VATICAN CITY, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The Vatican announced Tuesday that the ashes of cremated Catholics must be stored in a cemetery or other consecrated placed and not at home.
The ruling from the Vatican's doctrinal office in Rome forbids ashes to be kept in urns in private homes, as well as the scattering of ashes or dividing the cremated remains among family members. They also may not "be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects."
The guidelines also warn against "new ideas contrary to the church's faith" which the Vatican says have been widespread, identifying pantheism, or the worship of nature, naturalism, the idea that truth is derived not from religion but from nature, and nihilism, skepticism of all truths. It argues that cremation can be seen as an example of each of these anti-Christian beliefs, and if cremation is chosen for any of these reasons, a Catholic funeral ceremony is to be denied the deceased.
The Catholic Church grudgingly approves of cremation; in 1963 the Vatican announced burial is preferable but cremation is not "opposed per se to the Christian religion."
The ruling Tuesday identified what it regards as a sacrilegious trend in cremation ceremonies, largely in the United States. Cremated remains can be inserted into shotgun shells so that family members can take them on turkey hunts; some people specify that their remains be scattered under a favorite tree. Remains have also been sent into space, CNN reported.