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The Vatican’s position on the ashes of saints

The Vatican has updated it rules on relics these are body parts (and more historically) including associated items of a saint. There has been issues recently when surviving family members disagree with what the  Catholic church wishes to do body of a person once they have given saint status.

The rules were last updated in 2007, however these were written as broad guidelines (and in Latin!) so it’s not difficult to see why a multi-language document would be slightly more beneficial.

The good news is the cremated ashes of a saint will now be considered to be relic. Why is this important? Relics are important within Catholic Church’s tradition, because the body is believed to be the “instrument” of the person’s saintliness.  In layman’s terms would appear that association and proximity will allow people to get closer to god, the explicit inclusion of cremated remains (or ashes) will bring it into line with the church’s stance (updated stance of 1963) which allowed a person to be cremated.

There are two other issues within  this guidance which are unrelated but nonetheless interesting:

The instructions explicitly ban the selling of: bones, teeth, hair etc,. Which may seem gruesome but apparently there is a big market for such items on the internet.

The second one relates to how body must be dealt with if  parts are removed and how the body is to be put back, including how this must will be done in secrecy. Now I’m sorry but that is quite creepy.

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