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Separating cremated ashes:

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Have you ever wondered if it is wrong to separate cremated ashes?

Today we want to talk about this issue, with this guest article written by Ruffo Miranda, owner of

Many people have asked this question and there is no easy answer for this topic. However, we will give you some criteria and opinions expressed over time from different religious viewpoints, so you may have some information about it. We are in no way declaring one view to be the correct view, this article’s purpose is purely to provide information for discussion and thought.

From a Catholic perspective, the Vatican ruled that:

“Catholics are forbidden from keeping the ashes of cremated loved ones at home, scattering them, dividing them between family members or turning them into mementoes.”1

From the Vatican’s point of view, it is wrong to separate cremated ashes, because it contradicts with the Catholic religion’s view of what happens to a body after it has died, specifically the belief in the literal resurrection of the body.

But on the other hand Hinduism supports cremation and the scattering of ashes, it is a very common practice and part of many Hindu funeral ceremonies. In fact, the Ganges River is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, partly because of the large amount of cremations performed there.

Similar to Hinduism, Buddhism also approves of cremation and scattering of ashes, as the Buddha himself was cremated.

On the other hand, Islam does not approve of cremation, they consider it an unclean practice. Muslims are not even allowed to witness the event of cremation. Islamic belief is that burning the body is a type of mutilation and is therefore forbidden.

Outside of religion, what do governmental laws say about separating cremated ashes? There have been numerous cases, which have delved into the area of the division of ashes. This usually only occurs when there is a family dispute about the place where to scatter the remains, or keep the remains. The law says that ashes are the same as a body so is unwilling to rule for separating them amongst different parties. However, if family and friends agree, then there should be no legal issues, and most of the time that is a moment of solemnity and families and friends are willing and ready to split the remains.

In summary, the fact is there are many people in the world who come from many different types of backgrounds, religious or not. It is up to an individual to decide for themselves what they believe is ethical in regards to separating cremated ashes.

Grieving is a difficult time for people and they deal with bereavement differently. Take your time to discuss with your family and or friends, your lost one’s wishes, and how you all feel it would be best to move forward with their remains

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. Harriet Sherwood, "Vatican bans Catholics from keeping ashes of loved ones at home," The Guardian, 2016-OCT-25, at:

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Original posting: 2019-JUN-15
Author: Ruffo Miranda, owner of
: Email.
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