What the Vatican says you should do with your ashes

It wasn’t that long ago that the Catholic Church didn’t approve of cremation. Now the Vatican has released new guidelines

It wasn’t that long ago that the Catholic Church didn’t approve of cremation.

Now the Vatican has released new guidelines telling you what you should do with your ashes.

According to the guidelines, “new ideas contrary to the Church’s faith have become widespread”.

The instructions, approved by the Pope, state that the if you’re Catholic your ashes must be buried – not scattered, kept at home or turned into a keepsake.

“Following the most ancient Christian tradition, the Church insistently recommends that the bodies of the deceased be buried in cemeteries or other sacred places,” the guideline reads.

“It is not permitted to scatter the ashes of the faithful departed in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewellery or other objects.”

But that’s not all the Vatican had to say on the matter.

The guidelines go even further, suggesting that if you want your ashes scattered you should be denied a Christian funeral.

CBS News is reporting that the author of the guidelines Cardinal Gerhard Mueller was asked if the Pope has any issues with the guidelines.

“The dead body isn’t the private property of relatives, but rather a son of God who is part of the people of God,” Mueller responded.

“We have to get over this individualistic thinking.”

While you might not pay attention to the guidelines, there is a large number of Australians who might.

According to the 2011 Census, 25% of Australians identify as Catholic.

Plus, research from the Australian Funeral Directors Association in 2014 found that two-thirds of us want to be cremated instead of buried.

So, what do you think? Will you pay any attention to the Vatican’s new guidelines?


  1. Lauren  

    My wish is to be buried. I think it’s a very dignified way to life’s end.
    It’s got nothing to do with what the Vatican wants.
    I don’t want to be cremated. I don’t want to be a ‘crispy critter’, even when I’m dead!,

    • Maggie  

      Hi there, just letting you know that when in the ground the casket breaks down, the worms get you, ETC…..however, after actually watching someone being cremated it is far more humane and dignified. They flick a swtich and boom up you go in flames it takes about 1 min then just your ashes……no worms etc. Have a nice life.

  2. Joy Anne Bourke  

    NO, that is ludicrous, I was raised as a Catholic and went to Catholic schools and they were very strict. When we moved to a country town in S.A. there were no catholic churches for more then 35 klms. We had a Lutheran Church across road and went there to see what it was like, it was no different except for signing the tunes. We enrolled the kids in Sunday School, and eventually changed our religion where the girls were confirmed later down the track. The ashes of loved ones belong to the families who are left everything in the will. Normally in the will they have stated what happens when they die. Therefore the families keep those rules. I have stated mine in my will. Why should you pay a huge fee in a cemetery when no one goes to visit. This is why the Catholic Church is losing members as they are way behind other denominations. In todays world they need to change their rules and relax them a bit.

    • Jaya Jayachandra  

      You can born into a religion but you dont have to die in that religion. It is the basis to evolve into a more spiritual one.

    • Leila Toal  

      I agree with everything Joy Anne Bourke said.

    • Linde Cavanagh  

      I agree with you Joy Anne I have left instructions with my family and I don’t want to go into the ground .

  3. Barry GulBransen  

    Crusty Ole men still not letting you go even when your dead!

  4. desleigh clarke  

    I think the Vatican should just butt out of other’s business, unless someone there has died, gone to heaven & come back with a set of rules from God, it’s time they just shut up. When I die I don’t care what happens with my bloody ashes – I’m already DEAD!!

  5. Rob Ozanne  

    I wonder what the vatican’s attitude is about leaving ones remains to science ?

    • Phyllis Hudson  

      Good one Rob. Now, that’s an interesting question.

      • Di  

        When you leave your body to science in Western Australia, the university pays for the cremation when they’ve finished with the body, and you collect the ashes or nominate in advance if you want them to go into the University’s memorial garden at Karrakatta cemetery. Maybe if you invite the priest along to consecrate the ground in the memorial garden, that would be OK. 🙂

  6. Mary Heffernan  

    How ridiculous is this? Think I’ll get my son to put my ashes in a post box, and send them over to the Vatican, and they can do what they like with them. Failing that, he can sprinkle them around a favourite rose bush, or scatter them to the four winds – who cares? I won’t be needing them again.

    • Maggie  

      Given the atrocities committed under the guise of Catholicism, the lives ruined beyond repair, How dare they dictate to those who still afford them some credence in their lives what they can or cannot do with their earthly remains. .

  7. Geoff Rogers  

    I’ve told my kids to put me in a sulo bin when I go…I’ve paid rates all my life so the council can get rid of me!

    • Nerridah Khoory  

      LOL. Your right. Who cares. Only dust. What a waste of time worrying about dust!

  8. Yeah nah.If the church want to pay for my ashes to be buried they are more than welcome to however as pigs will fly before that ever happens, I will have my ashes disposed of in the manner in which I want.

  9. Victoria Thompson  

    This is the nail in the coffin for the Catholic Church: destroy a family’s privacy to honor their dead as they see fit and you destroy Religion. Which is probably not such a bad idea now that I think about it.
    This is the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard of: no scattering, no saving, so rings, no pendants. What are you thinking Catholic Merchandisers? That you can stop us honoring our dead outside of your marketing zone?

    I find this more a violation of the sacredness of death than anything awful I’ve seen in the business world. A Church telling people what they can and cannot do.

    Back off, read the Gospels, and get back to us. You have clearly lost your minds for the time being.
    Sense UP.

    Jesus Christ, you idiots, what are you doing?

  10. Josephine B  

    I was brought up through the Catholic church and schools, but since this is MY LIFE and MY BODY we (hubby and I) have made it known to our children that both of us want to be cremated and blown to the wind. Since our spirit life has gone to eternity and our worldly life with remain on earth wherever it lands out over earth or out over the sea, wherever our children deem us to be. We want them to get on with their lives and not have to concern themselves about visiting our names on a headstone or wall since that is all it is. We done our part in life to bring them into this world, love, care and support them all and they in return have loved and respected us. We’ve all had loving, sad and happy times together, so then they can continue to have happy times until it’s their turn to leave this earth THEIR WAY. “I’LL DO IT MY WAY” Frank Sinatra thank you.

  11. From a spiritual point of view (note: spiritual, not religious) I understand the reason behind this. However, when you scatter ashes, are we not scattering on “God’s” creation, whether that is a beach, a mountain, private property etc? I think it is up to the individuals, and if looking “within”, they are at peace with it then so be it 😋

  12. there’s plenty of things they should be worrying before they start on about disposing of ashes. I worked my butt off for the church for most of my life, when I was getting divorced the previous pope said divorced people had to go to mass but weren’t worthy of communion. They lost me. My ashes are being spread on the local racecourse, family can party in the bar.

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