The Catholic Church has the belief that cremation is a beautiful way to dispose of the remains of the deceased. This is a Christian belief based on Scripture and on the teachings of the Church. As part of Catholic funeral rites, funeral directors are sometimes authorized and encouraged to use cremated bodies as a final alternative to the traditional funeral procession. According to Church doctrine, the cremated remains should be given to a religious place, or given to another religious order, before being buried.
In 1996, the Catholic Church in the United States published the “Cremation In America” report, which provided a broad perspective on this issue. The report stated that a Catholic funeral director is permitted to dispose of a decomposing body using cremation in these circumstances. The report added that an authorized Catholic funeral director is not required to use cremation in these circumstances. However, according to the report, the cemetery manager and the director of the mortuary are generally required to approve the use of cremation or a cremation alternative. The cemetery manager is the custodian of the corpse and may reject the use of the body following its burial if the director and the mortuary director do not do so. In a case of controversy, an Ohio court in 1988 ruled that, pursuant to Catholic Law, an authorized Catholic funeral director was required to obtain a religious permit to conduct a cremation funeral.
While many people believe in the right of cremation, there are several important considerations that must be made when determining this right. One important reason for this is the need for proper training. The Catholic Church does not necessarily require that training to have cremation rights, but rather it encourages the practice that it be done in accordance with Catholic teachings and doctrine. According to the Catholic Church’s “Cremation in America” report, Catholic funeral directors are permitted to dispose of a decomposing body using cremation in these circumstances in addition to burial. The report stated, “A Catholic funeral director should be knowledgeable about the Catholic Church’s teachings on cremation, including the following points” (p. 11):
“Cremation and the burial of a corpse should be performed in order that, at the end of the funeral home’s funeral service, the cremated remains are not placed in a permanent manner in a grave where they could damage the body or leave the mortal remains permanently inaccessible to future generations.”
“The burial of an unburied corpse has a spiritual and spiritual effect that is not possible in the burial of another corpse under normal circumstances,
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