To Rise with Christ (part 2)
“Ad resurgendum cum Christo”
An Instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the burial of the dead and the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation Dated August 15,2016 and released by the Holy See today, October 25, 2016
Key Passages from “Ad resurgendum cum Christo”
(Continued From Last Week)
- 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 case, in a church or an area, which has been set aside for this purpose, and so dedicated by the competent ecclesial authority. From the earliest times, Christians have desired that the faithful departed become the objects of the Christian community’s prayers and remembrance. 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 chruch”.15
The reservation of the ashes of the departed in a sacred place ensures that they are not excluded from the prayers and remembrance of their family or the Christian community. 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 to passed away. Also it prevents any unfitting or superstitious practices.
- For the reasons given above, the conservation of the ashes of the departed in a domestic residence is not permitted. Only in grave and exceptional cases dependent on cultural conditions of a localized nature, may the Ordinary, in agreement with the Episcopal Conference or the Synod of Bishops of the Oriental Churches, concede permission for the conservation of the ashes of the departed in a domestic residence. Nonetheless, the ashes may not be divided among various family members and due respect must be maintained regarding the circumstances of such a conservation.
- 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 the be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects. These courses of action cannot be legitimized by and appeal to the sanitary, social, or economic motives that may have occasioned the choice of cremation.
- When the deceased notoriously has requested cremation and scattering of their ashes for reasons contrary to the Christian Faith, a Christian funeral must be denied to that person according to he norms of the law.16