Cremation Or Full Casket Burial?
Christians have been carrying out the sacred task of honoring the mortal remains of our deceased brethren with burial and prayer for about 2000 years now. It is a time honored and hallowed event, and is a beautiful expression of our belief in the resurrection of the body.
This is why we have cemeteries, holy ground, ground set apart for the interring of our mortal remains as we await the coming of Christ, when all of the faithful will be raised from their graves and our souls will be reunited with our bodies in Christs definitive victory over sin and death.
With such a hope, we can see why early Christians held the burial of the whole body in such high regard and viewed cremation as a denial in the Resurrection, a foundational tenant of christian belief. With the persecutions of early Christians by the Roman Empire, many of the Martyrs who died had their bodies burned, many while still alive, as a way for the Romans to further ridicule those who believed in the resurrection of the body.
Because of this fact the Catholic Church only tolerated the cremation of human remains in extreme circumstances for nearly 2 millennia. Since 1983 the Church no longer forbids the cremation of the bodily remains of Christians, but She still prefers full burial and maintains some strict standards for cremation: