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Are Catholics Allowed to be Cremated?

When completing funeral pre-planning with people of the Catholic faith, I am often asked if the church allows Catholics to be cremated.  As outlined in the liturgical leaflet “Catholics and Cremation” edited by the National Liturgy Office (1998, 2003, 2006), the simple answer is yes.

Prior to 1963, cremation was thought to be anti-Christian and prohibited for Catholics.  After 1963, cremation was recognized by the Catholic church as long as the motive for cremation was in line with the Christian teaching outlined in the Code of Canon Law 1176 § 3.

The church’s preference is that the body is present in the church for a funeral Mass and that cremation takes place after the Mass.

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