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Cremation Guidelines Get Mixed Reviews

For more than half-a-century Catholics have been allowed to cremate their remains.

Now the Vatican doctrinal office is offering guidelines about what the faithful can do with them.

The way local Catholics understand it, ashes should not be scattered in the Rose Garden at the Old Mission Santa Barbara or in the air, on land or at sea.

In addition, ashes should not be split among relatives, kept on a shelf or placed in keepsakes such as jewelry.

The pastor at the Old Mission said the rules meant to bolster the faith should not come as a surprise.

Fr. Adrian Peelo OFM said. “That is our fundamental faith, the belief in the resurrection of the dead and so in the early days in the Catacombs they were not a place of the dead, they were in the place of the living. People were waiting to rise from the dead so it is appropriate that Christian who die be buried in sacred places as they await the resurrection.”

While the Catholic Church prefers burials, leaders are well aware cremation is more affordable and growing in popularity.

In 2013, almost 60 percent of the people who passed away in California were cremated.

Some people believe the guidelines are too rigid.

Albert Alvarado said he thinks Native American land in Santa Barbara is already sacred.

The Vatican announcement was made a week before All Souls Day.

The holiday on Nov. 2, commemorates the faithful departed.

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