Wednesday, 26 October 2016

"Ad resurgendum cum Christo"

Probably not an instantly recognisable title - it is the instruction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican about the burial of the dead and especially in the case of cremation, the ashes of the deceased. 

I have read this message delivered by Cardinal Gerhard Muller and his assistants on 25th October 2016. Listening to Irish radio this morning, it is already causing a stir. Everybody will have their own views on death and the remains of a loved one. My own father, a bit to the surprise of his three offspring, announced several years before his death that he wished to be cremated. He died at 88 years of age in 2001 - the fifteenth anniversary of his death is tomorrow. May he rest in peace. Unlike some of the concerns of the document issued yesterday, he never doubted the resurrection of Jesus and prayed for his own rising on the last day. He deeply believed that he was a child of God, made in His image and likeness and that from his Baptism he was a temple of the Holy Spirit. His wife, our mother, had died in 1964 at a young age. She is buried in Redford Cemetery in Greystones and his name has been added to her grave. He saw cremation as achieving in a short while what decaying in the ground could take years.

Sometimes I wonder about a sentence like this: "Only in the case of serious and exceptional circumstances, the Ordinary [local Bishop], in accordance with the Episcopal Conference or the Synod of Bishops, can grant permission to keep the ashes in a person's home." {translation form the original Italian} It would be interesting if Catholics through their parishes had been consulted on this topic. For all I know, perhaps the majority may agree with this Vatican message, signed by Pope Francis. If you have any views I would love to hear them. Just leave a comment at the end of this piece. 

As we approach November, month of the Holy Souls, a big number of names for the Altar List of the Dead has already been received. These sheets of names will rest in a box before the Altar at St Joseph's Church, avenue Hoche, Paris to be remembered at all the Masses offered. May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen

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