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'Quick Help' Page: Is It Okay To Wear Or Scatter Ashes Of Deceased Person?

 

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Related Terms...

Cremation | Cremate | Cremated

Cremains | Ashes

Deceased Person's Ashes

Wearing Ashes

Ashes in Jewelry

Scattering Ashes

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Arrow Question / Issue:

Is it okay to wear ashes of one who has passed away?

Is it acceptable to put a cremated person's ashes in jewelry?

Can Catholics scatter ashes?

 

Arrow Answer / Resources:

[click link(s) below, as applicable]

First, the traditional teaching of the Church regarding cremation is...

"Can. 1203 § 1 The bodies of the faithful departed shall be buried, their cremation being reprobated. § 2 If anyone by any manner orders that his body be cremated, it is illicit to execute that desire; and if this was added to any contract or testament or any other act it is considered as not being added." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

Pope Leo XIII ordered that Ordinaries...

"...have the faithful of Christ instructed on the detestable abuse of cremating human bodies, and that with all their might they deter the flock entrusted to them from this (practice)."

This practice has always been rejected by Catholics until the "sinister movement" (Catholic Encyclopedia) pushing for cremation gained ground. The 1983 Code of Canon Law states that: "Can. 1176 §3 The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burial be retained; but it does not forbid cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching."

Tradition-minded Catholics would reject the novel practice altogether. Other Catholics, unfortunately, may chose this option.

For those who have chosen this unfortunate option, it is NOT acceptable to wear or scatter ashes. As stated in a 2016 document by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which was approved by Pope Francis...

"... the ashes of the faithful must be laid to rest in a sacred place, that is, in a cemetery or, in certain cases, in a church or an area, which has been set aside for this purpose, and so dedicated by the competent ecclesial authority."

And that...

"...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."


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