Bishops’ Statement Concerning Disposition of Human Remains


The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on 20 March 2023 issued a statement “On the Proper Disposition of Bodily Remains” from their Committee on Doctrine.

View On Proper Disposition 2023-03-20

In particular, “after the alkaline hydrolysis process, there are also remnants of the bones that can be pulverized and placed in an urn.” The greater part of the body has been dissolved and this liquid is treated as waste water that does not show adequate respect for the human body, nor express hope in the resurrection.

“The end result of the human composting process is also disconcerting, for there is nothing left but compost, nothing that can point to and identify as remains of the body.”
“There is nothing distinguishably left of the body to be placed in a casket or an urn and laid to rest in a sacred place where Christian faithful can visit for prayer and remembrance.”

Pastorally, if remains are presented to the cemetery from the alkaline hydrolysis process, the cemetery can inter or entomb those remains. If remains are presented to the cemetery from the human composting process, the cemetery cannot accept those remains since there is no body present that can be received.

The Board of Directors is thankful for this statement from the Bishop’s Committee.

Reverend Monsignor William F. Baver, CCCE
President, Catholic Cemetery Conference