Respect for the Cremated Remains of a Body

416 The Catholic Church commends its deceased members to the mercy of God by means of its funeral rites. It likewise asks that the Christian faithful continue to offer prayer for deceased family members and friends. The annual celebration of All Souls Day, the commemoration of all the faithful departed on November 2, attests to this salutary practice. Masses celebrated for the deceased on the anniversaries of death or at other significant times continue the Church's prayer and remembrance. For Catholic Christians, cemeteries, especially Catholic cemeteries, call to mind the resurrection of the dead. In addition, they are the focus for the Church's remembering of the dead and offering of prayer for them.

417 The cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they come. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and the final disposition. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires. Whenever possible, appropriate means for recording with dignity the memory of the deceased should be adopted, such as a plaque or stone which records the name of the deceased.

Liturgical Norms on Cremation, Congregation for Divine Worship