For most of its history, the Catholic Church only permitted burial, arguing that it best expressed the Christian belief in resurrection. But in 1963, the Vatican allowed cremation as long as it did not suggest a denial of the Catholic faith.
The new document from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith repeats that burial remains preferred, but lays out guidelines for conserving ashes for those Catholics who choose cremation. Its purpose is to correct ideas contrary to our faith that had emerged since 1963. To set things straight, the Congregation reminded the faithful that ashes and bone fragments cannot be kept at home. Rather, they must be buried in a cemetery or in a mausoleum.
In addition, cremated remains cannot be divided among family members or put in lockets or other mementoes. Nor can the ashes be scattered in the air, land or sea since doing so would give the appearance of pantheism, naturalism or nihilism.

To read the entire document, please follow the link: (
Update on Cremation).