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The Vatican has given the green light for cremation. But not scattering ashes.

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The Vatican announced Tuesday that Catholics can be cremated, but shouldn't keep the ashes of their loved ones in a urn on the mantle or scatter them in the ocean. 

New guidelines state that those ashes should instead be kept in a sacred place such as a church or cemetery. 

According to CNN, the guidelines also note that the ashes shouldn't be divided up between family members or "preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects."

The Vatican said the goal is to keep the ashes together in a location where the dead will not be "excluded" from prayers of other Christians, USA Today reports

In 1963, the Vatican said people should be buried, but funeral rites wouldn't be denied to those who requested cremation. 


The new guidelines target modern society's increasingly secular ideas regarding the afterlife. 

For example, cremation within the United States has become increasingly commercialized. According to CNN, cremated remains are now being refashioned as diamonds and loaded into shotgun shells. 

The Vatican's new guidelines say those practices are sacrilegious.  

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