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Why Catholics Are Turning to Cremation When Planning Their Burial

Traditionally discouraged by the Catholic Church, cremation is now on the rise among Catholics — here’s why

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Death is a natural part of life, and yet it is something that we as humans tend to shy away from. We go to great lengths to avoid thinking about our own mortality, and when death happens, we often find ourselves at a loss for words. 

For Catholics, the topic of death and burial can be especially sensitive. The Catholic Church has long held that burial is the preferred method for laying bodies of the faithful to rest because burial is seen as a way of honoring the body, which is considered to be a temple of the Holy Spirit. 

Cremation, on the other hand, has traditionally been discouraged by the Catholic Church. In fact, up until 1963, the Catholic Church forbade the practice. But times have changed, and in recent years, they have begun to soften their stance on cremation. 

Nowadays, an increasing number of Catholics are opting for cremation when planning their burial. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the reasons why this trend is on the rise. 

Why Catholics Are Choosing Cremation 


One of the main reasons why Catholics are choosing cremation is because it is seen as a more affordable option. The cost of a traditional funeral can be quite high, especially when you factor in things like the casket, the headstone and the cost of the funeral service itself. 

Cremation is typically much less expensive. The cremation process itself is relatively inexpensive, and if you opt for a cremation urn instead of a casket, you can save even more money. This is especially helpful for families who have a limited budget. 


Another reason why Catholics are choosing cremation is because it is seen as a simpler option. A traditional funeral can be quite elaborate, with all the different parts that need to be coordinated. This can be overwhelming for grieving families who are already dealing with a lot of emotional stress. 

There is also the issue of what to do with the remains. With burial, you need to find a suitable plot of land and make sure that the casket is properly interred.  

Click here to read How Much Does Cremation Cost? 


Another advantage of cremation is that it offers families more flexibility when it comes to the funeral service. With burial, the funeral service is typically held at the graveside. This can be a problem if the cemetery is located far away from where the family lives. 

With cremation, the funeral service can be held anywhere. This gives families the flexibility to hold the service in a place that is more convenient for them. It also allows them to personalize the service to better reflect the personality of the deceased. 

Click here to read about how to plan a cremation funeral. 


Environmental Concerns 

In recent years, there has been an increased focus on environmental issues. This has led many people to reconsider their choices when it comes to burial. After all, traditional burial methods require the use of a lot of resources, including wood for the casket, land for the grave and other resources for the burial itself, such as concrete for the burial vault. 

While cremation does require some resources, it is generally seen as a more environmentally friendly option because it doesn't require the use of nearly as many resources, and uses less energy than traditional burial methods. For families who are concerned about their impact on the environment, cremation is often seen as the best option. 

How The Catholic Theology Came to Accept Cremation 

While in-ground burial has always been the preferred method of disposition for Catholics, the Catholic Church has gradually come to accept cremation as a viable option. 

In 1963, the Catholic Church lifted its prohibition on cremation after realizing that more and more people were choosing cremation for non-religious reasons. From that point on, cremation became an acceptable option for Catholics.  

Catholic Guidelines for Cremation 

The Catholic Church may permit cremation; however, there are still strict guidelines that must be followed. 

Most importantly, the cremated remains must be handled with the same care and respect as a deceased person's body. This means that they should be buried in a cemetery or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium.  

Furthermore, one person's cremated remains must not be mixed with another person's remains. Each individual must have their own separate container for their ashes. 

Finally, the Catholic Church requires that funeral services be held before cremation takes place. They feel this gives families the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved one in a proper way. 

Catholics who choose to be cremated are encouraged to keep these guidelines in mind. By doing so, they can ensure that their cremation is carried out in a way that is respectful of both their wishes and their Catholic faith. 

Click here to learn how to plan a memorial service after cremation. 

Considering Cremation as a Catholic 

While cremation may not be the preferred method of disposition for Catholics, it is an option that is permissible by the Catholic Church under certain circumstances. 

Catholic families who are considering cremation should consult with their priest to ensure that they are following the Catholic Church's guidelines.

Still unsure? Click here to read Cremation or Burial: Which is Better for Your Family? offers additional articles on cremation and pre-planning:
By By StoneMor Inc.

Honoring your family is our life's work. As a family-first network of cemeteries and funeral homes, we aim to be an industry leader in celebrating and honoring a person's life in a way they want that story to be told., an on-line resource provided by StoneMor Inc., has everything you need to plan end-of-life services at both a time of at-need as well as in advance to secure the comfort of peace of mind.

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