The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a new document on the burial of the dead and on the conservation of the ashes in cases of cremation.
There is almost no new/different teaching in the document, but I highly recommend everyone read through this very short and beautiful document to remind themselves of our teaching.
Probably the most important thing is the proper treatment of cremated remains. With a rise in the scattering of ashes in all manner of places and even inclusion of them in jewelry and other objects, it’s important to remember that these remains need proper treatment – long after you and your children have passed on. While it might seem great to keep grandma’s ashes on the mantle or some of dad’s ashes in a ring, this isn’t a very good long-term solution after many generations. It opens their remains up to possible mistreatment or accidents. Further, it hinders them from being a witness and source of prayer for the living faithful that come after.
It is important to remember that if you pass away – what happens to the remains in my care? Some may not even know you have others remains nor their final wishes. Objects may contain remains might be thrown out into the garbage or even sold at a garage sale. Having remains in private hands can leave open the possibility of spilling/getting lost. For these reasons, all believers are directed to be buried at a location that have trusted, long-term ways of ensuring their safe management. Burial grounds are protected by strict laws that ensure their safety long after you and your progeny have passed.
If you do find yourself with the remains of a loved one, please don’t hesitate to contact your local parish office. They’ll happily guide you through getting them interred in a safe way.