Those of you with religious tendencies may wish to skip this one, especially if you’re a Catholic.

You may not be aware that the Vatican, in its infinite wisdom, waited until 1963 to give its blessing to the concept of cremating the dead. This was a little odd, since the Church was pretty adept at burning people alive. There was the Inquisition for starters, which made Toledo a very hazardous place to live. Joan of Arc was toast too, in the literal as well as metaphorical sense, but they cocked that up. Twenty five years after being burned at the stake, she was pardoned and made a saint. So that’s all right then.

Back to today. Yes, you are allowed to be cremated if you’re a Catholic, which I think is very generous of the Vatican. Of course, as with any religion, some interfering busybody has to micromanage the whole trip to Heaven, a bit like an overly officious tour guide. Hence you can be cremated, but then the Church wants its say in what gets done with the ashes.

According to new guidance issued by the numpties in the Vatican, the ashes must be interred in a church or a consecrated cemetery. You can’t keep them at home. You can’t scatter them in a place that was special to the deceased. You can’t turn them into jewellery.

I admit that the last one is something I tend to agree with. It strikes me as a bit macabre. But just why does the Church feel it’s in a position to dictate this crap? Why do they feel it’s so important to interfere here? The person is dead, is presumed to have ascended to heaven. The carnival is over. What possible effect does what’s done with the ashes have on the dead person? I’ll tell you. ‘…because this shows greater esteem towards the dead.’ Oh really? In truth, interring the ashes somewhere the Church maintains its iron grip on control is showing greater esteem towards the Church, but of course the Vatican can’t admit that.

They must have spent hours discussing this, when what they could have been doing was figuring out how much of the family silver to flog off to help alleviate poverty or something else with some bloody point to it. But no. They want to cosh you over the head with a big stick. This decree, Ad Resurgendum cum Christo, authorised by il Papa himself, even suggests that Catholics who insist on having their ashes scattered can be denied a Christian funeral. That’s what you call a Christian attitude.

I’ll bet the Vatican freaked at the story of Keith Richard snorting his dad’s ashes a few years ago.

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