The Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog has set out new guidelines for Catholics who want to be cremated, saying their remains must be stored in a sacred place and cannot be scattered, or kept at home.
Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), issued the instruction last week.
Ad resurgendum cum Christo (“To Rise with Christ”) was written after consultation with other Vatican offices and bishops’ conferences and the Eastern churches’ synods of bishops.
“Soon, in many countries, cremation will be considered the ordinary way” to deal with the dead, including for Catholics, the cardinal said.
Cremation, in and of itself, does not constitute a denial of belief in the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body, the instruction says.
Nevertheless, an anonymous burial or scattering of ashes “is not compatible with the Christian faith,” Cardinal Müller said.
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