Catholic Issues & Cremation

Roman Catholic Protocol for Cremation

The Roman Catholic Church provides preferences and protocol regarding the cremation of human remains. Here is an important time-line regarding this issue:

  • Vatican II removed the prohibition against cremation. Ashes were not allowed in church.

  • 1997 - Change in policy. Ashes are now allowed in church.

Even with this change in policy, there are several suggested guidelines that the Roman Catholic Church makes:

  • The preference is for the body to be brought into church for a "Mass of Christian Burial" and then cremated after.
  • If  that is not possible, then the ashes may be brought into church for the "Mass of Christian Burial" as long as they are in a suitable container. This is preferable to a "Memorial Mass" with no remains present.
  • The Roman Catholic Church does not approve of scattering of ashes. It takes the position that the cremated remains must be maintained whole.
  • The Roman Catholic Church prefers that the cremated remains are buried or entombed on sacred ground, such as a cemetery.