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What does the Catholic Church say about cremation?

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Cremation is sometimes used more often if a person is elderly or dying from a terminal disease.

Can I refuse to allow my partner to be cremated if I don’t want him as a companion for me in Heaven?

There is no set rule or law governing these cases. If a partner is refusing to be cremated but cannot perform the last rites for his partner in heaven, a priest/deacon can perform the last rites and the couple can be united once again in heaven.

How can I tell if my church allows cremation?

There are a number of organizations that can help you determine the local church’s position on this subject.

Can you tell me the difference between cremation and interment?

Cremation is the process by which a body is cremated. Interment has an associated ceremony of placing a person’s ashes in the ground. This is considered the traditional way of burying a body that was cremated.


I don’t like what you told me about cremation — what do I do?

Cremation has never been permitted in the Catholic Church, with the exception of the Catholic Church itself, so it is difficult for many people to say they are comfortable with their choice. However, if you agree with the Church’s position that cremation is the proper way to honor the dead, then by all means, continue the practice.

What about interment, then?

Catholic practice has always been to bury the dead according to custom (i.e., a Catholic priest or other ecclesiastical order or family member or friend, who in their opinion is competent to conduct a burial service). This custom was not changed by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Interment did happen in many places outside Rome but was not encouraged by Pope Paul VI or Pope John Paul II. Today there are a number of options for interment, including burial in an unmarked grave, reburial with a simple mass of the deceased (with some differences in order of preference), and interment with a permanent monument. You can ask your local Catholic parish to list the churches who offer these options.

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