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Vatican to Catholics: Cremation can be OK, but don’t scatter ashes!

Inez Szczupak holds an urn filled with the ashes of her son Martin, who died of a drug overdose, outside her home in the Staten Island borough of New York on August 19, 2015.Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-NONES-BURIAL, originally transmitted on Dec. 17, 2015.

Vatican to Catholics: Cremation can be OK, but don’t scatter ashes!

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) Catholics can be cremated under certain conditions, the Vatican has said, but loved ones should not scatter the ashes at sea or on land or into the wind, nor should they keep them in mementos or jewelry.

Instead, say new guidelines released Tuesday (Oct. 25), the remains should be stored “in a sacred place” that “prevents the faithful departed from being forgotten” and “prevents any unfitting or superstitious practices.”

The guidelines, issued by the Vatican body responsible for doctrine, came in response not only to the growing popularity of cremation in countries such as the U.S. but also the increasingly common practice of disposing of “cremains” at a spot beloved by the deceased person — or just keeping them on the mantle.

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