Sorry for my lack of posting these last two weeks, I was over in the good old USA having returned at the weekend and I'm still working through the jetlag.
In the car today I was listening to a debate on RTE about cremation versus
burial and people’s views on it either way. It was interesting to hear both sides’
impassioned arguments on the subject.
I suppose it brought home to me a topic I have a very real dislike of even
thinking about, my own and my family’s deaths. Before I became more confident
in my faith I admit that death scared me but now it doesn't. I have faith that
death isn't the end but the beginning.
Both of my parents are still relatively young (mid 50's) but both of them
have expressed to me their wishes for when they die. My mother wishes to be
buried in the family plot with all of the traditional rites of the Church. My
father on the other hand wants a cremation and then wants me, the eldest, to
scatter his ashes.
I'm sure for a lot of people this wouldn't present a problem but as I am a
Catholic it does. For many years cremation was banned in the Church but
recently it has been relaxed yet with the stipulation that the remains must be
buried in an urn within a consecrated grave or placed inside a mausoleum. The
scattering of ashes or keeping them in a house is inappropriate to the Church's
deep reverence for the body as a place where the soul has resided
The current Code of Canon Law (No 1176) "The Church earnestly
recommends the pious custom of burial be retained; but it does not forbid
cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian
So I suppose the issue will arise when my father departs this life for the
next, do I follow my own desires and religious beliefs and have his remains
buried in a consecrated grave yard or do I follow his wishes as his son and respect
It's the one thing that none of us can avoid but quite often the thing we
are least prepared for or willing to talk about.