Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer?

It is keeping peace and good relations between people,

as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.

- Prophet Mohammed


Day 20

My father was adopted. This can be frustrating for me and my sister (both Hogan's by birth) who wish to know more about our lineage. Not only are we curious about family health issues, but it's always nice to pay tribute to our ancestors. Luckily, my mother's brother --World War II historian and French Lit. professor-- has invested serious time and money tracking our "Romeiser", "Diggs", "Beals", "Edger" families all over the world. We're scattered about, but the the family has some serious ties to Indiana and Ohio (makes sense for German immigrants). The rest of the crew was from the UK and ended up hitting the American South (VA>TN). 

Earlier this year, my family lost a cousin. I think I met him when I was very young, but am not certain. I didn't know him personally, but have been compared to him many times. In front of me, my mother or uncle typically claim that my personality and sense of humor was from him. In private, they probably used to lament that my addictive personality was all too similar to his. I think I've broken that curse though. I think.

Last week, my family had the privilege to gather together in Indiana to celebrate his life and our family heritage. Jealousy aside, it raised a few questions for the Catholic in me. I grew up visiting the family plots and always assumed that I, too, would have one for my own family. However, I've grown up a bit and due to overcrowding coupled with my desire to have my ashes spread in the Ganges (don't care if "that's what everyone says" -I want it), I have since opted for cremation. Is this okay with the Church? There are roughly 1 billion Catholics on the earth right now. Where are they going to go?

Some believe that it is a pagan or anti-Christian practice. The Bible is full of references to burial as is Catholic text.
Canon 1203: The bodies of the faithful must be buried, and cremation is reprobated. If any one has in any manner ordered his body to be cremated, it shall be unlawful to execute his wish; if this order has been attached to a contract, a last will, or any other document, it is to be considered as not added.
And them some others get pretty wild about it.
Cremation not intrinsically evil. It is important that Catholics understand that cremation is not intrinsically evil, and therefore it could be tolerated by Church authority for a grave reason. Rather, it is condemned by the Church because of its symbolism and because cremation was promoted by the enemies of the Faith for the very purpose of expressing and advancing their materialistic belief in annihilation. Further, earth burial is so much more appropriate to the dignity of the body and in keeping with our love and respect for our departed relatives and friends.
In the Postconciliar Church. The prevalence of cremation today would hardly be so pronounced had it not been for Vatican Council II. In fact, the modern Postconciliar Church, in its 1983 Code of Canon Law, specifically allows for cremation (“unless it has been chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching ” Canon 1176, #3). Consequently, the practice is no longer forbidden to the members of the Postconciliar Church. This very fact is just one more proof that this modern church is not of God, is not Catholic. 
In the end it seems foolish to debate such a thing. The earth will ultimately be destroyed by the sun or God or man or an asteroid or Republicans, so what's difference? 

As for me, this is what I want.

  1. A family plot with headstones (either a new one with my wife and our future family or a joint one with my entire family)
  2. Only cremated remains shall be included
  3. Dog ashes are welcome
  4. Half of my ashes in the family plot and the other in India (location subject to change)
  5. This song played at my funeral and every time someone thinks of me
Simple enough, right?


  1. I always say this to my friends, which freaks them out a little bit -- but if you know what I am talking about, you would agree with me:

    I know where I will be buried when I die. All of my extended family is buried on a single mountain. Our foremost elder is at the top, and each successive generation occupies a level below that. I know where my grandfather is buried. Which means I know where my father will be buried, and I know where I will be buried.

    I am a Christian, but I am also a Confucian. And the Confucian in me finds comfort in the family. And knowing where I will be after I die -- in the grace of God, but also surrounded by my family -- gives me the ultimate comfort.

  2. Curious, are you planning on being buried in Korea? And which mountain if you don't mind me asking.

    I know my wife's family has the exact same setup in 증평 (her grandparents adopted home after fleeing the North). I also know that a tomb would be available for me, but like you, I want to be close to my family.

    Actually, what are you planning on doing about the soon-to-be-wife? I assume you'd follow Confucian tradition and she would be with you and your family, right?

  3. Yes, I hope to be buried in Korea. The family mountain is in a small town near 대전, where my father's family lives -- 증평 is not too far from us, actually.

    I think my soon-to-be wife (12 days to go now) will follow me, but actually we haven't discussed this yet.

  4. Great song choice! One of my all time favorites.

  5. Is that the Grateful Dead? Sorry for not knowing!

    Loved this post...I think I will opt for least if it happens anytime soon. There is great comfort in spending eternity with many generations of family all around.

  6. Winchester for me too! There is a plenty of room for cremated remains. I have so enjoyed this genealogy search. Now, we just have to get the whole crew up to Fairmount, IN, some last weekend in September to experience the James Dean Festival and the spirit of Enoch Beals and family. James Dean and Enoch were related by marriage. An unlikely connection.

  7. Of course, it's the Grateful Dead. Winchester, huh? I think Kristin and I need to team our families up and get a new plot.

  8. What is this business about James Dean? Was Enoch related to Dean? What's the exact connection?

  9. Agreed. Let's get to work on that. Seriously. :) Winchester, here we come and we're bringing our new families with us.....not for a long time of course!

  10. Whoa! I didn't actually agree to Winchester, but the IN and OH area is fine with me.

    The Korean,

    At this point, Koreans opt for cremation. With that in mind, what will become of bowing traditions on Chuseok and Seollal? I briefly discussed it on "Ask the Expat", but didn't get any feedback.

  11. The deal on James Dean is that his mother was a Winslow from Fairmount, IN. Enoch's first wife was the daughter of the founder of Fairmount, Joseph Winslow. Enoch and first wife had no children, but the wife's brother(s) obviously did. So, we are related to James Dean -- through marriage only. Still kind of intriguing.