Our conversations were very good and I enjoyed the time together. As we talked about these concerns it became clear that we will need to continue our discussions together before we can begin to address them with our people.
What was surprising to me is the rise in the popularity of cremation. In my six years as a priest, I think I have only encountered it two or three times, and for that I am grateful.
Since I have been awake since 3:00 a.m. (I went to be bed a little before 9:00 p.m. as I continue to suffer with jet lag) I have been trying to catch up on my blog reading. I was pleasantly surprised to find a post from Father John Boyle on cremation.
Father Boyle reminds us that while the Church permits cremation (Catechism 2301), she "earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the deceased be observed" (canon 1176 § 3).
Given this strong recommendation, Father Boyle asks:
Given this grudging permission ("does not prohibit") how is it that cremation has become so common amongst Catholics? It has always seemed to me unworthy of the dignity of the body of a baptised person - being a Temple of God - to consign it to the flames of a cremator. As Christ himself descended into the tomb after His death in anticipation of His Resurrection, so burial is a more perfect imitation of Christ the Lord as our bodies rest in the tomb awaiting the resurrection of the dead at the Last Day.I agree with him, and think if more people knew what really happens in cremation they would not opt for it (for example, after the cremation bones remain which are then pulverized into fine particles).