Cremation and Roman Catholic Church
Oct 31, 1997 09:06 PM
Here is an interesting msg I saw. .......mkr
>From: Barry Hardy <email@example.com>
>Subject: News: Vatican Changes Policy On Cremation (Infallability Not Effected)
Copyright 1997 The Kansas City Star Co.
THE KANSAS CITY STAR
September 28, 1997 Sunday METROPOLITAN EDITION
SECTION: OPINION; Pg. M2
LENGTH: 282 words
HEADLINE: A policy change on cremation
The Vatican shows flexibility on difficult matter.
BYLINE: BILL TAMMEUS
A recent Vatican action no doubt will bring comfort to millions
of American Roman Catholics at a time of grief.
Catholic bishops have received final approval to allow for the
full celebration of funeral rites in the presence of cremated remains
of the deceased. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops
announced recently that the Vatican has approved the liturgical texts
to be used in such funerals.
This has been a difficult matter for many in the church.
Historically the church opposed cremation, though it granted
permission in 1963 as long as it was not understood as a sign denying
Christian teaching, especially about what the Apostles' Creed calls
resurrection of the body. Twenty years later that permission was made
official in church law, though the church still recommended burying
Even so, the church continued to deny permission to have the
cremated remains present for a full funeral and asked that bodies not
be cremated until after a funeral Mass is celebrated. This led at
times to considerable awkwardness and occasional hard feelings.
All the while, cremation has become a widely practiced option
among Catholics. The Cremation Association of America says about 30
percent of Catholic funerals now include cremation.
In March the Vatican approved the practice of allowing cremated
remains to be present at the funeral. Now it has approved the
liturgical language to be used. Many Catholics will be grateful to
the church for showing flexibility in this sensitive matter.
Barry L. Hardy
Georgia State University
School of Law, 2L
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