The Catholic Church opposes composting human remains — but it’s becoming legal in more states

America Magazine reports:

Washington, Colorado and Oregon are now among the U.S. states that have legalized the process of converting human bodies into soil, a procedure the Catholic Church said fails to show “respect for the body of the deceased.” Meanwhile, California and New York are seeking to be next in line to allow human composting.

The process for composting a body was introduced by the Seattle-based company Recompose, which is now open for business after the state of Washington legalized the process in 2019. Colorado was the second state to legalize it, followed by Oregon, when Gov. Kate Brown in mid-June signed House Bill 2574 into law.

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  1. Pól Ó Duibhir says:

    Has the Catholic Church lost its mind?

  2. Eddie Finnegan says:

    “Meménto, Homo, quia humus es et in humum revertéris.”
    “Remember, Human, that you are humus and into humus shall you return.” And of course as believers we must add: “But the Lord will raise you up on the Last Day.”
    What could be a more fitting way to implement Laudato Si’ in a parish or diocese? And where would be a more fittingly sacred place than the parish cemetery?
    Most of us are fairly useless material for recycling or reincarnation, so efficient composting will allow us to give back something to the care of our common home which we’ve spent decades knocking about so carelessly.

    What on earth is wrong with the mentality of a “church” or its leading pastors if they are not already composing great Liturgies of Recomposition to give meaning to our Requiems of committal and, after 30 days or thereabouts, to our traditional Month’s Mind. Every Irish parish or townland should be doing its own composting. How is polluting the soil with highly varnished coffins of pine, veneered mahogany and metal a way of respecting the human body? A bit more humilitas is required, methinks.

  3. Mary Vallely says:

    Yes, Eddie @2, I agree totally with you. It makes absolute sense for a dead body to be at one with the Earth ASAP. Not good news for undertakers, mind you, or the funeral industry as a whole.

    One of the positives about the RCC is the fact that we do funeral rituals SO well and it will take a huge amount of courage and a change of mindset to alter the habits of generations. The main focus of a requiem mass surely is to give thanks to God for the life of the deceased and to comfort and support the bereaved. (Hugely important, God love them.) Gratitude to the Good Lord means caring for creation and the return of an unadorned deceased body to that earth in order to nurture it for others is a thank you from us to God.
    “Et in humus revertéris.” Exactly.
    Certainly worth thinking about.

    We are being shaken and stirred out of our ‘unthinking’ habits of late, are we not! I’m not advocating abandoning what is good and what has worked in the past but just suggesting we keep our minds open to the possibilities of better ways for all humanity.

    Now, must update my last will and testament…

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