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Niches: Cremation & Inurnment
Background: A Better Understanding
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Burial Options: Cremation & The Catholic Church
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From 1886 to 1963 the practice of cremation was forbidden for Roman Catholics around the world. In the spirit of Vatican Council II (1962-1965), the practice was restored in 1963. Nevertheless, over 40 years later, uncertainty regarding cremation remains prevalent.

Yes, Catholics can choose to be cremated. The revised Code of Canon Law (1983) states — 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 (Canon 1176, paragraph 3). Obviously, denial of the Resurrection of the body or an attachment to non-Christian (secular or religious) beliefs would be contrary to Christian teaching.

Going back into Christian history and tradition, the Church has always expressed a preference for full-body burial, whether above-ground or in-ground. The risk taken by Joseph of Arimathea to claim the body of Jesus after his death on the cross shows the respect Christians have for the human body.

God not only created us in the fullness of our humanity, but also sent his Son to take on our body and our nature. Being made in the image and likeness of God makes our bodies innately honorable.

Look as well at the elaborate efforts, again risking arrest and death, of the Christians living in persecuting Rome. They worshipped underground and buried their dead in catacombs, over 300 miles of excavated tunnels and caverns.

Actually, the Church did not have difficulty with the process of reducing a human body to its component parts by fire, as much as with the internal attitudes or beliefs often underlying this external action.

Why did Christians move away from cremation?
  Faith in the Resurrection of the body
  Reverence for the body as a member of the Body of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit
  A strong reaction to persecutors' burning of bodies as a taunt against belief in the Resurrection
Why can Christians choose cremation?
  Transfer of the remains from a distant place
  Financial, ecological or space considerations
  National or ethnic customs
  Concerns or fears about burial or entombment
  Simple personal preference or a choice made on behalf of another

We have eight different cemeteries each with many niche locations and options, you can inquire about niche inurnment or initiate a purchase of a niche by calling or visiting any of our cemeteries to talk with a Family Service Counselor. You can request more information here. However you approach us, we wish to make a full disclosure of all your options and their costs.

In This Area —
Niches: Background Niche Considerations
A Need for Reflection Niche Configurations
Cremation & the OCF Niche Configurations Illustrated
Catholic Cemetery Principles Memorialization: Cremation Urns

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