Ask a Priest: Questions on Death

by Diocese of Des Moines | January 28, 2018

Ask a Priest: Questions on Death

Q.  Can you explain acceptable cremation?

A.  Funeral directors will tell you that cremation has become much more common in the past several years.

The Church used to look down on the practice because it was thought that the person was denying the possibility of the resurrection from the dead. 

However, recognizing the many burial practices of many countries throughout the world, the Church has modified its objections. 

Still, there are some guidelines that the Church insists on for cremation.  The cremated remains are to be treated with reverence and are to be buried or entombed.  They should not be sprinkled in a field or lake; nor should they be kept at home on the mantle as a keepsake.

 Q.  Can I donate my body to science according to the Catholic traditions?

A. Yes.  Medical schools are familiar with the funeral practices of many religions, and they can assist you if you choose to donate your mortal remains.

Got a question for “Ask a Priest?” and its author, Father John Ludwig? Send questions to or The Catholic Mirror, 601 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309.

Diocese of Des Moines

The Diocese of Des Moines, created in 1911, serves people over a 12,446 square mile area in the southwestern quadrant of Iowa, including 23 counties.