The Catholic church permits cremation, but cremated remains must be treated with the same respect as corporal remains. They must be buried or inurned in a sacred place, such as a columbarium, burial plot or mausoleum ideally within a Catholic cemetery. This prevents the deceased from being forgotten or their remains from being shown a lack of respect. Cremated remains must never be retained at home, scattered, divided or used to fashion jewelry or pottery.
Canon Law (the law of the church) maintains a preference for burial of the body, but considers cremation as an acceptable alternative unless it is chosen for reasons contrary to church teaching.
The elements of the Order of Christian Funerals should be followed. Preferably, the wake service and funeral Mass are conducted with the body present. If this cannot be done, there is a provision to celebrate the funeral Mass with the cremated remains present. The committal service at the Catholic cemetery concludes the rite.
The lives of those who are cremated should be memorialized with an engraved monument or inscription, in the same way as corporal remains. This provides a permanent record of a member of the faith community and can be a focal point for survivors to grieve, reflect and pray.