Document Title: "Cremation Question
Question from on 05-04-2007:
I'm a Catholic whose Catholic friend recently died. While he was living, he never mentioned to me that he had asked his family to have his body cremated (which I realize is no problem in and of itself) but, instead of having his ashes buried in a marked grave, to have them dispersed into a body of water. I would have tried to counsel him to have his remains buried in a Cathlolic cemetery, had I been aware of his wishes, but I did not hear of what he wished till after he had passed away. My question has to do with whether or not I am free to be present when the family disperses the ashes. I have been personally invited to be there, and the last thing I want to do is hurt anyone's feelings at this point (since I don't see any chance of altering the plan by expressing my reservations). Can I be present without committing scandal? If I have to decline, am I obliged to tell the family why I am declining? I don't want to hurt anybody at this point -- especially if there's no realistic expectation that I can affect the outcome. However, I don't want to fail in my obligations as a Catholic. Please advise me. May God bless you for the good work yo"