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Man Apologizes For Pouring Ashes At New York Opera Which Sparked Panic: Catholic Guidelines on Cremation

UrnI suppose you have seen the story about a man at the Metropolitan Opera who scattered some of the cremains of his friend, a devoted opera lover, in the orchestra pit during an intermission.

It sparked panic since it was an "unknown, white powder."

The man has since apologized to police and the Met, explaining that he promised a dying friend he would scatter his ashes at operas throughout the country.

Coincidentally, the Vatican has recently released guidelines for Catholics thinking of requesting cremation.

The document is called, "Rising with Christ" and re-emphasizes the guidelines for cremation established by the Church in 1963, with a few more specific comments to address recent funeral customs in the United States.

Important practical points from the document:

  • cremation is acceptable for Catholics, but funeral rites with the body is preferred;
  • cremation is still forbidden if it is done to defy belief in the resurrection of the dead;
  • cremains should be interred in sacred ground, i.e. a cemetery or mausoleum (columbarium).
  • Ashes should not be scattered, shared between family members or fashioned into jewelry or other keepsakes. They should not be kept in the home.