In ancient Rome and Greece, cremation was associated with pagan practices, which contradicted the Christian view of respect for the human body in life and in death. So, for a long time it was strictly forbidden for Catholics to be cremated. Pope Paul VI reviewed the matter in the light of the prevailing cultural climate of the mid-20th century, and decided to lift the ban on cremation, and to prohibit it only when, in the words of Canon Law, "it is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching" (Can. 1176:3).

In summary: the Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2301).

If a person chooses to be cremated, the Church teaches that the remains should be treated with the same respect as the decomposed remains of a body and should be buried or entombed in a place suitable for commemoration of the deceased.

 

Acknowledgements
Crossroads photo by Vladislov Babienko on Unsplash

NIHIL OBSTAT
Rev. Dr Paul Connell, 8 November 2021

IMPRIMATUR
Bishop Shane Mackinlay, Bishop of Sandhurst, 8 November 2021

Reviewed
8 November 2021

Back to top