Thursday, November 3, 2016
Catholic Church bans scattering of ashes as "pantheism"
Posted by Lynne Butler
Fairly often, clients will discuss known restrictions or guidelines that are part of their faith. Generally they want me to be aware of restrictions so that the documents I prepare address them properly, thus ensuring that the restrictions will be followed by executors and family members who carry out their funerals later. I can't remember any client who told me about religious restrictions then told me they wanted to ignore them.
With my clients in mind, I read with interest a recent article which discusses new restrictions from the Roman Catholic Church regarding cremation. Though cremation itself is - reluctantly - approved of by the Church, the scattering of ashes or even the keeping of ashes in an urn at home is forbidden. The Church wants the ashes kept in a sacred place such as a cemetery. Click here to read an article that gives more detail about the restrictions and the reasons for them.
Cremation is by far the most popular method of disposition, judging by the instructions my clients ask me to include in their documents. Thirty years ago, I was rarely told by clients that they wanted cremation whereas now it is pretty much standard. I wonder whether the new rules from the Catholic Church will have an effect on the popularity of cremation itself, or if it will simply change the practice of scattering ashes that is currently the practice. It's not my place to give clients religious advice, so I hope this is something they learn about from their religious leaders.