nina I feel the same way…

    6. linda Reply

      Thank you, people act like they are so perfect and so quick to judge others, and then they profess to believe in God’s teachings, to me they are what I call a Hypocrite.

    7. Antoinette Reply

      I am not about to answer this question. I am in obedience to the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church.
      However, it is interesting to note here that the body of a Carmelite nun was found by accident to be incorrupt , having died in 1970. During an extension to the convent the cemetery had to be moved and her coffin opened. In her hand she also held a palm which was still as fresh as the day she was buried. She is known as Mother Teresa of Coopersburg (Philidelphia U.S.A.

  2. enrique bautista jr. Reply

    thanks for enlightening us

  3. Mary Zoeller Reply

    if God can resurrect some one killed in a house fire or at the bottom of the ocean He can do so after we are cremated

    1. Therese Reply

      I totally agree with you.

  4. veronica georgia Wahlberg Reply

    What if your catholic .belive in all were thought .but when time comes to pass over too heaven and you cant afford a funeral .is that a sin .even thought you only belive in burals .what them? Help me find out cuz im 58 and am poor no insurance for that .dont belive in the burning of the body but will have no choice. Cuz. Im so poor .will jesus forgive me?.

    1. Kat Lawrence Reply

      Of course Jesus will forgive you! If cremation is all you can afford, the Church recognises and understands that.

      CCC 2301: The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a5.htm

      From the EWTN website:
      The old (1917) prohibited cremation and required the bodies of the faithful to be buried. Again, an exception was given in times of mass death and the threat of disease. Those individuals who had directed their bodies to be cremated were denied ecclesiastical burial. In 1963, the Church clarified this regulation, prohibiting cremation for anyone who wanted it simply as some testimony against the faith.

      The new (1983) stipulates, “The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the dead be observed; it does not, however, forbid cremation unless it has been chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching” (No. 1176, 3). Therefore, a person may choose to be cremated if he has the right intention. However, the cremated remains must be treated with respect and should be interred in a grave or columbarium.

  5. Will Reply

    Cremation is wrong. How would we know if someone would be an incorrupt if we burnt their body when they died. Example of St Bernadette. Pagans burned their bodies. The Jews always revered the dead body. It’s wrong wrong wrong

    1. Dave Reply

      “How would we know if someone would be an incorrupt if we burnt their body when they died” Did you ever think that the body would remain incorrupt, would not be consumed by the flames? With your line of thinking, it would also be wrong to embalm the body since any “preservation” could be chemical as apposed to divine. The” reverence” Jews have for the dead has a lot to do with laws for cleanliness which is why they traditionally bury their dead by sundown (or within in 24 hrs) and ritualistically wash before entering their home after the burial.

    2. noyp Reply

      if God created humans from ash then if they will die and be buried or cremated the same result they all turn to ash, the same way they will be resurrected again from ash.. with God there will be no corrupt or incorrupt

  6. Nicole Reply

    I feel that if our body is just our vessel on Earth and our soul is what goes to heaven, not our body, that being cremated is not a problem because our soul is what matters the most.

  7. Mary Gonzalez Reply

    Cremation is a personal preference. How would we know if they’re in corrupt if they’re buried any2ay? So far in my life time I have never met anyone even close to sainthood. So font worry about your body being incorrupt or you would be a priest, monk or missionary dedicating your life to God and doing his work.

  8. Vince Tawake Reply

    Goes back to tradition>Was Jesus buried or cremated??what about the apostles??Why are not they cremated??What about You when you die??Please do ask the Why question..Reason things out>be rational..we are rational, thinking beingsdo not just be argumentative trying to defend youself..shallow & narrow minds do not speculate..They argue unnecessarily”KEEP Hold to The tradition you have been taught”(Its Biblical)

    1. Andre Reply

      The bible does not instruct how we dispose the dead body. Saul’s son was cremated too. A lot of martyrs were cremated and their ashes scattered. Don’t limit God’s power.

  9. Jennie Reply

    One of my former priests said I could be cremated, providing my ashes were not scattered.

  10. Adriana Reply

    My Dad was cremated and we found a local Catholic church that has ground space that was consecrated and people’s ashes are buried there…gave the entire family peace of mind..to know that my dad’s ashes would never wonder from place to place. The priest buried his ashes and we had a small ceremony.

  11. paulroppolo Reply

    9 TIMES OUTTA 10 A CATHOLIC IS BEING JUDGEMENTAL OR ACTING AS IF THEY ARE PERFECT BECAUSE IT IS IN SELF DEFENSE. I AS A CATHOLIC HAVE BEEN CALLED PAGAN, IDOL WORSHIPER, MARY WORSHIPER, AN CULTIST, BY ALL MY SO CALLED PROTESTANT BROTHERS, AND I AM DAMN SICK OF IT. THE PROTESTANTS TO ME ARE THE HOLYIER THAN THOU PEOPLE!!!

  12. Andre Reply

    Don’t limit God’s power. God also can resurrect the body that ashes have been scattered. In my community, most Catholics scattered their love one ashes at the sea or river. People don’t feel comfortable keeping their ashes in the urn permanently.The Catholic church (in USA)only makes recommendations about keeping ashes, but it’s not something binding. I always go to the beach and scatter some flowers on the beach in memory of my death relatives.

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