By Nicole Winfield
October 25, 2016
VATICAN CITY – The Vatican on Tuesday published guidelines for Catholics who want to be cremated, saying their remains cannot be scattered, divvied up or kept at home but rather stored in a sacred, church-approved place.
The new instructions were released just in time for Halloween, and All Souls Day on Nov. 2, when the faithful are supposed to pray for and remember the dead.
For most of its 2,000-year history, the Catholic Church only permitted burial, arguing that it best expressed the Christian hope in resurrection. But in 1963, the Vatican explicitly allowed cremation as long as it didn’t suggest a denial of faith about resurrection.
The new document from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith repeats that burial remains preferred but lays out guidelines for conserving ashes for the increasing numbers of Catholics who choose cremation.