August 2017

In his latest Q&A column for The Catholic Telegraph of Cincinnati, Fr. David Endres answers, yes, explaining that the Church’s aversion is rooted in ancient pagan denials of the Resurrection:

While today one may not think of the choice for cremation as offering a theological statement, in ancient times cremation was associated with a lack of belief in the resurrection. In the first days of the Church, we see that Christians buried their deceased while the pagans burned the bodies before burial. The choice of how to treat the bodies of the deceased was seen as testimony to belief or unbelief in the afterlife. Canon law had forbidden cremation and did not allow for Christian burial for someone who had been cremated.

He then goes on to explain that the Church has relaxed its absolute prohibition of cremation (while still discouraging it) since “[t]oday the choice for cremation is not often made to deny the resurrection, but is often chosen for practical reasons including financial necessity.”

That’s true, but I also believe people “burn their bodies” due to a denial of what constitutes a human person, namely a unity of body and soul [CCC 365].  That’s why so many Catholics say things like “Heaven just got another angel” after a loved one dies. They think the body is something discarded and left behind, so why not torch it?

Shouldn’t that be enough for the Holy See to douse the crematoriums once again?

Not a parody.

From a tale in The Catholic Telegraph of Cincinnati:

Glenmary Father John S. Rausch appeared on CNN Aug. 1 as part of a climate change town hall event with former United States Vice President Al Gore.

After being introduced by host Anderson Cooper, Father Rausch said his experience as a priest in Appalachia has led him to believe the climate crisis is really a crisis in spirituality.

Father Rausch asked, “Mr. Vice President, how can we influence people to see a spiritual connection in their consumer habits (so) that they can see the consequences of their buying, the consequences (they) have on people in Appalachia and also in other parts of God’s kingdom?”

Before delving into his response, Gore took a moment to thank Father John for his ministry, and expressed admiration for the Holy Father, Pope Francis.

“Well, thank you, Father. And thank you for what you do. I’m a Protestant, but I’ll tell you, because of Pope Francis, I really could become a Catholic. He is really an amazing spiritual leader.”
Gore, who was raised a Southern Baptist, went on to recommend that people of all faith traditions should read Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si.