Church opposes scattering ashes of the deceased

April 14, 2014

VANCOUVER – Scattering the cremated remains of a loved one on a mountain, lake or park might seem poetic, but the Church discourages the practice.

"The Church, for reasons of respect and dignity of the body, requires that Catholics inter the full body or cremated remains in sacred ground," said Peter Nobes, director of Catholic Cemeteries of the Vancouver Archdiocese.

Cremation has been allowed for Catholics since 1963.

"The Church permits cremation provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body," explains the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

In a 2006 statement, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said, "The great respect the Church has for the bodies of its deceased should be evident in the way the cremated remains are treated.

"Scattering cremated remains on the sea, in the air, or on the ground, or keeping them in the homes of relatives, does not display appropriate reverence, and the Church does not offer a prayer service when that kind of disposal has been chosen."