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Cremation acceptable, but burial preferred

Even if a believer is cremated and their ashes scattered to the winds, God will resurrect them body and soul, according to an article in an Italian Jesuit magazine.

The Tablet reports that La CiviltÓ Cattolica published the article to coincide with a recent Italian law lifting the ban on scattering a person's ashes. Though no longer a crime, government permission will be required and some areas are off-limits, such as certain lakes.

The Catholic Church accepts cremation, which is often chosen for economical or environmental reasons, but prefers burial as a better expression of Christian faith in the Resurrection and respect for the human body.

"Just as one deposits money in the bank with the aim of withdrawing it later with interest, so Christians entrust their bodies to the earth as a deposit," the CiviltÓ Cattolica article said.

According to statistics published by the Cremation Association of North America in 1998, the "percentage of deaths resulting in cremation" was 71% in Britain, 23% in the United States, but only 4% in Italy.