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The Vatican has barred Catholics from keeping or scattering the ashes of loved ones

Pope Francis has approved new guideline which states that ashes of cremated Catholics can no longer be kept at home, scattered, or divided among family member.

The instructions given from the head of the Catholic church states that ashes must only be kept in “sacred places” such as cemeteries.

The Vatican has allowed members of the Catholic church to be cremated since 1963, but the practice has always been frowned upon, with the official stance being that burial after death is the most “fitting way to express faith.”

The instructions state that “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 jewelry, or other objects,” as it has become common practice for members of the church to request that their ashes be scattered in a sentimental place.

It was the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a Vatican department, who were responsible for the change that warned of the practice that is “contrary to the church’s faith” that had become “widespread.”

German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the department, said in a recent press release that in recent years there had been an increase in the practice of cremation rather than burial and in the “domestic”preservation of people’s ashes.

Müller said, reiterating the church’s preference for burials:

“We come from the earth and we shall return to the earth,” 

The church continues to urge people to chose burial as a final resting place.

“In memory of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord, burial is the most appropriate way to express our faith and hope in bodily resurrection,” Muller said, although the church will not be prohibiting cremations.

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