Vatican: No more scattering of cremation ashes

A man waves a flag of Eritrea in front of the Apostolic palace where Pope Francis is delivering the Angelus noon prayer in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. The pontiff is recalling the victims of attacks by extremists last week in Burkina Faso and Indonesia. Francis led a prayer for the dead when he greeted a crowd of faithful in St. Peter’s Square Sunday. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
A man waves a flag of Eritrea in front of the Apostolic palace where Pope Francis is delivering the Angelus noon prayer in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. The pontiff is recalling the victims of attacks by extremists last week in Burkina Faso and Indonesia. Francis led a prayer for the dead when he greeted a crowd of faithful in St. Peter’s Square Sunday. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is setting out guidelines for Catholics who want to be cremated, saying their remains cannot be scattered, divvied up or kept at home but rather stored in a sacred, church-approved place.

The new instructions were released Tuesday, just in time for Halloween, and All Souls Day on Nov. 2, when the faithful are supposed to pray for and remember the dead.

For most of its 2,000-year history, the Catholic Church only permitted burial, arguing that this best expressed the Christian hope in resurrection. But in 1963, the Vatican explicitly allowed cremation as long as it didn’t suggest a denial of faith about resurrection.

The new document repeats that burial remains preferred but lays out guidelines for conserving ashes for the increasing numbers of Catholics who choose cremation.