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Roman Catholic Beliefs surrounding funerals and internment?

My father died recently. He was estranged from a significant portion of his family, and not well-connected to to the others (he maintained two telephone numbers so he could avoid them). They were all strangers to me until I reached out to inform them of his death.

His family is Catholic, some currently practicing, some lapsed. My father was very anti-religion (was not too fond of my beliefs) so I chose to honour that by not having a religious service. His family want him interred in the family plot, which is consecrated ground. At first, I had no objection.

When they demanded I moved the service to fit their schedules, as they could not take another day off work for the internment, I said I would but it would take two days to arrange. Before my deadline, I started hearing that they wanted to split the ashes for their own service and not even see me, they were going to just take the ashes from me because I had no right to them, and they tried to blackmail me, saying if I didn't change it, they were going to send me bills. WTF?

Now they claim Catholics require the remains be interred in consecrated ground within 3 days of the funeral or my Dad doesn't get to go to Heaven. (A) I cannot find this in my Google search. (B) Given all that happened before, I think they are trying to use religion to manipulate me.

Is this a true Catholic belief or am I being manipulated?


While my father wouldn't have cared about any of the actual beliefs, he would not want me to offend his mother. This is why religion still matters, and I was trying to do a compromise.

Update 2:

The bill I references was that I was gifting them the ashes for internment, therefore they were responsible for the internment and perpetual maintenance costs. They are claiming that if I do not "cooperate" that they will put my name on the bills. While they cannot sign for me, and I could technically get out of it, they would list me as Next of Kin and then not pay, so then the cemetery would seek me out and I would be stuck with either paying or the consequences of what happens to my Dad.

Update 3:

A follow up: w/o knowing this, the plot is in a place that is not served by Greyhound, rail, anything. Being that I am chronically ill and cannot drive, therefore could never visit my father, I ordered a pinch of ash put in a locket for me to keep. Did I just inadvertently ruin their practice anyway?

6 Answers

  • 5 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm a Catholic and it sounds to me like your estranged family is manipulating you. They're giving you partial truths and partial outright lies.

    The Catholic Church requires that her children be interred in a suitable place for human remains. This means burried in the ground or put in a columbarium or mausoleum. Your father's cremains cannot be SPLIT or SCATTERED somewhere. They must remain together. Also, cremains cannot be kept at home or in any other place where human remains are not interred. This MUST be done at a church or cemetery.

    Catholic remains are NOT required to be interred in sacred ground, nor does a Catholic soul require a funeral mass in order to go to Heaven. That's utter folk religion. It doesn't sound like these "Catholics" really know much about the faith and they're using it as a pretext to take control of the situation.

    If I were you, I'd carry on with whatever plans your father would've wanted, inform his estranged family whenever THE one and only funeral service for him will be, and that you'd love it if they would show, but if not OH WELL.

  • 5 years ago

    You are being manipulated. The Catholic Church does have some regulations regarding proper burial, proper treatment of ashes, etc., which is only common sense. You can't bury someone in your back yard, or in the woods or at the beach. And remains cannot be subdivided and interred at more than one location. But none of these regulations have any bearing whatsoever on the salvation of the deceased, that is, going to Heaven.

    Catholic deacon

  • Mr. P
    Lv 7
    5 years ago

    Do your own thing, and if your Dad wanted them involved it would say this in a Will.

    If he didn't want to be buried there, then just find a peaceful spot and scatter the ashes there. You don't need a licence or witness or anything else to do this. Then it is a fait accompli.

    I expect they want you to pay them for a full service and burial, headstone etc, but this is not needed by law, and once scattered the job is done.

  • 5 years ago

    You are being manipulated. Unless one of those relatives is a sibling to you, your mother, or one of his parents, they have no legal right to any arrangements for disposal of his remains. And since you father was anti-religion why should any religious beliefs matter?

    And as for sending you bills - did your father owe them money? If you are the sole heir you are on the hook for the debt. If it is any other kind of bill tell them to buzz off.

    UPDATE: From what I can tell that time limit is BS.

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Catholicism leads to eternal torment in the lake of fire, because it teaches works for salvation, which cannot save. So get away from it..

    Jesus loves you! The truth is that believing in Jesus to take you to heaven, is the only way to heaven. Jesus paid it all, so believe in Jesus, and you're saved. There is no chance to be saved after death. Jesus Christ is God, Jesus died on the cross to pay for all of our sins, and then Jesus resurrected from the dead. Nothing else pays for our sins, not works or deeds or religions or anything. So to be in heaven and not in eternal torment in the lake of fire, believe in Jesus Christ to take you to heaven. That easy! Tell Jesus right now that you believe in Jesus for eternal life, and you will be in heaven! Jesus loves you and wants to bless you now and throughout your life and forever!..

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    The catholics have no say on whether your father goes to heaven

    that is in between him and God

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