Damien Le Guay is a contemporary Catholic French thinker and author of two important, but unfortunately untranslated, books. Qu’avons-nous perdu en perdant la mort? (What Have We Lost in Losing Death?) questions how today’s funerary customs have erased death from human consciousness.
La mort en cendres: la crémation aujourd’hui, que faut-il en penser? (Death in Ashes: Cremation Today—What Should We Think About It?) argues that the widespread acceptance of cremation as a legitimate method of acting toward the human body, even among Christians, represents a radical change in the way we regard incarnation and embodiment, and whose implications we have not thought through, even as we continue to embrace it.
As Catholics enter November and think about Christian death, I draw upon Le Guay’s inspiration to challenge our assumptions about proper treatment of the deceased human body.