Review of Religious Research

, Volume 60, Issue 4, pp 519–533 | Cite as

“Ashes to Ashes…”: Could the Recent Evolution of the Cremation Practice in Italy be Interpreted as an Indication of Secularisation?

  • Marco Breschi
  • Gabriele RuiuEmail author
  • Marco Francini
Research Note


In the second half of the nineteenth century, a massive communication campaign sustaining the practice of cremation was carried out in Italy, leading to the approval of a law in 1888 according to which cremation was allowed. This made Italy the first European country to introduce cremation in its legal system, but at the same time, one of the last to experience a mass diffusion of this practice, which has always been fiercely fought by the Catholic Church up until recent years. Exploiting the fact that the dispersion of ashes is still prohibited by catholic norms, this work explores the possibility of using the recent trend in cremation practice as an indicator of secularisation.


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Copyright information

© Religious Research Association, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and BusinessUniversity of Sassari (Italy)SassariItaly

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