A clampdown on increasingly varied uses for ashes

Ah, the Vatican, and god-botherers in general, inventing ridiculous intrusive rules based on their reality-defying beliefs, and then trying to insist that everyone obey them. Like the Vatican saying omg no you may not scatter someone’s ashes or fling them off the top of a building or put them on your bookshelf next to Ray Monk’s biography of Bertrand Russell. Why mayn’t I? Well because it gets death all wrong. The Vatican is the authority on death, as any fule kno. Death isn’t where you stop being alive and begin to decompose, it’s the gateway to eternal life dootdeedoo.

Strict new Vatican guidelines forbid a list of increasingly popular means of commemorating loved ones – from scattering ashes at sea to having them turned into jewellery or put in a locket – dismissing them as New Age practices and “pantheism”.

A formal instruction, approved by Pope Francis, even forbids Catholics [to keep] ashes in an urn at home, other than in “grave and exceptional cases”.

As if it’s any of their damn business. If people find it comforting to keep ashes at home, who is the Vatican to tell them not to? Mean bastards with stupid wrong ideas, that’s who.

The document issued by the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) claims many modern cremation practices increasingly reflect non-Christian ideas about “fusion with Mother Nature”.

In other words they’re a little closer to reality than Christian ideas are. There is no Mother Nature, but our bodies are material and part of nature, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is just talking the usual old nonsense.

For centuries the Catholic Church forbade cremation altogether, primarily because of the teaching that Christians will be raised from the grave ahead of the Day of Judgment.

The ban was finally lifted in 1963 in a landmark Vatican document which accepted that there were often pressing social and sanitary needs for cremation but urged Catholics to choose burial wherever possible.

That’s the ticket: split the difference! Baby Jesus can still raise a few cremated people, but if there are too many of them, Baby Jesus will simply not be able to get to them all before it’s time to feed the dog, so choose burial whenever possible. That all makes sense and hangs together.

The new guidance accepts cremation in principle but signals a clampdown on increasingly varied uses for ashes, insisting instead that they should only be kept in a “sacred place”, such as a cemetery.

“[The Church] cannot … condone attitudes or permit rites that involve erroneous ideas about death, such as considering death as the definitive annihilation of the person, or the moment of fusion with Mother Nature or the universe, or as a stage in the cycle of regeneration, or as the definitive liberation from the ‘prison’ of the body,” it argues.

Oh yes, it’s “erroneous” to consider death as the termination of the person, while it’s 100% accurate to consider death a ticket to Daddy God’s best parlor.

It goes on: “In order that every appearance of pantheism, naturalism or nihilism be avoided, it is not permitted to scatter the ashes of the faithful departed in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewellery or other objects.”

It then adds that if someone has asked for their ashes to be scattered “for reasons contrary to the Christian faith” then “a Christian funeral must be denied to that person”.

Mean bastards they are.

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