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woman-thinking4Scattering of Cremated Remains – Articles & Tidbits

Guidelines for Funerals & Burials in the Catholic Church – Cremation Section

Although ordinarily the body is present for the funeral, there may be occasions when, with the approval of the bishop, it is permitted to celebrate the funeral liturgy, including the Eucharist, in the presence of the ashes of the deceased. In this case, the ashes are to be placed on a small table covered with a white cloth. The table is placed in front of the altar, not in the place that the casket usually occupies, but a little to the side. The paschal candle, holy water and incense may be used; the alternative form of the dismissal is used.
Cremated remains should never be scattered. Placed in a worthy container, they should be buried in a grave or inurned in a columbarium niche, preferably in a Catholic cemetery.

Source:  Guidelines for Funerals & Burials in the Catholic Church
Bishops of BC & Yukon plus Ukrainian Eparchy of New Westminster

Secular Legislation British Columbia (vs Church Teaching)

  • Section 4 of the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act relates to this request. The section discusses the improper disposition of human remains and states that:
    • Subject to the regulations, a person must not dispose of human remains at any place in British Columbia other than:
      1. by interment in or on land against which there is a certificate of public interest registered,
      2. by cremation in a crematorium, or
      3. by interment in or on Crown land that is reserved under the Land Act for interment purposes.
  • The family should be advised that the disposal of cremated remains on private or public property should be cleared with the land owner or local government that oversees those lands.


The full-text of the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act is at:

  • http://www.bclaws.ca/Recon/document/ID/freeside/00_04035_01
    • Cremation is final disposition
    • As cremated remains pose no health hazard, there is no law governing their final disposition other than it be consistent with the written preference of the deceased and that they are released to the person with control of disposition.

Source : http://www.slideshare.net/ConsumerProtectionBC/quirks-about-bcs-funeral-services-law

Scattering of Cremated Remains – Media Coverage (excerpts)

There is limited coverage in the media on the practice of scattering of cremated remains. A selection of media articles follows.

Green burials, The North Shore Outlook, 12 Aug 2010

One local cemetery official who wished not to be named explained comments are often heard from family members who regret not choosing an appropriate location for a remembrance ceremony. Some people are now buying markers in cemeteries where there are no ashes interred just to have a location where they can gather. A common complaint is “he wanted his ashes tossed to the wind, but now it’s like my husband never existed.”

Cremation: think before scattering, Victoria Times Colonist, 12 January 1999

Before you settle on scattering, there are more serious considerations to address. Scattering is an irreversible process and many families at a later date regret having scattered their loved one’s cremated remains. People who scatter ashes in the family garden may not consider the day they will move away or sell the property to strangers. The favourite spot in the park or at the beach may, in years to come, be developed or become inaccessible. In fact, any unrestricted area used for scattering today will very likely have a totally different appearance in the future.

Disposal of the dead is fraught with costly myths, inaccuracies, The Vancouver Sun, 20 June 1998

The Funeral Service Association of B.C., a cooperative venture of several of the province’s funeral directors, warns against scattering ashes, advising that while it may have an “idyllic appeal to some, it is an irreversible decision. Already we are starting to see the emotional results this has had some years later on the survivors, who have come to regret no permanent memorial site. The emotional value of establishing a permanent site is worthy of consideration.”

Roadblock for Spreading of Human Ashes in Wilderness, New York Times, March 30, 2007

Officials from Region I of the Forest Service, which covers Montana and Idaho, said it [scattering ashes] was against national policy and denied a permit. If ashes are scattered “the land takes on a sacredness, and people want to put up a marker or a plaque,” Mr. Schofield said, then they oppose activities they do not see as compatible with the site as a resting place.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/30/us/30ashes.html?_r=0

MCG warns fans not to spread ashes of loved ones on turf

The warning comes after employees found piles of ashes on the stadium’s turf after a public open day at the ground. The Melbourne Cricket Club strictly bans the practice and frequently rejects requests for people to scatter ashes.

“Often you find in the ashes there are small fragments of bone that are left in the ash and that can be quite sharp and jagged and for footballers and cricketers running across the turf that can be quite dangerous,” he said.

“The most important message for anyone who wants to do this is to understand that over time their loved one’s ashes will actually be removed from the MCG and discarded into waste, because we replace the turf quite regularly as part of our maintenance program,” he said.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-15/mcg-warns-fans-not-to-spread-ashes-of-loved-ones-on-turf/5157672

Funeral homes backlogged with cremated remains: Problem worst in West.

The cremated remains of thousands of Canadians are filling the basements and storage rooms of funeral homes while many of their directors are placing ads in newspapers and burying the bodies in mass graves to deal with the backlog.

The problem is particularly acute in Western Canada, where cremation is the method of choice for dealing with the remains of departed loved ones.

Carberry’s Funeral Home in Trail, B.C., has placed ads in local newspapers identifying 150 people whose ashes are sitting in containers on shelves in a storage room. Some of the ashes have been in storage for 50 years in cardboard boxes.

Source: Funeral homes backlogged with cremated remains: Problem worst in West.

Scattering Cremated Remains

In (Newfoundland) there are no laws governing or restricting the scattering of cremated remains. Therefore, permission is not required to scatter on crown lands or public waterways. Permission is required however if you wish to scatter in National Parks which are in the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. For example, Signal Hill is a designated National Park and permission must be received before scattering can occur within its designated boundaries. It is assumed if scattering is desired on private property the owner’s permission should first be sought.

It is ironic, however, that to date scattering is not permitted within the boundaries of local church owned cemeteries in St. John’s. This is a concern for some clergy and Funeral Directors in the area as it restricts the options available to families.

Source: http://www.carnells.com/help-support-article.aspx?id=44

Cremation Explained

The decision to scatter should be chosen carefully. Although the act of scattering over land or water may have idyllic appeal to some, it is an irreversible decision. Already we are starting to see the emotional results this has had some years later on the survivors, who have come to regret no permanent memorial site. The emotional value of establishing a permanent site is worthy of consideration.

In British Columbia, there are hundreds of cremated remains that have never been claimed from the funeral home. Many funeral directors have gone to great lengths in order to ensure dignified final disposition for these unclaimed cremated remains. Under provincial regulations, if the cremated remains are not retrieved within one year from the date of cremation, the funeral home has the right to bury the cremated remains in common ground at a local cemetery.

For this reason alone, it is important to understand that cremation, is only one process in a series of events that will take place. If your choice is cremation, you must carefully consider the options for final disposition of the cremated remains.

Source: http://www.bcfunerals.com/when-death-occurs/burial-cremation/cremation-explained

Norfolk bans scattering of loved ones’ ashes on other graves

The Norfolk City Council recently passed an ordinance prohibiting the practice. Anyone found disposing of ashes on a city grave could be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor and face a $500 fine.

“Just to have someone come out and scatter ashes, to me, is not appropriate,” City Councilman Paul Riddick, who owns a funeral home, said this month. “That’s not to say a person can’t scatter ashes out in their backyard or out at sea.”

Source: http://hamptonroads.com/2010/12/norfolk-bans-scattering-loved-ones-ashes-other-graves

Cremated remains must be properly interred. Saint Mary Roman Catholic Church, Manchester Michigan

No matter what choices are made for the remains of the deceased, they must reflect the belief of the Roman Catholic Church. Roman Catholic people need to know far in advance of death what they believe so that when confronted with death they will make those choices that reflect a firm belief in the sacred dignity of the human body and are consistent with one who believes in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.

Source: http://stmarymanchester.catholicweb.com/index.cfm/NewsItem?ID=189344&From=Home

Cremation Is on the Rise, but Where to Put the Ashes? Scattering the remains of your loved one—legally—can present something of a challenge, Time Ideas, June 13, 2013

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, boats and planes must be at least three nautical miles from shore before any ashes go overboard.

If you’re thinking about scattering on the beach, many states, such as California, have rules that prohibit seaside sprinklings. (Although if you’re willing to wade out a bit, California does allow scatterings five hundred yards from shore.)

The rules at US national parks require staying away from roads, developed areas, and bodies of water. In some areas, scattering is prohibited to avoid contaminating future archeological explorations.

Source: http://ideas.time.com/2013/06/13/cremation-is-on-the-rise-but-where-to-put-the-ashes/

Statement and Policy on Cremation in the Province of Miami. Florida Catholic Conference.

Cremated remains are to be placed in an urn (or other suitable container) and either buried in the ground or at sea, or entombed in a columbarium. Each urn is to contain the cremated remains of only one person. The cremated remains of one person are not to be divided but rather are always kept in the same urn.

Source: http://www.lpca.us/cremation12-06.pdf

Cremains issue a sensitive one for Catholics

The decision about a loved one’s final resting place is, of course, a very personal and sensitive decision. At the same time, the Catholic Church has long opposed scattering cremains at sea or some other evocative place (as well as keeping them at home or converting them into keepsakes) for this reason: because the body was in Christ a temple of the Holy Spirit, it is considered sacred and therefore should be treated with the utmost respect and reverence even in death.

Source: http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20140120/NJOPINION0201/301200018/Cremains-issue-sensitive-one-Catholics?nclick_check=1

Ashes to Armaments Dust to Detonation – A Brief Essay on What NOT to do with Cremated Remains. Archdiocese of Washington

A new cremation regulation, dated March 21, 1997, was granted by the Holy See as an addition, or indult, to the Order of Christian Funerals.

The instructions indicate the cremated remains should be treated with the same respect we give to the body of deceased person. The remains are to be placed in a worthy vessel which then is carried and transported with the same respect and attention given to a casket carrying a body.

Their final disposition is equally important, say the instructions: “The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium [a cemetery vault designed for urns containing ashes of the dead]. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.”

Source: http://blog.adw.org/2012/01/ashes-to-armaments-dust-to-detonation-a-brief-essay-on-what-not-to-do-with-cremated-remains/

The theft this Christmas of an urn containing the cremated remains of a Delta senior’s late husband marks the third set of ashes nicked by burglars in the last week.

Published Wednesday, December 28, 2011  CTV News British Columbia 

Carol Lalonde was celebrating Christmas Eve at a family member’s house when someone broke into her home 7800-block of 119 Street and stole televisions, jewelry and her late husband Laurence’s ashes. He had died just last year.

Source and Full Article: http://bc.ctvnews.ca/urn-thefts-leave-3-b-c-families-feeling-violated-1.746362#ixzz3FfAgyCFz

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