Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Publishes guidance on burials and conserving ashes in the case of cremation

The Australian Catholic Bishops welcome a new document from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published today, 25 October 2016, regarding burying the deceased and conserving ashes when cremation is chosen.

Titled, ‘Ad resurgendum cum Christo’ meaning ‘To rise with Christ’, the document provides details about the doctrinal and pastoral reasons for choosing a burial. It also explains what is appropriate when conserving ashes in the case of cremation.

The Congregation highlighted that the contents of the document, ‘To rise with Christ’, are intended as a point of reference for the Church. 

Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said, “The new instruction, ‘To rise with Christ’, affirms what the Church has always held with regard to cremation, reverence for the human remains in the body or in the ashes and the following burial”. 

Key points in the newly published document include: 

  • States the Church’s preference for burial of the remains of the faithful
  • Because of Christ, Christian death has a positive meaning. The Christian vision of death receives privileged expression in the liturgy of the Church: ‘Indeed for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended, and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven’.
  • Following Christian tradition, the Church recommends that the bodies of the deceased be buried in cemeteries or other sacred places
  • Burial is above all the most fitting way to express faith and hope in the resurrection of the body
  • By burying the bodies of the faithful, the Church confirms her faith in the resurrection of the body, and intends to show the great dignity of the human body as an integral part of the human person whose body forms part of their identity
  • Through the practice of burying the dead in cemeteries, in dedicated spaces within church buildings or their environs, Christian tradition has upheld the relationship between the living and the dead and has opposed any tendency to minimise, or relegate to the private sphere, the event of death and the meaning it has for Christians
  • The Church raises no doctrinal objections to the practice of cremation
  • The ashes of the faithful must be laid to rest in a sacred place, that is, in a cemetery or in dedicated spaces within church buildings or their environs
  • This ensures they are not excluded from the prayers and remembrance of their family or the Christian community
  • Conservation of the ashes in a private residence is not permitted
  • Out of respect for the integrity and sacredness of both body and ashes, scattering or dividing ashes among family members is not favoured
Back to List


More News


10.06.2019

Announcement of National Themes for Discernment opens next phase for Plenary Council

The Plenary Council 2020 moves into its next phase of preparation today with the announcement of the National Themes for Discernment that emerged from a historic process of listening to the voices of more than 222,000 people. Between May 2018 and March 2019, ...

Read Full Article
10.05.2019

New laws further sign that abuse prevention in Church priority

New laws further sign that abuse prevention is Church priority The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has welcomed Pope Francis’ new document on the investigation and reporting of abuse within Church settings, which enshrines some measures long in pl...

Read Full Article
22.04.2019

Joint Statement after Sri Lanka bombings

Joint Statement from Catholic and Anglican Bishops on Sri Lanka bombings At Easter Christians gather all around the world to celebrate the good news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Sri Lanka joy has turned to sorrow with the terrorist attacks on church...

Read Full Article
16.04.2019

Easter Message from Most Rev. Time Harris, Bishop of Townsville

2019 Easter Message At Easter, we celebrate Jesus risen from the dead and we sing with gusto “Alleluia”.  Our faith tells us that it happened and yet do our lives truly reflect that it happened? I mean, because Jesus rose from the dead, death ...

Read Full Article
20.03.2019

Bishops of Oceania visit local Imam

Bishops of Oceania visit local Townsville Imam During the executive meeting of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania the bishops took time to visit the local Imam and pay their respects and deliver a statement of support for the communities...

Read Full Article
15.03.2019

New Executive Director of Centacare North Queensland appointed

New Executive Director of Centacare North Queensland  After an extensive recruitment process, today Most Rev. Tim Harris, Bishop of Townsville has appointed Ms Paula Washington as the new Executive Director of Centacare North Queensland. Paula will take...

Read Full Article
17.12.2018

Report outlines Church’s progress since Royal Commission ended

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia have submitted a joint report to the National Office for Child Safety (NOCS) on the Catholic Church’s implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Instituti...

Read Full Article
22.10.2018

Catholic Church stands with Prime Minister, renews apology

Catholic Church stands with Prime Minister, renews apology The leaders of Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) have welcomed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s apology to survivors of institutional child s...

Read Full Article
More Links in this section