From biblical times, we have honored the body as witness among us to the sacramental presence of God and as a temple of God's Holy Spirit. Today, both the body of the deceased Christian and its cremated mortal remains receive due Christian respect. Fr. Rutherford, an expert on the Order of Christian Funerals, surveys the Catholic heritage behind recent cremation directives and offers a practical guide to how the cremated remains of the deceased may be present in the Catholic funeral liturgy. Honoring the Dead addresses the history, theology, and practical guidelines regarding cremation.
Catholics in the United States desire an approach to the use of cremation that is both Catholic and responsive to personal decisions of the faithful who select cremation. The revised Order of Christian Funerals reflects such an approach. With sound pastoral judgment, founded on a full appreciation of the Order of Christian Funerals, and with commitment to the faith it proclaims, Fr. Rutherford explains how Catholic parishes can serve their people with greater flexibility and inspiration.
H. Richard Rutherford, CSC, is a professor of theology and pastoral liturgy at the University of Portland. He has taught at the University of Notre Dame and currently serves as visiting summer professor at St. John's University in Collegeville. He is known for his works on the Order of Christian Funerals, and is the author of the Understanding the Order of Christian Funerals video series and The Death of a Christian, published by The Liturgical Press.