It’s bad enough of course that the Catholic Church as an institution has precisely zero respect for the bodily autonomy of living people. Like all authoritarian panty-sniffers, the hierarchy strives to control every aspect of human existence in keeping with its morbid and moribund dictates whenever and wherever it can get away with it. Now, in accordance with its bizarre and stunted worldview, the Vatican has helpfully narrowed its mandates for what Catholics can and cannot do with their bodily remains even after they’re fucking dead.

Via The Tampa Bay Times:

Vatican: No more scattering cremation ashes

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican on Tuesday published guidelines for Catholics who want to be cremated, saying their remains cannot be scattered, divvied up or kept at home but rather stored in a sacred, church-approved place.

Gosh, I wonder if they will charge for storage in “a sacred, church-approved place?”

The new document from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith repeats that burial remains preferred, with officials calling cremation a “brutal destruction” of the body. But it lays out guidelines for conserving ashes for the increasing numbers of Catholics who choose cremation for economic, ecological or other reasons.

To set the faithful straight, the Vatican said ashes and bone fragments cannot be kept at home, since that would deprive the Christian community as a whole of remembering the dead.

Oh, the humanity! All the persecuted Christians the world over will be deprived of remembering poor old Uncle Ted, all because YOU selfishly kept him in an urn on your mantle. How could you.

I’m just spitballin’ here, but just maaaaybe the practice of keeping a loved one’s cremation remains in one’s home would deprive the Vatican of a lucrative new income stream for providing “sacred, church-approved places?”

Nah. That would just be silly.

The document said remains cannot be divided among family members or put in lockets or other mementos. Nor can the ashes be scattered in the air, land or sea since doing so would give the appearance of “pantheism, naturalism or nihilism,” the guidelines said.

“The dead body isn’t the private property of relatives, but rather a son of God who is part of the people of God,” [author of the text Cardinal Gerhard] Mueller said.

ALL UR BONEZ ARE BELONG TO US. Even after you’re dead.

Meanwhile like all conservatives everywhere at all times, they breezily exempt themselves from the rules to which they would subject everyone else. You see, the Church had been in the rather gruesome habit of distributing the dismembered body parts of its saints—”a hand here, a thigh bone there”—to its parishes all over the world. But that’s all still perfectly fine.

While the new instruction insists that remains be kept together, Vatican officials said they are not about to go gather up the various body parts of saints that are scattered in churches around the world…” Going to all the countries that have a hand of someone would start a war among the faithful,” reasoned Monsignor Angel Rodriguez Luno, a Vatican theological adviser.

AHAHAHAHAHA! “The countries that have a hand of someone”!? I’m sorry (not sorry), but that sentence fragment is absolutely fucking hilarious.

Alas, the Monsignor is probably right: practicing what they preach and going all out to reassemble all those poor saints into whole bodies would soon prompt the Great Dismembered Body Parts Wars of 2016. Sort of like Capture the Flag, but with desiccated limbs.

Wait. Now that I think about it, that would be all kinds of awesome.


Our friend Don Ardell wrote a nice letter to the editor at The Tampa Bay Times (posted here with his permission):

Just what Catholics needed: More guidelines from the Vatican’s “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” Not content with a lifetime of inducing guilt, endless rituals, countless obligations, restrictions galore and the fear of endless torture for a single mortal screwup, now Catholics must abide by new rules re the cremated remains of their dead.

Want to scatter, divide or keep the ashes of a loved one at home in an urn? No way. This might somehow stymie a “resurrection” of sorts. The faithful must rot in a “consecrated” hole in the ground, so as not to inflict a “brutal destruction” on the dead body. Besides, someone might think anything else flirts with “pantheism, naturalism or nihilism” or, worse yet, “individualistic thinking.”

Another way of saying “thinking for yourself.” That the Church will not abide, else there will soon enough be no church and people can do as they like with the ashes of their loved ones – and, more important, their own lives before they reach this state.

Donald B. Ardell

Amen, brother Don.


  1. brucegee1962 says

    Well, as I’ve always said to my Catholic friends who complain about church doctrines they disagree with, “If you wanted to think for yourself, why did you become a Catholic?”

  2. Ice Swimmer says

    If they were to assemble all the remains of the saints, isn’t there a risk that some of them might turn out to weigh in at several hundreds of kilograms/saint?

  3. quotetheunquote says

    @Ice Swimmer #3-

    I don’t know if that’s true, but I’m pretty sure that they’d discover that many of the saints were a pretty mutant-looking bunch – multi-limbed creatures in human form.

    …hey, wait a tick … I get it now! The Christian saints were really all just incarnations of the goddess Kali! That makes sense now…

  4. freemage says

    Yeah, the money angle was the part that jumped out at me when I first got linked to this one. It’s pretty cagey–there’s a lot of cultural Catholics who have pretty much stopped going to Mass regularly (and even more who’ve eliminated donating money) due to the various scandals and lack of relevance. But they still identify as Catholics, and want to be perceived as Catholic, so this is a way to milk their estates of funds the Church was denied in life.

    Personally, I’m willing to have my ashes hurled into the face of whichever worthless sod is Pope at the time of my demise. That should be a pretty “sacred resting place”, yeah?

  5. lorn says

    I suspect that this newly found veneration for human remains has something to do with abortion.

    Specifically with making it as logistically, legally, religiously, and financially difficult and expensive as possible. If a fetus is medical waste and can be discarded as such abortions are simple medical procedures that can be done quickly and with a minimum of fuss. If the discarded fetus is a holy relic which legally has to be memorialized, prayed over, and made available for prayers of for generation that follow, and all this in perpetuity, then the costs will certainly rise and the procedure will become rarer.

    Of course this also means more grave sites, more markers, more memorials. If this gets going in a big way you might want to invest in granite.

    Then again, if memory serves the Church tells Catholics that they shouldn’t, at risk of their souls, use birth control and yet Catholics are not more or less likely to use it. Perhaps this will be another divide between what the Church says and Catholics do. It will certainly be another reason for Catholics to change their denomination. Perhaps even contemplate a leaving behind religion entirely.

  6. Raucous Indignation says

    I want to be mulched and then used to fertilize one of the trees I’ve planted. Or maybe all of them. Either way, I’m gonna plant a lot more trees.

  7. DonDueed says

    Okay, so I read the headline as “All your boners are belong to us”.

    Which, come to think of it, works just as well in re the RCC.