The Vatican Bans the Ashes of Loved Ones to be Kept at Home.

Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

Salvador Martinez, Photojournalist

Last Tuesday, the Vatican releases that Cremation guidelines state remains cannot be scattered or kept at home but rather stored in a sacred, church-approved place. Catholic-Christians are forbidden to keep the ashes of cremated loved ones at home, dividing them between family members or turning them into mementoes. The ashes of loved ones must be maintained in a sacred place, such as a cemetery, according to the doctrine covered at a press conference in Rome on October 25th.


Knowing that a major increasing number of Roman Catholics were hoping for cremation rather than burial, the Roman Catholic church’s doctrinal and disciplinary authority warned against “new ideas not following the Catholic church’s faith.” Cardinal Gerhard Müller, stated that burial of the dead was preferable to cremation. “We come from the earth and we shall return to the earth,” he declared. “The Catholic church continues to recommend that the bodies of the dead be buried either in cemeteries or in on sacred ground nonstop!”


On the other hand, the increasing size in cremation since it was given into allowance in 1963 stated new guidelines, he added, noting an increasing trend for “domestic” conservation. Stating that ashes must be kept “in a holy place and sacred place, that is a cemetery or a church or in a place that has been specifically dedicated to the purpose. The conservation of ashes in a home is not permitted,” he stated. “Furthermore, in order to avoid any form of naturalistic misunderstanding, the dispersion of ashes in the air, on the ground, on water or in some other way as well as the conversion of ashes into commemorative objects is not allowed, according to the laws of the Roman Catholic Church.”


A bishop may give the allowance of ashes to be kept at home only in special cases, the laws of the Catholic Church state that some people keep the ashes of loved ones in urns or sacred containers on display, while other people prefer to scatter them in gardens of remembrance in their favor or favorite places. This also includes mixing them with clay, concrete,  paintings or any work of art to incorporate them into architectural  projects, having ashes compressed into vinyl to make a musical memento, or turning them into a form of art that does not follow the laws of Roman Catholic Church.


The Vatican document of the Church, Ad Resurgendum cum Christo, was dated on August 15th  and says Pope Francis approved it in March. The doctrine was released before November 2nd, when the faithful remember and pray for those who have died in Christ.


Today many people view the Catholic Church as a powerful guidance and preparation for our after life to come. According to Sarah Ruggles (10), “The power of the Catholic Church is very powerful and sets a moving feeling.”