Even though the Church retains its preference for the burial of the body, after the example of Christ’s own burial, permission has been granted for Catholics to be cremated. If the choice for cremation is made, the Church strongly encourages Catholics to have it take place after the Mass of Christian Burial has been celebrated. This allows the full liturgical funeral rites to be celebrated in the presence of the body, which, as the temple of the Holy Spirit, is accorded great honour in the Christian tradition.
Furthermore, when cremation takes place immediately after death, the family is deprived of the psychologically important opportunity to take leave of their loved one.
In keeping with a spirit of reverence and in Christian anticipation of the resurrection of the body, the Church asks that all cremated remains be buried in a grave, or placed in a mausoleum or columbarium, as soon as possible after the funeral Mass or Liturgy.
A specific place for a person’s remains helps focus the remembering and prayer for the deceased person by the family and friends, and by the Church in general.
Also, such a place will make it easier to memorialize the deceased, for example, with plaques which record names and dates.
Scattering cremated remains over water, in the air, on the ground, separating them for placement in different locations, or keeping them in homes does not display appropriate Christian reverence and hope, and, therefore, should not be done.