Catholic Candle note: One of the reasons more people do not believe and practice the Catholic Church’s full Traditions and Truth, is because Traditional Catholics are not ready and able to defend and teach that full truth to their friends and relatives. For example, we do not thoroughly inform ourselves on the evils of cremation, acting as if it is enough for us to decide to avoid cremation ourselves.
But we have a continual duty to study
our Faith and the contrary errors, especially the principal errors of our times. As St. Peter taught, we must be “ready always
to satisfy everyone
that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.”
1 St. Peter 3:15 (emphasis added).
Thus, let us use the article below (against cremation), as an opportunity to arm ourselves to warn and teach others the wisdom of Catholicism and the evil of cremation.
Don’t attend any services for the cremated.
and pagans often cremate their dead. As (former) Christendom sinks further into paganism, it is tragic but foreseeable that society will adopt more of the barbaric practices of the heathens.
Cremation is gravely sinful and there are eighteen ways to see this truth:
- Christendom’s prohibition of cremation shows us that it is sinful.
- St. Augustine, Father and Doctor of the Church, shows us that we must bury the dead, not cremate them.
- God shows the evil of cremation by punishing Moab for cremation in the Old Testament.
- Cremation conflicts with the Church’s teaching and prayers since Apostolic Times.
- Cremation is sinful because it is not Christ-like or Mary-like.
- Our bodies belong to God, and cremation is a sin against God’s rights over our bodies.
- Cremation arises from a mortal sin of pride.
- One sign that cremation is sinful is that (former) Christendom accepted cremation only as part of a broader acceptance of evil beginning in the 1960s.
- Anti-Catholic Freemasonry is behind the promotion of cremation.
- The 1917 Code of Canon law should be our guide and it prohibits cremation with the severest penalties.
- Lex Faciendi, Lex Credendi (The way we act tends to change the way we believe.)
- Cremation is against the Catholic Church’s practice of devotion to the saints.
- Cremation prevents the merit of the Corporal Work of Mercy: To Bury the Dead.
- Cremation violates the Natural Law that we respect and bury the dead.
- Cremation impedes justice by destroying the possibility of exhuming a body during a later criminal investigation for murder, e.g., poisoning.
- Cremation causes great scandal (bad example).
- Wise and virtuous men show us that cremation is sinful.
- Cremation is sinful because it violates our duty to act differently than the barbarians around us.
Below, we examine each of these eighteen reasons.
1. Christendom’s prohibition of cremation shows us that it is sinful.
We see cremation is sinful because Christendom prohibited it:
- The founders of Christendom, the Catholic missionaries in each country, show us that cremation is evil, by ending this evil among their converts.
As the Catholic Encyclopedia explained, from the time of the apostles “the Christians never burned their dead”. 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia, article: Cremation.
Further, this is how one history of cremation explained the cessation of cremation when Europe was converted to the true Catholic Faith:
Christianity [i.e., Catholicism] frowned upon cremation .... By the 5th century, the practice of cremation had practically disappeared from Europe. ... The custom [also] died out with the Christian [i.e., Catholic] conversion among the Anglo-Saxons or Early English during the seventh century, when inhumation [i.e., burial] of the corpse became general [practice].
Here is another account noting that Catholics did not cremate the dead:
By the fifth century of the Christian [i.e., Catholic] Era, owing in great part to the rapid progress of Christianity, the practice of cremation had entirely ceased.
Quoted from the 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia, article: Cremation (bracketed word added).
- Catholic rulers traditionally forbade cremation (when and where Catholicism had influence).
These rulers understood that they were fulfilling their duty to guard the morals of their people and make their people virtuous.
See, for example:
[B]y 400 A.D., as a result of Constantine's Christianization of the Empire, earth burial had completely replaced cremation except for rare instances of plague or war, and for the next 1,500 years remained the accepted mode of disposition throughout Europe.
Also, see, for example:
Cremation had been banned officially by Emperor Charlemagne in 789 as a capital offense and was generally perceived as a pagan practice antithetical to Christianity.”
Quoted from Religion, Death, and Dying, by Lucy Bregman, vol. 3, ABC-CLIO (publisher), Santa Barbara, CA, © 2010, p. 13.
As St. Thomas Aquinas explains, “it belongs ... [to] the function of the ruler to provide the good life for the many, in terms of what will obtain for them the beatitude of heaven”. On Kingship, Bk. 1, c.15.
If we were living in a truly Catholic society, cremation would be illegal. We should not do now while living among the godless, what we would not do in a truly Catholic society.
2. St. Augustine shows we must bury the dead, not cremate them.
St. Augustine, Father and Doctor of the Catholic Church, teaches that it is “culpable irreligiousness” (i.e.,
sinful) not to bury the dead.
Here is the longer quote from St. Augustine:
Now this is sometimes serviceably done; whether for some sort of solace to the survivors, to whom pertain those dead whose likenesses appear to them as they dream; or whether that by these admonitions the human race may be made to have regard to humanity of sepulture [i.e., burial], which, allow that it be no help to the departed, yet is there culpable irreligiousness in slighting of it.
St. Augustine, On the Care of the Dead, #12 (bracketed word added for clarity).
St. Augustine also teaches that:
the bodies of the dead are not ... to be despised and left unburied; least of all the bodies of the righteous and faithful, which have been used by the Holy Ghost as His organs and instruments for all good works.
St. Augustine, City of God, Bk. 1, ch 13.
Following the great St. Augustine, we should bury our dearly departed and not be culpably irreligious by accepting cremation.
3. In the Old Testament, God punished Moab for cremation.
Cremation desecrates a body. This desecration angers God and He punishes it. In the Old Testament, God declared that He would punish Moab for cremation. Here are God’s words through the prophet Amos:
Thus saith the Lord: For three crimes of Moab, and for four I will not convert him: because he hath burnt the bones of the king of Edom even to ashes.
It desecrates a body to burn it and we should reject cremation.
4. Cremation conflicts with the Church’s teaching and prayers since Apostolic Times.
We believe in the future Resurrection of the Body, the Last Judgment, Eternal Rest in heaven, and eternal punishment in hell.
Continually since Apostolic Times, one of the main Catholic images related to these dogmas is the Eternal Rest of the Blessed souls whose bodies are “sleeping” in their graves until Our Lord’s Second Coming. As the Holy Office explained in its June 19th 1926 condemnation of cremation:
In the eyes of faith, by burial, the body [is] laid under the earth where it will wait for its resurrection.
Quoted from the June 19, 1926 Holy Office Instruction condemning cremation.
This sleep of peace of those who rest in Christ, is why St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, teaches that:
[T]he cemeteries are as dormitories where the dead are waiting for the day of resurrection.
Quoted from the June 19, 1926 Holy Office Instruction condemning cremation.
Since Apostolic Times, in its teaching and prayers, the Church has continually and piously described the dead as sleeping.
For example, St. Paul taught that the faithful departed “are fallen asleep in Christ”. 1 Cor. 15:18. He declares that “Christ is risen from the dead, the first-fruits of them that sleep”. 1 Cor. 15:20.
St. Paul teaches that our bodies are “sowed” in the ground waiting for the resurrection to come:
And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not the body that shall be; but bare grain, as of wheat, or of some of the rest. But God giveth it a body as he will: and to every seed its proper body. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it shall rise in incorruption. It is sown in dishonour, it shall rise in glory. It is sown in weakness, it shall rise in power. It is sown a natural body, it shall rise a spiritual body.
1 Cor. 15:37-44.
Continually since ancient times, Catholic prayer has also described the dead as asleep. For example, in the Traditional Mass, the Church prays for “all who rest in Christ” and “who sleep the sleep of peace”.
Commemoration of the Dead at Mass.
Cremation not only destroys this Central Catholic Image, but also conflicts with the Church’s ancient liturgical burial rite.
In summary, since Apostolic Times, the Catholic Church has portrayed the faithful departed as sleeping the sleep of peace. To violently abuse bodies by burning them, opposes this traditional portrayal and rejects this apostolic patrimony.
We should refuse the evil of cremation.
5. Cremation is sinful because it is not Christ-like or Mary-like.
- We should imitate the saints because they reflect Christ and His mother. Saints did not and would not get cremated.
- Through accepting cremation, we badly represent the True Catholic Religion.
- Our Lord Jesus was buried, and He is our great example in all things. Our Lord chose burial for Himself
and for His Mother.
St. John’s Gospel, 19:38-42.
St. Paul teaches us that the faithful are buried with Christ.
See, e.g., the sermon of St. Germanus, Father of the Church, for the Feast of the Assumption.
By contrast, it is the damned that are burned, not the faithful. They are sent into flames not with Christ, but with the devil: “Depart from Me you cursed into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.”
St. Paul’s words are:
Buried with him in baptism, in whom also you are risen again by the
faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him up from the dead.
St. Matthew’s Gospel, 25:41.
- If we put all people into one of two groups—those who condone cremation and those who don’t—in which group are the friends of Christ and His Mother? Shouldn’t we think like the friends of Christ and His Mother so we can be in that group?
We should imitate Our Lord, His Mother and the saints by choosing burial and rejecting cremation.
6. Our bodies belong to God, and cremation is a sin against God’s rights over our bodies.
Our bodies are not our own. They belong to God and are temples of the Holy Ghost, although God gives us custody of them. We may not do whatever we want with them. We are admonished not to defile or dishonor them. As St. Paul declared:
Know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
Acknowledging the dignity of human bodies as temples of the Holy Ghost, we reverently bury them.
When we are given custody of someone’s property, we must preserve it as best we can even when it foreseeably will deteriorate. Thus, suppose our neighbor entrusts to us his wooden patio furniture. It foreseeably will rot over time, exposed to the weather. However, this expected rotting cannot justify us for incinerating it.
Similarly, God gives us custody of our bodies. They are God’s property and it is evil to deliberately harm them. Therefore, although it is foreseeable that our bodies deteriorate in this life and after death, it is evil to harm them deliberately by cremating them.
7. Cremation is a mortal sin arising from pride.
By cremation, man quickly destroys the body, whereas God wills that the body decays naturally and gradually.
Because of sin, God sentenced man to this corruption of his body: “Thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return.”
A good man resigns himself to the Will of Providence that his body decays in the grave.
By contrast, a proud man tries to escape this sentence imposed by God through destroying his body “before God has a chance” to do so through slow decay. This is like a man sentenced to death for his crimes killing himself before the death sentence can be carried out.
Man’s pride in destroying his body (choosing cremation) is like man’s pride in choosing euthanasia. Even when declining health shows a man that he will die soon, he proudly decides that “if I must die soon, I will die at the time I choose!” In his pride, man wants to be the master of himself by scheduling his own death. Likewise, although the body will corrupt, proud man decides HE will choose when and how, (through cremation).
This pride is demonic and shows we must reject cremation.
8. One sign that cremation is sinful is that (former) Christendom accepted cremation only when more broadly accepting many evils beginning in the 1960s.
A further sign that cremation is evil, is that it was accepted by (former) Christendom only as part of the general corruption beginning in the 1960s (e.g.,
Vatican II, hard rock music, the drug culture, tattoos,
Among all people in America, even the most godless, almost no one was cremated until beginning in the 1960s. Cremation has become steadily more popular since then. Society is now so corrupt that more than half of all people are cremated.
Because cremation only became “acceptable” when society became more corrupt, this is a sign that cremation is evil and is a mortal sin.
9. Anti-Catholic Freemasonry is behind the promotion of cremation.
For centuries after the Protestant Revolution, cremation was still rejected as a barbaric practice. Only in the late 1800s did the enemies of the Catholic Church begin to promote this evil practice. For example, the first cremation in North America was in 1876.
The first cremation in England was in 1885.
In response to the rise of this evil, the Catholic Church began a long series of condemnations of cremation, beginning in 1884.
1917 Catholic Encyclopedia, article: Cremation.
In 1926, the Holy Office of the Catholic Church warned that “cremation [is being] newly promoted by Freemasonry”.
June 19, 1926 Holy Office Instruction condemning cremation.
The Holy Office pointed to the scandal of cremation as “a public profession of irreligion and materialism”.
June 19, 1926 Holy Office Instruction condemning cremation.
10. The 1917 Code of Canon law should be our guide; it prohibits cremation with the severest penalties.
In response to the Masons’ promoting cremation beginning in the late 1800s, the Catholic Church quickly opposed this barbaric practice with canonical prohibitions, as well as condemnations. For example, Canon 1203 decrees:
The bodies of the faithful must be buried, and cremation is reprobated. If anyone has in any manner ordered his body to be cremated, it shall be unlawful to execute his wish.
Canon 1240, §5 decrees:
Persons who have given orders for the cremation of their bodies are deprived of ecclesiastical burial, unless they have before death given some signs of repentance.
Canon 1241 permanently prohibits all public Masses for a cremated person.
Canon 2339 decrees:
Persons who, in violation of the prohibition of Canon 1240, dare to order or force the ecclesiastical burial (of those who are to be deprived of it) incur excommunication ipso facto; and persons who of their own accord give ecclesiastical burial to the above mentioned, incur an interdict from entering a church.
We should be guided by the 1917 Code of Canon Law and completely reject cremation.
11. Lex Faciendi, Lex Credendi
The way we act tends to change the way we think. Thus, if we dress immodestly, we slowly change our standards of modesty and begin to think that the way we dress is modest or that “there is nothing wrong with it”.
Similarly, cremation is a practical denial of Catholic dogmas concerning: 1) the body as the temple of the Holy Ghost; 2) the resurrection of the body; as well as 3) heaven and 4) hell. One who accepts cremation will more readily doubt and then deny these four dogmas.
The Freemasons know this connection between deeds and beliefs. Historian, Fr. John Laux summarizes the Masonic plan in these words:
On December 8, 1869, the International Congress of Freemasons imposed it as a duty on all its members to do all in their power to wipe out Catholicity from the face of the earth. Cremation was proposed as a suitable means to this end, since it was calculated to gradually undermine the faith of the people in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting".
Catholic Morality, Fr. John Laux, TAN Books, Rockford, p. 106.
Thus, cremation gradually weakens and destroys the Catholic Faith.
12. Cremation contradicts the Catholic Church’s devotion to the saints.
It is common sense and genuine piety that Catholics would treasure the bodily relics of the saints.
Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas explains this truth:
It is clear from this that he who has a certain affection for anyone, venerates whatever of his is left after his death, not only his body and the parts thereof, but even external things, such as his clothes, and such like. Now it is manifest that we should show honor to the saints of God, as being members of Christ, the children and friends of God, and our intercessors. Wherefore in memory of them we ought to honor any relics of theirs in a fitting manner: principally their bodies, which were temples, and organs of the Holy Ghost dwelling and operating in them, and are destined to be likened to the body of Christ by the glory of the Resurrection. Hence God Himself fittingly honors such relics by working miracles at their presence.
Summa, IIIa, Q.25, a.6, respondeo.
God wills that we honor the relics of the saints.
Cremation destroys the relics of those whom the Church might later recognize and canonize as saints. Cremation lets man decide whether bodies will be preserved for later veneration.
Not only does cremation destroy the relics of saints, but the bodies of those who are being considered for canonization are exhumed as part of the process. Cremation thwarts this important part of the canonical investigation.
Further, cremation obstructs the miraculous preservation of the bodies of saints.
13. Cremation prevents the merit of the Corporal Work of Mercy: To Bury the Dead.
Burying the Dead is one of the great Corporal Works of Mercy. In the Old Testament, St. Raphael the Archangel praises Tobias because he risked his life to bury the dead:
When thou didst pray with tears, and didst bury the dead, and didst leave thy dinner, and hide the dead by day in thy house, and bury them by night, I offered thy prayer to the Lord.
Incinerating a body destroys the chance to bury it and perform this Corporal Work of Mercy.
14. Cremation violates the Natural Law that we respect and bury the dead.
Even natural reason and the Natural Law
The Natural Law is what we know we must do by the light of the natural reason God gave us. One example of the Natural Law is that we must never tell a lie. We naturally know this because we know that the purpose of speech is to convey the truth and so we naturally know that telling a lie is abusing the purpose of speech.
Here is how St. Thomas explains what the Natural Law is:
[L]aw, being a rule and measure, can be in a person in two ways: in one way, as in him that rules and measures; in another way, as in that which is ruled and measured, since a thing is ruled and measured, in so far as it partakes of the rule or measure. Wherefore, since all things subject to Divine providence are ruled and measured by the eternal law, as was stated above [in Summa, Ia IIae, Q.91, a.1]; it is evident that all things partake somewhat of the eternal law, in so far as, namely, from its being imprinted on them, they derive their respective inclinations to their proper acts and ends. Now among all others, the rational creature is subject to Divine providence in the most excellent way, in so far as it partakes of a share of providence, by being provident both for itself and for others. Wherefore it has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end: and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law. Hence the Psalmist after saying (Psalm 4:6): "Offer up the sacrifice of justice," as though someone asked what the works of justice are, adds: "Many say, Who showeth us good things?" in answer to which question he says: "The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us": thus implying that the light of natural reason, whereby we discern what is good and what is evil, which is the function of the natural law, is nothing else than an imprint on us of the Divine light. It is therefore evident that the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature's participation of the eternal law.
Summa, Ia IIae, Q.91, a.2, respondeo.
show cremation is evil. Before Vatican II, the Catholic Church declared:
The Holy Catholic Church condemns cremation because it is a barbarous custom
opposed to the respect and piety that one must have for our dead, even on the natural level.
June 19, 1926 Holy Office Instruction condemning cremation (emphasis added).
St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, describes the natural piety all men should have, which makes cremation a horror even on the natural level:
[I]f the dress of a father, or his ring, or anything he wore, be precious to his children, in proportion to the love they bore him, with how much more reason ought we to care for the bodies of those we love,
which they wore far more closely and intimately than any clothing! For the body is not an extraneous ornament or aid, but a part of man's very nature. And therefore, to the righteous of ancient times the last offices were piously rendered, and sepulchers provided for them, and obsequies celebrated; and they themselves, while yet alive, gave commandment to their sons about the burial.
City of God, St. Augustine, Bk. 1, ch 13.
St. Augustine explains that the care which good men take (even on a natural level) in burying their dead is an “office of humanity” which is a duty that men recognize by reason, even without the Catholic Faith.
Here are St. Augustine’s words:
But as for the burying of the body, whatever is bestowed on that, is no aid of salvation, but an office of humanity, according to that affection by which no man ever hates his own flesh. Whence it is fitting that he takes what care he is able for the flesh of his neighbor, when he is gone that bare [had borne] it. And if they do these things who believe not the resurrection of the flesh, how much more are they beholden to do the same who do believe; that so, an office of this kind bestowed upon a body, dead but yet to rise again and to remain to eternity, may also be in some sort a testimony of the same faith?
Quoted from St. Augustine, On the Care of the Dead, #22.
Civilized peoples have always treated the bodies of their deceased loved ones with care, e.g., washing their bodies and laying them out in a dignified fashion.
Everyone should honor his forebearers, treat his loved ones tenderly, and respect his benefactors. Gratitude is due them. We must reverence the body of a deceased loved one and it is natural for us to “pay our last respects” as well as comfort the bereaved family. Again, human nature requires these duties.
Burning a body brutally violates our natural duty to treat the dead respectfully. Incinerating the body of a loved one is as horrifying and senseless as throwing him into a meat grinder or cutting him into little pieces with a saw.
We know even naturally that this is wrong and is impious. It is much worse than stamping on the face of our departed relative. How far our civilization (and the human element of the Catholic Church) has declined is shown by the fact that the heathen practice of cremation is again common!
We must reject cremation because it breaks the Natural Law.
Catholics have cremated bodies in the extreme conditions of war or plague, considering it an emergency with no other real choice. Even in war and even during a plague, bodies should not be cremated except at great need. Thus, if (at least) a mass grave is possible (e.g., using a bulldozer) the bodies should not be cremated. Cremation under truly extreme conditions does not change the fact that cremation is a sin under all other circumstances.
This is like the fact that it is a mortal sin to break into someone else’s home and take his belongings. However, it is permissible in rare, extreme conditions, e.g., if you were shipwrecked on a desert island, in danger of starvation and you come upon a person’s locked home containing the food you need to avoid starvation.
Similarly, cremation is almost always a mortal sin but could be permissible in rare and extreme circumstances.
St. Thomas Aquinas explains that something which reason tells us to (usually) do and which is part of the Natural Law might not be applicable in a rare case and extreme circumstance. Here is how St. Thomas explains such a possible rare exception to a principle of the Natural Law:
[T]he natural law is altogether unchangeable in its first principles: but in its secondary principles, which, as we have said [Summa, Ia IIae, Q.94, a.5, respondeo], are certain detailed proximate conclusions drawn from the first principles, the natural law is not changed so that what it prescribes be not right in most cases. But it may be changed in some particular cases of rare occurrence, through some special causes hindering the observance of such precepts, as stated above [Summa, Ia IIae, Q.94, a.4, respondeo].
Summa, Ia IIae, Q.94, a.5, respondeo.
Concerning the possibility of an exception to the Natural Law in rare circumstances, St. Thomas gives the example of our duty to return to its owner the property which belongs to him. St. Thomas explains, that there are rare exceptions to this Natural Law principle such as when the property would be used for revolution, if it were returned. Here are St. Thomas's words:
[T]heft ... is expressly contrary to the natural law ... [because] it is right and true for all to act according to reason, and from this principle it follows as a proper conclusion, that goods entrusted to another should be restored to their owner. Now this is true for the majority of cases: but it may happen in a particular case that it would be injurious, and therefore unreasonable, to restore goods held in trust; for instance, if they are claimed for the purpose of fighting against one's country.
Summa, Ia IIae, Q.94, a.4, respondeo.
Similarly, the Natural Law and reason command that we must treat the dead respectfully and bury them. However, when war or plague makes burial impossible, there could exist a rare exception in which it could be that it is permissible to cremate the dead.
15. Cremation destroys the possibility of exhuming a body during a later criminal investigation for murder, e.g., poisoning.
Sometimes a body is exhumed either as part of a criminal investigation seeking evidence of a murder or evidence to exonerate someone accused of a murder.
Certain evidence, e.g., of poison, might remain for a long time in a grave but is destroyed by cremation. Thus, cremation can destroy this evidence and impede justice from being done.
This is another reason cremation is evil and should be rejected.
16. Cremation causes great scandal (bad example).
We should completely reject cremation because it is a great scandal (i.e., bad example).
- Through cremation, we associate ourselves with the ancient pagans and barbarians who practiced this evil.
- Through cremation, we associate ourselves with the Freemasonic enemies of Christ who re-introduced this heathen practice in the 1880s.
- Through cremation, we associate ourselves with the (false) conciliar church’s acceptance of this practice.
- Both those who support cremation and those who currently don’t, are more likely to accept cremation if they see more people (like us) accept cremation.
17. Wise and virtuous men show us that cremation is sinful.
One way to see that cremation is sinful, is that old and wise men oppose it. Wise old men—i.e.,
who put God and virtue first in their lives—can distinguish good from evil even when they cannot explain the reasons for their moral insights.
Even without the aid of Catholic revelation, reason tells us that we should be guided by old and wise men. Thus, the great philosopher Aristotle declares:
We ought to attend to the undemonstrated sayings and opinions of experienced and older people or of people of practical wisdom not less than to demonstrations; for, their experience is, as it were, an eye by which they see rightly.
Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle, Bk.6, ch.11.
The greatest Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, confirms Aristotle’s teaching, in these words:
Prudence is perfected through experience and age and so we should pay attention to the thoughts of old and wise men on matters of conduct, as much as if we have a proof for their position.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Nichomachean Ethics, Bk. VI, Lect. 9.
Thus, we should be guided by their judgments.
Such men do not get themselves cremated and oppose the cremation of others. This shows cremation is a sin. We should listen to old and wise men and should reject cremation.
18. Cremation is sinful because it is against our duty to act differently from the barbarians around us.
Any Catholic is on the wrong path if people cannot tell he is a Traditional Catholic by how he acts. His actions must tell barbarians that he is not “one of them”. We must be a sign of contradiction to the world, as Our Lord was. This must be evident in the way we act.
Cremation is part of “fitting in” with the godless and with conciliar Catholics. We must not act like them but instead must be a Catholic sign of contradiction, by reverently burying the dead.
II. Consequences of understanding the evil of cremation
We must bury the body, even bodily parts.
For the above eighteen reasons, we see it is evil to cremate the body. For the same reasons, it is also evil to cremate parts of the body, such as those amputated by surgery.
Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas explains this truth:
As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei i, 13): "If a father's coat or ring, or anything else of that kind, is so much more cherished by his children, as love for one's parents is greater, in no way are the bodies themselves to be despised, which are much more intimately and closely united to us than any garment; for they belong to man's very nature." It is clear from this that he who has a certain affection for anyone, venerates whatever of his is left after his death, not only his body and the parts thereof.
Summa, IIIa, Q.25, a.6, respondeo (emphasis added).
We must not attend any service or event connected to the cremated person.
Even aside from cremation (and as we have seen in a previous article
), a faithful and informed Catholic never participates
in a compromise funeral or religious service for any deceased person. At most, if he attends, he sits in back and does not participate. This principle applies to the services of all compromise groups, including Bishop Williamson’s group and “new” SSPX.
However, cremation makes things worse. We must not even attend the memorial events (viz., wake, funeral, memorial luncheon, etc.) for a cremated person. Attendance is approval.
When one of your friends or relatives has died, if you think that person’s body might be cremated, call the funeral home ahead of time and ask if there are any plans to cremate the body either before or after the wake. Funeral homes are generally very ready to give you this information.
Going to a memorial event for a cremated person is like going to a memorial event for a person murdered by his own family (e.g.,
euthanasia). By attending we would be giving condolences and support to the murderers (or giving the appearance of doing so). When we show support and sympathy to those who commit the heinous, violent act (viz.,
murder) against the deceased, we take part in their evil deed.
Consenting to a crime makes a person an accomplice to it. St. Paul infallibly teaches:
Being filled with ... murder, ... they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.
Romans, 1:29-32 (emphasis added).
The same is true about attending the memorial event when the heinous, violent act of cremation has occurred or is planned.
We may either cause or share the guilt of another's sin in nine ways:
- By counsel.
- By command.
- By consent.
- By provocation.
- By praise or flattery.
- By concealment.
- By being a partner in the sin.
- By silence.
- By defending the ill done.
Quoted from The Penny Catechism, Nihil Obstat, Joannes M.T. Barton, S.T.D., L.S.S., Censor deputatus, Imprimatur, Georgius L. Craven, Epus Sebastopolis, Vicarius Generalis, Westmonasterii, die 20a Junii, 1958, p. 57.
A person sins when he consents to a crime even after it occurs. St. Thomas Aquinas applies this principle when he teaches that “When a person becomes a Jew, he becomes a participant in the killing of Christ [i.e., even after the fact]”. St. Thomas Aquinas, Lectures on St. Matthew’s Gospel, ch.23, #1861 (bracketed words added to show the context).
In a similar way, a person becomes culpable for the mortal sin of cremation when he consents even after it occurs.
If a person is to be cremated or has been cremated, we must not attend any memorial service, either in the presence of the ashes, or in their absence, but must content ourselves with simply praying for the repose of his soul in private.
We must not send flowers, donations, condolence cards, or prayer offerings. Those items are ways of showing support and sympathy to the persons who committed the great evil.
Since there is much ignorance on this question, it is our duty to explain to our relatives why we are not attending and why cremation is a grave sin. Thus, we should not make excuses for not attending such as “I will be out of town that day” even if we truly would be out of town. Such excuses give the appearance that we would attend if we had been in town.
Cremation is an evil against the God’s Natural Law and against the Church’s teaching and prayers since Apostolic Times. We must completely reject cremation and all connection with it.