Vatican warns Catholics against scattering of ashes

Pope Francis.
Pope Francis.
  • Burial still Catholic Church’s preferred option
  • Catholics not permitted to scatter ashes
  • New guidelines approved by Pope Francis

The Vatican has warned Catholics who wish to be cremated when the die that they are not permitted to have their ashes scattered.

The Catholic Church published guidelines on Wednesday instructing Catholics that ashes should be stored correctly in a sacred church approved location.

The Vatican first permitted Catholics to be cremated in 1963 as long as it didn’t contradict the church’s faith in resurrection.

The new guidelines, which were issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, reaffirmed the church’s preference for a traditional burial but laid out guidelines for those Catholics wishing to be cremated.

The Church said Catholics cannot and should not store ashes at home as it would deprive the Catholic community as a whole from remembering the dead.

In exceptional circumstances a bishop can permit ashes to be stored at home.

The Church also forbids Catholics from dividing the ashes of a loved one between family members.

The scattering of ashes at a favourite place or at home is strictly forbidden as the Catholic Church says that would give credence to “pantheism, naturalism or nihilism”.

The guidelines are dated August 15 and were approved by Pope Francis in March.