New guidelines announced by the Vatican also mean the ashes of cremated Catholics cannot be scattered or shared between family members.
In a two page instruction the Church said it preferred burials rather than cremations, saying
The practice was banned for centuries by the Church and is still frowned upon by some.
Cremations have been allowed by the Roman Catholic Church since 1963 but the new guidelines, realised ahead of All Souls Day have already been approved by Pope Francis.
According to the instructions from the Vatican’s department on doctrine ashes must be keep in sacred places, including cemeteries. Cremations may only be kept at home with special permission from a Bishop.
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announcement said:
“It is not permitted to scatter the ashes of the faithful departed in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewellery or other objects.
“These courses of action cannot be legitimised by an appeal to the sanitary, social, or economic motives that may have occasioned the choice of cremation.”
The Vatican said it was issuing the updated guidelines because of the increasing “new ideas contrary to the Church’s faith” that had become increasingly prevalent.
According to the church those who chose to be cremated “for reasons contrary to the Christian faith” must be denied a Catholic funeral.
Cremation is increasing in popularity with around a half of Americans saying they were likely to consider the option.
The personalization and commercialization of cremation with ashes scattered in favourite spots or even turned into diamonds and shotgun cartridges has been deemed sacrilegious.
“By burying the bodies of the faithful, the Church confirms her faith in the resurrection of the body, and intends to show the great dignity of the human body as an integral part of the human person whose body forms part of their identity,” the new guidelines state.
Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said “We are facing a new challenge for the evangelization of death,”
“We believe in the resurrection of the body, so burial is the normal form for the Christian faithful, especially Catholics, whom we are addressing with this document.”
Catholicism teaches that both body and soul will be resurrected at the end of days.