back to article Vatican and musicians at odds over appropriate use of crematorium leftovers

The Vatican has put itself on a collision course with the rock music industry, after banning the spreading of human ash-ley remains. The declaration that spreading or storing crematoria scrapings, flies in the face of a upsurge of musicians’ innovative re-use of the mortal remains of deceased band members, fans, and indeed …

  1. cs94njw
    Pirate

    I guess it's harder to start giving up taxes or give up your property, if you're holding people's remains hostage.

  2. 's water music Silver badge
    Angel

    Resurrection of the body

    If God is having trouble tracking the cremated remains of all of his baptised souls who qualify for resurrection but are not in an approved facility (and, to be fair it must be a logistical nightmare) perhaps he could ask FSM (pbuh) for some help. There's got to be a little solidarity between deities no? I mean the doctrinal conflict stuff must be more or less a show for the peons.

    Personally I worship the Great Old Ones. Prayer is a bit of a last ditch insurance policy and when shit really starts to get real I want a deity who has more chaos experience and less time spent worrying about sex

    1. BillG Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: Resurrection of the body

      In my opinion, the ashes should be treated according to the wishes of the deceased - spread out at sea, sprinkled over a mosh pit, etc.

      So unless the deceased had specifically detailed how they wanted their ashes treated, the ashes should be treated with the respect and dignity the Pope requests.

      See appropriate icon.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Resurrection of the body

        If I walk to the shops, my route goes through a catholic cemetery. I have never seen anyone being buried there. No fresh grave sites. No head stones dated in the last 50 years. I have seen funeral services, but no coffin and the mourners are always in the same place - which has no head stones. I used to live opposite a massive multistory cemetery. About once a year trucks of soil would arrive and another 0.6m would be spread over the top of one section ready for a new layer of corpses.

        An ashes grave site can be rented for £1 to £17 per year. My personal choice is to be dismantled for spare parts, used for practice by trainee dentists and surgeons and burned in the hospital's incinerator. I am not sure exactly what happens after that. Probably the scrap metal goes for recycling and the rest to landfill.

        If the pope wants to provide ashes grave sites on consecrated ground for free, then that is his choice. BillG, you are welcome to contribute to the Pope's "Graves Sites for Everyone" charity, but please consider spending the money on the living instead.

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Resurrection of the body

      It's not to do with resurrection. They don't want nature worship (scattering abroad) or ancestor worship (keeping at home).

      Apparently someone is marketing 5000 yo style corbelled stone under an earth mound structures to people that want to sell a shelf for the deceased's remains. I've no idea if the Vatican will approve such repositories. It may depend how they are marketed and run, i.e. maybe they'd approve ones that are for Church of Rome departed only.

  3. ElectricFox
    Mushroom

    Iain M Banks got it right....

    "The ship had displaced Linter's body. I wanted him buried on Earth, but he'd left specific conventional instructions before he got here, and the ship sad we should honour them. He would be sent into the sun, in our tradition, so that in a million years he'd return as light to the planet he somehow loved."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRl9D_agLbU&feature=youtu.be&t=40m52s

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Iain M Banks got it right....

      I think I'm going to go sit in a corner and stare at the wall for a while. Don't mind me.

  4. Unep Eurobats
    Joke

    Don't worry, it's just Catholics

    All those Californian death-metallers are probably WASPs.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Presumably the prescribed sacred ground comes with a fee - possibly an annual maintenance subscription. Definitely a "walled garden" business model - up there with tithes and indulgences.

    1. Andrew Barr

      or are following the apple model, who probably dont let your loved ones access your itunes account after you have died!!

  6. Velv Silver badge
    Joke

    Stand, sing, sit, stand, sing, sit ...

    Good boy, have a biscuit

  7. TRT Silver badge

    Now the commercial potential...

    of a re-pressing of Ashes to Ashes where the plastic had himself's own remains (milled down to consistent micro-particle sizes) mixed in ...

    1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

      Re: Now the commercial potential...

      Hmm, all the records I bought in the seventies appeared to have ashes as part of the material. I NEVER got what I would call a decent pressing of Larks Tongues in Aspic.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: Now the commercial potential...

        I NEVER got what I would call a decent pressing of Larks Tongues in Aspic.
        Me either, not to mention Cruising with Ruben and the Jets and Okie, but then came Demonoid...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Umm

      Stand, sing, sit, stand, sing, kneel, stand, kneel, get a biscuit, sing, kneel/sit according to local custom, sit, stand, sit, stand, sing.

      Sprinkle more singing in for high mass.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Umm

        Sprinkle more singing in for high mass.
        There ya go! And I thought it was more smoke for high mass. But what would I know? I never felt the need to go to mass to get high ;-)

  8. lnLog
    Coffee/keyboard

    money

    Nah, they are after some more filthy lucre, the returns from their shares in body storage locations are dipping, as are donations, so need to bump up the uptake somehow.

  9. Bloodbeastterror

    Who the hell...

    ...do these people think they are? Their time as controllers of the stupid and gullible are coming to an end and it's time they returned their ill-gotten gains plundered from the poor over the centuries to improve people's lives instead of futilely trying to maintain the facade that they're a force for good. It's plain to the meanest intelligence that they peddle nonsense.

    As I've commented before, probably in a previous rant in this site, my parents told me as a child about the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Father Xmas, and God. I no longer believe in any of them, with no loss of quality in my life (I'd say the exact opposite, in fact), and I'm simply baffled how people can dismiss the first three without dismissing the last. At least the first three bring tangible happiness, whereas the last brings only oppression of thought and the stifling of scientific advancement.

    1. Natalie Gritpants

      Re: Who the hell...

      Interesting that you believe in hell. Just saying.

      1. Bloodbeastterror

        Re: Who the hell...

        "Interesting that you believe in hell"

        Nice try, but I also used the words "Easter Bunny". And as I said, I don't believe in that. The use of a word doesn't imply belief.

        (Replying in the same humorous tone... :-) )

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Who the hell...

      No-one has to join the Catholic Club.

      Unlike some religions you are not stoned or executed for leaving.

      If you can't cope (you don't actually need to agree!) with the "rules", join a different club.

      Vatican rules only apply to the members of the Church of Rome.

      1. Bloodbeastterror

        Re: Who the hell...

        "No-one has to join the Catholic Club"

        Yes, right. Except, as I said, the filth of religion is inculcated into infants' minds by well-meaning but erroneous parents at an age when the children's minds can't cope with lies. To instil an irrational fear of burning in hell for all eternity because The Man In The Sky is watching your every action and thought is not just bad, it's evil, wicked - not on the part of the parents, whose minds were originally also warped by their own parents, but by the people who propagate this vile nonsense.

        And need I mention that they also support priests who physically abuse children? Doing a thorough well-rounded job of child abuse, you may think. I do.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Who the hell...

        In Spain you join when you're baptised, they're rumoured to get an amount off the government every year for every person on their books but nobody knows for sure because the accounts are opaque, and they make it exceedingly difficult for you to leave (letters back and forth, personal visits, and notarised documents).

        In other words, all very catholic and nothing like the Church of Norway where you just fill in a web form.

        1. Mephistro Silver badge

          Re: Who the hell...(@ Dan 55)

          "...they're rumoured to get an amount off the government every year for every person on their books but nobody knows for sure because the accounts are opaque"

          My guess is that the Catholic Church is playing a long term game here. While they don't actually negotiate the amount they receive from the Spanish State based on these figures, they might foresee a future in which a large number of 'apostates' would lower their ability to put pressure on the government, which would be 'a bad thing' for the Church (and IMO a good thing for the Spanish people), so they're just stonewalling the whole thing.

          The saddest part here is -aside from the opaque negotiations- that to this date all Spanish democratic governments, Left, Right or Centre, have signed the Concordat with the CC and paid this blackmailtithe to the Church. What a bunch of nincompoops! :-(

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Who the hell...(@ Dan 55)

            "[...] they might foresee a future in which a large number of 'apostates' would lower their ability to put pressure on the government, which would be 'a bad thing' for the Church [...]"

            IIRC the same now applies to the Catholic Church in England. Apparently in recent years it has been made very difficult to get a formal declaration that you are officially off their books.

            In Germany there is a state tax that is collected for the Catholic and Protestant Churches from those who are christened in that faith. In recent years some people have not been paying that tax. The Catholic Church has said they will no longer be eligible for services until they pay the tax.

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/11380968/Compulsory-income-tax-on-Christians-drives-Germans-away-from-Protestant-and-Catholic-churches.html

    3. Pompous Git Silver badge
      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Who the hell...

        Christian > Catholic.

        Catholics were reading books to people in Latin while other branches of Christianity promoted serving God through work and allowed the bible to be printed in the native language. They were the first to slap down any scientific advance (e.g. Galileo) and of course they had the Inquisition to try and keep a lid on everything.

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Who the hell...

          They were the first to slap down any scientific advance (e.g. Galileo)

          Which is of course complete horseshit. You really should check your facts before uttering such nonsense.

          Galileo wrote in his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems that the tides were caused by the seas sloshing about as a consequence of the Earth's rotation. Galileo had discussed this with his friend and ex-student, Pope Urban VIII. Urban ridiculed the idea, so Galileo ridiculed Urban by putting his words into the mouth of Simplicio (Idiot).

          As a consequence, Galileo's enemies (his fellow academics) managed to have Galileo tried for heresy. He was "vehemently suspected" of heresy for insulting the pope and consequently forbidden to travel. It's worth noting that 20 years earlier Galileo had bitterly resented being summoned to Rome on account of his arthritis. IOW he hated travel. He also wrote in the frontispiece of his personal copy of Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems that the tides couldn't possibly be caused by the Earth's rotation.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Who the hell...

            [citation needed]

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: Who the hell...

              [citation needed]
              Really it's you who should have given a citation for your assertion "They were the first to slap down any scientific advance (e.g. Galileo) and of course they had the Inquisition to try and keep a lid on everything." The only works I know making such assertions are not taken seriously by any credible historian:

              John William Draper History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science. New York: D. Appleton, 1874.

              Andrew Dickson White A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom. ? 1896.

              First, there's the ever so many books by Galileo, all of which had to be passed by the Inquisition before they were published:

              The Little Balance (1586; in Italian: La Billancetta)

              On Motion (c. 1590; in Latin: De Motu Antiquiora)[165]

              Mechanics (c. 1600; in Italian: Le mecaniche)

              The Operations of Geometrical and Military Compass (1606; in Italian: Le operazioni del compasso geometrico et militare)

              The Starry Messenger (1610; in Latin: Sidereus Nuncius)

              Discourse on Floating Bodies (1612; in Italian: Discorso intorno alle cose che stanno in su l'acqua, o che in quella si muovono, "Discourse on Bodies that Stay Atop Water, or Move in It")

              History and Demonstration Concerning Sunspots (1613; in Italian: Istoria e dimostrazioni intorno alle macchie solari; work based on the Three Letters on Sunspots, Tre lettere sulle macchie solari, 1612)

              Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina (1615; published in 1636)

              Discourse on the Tides (1616; in Italian: Discorso del flusso e reflusso del mare)

              Discourse on the Comets (1619; in Italian: Discorso delle Comete)

              The Assayer (1623; in Italian: Il Saggiatore)

              Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632; in Italian: Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo)

              Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Relating to Two New Sciences (1638; in Italian: Discorsi e Dimostrazioni Matematiche, intorno a due nuove scienze)

              That's just his major works. There are also others. If the church was suppressing his work, they weren't doing a very good job were they? Mind you, when the Pope is an ex-student of yours and the head of the Inquisition (Cardinal Bellarmine) is one of your best mates, you wouldn't have too much trouble with The Authorities. Unless you were as determined to piss them off as Galileo was.

              You might want to read The War that Never Was: Exploding the Myth of the Historical Conflict Between Christianity and Science by Joshua M. Moritz. Journal Theology and Science Volume 10, 2012 - Issue 2.

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Re: Who the hell...

                Instead of two books from 150-odd years ago, perhaps you could find something a little more up-to-date and online for us all to see?

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  Re: Who the hell...

                  Instead of two books from 150-odd years ago, perhaps you could find something a little more up-to-date and online for us all to see?

                  You really don't get this, do you? It's not up to me to give references for your assertions. That's your job. As it happens, Draper's History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science is here and White's A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom is here.

                  The fact of the matter is I can give citations for your assertions because I know the literature. If your ideas are 150 years out of date that's your problem, not mine.

                  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                    Re: Who the hell...

                    Er, it's common knowledge and cited everywhere.

                    The person with their ideas 150 years out of date is the person citing books from 150 years ago.

                    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                      Re: Who the hell...

                      Er, it's common knowledge and cited everywhere.
                      Is that all you've got? I'm not the one making assertions based on Draper and White. You are. The Pompous Git repudiates their stance. You support it. Are you really as stupid as you are making out?

                      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                        Re: Who the hell...

                        This must be some kind of mirror universe. By the time I order in two century and a half books from the library the comments will have closed. Just put a link to a reputable online source which backs up your claim that the Catholic church didn't hold back science, then we might get somewhere. Unless the problem is you're having trouble finding such a thing, and it wouldn't surprise me. Thanking you

                        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                          Re: Who the hell...

                          This must be some kind of mirror universe. By the time I order in two century and a half books from the library the comments will have closed. Just put a link to a reputable online source which backs up your claim that the Catholic church didn't hold back science...

                          I linked to both Draper and White's books in PDF format in an earlier post. If you don't have Adobe Reader, you can access them in several alternative formats at Project Gutenberg. I also linked to James Hannam's book about how Christianity gave rise to Western science. That's available under its original title as a Kindle edition. I also linked to an article in the journal Theology and Science.

                          Reminder: you made the original claim. It should be you providing supporting evidence. I possess several shelves full of books devoted to medieval science, none of which mention the churches Roman, or Anglican, suppressing science. It was post medieval Islam that suppressed science, not Christianity.

                          Nearly forgot. James Hannam has a website devoted to apologetics .

                    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

                      Re: Who the hell...

                      "Er, it's common knowledge and cited everywhere."

                      [citation needed]

                      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                        Re: Who the hell...

                        "Er, it's common knowledge and cited everywhere."

                        [citation needed]

                        The Simpsons season 15, episode 13, originally aired February 22, 2004 AD, Dan Brown's novel Angels and Demons, and ever so many other works of fiction.

  10. earl grey Silver badge
    Pint

    I having my ashes sent to R'lyeh

    And leaving enough for beers for all...

    Have a party...

  11. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Final resting place

    I can't remember which movie or TV show it was in, but some people were discussing scattering the ashes of a recently-deceased friend. One sage amongst the group, who had seen many come and go, offered a nugget along the lines of....

    "It's all well and good saying that you want your ashes scattered over some special spot or another, but what people always fail to take into account is wind direction. All the nearest-and-dearest, stood around in their best suits, open the container to release the final earthly remains, just to have a gust of wind blow it back all over them. I tell you, there are more people than you realise whose final resting place is the local branch of Sketchleys"

    1. Mephistro Silver badge

      Re: Final resting place

      A similar incident is also depicted in one of Iain Banks* novels. Not sure whether it's in "The crow road" or "Whit".

      * The "M." in the author's name was intentionally omitted.

    2. Morten_T

      Re: Final resting place

      There's a scene like that in The Big Lebowski: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk61MeDmk2M

      The original idea may of course come from somewhere else, as John Goodman's speech is somewhat different form the one you quote :)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Final resting place

      Possibly this film "Last Orders".

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0253200/

  12. adnim Silver badge
    Joke

    What does the Bible have to say about this?

    Or is Cardinal Gerhard Muller just making it all up?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: What does the Bible have to say about this?

      FRE-ED!

      Stick the oven on. I think we've got an eater.

  13. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Negativland

    Sad to hear the news about Negativland.

    They were a truly innovative group, and not just because of "The Letter U and the Numeral 2."

    Saw them live once, with full-on banks of tape cartridges. A tour de force of analog technology, and and a stunning demonstration that no, it wasn't all done in editing.

  14. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Linux

    There was a story on CNN about the Vatican's new cremation guidelines yesterday...

    I was mostly struck by the part that mentioned a company in the U.S. that will load your cremains into live shotgun shells, so your loved ones can take you on one last duck hunt! :)

    (We'd better get Tux a Kevlar vest)

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: There was a story on CNN about the Vatican's new cremation guidelines yesterday...

      I think I'd prefer a company that puts shotgun shells into the casket before the final trip into the furnace - got to go with a bang

  15. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Happy

    Garden

    Just dig a hole, mix me in with the earth and plant some flowers.

    At least I can make the world a better place after I die.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Garden

      Oh... AFTER you die?! Good job you added that bit in. Nearly an unfortunate mix up. Can I interest you in a donor card?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are concerns about the ecological impact on some favourite places in the UK for scattering of ashes. That can be avoided by scattering them in an arboretum to preserve trees eg the Woodland Trust

    https://www.thebmc.co.uk/ashes-to-ashes-how-human-remains-are-transforming-the-lake-district

  17. lglethal Silver badge
    WTF?

    Wait three dead members in the last few years...

    ... and they are offering deceased band members ashes as an incentive to sell new albums...

    Hmmm...I would advise any aspiring metal musicians out there to think long and hard before accepting a position with Negativland anytime soon... At least until the promotion is well and truly dead and buried...

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      Re: Wait three dead members in the last few years...

      Negativeland can't help it if their members keep spontaneously combusting, ala Spinal Tap. After all, spontaneous combustion is quite common!

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Wait three dead members in the last few years...

      Always check the fine print in the contract before you sign.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Wait three dead members in the last few years...

        Maybe they're spending a year dead for tax purposes?

  18. Zebo-the-Fat

    My death

    I have thought about my death, I have planned my funeral, arranged the music, everything, the first line in the plan is "At the funeral there should be no priests, vicars, ministers, shamans, witch doctors or other peddlers of superstitious nonsense."

    When I'm dead the doctors can take whatever gloppy bits they want for transplant or research, the rest can go as cat food, makes no difference to me as I won't be using them.

    After death you will only exist in the memory of those who knew you, asking where you go after that is like asking where the music goes when the band stops playing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My death

      Several years ago one of my friends was unhappy with my plan to have no funeral ceremony - just an offline cremation after any organ donation. She said my funeral would be a chance for her to meet many other people in my life who she only knew by name.

      For my 50th birthday I arranged a party and invited all the friends and neighbours who might be expected at my funeral. So my friend had her chance to meet everyone.

      Now approaching my biblical span she has again said I should allow a funeral ceremony so everyone could meet. I have pointed out to her that at the current rate of attrition she would not appreciate sitting through the allotted time listening to several tracks from my favourite choir's CDs - in an almost empty room. Anyone from a distance would probably watch the webcast instead.

      I've heard enough funeral eulogies to know they rarely combine a good speaker with a personal knowledge of the deceased. People afterwards always say "that wasn't really like her/him" - the skeletons in the cupboard are rarely mentioned even at the funeral tea.

      If people want to raise a private glass or make some other acknowledgement that suits them - then that is up to them. That will be a genuine gesture on their part - even if it is "good riddance!".

      People often go to a funeral to show support to the family - it is the done thing. The family go - because it is the done thing. The important person no longer exists - and would probably have appreciated the people visiting them when they were still alive.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: My death

        Several years ago one of my friends was unhappy with my plan to have no funeral ceremony - just an offline cremation after any organ donation. She said my funeral would be a chance for her to meet many other people in my life who she only knew by name.
        So why a funeral (ceremony connected with the burial or cremation, etc. of the body of a dead person)? Why not a wake where the life of the dead person is celebrated? I seem to be invited to rather more of these recently than I would wish, but they can be fun as well as a time for sadness. My friend Tony had us listening to "Look on the Bright Side of Life" from the Life of Brian, and his wife and kids danced to an Irish jig, much to the consternation of his brother.

        My brother-in-law is a registered celebrant, so I asked him to officiate at mine. He agreed, but insists on ten years notice ;-)

        Props on the organ donation; there's not enough of this.

        1. Zebo-the-Fat

          Re: My death

          "Look on the Bright Side of Life" from the Life of Brian is the music I have chosen to end my funeral, I also specified that they use the cheapest coffin/body bag (no point using good beer money to feed the flames or the worms)

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: My death

            "Look on the Bright Side of Life" from the Life of Brian is the music I have chosen to end my funeral
            You are much kinder than me then. I want either Jessye Norman singing the liebestod from Tristan and Isolde, or Brahms' Ein Detusches Requiem by the Wiener Philharmoniker (Bernard Haitink cond.). Despite my predilection for Prog Rock, they remain my two all-time favourite pieces of music. Even Pompous Gits like a good cry every now and then ;-)

            1. Mooseman Bronze badge

              Re: My death

              Good choices. I'm leaning towards Heaven and Hell by Jon Anderson and Vangelis, not Black Sabbath, although it would make my wife laugh if the curtains were to close to the subtle strains of Die Young....

  19. Al Black

    Respect for the Dead

    I guess Cardinal Muller was reacting to the disrespectful treatment of human remains by the aforementioned musicians, and, horrified by human ash being ingested by mosh-pit dancers went a bit too far in reaction. The reason prospective corpses specify cremation is to save their heirs the cost of a burial plot, so renting a holy shelf for the ashes is not an appealing option. The good news is that modern crematoriums do not produce any ashes at all unless artificially throttled down to do so for those mourners who want a souvenir of the dearly departed. Tell them to "set the controls for the heart of the Sun" and there will be no earthly remains to store anywhere, just hot vapour.

    For those worried about the Almighty's ability to raise you from the dead on the last day; worry no more. As a Pan-dimensional being living outside of time, He can recover your body from any point in your 4-dimensional existence, before you were cremated.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Respect for the Dead

      For those worried about the Almighty's ability to raise you from the dead on the last day; worry no more. As a Pan-dimensional being living outside of time, He can recover your body from any point in your 4-dimensional existence, before you were cremated.
      If God is indeed timeless (existing outside of time) and therefore changeless then he must be frozen in a state of suspended animation. He must be doing nothing, and thinking nothing while in that timeless state, so He could not have come up with the idea to create time and the physical Cosmos.

      The idea to create the Cosmos must have already existed while God was in that timeless/changeless state. Herein lies a contradiction since ideas by their very Nature are temporal i.e. ideas are a change-of-state. If you have an idea that implies that there was a before when you didn't have that idea. The transition of non-idea to idea is a change and a temporal change to boot.

      Never mind what God did do or didn't do, or could do or couldn't do while in a timeless state, tell me what God has done post Creation? What in Hell (so-to-speak) does He actually do with all of Time? If He has no beginning while He exists in a timeless state that's a fucking long time to do... what?

      God must be bored out of His timeless (albeit huge) mind. Or fast asleep at the wheel. I'm rather glad I'm not a God.

  20. Turbo Beholder
    IT Angle

    Shortage of ashes? Samsung to the rescue!

  21. Blofeld's Cat
    Devil

    Hmm...

    I intend leaving instructions that my remains, together with some specially commissioned artefacts, are interred in a manner designed to baffle future archaeologists.

    "We don't know who he was, or why his ashes were placed in a concrete replica of a bouncy castle, and heaven knows what he did with that thing. We think it's probably a ritual object ..."

  22. Pompous Git Silver badge

    Ominously vibrating topiary

    While I was asked for and gave citations for my claim that the Church(es) did not "stifle scientific advancement", I note that there have been no attempts to justify that stance. Consider:

    The great universities were established by and for the church. E.g. Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, etc.

    France did not secularise its universities until 1905, England followed in 1914. Note that London University was established as the first secular university in England in 1826, but that can hardly be claimed to be the earliest example of a university teaching science*.

    Presumably, the science conducted by for example Robert Hooke and Robert Boyle at Oxford and at Cambridge by Isaac Newton, either never took place, or was ruthlessly suppressed in your alternate universe.

    * Science used here in its modern sense. Prior to 1867 it was called Natural Philosophy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ominously vibrating topiary

      "The great universities were established by and for the church. E.g. Oxford, Cambridge,"

      You could not gain entrance to Oxford University unless you signed up to the Thirty-Nine Articles of Faith. That meant it excluded atheists and non-conformists until 1854.

  23. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Re: ashes and where to put them

    This reminds me of a dinner conversation with friends a couple of years ago.

    While we had arrived at the cheese stage, the topic of our conversation had somehow meandered towards death, funerals, cremation, what to do with the ashes... suddenly there was a pause and as if on cue everybodies eyes turned to look at the Morbier on the cheese platter...

  24. Pompous Git Silver badge

    Common Knowledge

    It amuses The Git that it's common knowledge among historians that when the Universities were being run by and for the Holy Roman Church that science was a compulsory part of the curriculum. Since the Universities became secularised, you are no longer required to study science. Perhaps it's no wonder then that people today get their "knowledge" about science from works of fiction. So it goes...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At the Pope's recent visit to Poland for the Youth Festival - the English boychoir Libera was invited to give a concert for the assembled throng. The apparently secular choir is regarded by some as somewhat Anglo-Catholic.

    It is interesting that one of their oft repeated songs is a setting of the poem "Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep" by Mary Elizabeth Frye. It embodies the spirit of everything that the Pope is apparently condemning. It would be my atheist funeral closing track.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag_vltbWHz8

    "Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there.

    I do not sleep.

    I am a thousand winds that blow.

    I am the diamond glints on snow. "

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
      Sublime. Many thanks and back at you.

      Richard Wagner "Tristan Und Isolde" - Prelude & Liebestod, Jessye Norman, Herbert von Karajan

      "....In the heaving swell,

      in the resounding echoes,

      in the universal stream

      of the world-breath -

      to drown,

      to founder -

      unconscious -

      utmost rapture!"

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