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Margie wrote:

Hi guys,

I have two questions.

I have heard that it is against Catholic teaching to be cremated. I personally do not wish to be cremated but my husband does.

  1. Could you please clarify this teaching?

The second is God's will versus free will. We are taught, and I firmly believe, that we have free will, yet when something disastrous happens, such as a violent death, or being struck by cancer, I often hear people say it is God's will or God's plan.

I completely disagree that God has a plan that certain people will have such a fate. I believe that Our Loving Lord would never allow people to suffer and that He is saddened:

  • when our free will causes a person to harm an innocent child, or
  • that our efforts to make more money cause us to use chemicals which can alter cells and cause cancer.

I believe that is why, in the Beatitudes, Jesus tells us that those that suffer are especially blessed.

  1. Am I wrong?

Please help clarify this for me, as I want to be sure that I teach my children according to our Catholic faith.

Thank you so much,


  { Can you clarify the Church's teaching on cremation and how God's Will works in our lives? }

and in a similar question:

Diane Szelogowski wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Is cremation against the Catholic religion?
  • Also, is it wrong to scattered a person's ashes on top of a family member that is buried?


  { Is cremation and scattered a persons ashes on a family member that is buried OK? }

John replied:

Hi, Maggie —

Cremation is OK, so long as the ashes are not scattered. The Church is concerned that scattering ashes might be perceived by some as a denial of the Resurrection of the dead, hence it has this pastoral provision.

As to your second question, greater minds than you or I have struggled with this paradox.

God is sovereign and nothing can thwart His Will, yet at the same time His Will is that we have free will — somehow the two coexist.

That said, God's Will is life and not death. Death entered the world as a result of sin. That sin now effects us all. Satan, (the author of lies, sin, and destruction) brings death, sickness, and suffering.

As Christians we can offer that suffering as Christ offered His Suffering to the Father. What Satan intends for evil, God will use for good. So the point is, since God's sovereign Will allows free will, evil has an effect on everyone; even the innocent.

John DiMascio

Eric replied:

Hi, Diane —

Cremation is now allowed, so long as it is not done:

  • in defiance of the Resurrection of the body or otherwise
  • disrespectfully to the Christian faith.

Scattering of ashes, however, is not presently allowed. The person would need to be properly interred (either in the ground or a mausoleum).


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