Keeping the cremated ashes of a loved one in an urn on your mantel is officially against the rules for Catholics. New guidelines from the Vatican state that ashes must never be scattered or kept by family members, but held in a "sacred place" like a cemetery, reports the BBC. This "prevents the faithful departed from being forgotten, or their remains from being shown a lack of respect," as well as "any unfitting or superstitious practices," the Catholic Church says.
It adds it cannot "condone attitudes or permit rites that involve erroneous ideas about death, such as considering death as the definitive annihilation of the person … or as a stage in the cycle of regeneration." If a person requests "cremation and the scattering of their ashes for reasons contrary to the Christian faith, a Christian funeral must be denied," the Vatican adds, noting a burial is preferred "to express faith and hope in the resurrection of the body." (Read more Catholic Church stories.)