Vatican Statement on Christian Burial
Since Vatican II the church does allow the cremation option under certain circumstances and understandings. In Cannon 1176 paragraph 3 it is written; “The church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the dead be observed; it does not, however, forbid certain cremation unless it has been chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching.”
Ministry of Consolation
According to the Order of Christian Funeral, it is the obligation of all to minister to those who are in grief due to the loss of a loved one. The Church calls each member of Christ’s Body- priest, deacon, layperson to participate in the ministry of consolation: to care for the dying, to pray for the dead, to comfort those who mourn. The responsibility for the ministry of consolation rests with the believing community.
The Order of Christian Funeral
“At the death of a Christian, whose life of faith was begun in the waters of baptism and strengthened at the Eucharistic table, the Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased because of its confident belief that death is not the end . . Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God for the gift of a life which has now been returned to God.” (Order of Christian Funerals, 4-5)
The Catholic Church has a beautiful three-part plan for funerals. If our schedules permitted, members of the community would walk with the bereaved family through all three parts of the funeral rites (from vigil through burial). Each of these rites has a distinctive purpose and is described below.