“In the face of death, the church confidently proclaims that God has created each person for eternal life and that Jesus, the Son of God, by his death and resurrection, has broken the chains of sin and death that bound humanity.
At the death of a Christian, whose life of faith was begun in the waters of baptism and strengthened at the eucharistic table, the Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased because of its confident belief that death is not the end nor does it break the bonds forged in life. The Church also ministers to the sorrowing and consoles them in the funeral rites with the comforting work of God and the sacrament of the eucharist.”
From the Order of Christian Funerals (OCF)
Christian faith has always believed in the resurrection of the dead. This includes not only the soul, but also the body. In the Eucharistic Prayer in Masses for the Dead, the Church prays:
Grant that he/she who was united in a death like [Christ’s], may also be one with him in his Resurrection, when from the earth he will raise up in the flesh those who have died, and transform our lowly body after the pattern of his own glorious body.
The Church prays that the whole person (body and soul) will share in Christ’s Resurrection. Hence, the Church clearly prefers that the body of the deceased be present at funeral rites. The presence of the body expresses the truth that God willing, the Lord will transform our lowly body after the pattern of Christ’s glorious body.
In the event that cremation must be chosen, the cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they come. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and the final disposition.
The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping the cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.