If you ever go to Rome, make sure to go down to the excavations underneath Saint Peter’s Basilica where archaeologists have uncovered a Roman burial-ground. In this burial area, you will come across family plots, where Christian slaves were interred alongside their pagan Roman masters. You will immediately notice that the pagan masters were cremated and buried in urns, while their Christian slaves were buried intact in tombs. These tombs date from the earliest days of Christianity in Rome.

Right throughout the history of Christianity, this practice of burying rather than cremating has been constant. There are profound reasons for this, based on our Faith. Firstly, we have respect for the body, which was the Temple of the Holy Ghost during the life of the person. Even though it is now separated from the soul, it is still sacred in a certain way, and is therefore worthy of a decent and dignified burial. Another reason for choosing burial is to show our belief that our bodies will rise again on the Last Day, when they will be reunited with our souls to share in the happiness of heaven.

In times of disaster (such as plague, for example), the Church temporarily allowed the cremation of bodies. But this was only exceptional, and due to the necessity of the moment. But, since Vatican II, this stance has been weakened, and Canon Law now says:  “The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burial be retained; but it does not forbid cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching”.

This new way of looking at things flies in the face of 2,000 years of Catholic practice, but it is characteristic of Vatican II’s tendency to open itself to the world’s way of thinking. It is especially a scandal in the 21st century when there has never been such a lack of appreciation for the true sanctity of the body as Temple of the Holy Ghost nor such a widespread lack of Faith in the reality of the resurrection of the body.

Catholics should not be cremated nor allow their relatives to be cremated

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