“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,”
You’ll have to excuse me as. i stifle a quiet groan. Sometimes when you’ve waited all day for a bus , two will arrive at the very same time. So it is with news stories where fundamentalist religious beliefs encroach into the everyday world of everyday life , unwanted and unheralded.No sooner has the smoke blown away on the “Gay Cake” debacle where god-fearing pilgrim bakers were afraid of their god’s wrath ,should they have the temerity to bake a specific cake for a homosexual customer whom they reckoned their god mightn’t , of all his creations , actually love at all. No matter that they spent thousands of pounds of perfectly good money pursuing their mad scheme and may even request to spend even more in the High Court in London …and possibly the European Court, they still cling to the belief that god is keeping an eye on them from a golden throne somewhere, elsewhere in the far reaches of the universe ,like some superannuated Wizard Of Oz…..
Now the Vatican has decided to leap onto the same literalist band-wagon, usually preserved only for mad fans of “the Rapture”, awaiting the mass-opening of graves on the Last Day, or crazy American survivalists living in some hole- in -the- ground with enough canned goods to last several generations, preparing for the Second Coming of a saviour of some sort.
The Vatican has issued a statement to the effect that cremated remains of human bodies should be kept in a”sacred place” such as a church cemetery and that ashes should not be divided among family members, nor should they be preserved or built into mementoes such as jewellry .There was time when the Vatican would not allow cremation at all ,in any circumstances ,and also a time when unbaptised babies had to be buried on unconsecrated ground lest they somehow contaninate everyone else ; so it has previous form in laying down some odd laws in the past ,as though we were all still living within some “Hammer” horror or vampire movie.
These days people choose to scatter their ashes at sea or at a favoured spot or garden .Some have even had their ashes shot into space on a rocket or have the carbon re-made as a diamond to keep as a memento, to hand down to future generations. The Vatican is beginning to see these practices as containing erroneous notions about death; possibly sacriligious notions.They do not like the idea that many choose to believe that contained in these practices is the idea that this final fusing with their original nature as dust ,speaks of a total end to life, completely and without a resurrection scenario attached.It’s not the notion they want to express in their teachings, given that they speak of ultimate resurrection as their own proposed direction.
Back in 1963 the Vatican has said that the burial of dead bodies should be the norm.Now they have decided that this new practice of scattering ashes speaks too much of a worship of nature. Pantheism has been mentioned. Apparently the “worship of nature” and such ideas as naturalism and nihilism which asks too many awkward questions have been cited as reasons to further enforce the idea of burial in consecrated ground .
Catholicism and other religions teach that “at the end of days “,god will resurrect the body and an astral ,immaterial portion of that individual, which they call “the soul”,to a new life , to live in some unspecified way, in some “elsewhere”, undefined place ,beyond our known planet earth. Of course they reckon that god is so handily all-powerful that the elements of the individual can be gathered together in any circumstances, whether or not they have been used for spare-parts surgery, or not, for example , or whether the eons had long-since dissipated the very elements of the corpse into the weft and weave of the actual earth of ages past. The church still thinks that if the body is a “sacred” thing , it may not be respected by future ancestors and relatives if it is not buried on consecrated ground.
In past times this didn’t seem to matter one bit , because across the world many museums have the mummified ancient bodies and bones on display in numerous glass cabinets and cupboards for the public to gawk at ….not to mention those donated organs and those bodies and specimens still used in hospitals for medical practice and experiments.
It would seem that the church’s idea is to control life from its very first beginnings until the final outworkings of death.It demands of its followers ,that no “unnatural “method of contraception is used to control the fecundity or otherwise of its adherents and at the same time it opposes the idea of Nature and the natural world as the final arbiter of all things.The church feels it is to do with showing esteem for the dead ,but I’m not sure that it is their real reason.All religions demand a certain amount of control of its adherents but by enforcing such controls it is making itself an ever less- attractive place for its potential followers, in a steadily increasing world population.
It goes without saying that in an overcrowded future , burial of bodies may not be possible at all ,due to a simple lack of space and for possible community sanitary reasons , cremation may become the only viable option.
The world population reached one billion human beings in 1804. By 1927 it had reached two billion and by 1963 when the church made that original statement ,the population number had reached three billion people living on the earth.Since that report ,as of August 2016 the world’s population had reached 7.4 billion and it is reckoned that by 2100 it will stand at 11.2 billion. By those figures it is easy enough to see where we are going. Unless we have a devastating world war or a plague such as the Great Famine of the 1300’s , or another Black Death , to thin out the herd, there’ll barely be room left to bury a cat.With all of that in mind , surely cremation should be encouraged all the more, by whatever methods available, rather than discouraged by the enforcing of even more rules on its practice?