As an alternative to earth burial, cremation has a storied history. Over the past two centuries, it has been a topic of discussion and debate for the English courts, the Roman Catholic Church, baby boomers in the United States, and many others. Views continue to change, but one thing is for certain: the popularity and acceptance of cremation is on the rise – everywhere.
The percentage of Americans who choose cremation has increased every year since the 1960’s. In the 1980’s, about one in ten made that choice, according to the Cremation Association of North America. Now, about 40% of Americans prefer to have their bodies cremated. So extreme is the momentum that experts predict cremation in America will surpass traditional burials within the next five years. There are many reasons for the rise in popularity of cremation:
Perhaps most convincingly, a shift in religious views has caused cremation to be accepted by nearly every faith background. Some religious traditions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, actually require cremation, believing it is the last rite of passage that separates the body from the soul. Similarly, Protestants have long taken the stand that the resurrection of the body still takes place even if one is cremated. In the 1960’s, the Pope lifted the previous ban on cremation, and allowed priests to celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial with cremated remains present. More recently, some forms of Judaism have begun to accept cremation.
However, cremation poses a challenge for the leaders of our faith communities. With earth burials, the deceased lying in a casket is the physical focal point of the funeral – this is the bodily reminder of who our loved one was in life. Direct cremation removes that physical shell and creates the need for a new focal point. It could be as simple as an urn, but better yet, it could be a room full of objects that represent who that person was – pictures, videos, memorabilia, and music.
At Natural Burial and Cremation by Willwerscheid West-Heights we believe that a funeral is an opportunity to “tell the story” about the love and respect you have for your loved one. We help people create the focal point to tell that story. Our staff pledges to provide honest and comforting care and support. We will give you thoughtful answers to all the options available to you, and we are committed to the recognition of individual and personal values and traditions.