OCF 426: Funeral Liturgy and the Indult

We’ve covered two choices for a deceased Catholic. One option: cremation after the funeral. Second option: one can also cremate, have the ashes buried or entombed, then have a funeral liturgy without body or urn. OCF 426-431 covers the CDWDS indult for US dioceses: having a funeral liturgy with the cremated remains present.

My international readers may be able to tell us if this is permitted in other countries. Keep in mind that an indult can expire or be withdrawn in the future. And let’s be clear about the Church’s stance on this. First cremation is permitted. No indult is required. You can have the funeral, then cremate. You can also cremate and bury, then have a funeral liturgy. These options are not covered by the special permission from Rome.

OCF 426 should explain it for us:

By virtue of an indult granted by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Prot. 1589/96/L), the celebration of the Funeral Liturgy, including Mass, in the presence of the cremated remains of the body of a deceased person is permitted in the dioceses of the United States of America under the following conditions:

a. That the cremation not be inspired by motives contrary to Christian teaching, in accordance with what is laid down by the Code of Canon Law (1176.3).

b. That each diocesan bishop will judge whether it is pastorally appropriate to celebrate the liturgy for the dead, with or without Mass, with the ashes present, taking into account the concrete circumstances in each individual case, and in harmony with the spirit and precise content of the current canonical and liturgical norms.

I don’t think 426a is a widespread consideration. I’m not sure about condition b–does your bishop get involved with this pastoral judgment in “each individual case” or not?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Order of Christian Funerals, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to OCF 426: Funeral Liturgy and the Indult

  1. FrMichael says:

    I know that my bishop doesn’t want to get involved. At this point, I would say 1/4 of services at my parish involve ashes. Having a pastoral problem with people wanting to scatter the ashes of their loved ones. I think the allowing of cremation was a serious mistake in the US: it should have been nipped in the bud at the start.

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