Hello Father, I live in America,
and my Grandmother passed away almost two years ago of cancer.
Her dying wish was to be cremated and be brought back to Vietnam
in a church where her Dad and Sisters are resting. However, my
aunt, which is her daughter, thinks that she should keep a
portion of my grandmother's remains in her house so that in the
future she won't have to visit Vienam often. I am worried
because we never asked permission from my grandmother when she
was alive. I am worried that we are making a mistake. Thank you,
Father, your explanation will greatly appreciated! Cecilia Vy
Dear Cecilia Vy Nguyen, thank you for your good question.
Although the Church allows cremation, She insists that cremated
remains must be given the same respect as the body, including
the manner in which they are carried and the attention given to
their appropriate transport and placement. According to the
document of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
(USCCB) (1997), the following are not considered to be reverent
dispositions that the Church requires: scattering cremated
remains, dividing cremated remains and keeping cremated remains
in the home. I hope that you can convince your aunt to respect
your Grandmother’s will and also to obey the Church’s teaching.