Following is a statement of Dennis Poust, executive director of the NYS Catholic Conference:
"Throughout human history and in every culture, the disposition of human remains has followed a variety of rituals, but always involving interment or cremation. The process of composting is associated with the sustainable disposition of organic household or agricultural waste to be repurposed as fertilizer for gardens or crops. But human bodies are not household waste; they are vessels of the soul. Therefore, the Bishops of New York State do not believe the process meets the standard of reverent treatment of earthly remains.
"In the Catholic Church, preference remains for the burial of the body, with cremation and burial of the ashes as an acceptable and increasingly popular alternative. Just as Church teaching prohibits the scattering or dividing of cremated remains, it would not permit the spreading of composted human remains co-mingled with other organic matter to fertilize a garden.
"Given this fact, the bishops regret that Gov. Hochul has signed this legislation. For Catholics who share concerns regarding care for the environment, numerous Catholic and other cemeteries in New York offer green burial areas that do not involve embalming, concrete vaults or traditional coffins. As noted, cremation and burial of the ashes is also a legitimate option for faithful Catholics."
The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York State in public policy matters.
Respect for human life made in the image and likeness of God is the underlying principle of our faith that urges us to affirm life from the moment of fertilization to natural death, in attitude as well as action. Most urgently, respect of human life calls us to protect life that is threatened by forces we oppose: abortion, abortifacients, the death penalty, human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, economic injustice, violence and war.
The Respect Life Grant Fund is made possible by the Diocese of Ogdensburg Respect Life Second Collection held in our parishes in January, commemorating the anniversary date of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 which legalized abortion in our nation. In 2023, this collection will be held the weekend of January 21/22. The purpose of the fund is to support & encourage efforts that affirm & promote the respect of human life from fertilization to natural death.
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A new, one-page resource is now available dispelling the many myths currently circulating which claim abortion restrictions will limit women’s access to healthcare.
“The Truth About Abortion and Women’s Health” can be printed in parish bulletins, included in newsletters, shared on social media, and more.
We hope this resource will help you to combat these lies about pro-life legislation during Respect Life Month and a heated election cycle.