Reverence for the Body (With Notes on Cremation), by Dr. Jeff Mirus

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By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, May 12, 2020

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

I have been asked several times in recent years to clarify the Church’s position on cremation, so that Catholics can make informed decisions about whether to choose cremation or traditional burial when they bear responsibility for the decision. In one sense, this question is a good starting point for a discussion of Scott Hahn’s latest book, Hope to Die (subtitled “The Christian meaning of death and the resurrection of the body”, a collaborative effort with Emily Stimpson Chapman). Dr. Hahn is both the Fr. Michael Scanlan Professor of Biblical Theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville and the Founder and President of the St. Paul Center, and he has done as much or more than anyone else in the world, over the past generation, to help us grow as Catholics through a better understanding of Sacred Scripture.

In another sense, however, to make cremation the entry point for a discussion of this much-needed book runs the risk of over-emphasizing what is probably its least important point, namely the Church’s continued preference for traditional burial over cremation. Still, this question legitimately concerns many, so let me state the Catholic position briefly, based on Hahn’s clear exposition of it in chapters 11 and 12 (and I emphasize that there are ten chapters before, as well as another chapter and a postscript after): …

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