Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Let’s see if we can get this cemetery cleaned up
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Let’s see if we can get this cemetery cleaned up

Monday, Mar 20, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* We’ve talked about this before. From Capitol News Illinois

Religious and environmental ideals are at odds for some in the ongoing debate around what to do with human remains.

A proposal at the Illinois Statehouse would legalize and regulate “natural organic reduction,” a process in which human remains are rapidly decomposed into compost. The process is also known as human composting or terramation. […]

Notable among the bill’s opponents is the Catholic Church. Daniel Welter, the recently retired chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago, spoke to lawmakers at the request of the Catholic Conference of Illinois on Tuesday.

“Turning the mortal remains of a human person into compost for the purpose of fertilization, as one would with vegetable trimmings or eggshells, degrades the human person and dishonors the life that was lived by that person,” he said during the committee hearing.

Welter added that he and the church “oppose any tendency to minimize the dignity of a human being, even after death.”

“Even after death.”

* There’s a man trying to get Decatur’s Calvary Catholic Cemetery cleaned up. He and one other person took these pics within the past few days. Maybe this post will help the cause, considering the current debate…

Not great.


  1. - James - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 10:51 am:

    A honest reading would certainly make a distinction between the remains and the grave markers…but whatever.

  2. - Perrid - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 10:56 am:

    James, you’re playing semantics, when the spirit of the statement applies.
    The annoying thing is, pulling weeds or filling potholes is cheap, just some time and labor. Fixing broken headstones would take more time, money, coordination, etc., but come on.

  3. - New Day - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 10:58 am:

    The Comptroller is responsible for cemeteries. What does her office say?

  4. - Nuke The Whales - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 10:58 am:

    According to a Google search I did (grain of salt), burial plots range from $1,375 to $5,600. Milano Monuments estimates those knocked over upright headstones in Decatur cost $1,900+. That’s a lot of revenue to risk. Why hope that the word of the church will convince people to pay a premium to not be a tree when you can use the State’s monopoly on the legitimate use of force to stifle the competition before it even begins?

  5. - TheInvisibleMan - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 11:01 am:

    – degrades the human person –

    Yes, that’s the entire point of composting. Great choice of words, guy from the church.

    “Dust you are and to dust you will return.”

    I guess his bible degrades the human person too.

    The bill does not *force* anyone to compost themselves. If they wish to have a catholic burial, then they can still have that.

    Yet here we have yet another example of how the church is attempting to dictate that *nobody* can do this, because of the beliefs of a religion that person doesn’t belong to.

    The church continues to insist on expanding its control onto people who do not share their beliefs.

    Never forget, the Catholic Church is officially a theocracy in its chosen form of government. This is not hyperbole, is factual.

  6. - Give Us Barabbas - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 11:01 am:

    “Thou art dust, and to dust you shall return”. The thing that upsets me about the funeral industry is how they insist on expensive sarcophagi, expensive concrete liners, etc. In what seems like trying to stave off natural decay. It’s a scam. People should have the option to go in a more natural way if they wish. The tombstone issue is solved with a memorial wall and name plates. The Catholic guy is off base here and more likely just lobbying for keeping the cemetery business lucrative.

  7. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 11:02 am:

    ===The Comptroller is responsible for cemeteries===

    Try using the Google…

    “Other cemeteries and funeral homes, including family burial grounds, those with religious affiliations, and those owned and operated by municipalities, along with those businesses that do not sell on a pre-need basis, are outside the jurisdiction of the Comptroller’s Office.”

  8. - Manchester - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 11:12 am:

    I like the idea of natural degrading of the body or composting. I would much prefer that or cremation to rotting inside an expensive casket inside a concrete vault and gradually becoming wormfood. As far as I’m concerned the Catholic Church or any other church can keep their opinions to themselves.

  9. - Demoralized - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 11:15 am:

    ==The tombstone issue is solved with a memorial wall and name plates.==

    You just said that people should have an option and then said that they shouldn’t do tombstones. Either they have freedom to do what they want or they don’t. Pick a lane.

  10. - Demoralized - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 11:16 am:

    I’m not sure how I feel about allowing composting. I suppose an individual should get to choose (within reason) what happens to their body after they die. But I can guarantee you that this option will not be free. It’s not like you can just throw the person in the back yard and turn them into compost. It will be regulated and it will cost money.

  11. - The Dude Abides - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 11:17 am:

    Given the proximity of Calvary to Millikin University, it should be easy to reach out to student organizations to get volunteers to help with the cleanup.

    Re: dignity of the human being, I’ll just point to the shell games regarding abusive priests.

  12. - 47th Ward - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 11:19 am:

    “I tell ya, golf courses and cemeteries are the biggest wastes of prime real estate.”

    Al Czervik

  13. - Kelly Cassidy - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 11:29 am:

    We’re thinking of doing a road trip out there one day next week to help with the cleanup. Will share details when we know specifics.
    And yes, Natural Organic Reduction is regulated, nobody is tossing anyone in the back yard. It’s conducted by a licensed funeral director just like cremation or alkaline hydrolysis. Cost is comparable to both of these methods. The compost resulting from the process is required to be tested, shows zero trace of human DNA, is prohibited for use in food production or commercial sale. And obviously, no funeral director is required to offer this option nor is anyone forced to use the process.

  14. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 11:31 am:

    “It will be regulated and it will cost money.”

    Same is true of burying yourself in a sealed box in the ground beneath an expensive stone. That’s not an argument against allowing me to embrace what nature is going to do to my vessel anyway.
    Maybe all the God botherers out there can find it within themselves to leave us alone after we die. Can I be left alone by all the fake pious, finally, at least in death? It’s not a big ask, it only requires you have the basic humility to realize you don’t have every answer in this life.

  15. - Boomerang - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 11:35 am:

    == I would much prefer that or cremation to rotting inside an expensive casket inside a concrete vault and gradually becoming wormfood. ==

    Certainly freedom of choice is at work here. But there are also environmental considerations. The act of cremating a body represents significant CO2 emissions equal to the exhaust of many automobiles. If someone truly wants to make every effort to limit their carbon footprint, composting is the best alternative when considering your afterlife choices.

    == It will be regulated and it will cost money. ==
    Yes, duh. it’s a different aspect of the burial industry. But it’s been shown to be much cheaper as you do not require the purchase of a burial plot or coffin and other accessories. And you get the added benefit of enriched mulch! (If you want).

  16. - GV - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 11:36 am:

    I wish more cemeteries would follow the lead of Congressional Cemetery in DC, and become dog friendly. Also, they’re green burial friendly as well.

  17. - Amalia - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 11:39 am:

    The Invisible Man’s post is so spot on for this topic and for the topic of reproductive choices. “The church continues to insist on expanding its control onto people who do not share their beliefs.” yep, we are not a theocracy but they are trying to force us to be one under their control. I’m not crazy about human composting for myself but choice is choice. If the RC church is so key on cemeteries, I assume Daniel Welter will now lead the charge to fix the one pictured, in disarray.

  18. - NIU Grad - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 11:42 am:

    Catholic Church is definitely struggling with cash at the moment too much to maintain their cemeteries. /s

    If their only objection to the bill is that it doesn’t align with their own personal burial practices, it should not be a factor for a public body.

  19. - vern - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 11:46 am:

    Still can’t figure out why the Church would get involved legislatively, unless the law requires them to provide a burial alternative that’s contrary to their beliefs. This just legalizes natural reduction, it doesn’t require the Church to do it.

  20. - Huh? - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:08 pm:

    So the catholic church is ok with cremation but not with human composting. Got it.

    I’ll stop before I get banned for life.

  21. - Just Another Anon - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:27 pm:

    It is my understanding, as a former catholic cemeteries laborer, that the cemetery doesn’t “own” the headstone and that the sale agreement specifies that the decedent’s family is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the monument. The Cemetary cleans up garbage and debris, cuts the grass, trims the trees, maintains the roadways and fences, but that monuments aren’t touched or maintained by cemetery staff.

    I have worked with some local community groups to clean and preserve headstones in some local abandoned cemeteries (removing moss, weed wacking, etc). Maybe a similar group in Decatur can help?

  22. - Louis G Atsaves - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:33 pm:

    As a Boy Scout my troop did two visits to a local cemetery. Our scoutmaster contacted the cemetery and received permission along with rules as to what we could or could not do.

    We performed grounds and vegetation clean up and were allowed to prop up smaller tombstones that were knocked down from their bases or fell due to drainage issues. We filled bags of garbage with trash, bottles and cans alone. We trimmed pathways from vegetation that covered them up over the years.

    We were instructed to leave the tombstones alone if it wasn’t an obvious match to the base.

    That’s when I first learned of the mass deaths of baby children from pre-WWI pandemics. A few of them spent less than a year on this earth. Many of those markers are close to where my family plot is. Most were buried together in one entire section at the time.

    Get some volunteers together and get started.

  23. - Homebody - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:36 pm:

    The Catholic Church seems to really love telling non-Catholics what to do. Maybe if you don’t want to compost bodies, you shouldn’t do it. Stop telling me what I can and can’t do.

  24. - Chris - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:41 pm:

    As InvisibleMan, the Dude and Amalia note, it’s pretty rich of the Catholic Church to be against this claiming an interest in “dignity of a human being”.

  25. - Anon221 - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:48 pm:

    “The Cemetery cleans up garbage and debris, cuts the grass, trims the trees, maintains the roadways and fences, but that monuments aren’t touched or maintained by cemetery staff.”

    Depending on who the trustees hire to do the maintenance, especially mowing, the headstones and markers can be damaged. It’s happened at the Catholic cemetery where some of my family are buried. No apologies or offers to fix what is damaged. Not saying that is the case for the Decatur location, just an observation from another location.

  26. - PAM - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:49 pm:

    On the other hand, what’s with HB1367? The state is going to tell me that my ashes have to be placed in a cemetery, except for 8 ounces. I have other plans.

  27. - Flapdoodle - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:50 pm:

    Since we don’t have any choice about how we arrive in this world, at least we should have some about how we go out. I don’t need or want the catholic or any other church interfering with that.

  28. - TheInvisibleMan - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 12:54 pm:

    Personally, I’m a fan of the Hunter S. Thompson burial method.

  29. - Anonish - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 1:03 pm:

    Didn’t various dioceses move money into their cemetery funds to shield it from abuse lawsuits?
    Bang up job guys.

  30. - ArchPundit - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 1:03 pm:

    As I mentioned on Twitter the other day, I’m fine with the Catholic Church saying it is against their beliefs and adherents should not do it, but I’m not Catholic and don’t see the relevance of their opinion on how I’m buried.

  31. - Give Us Barabbas - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 1:13 pm:

    I’m saying, at the composting cemetery, you wouldn’t need headstones, but there could be a communal memorial wall by the entrance to the place, where one can put up a little optional name tag, if they wanted to, and that should be more than enough to satisfy the complainers who insist there be some kind of headstone. If the Catholic Church wants to be a stickler, they don’t need legislation for that, they can just tell their parishioners what the Church wants done, that’s it, and they should not try to impose their will on everyone else. My Catholic teaching says at the Resurrection, you are reconstituted whole, no matter if you were lots at sea, atomized by an explosion, or eaten by wolverines. Where your atoms are, doesn’t matter.

    In terms of cremation and cremains, I’m for fewer regulations, not more. As long as it’s not littering, folks should have the option.

  32. - Demoralized - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 1:36 pm:

    ==As a Boy Scout my troop did two visits to a local cemetery.==

    I thought the same thing. Seems to me like it might be a good Eagle Scout project for someone going through the Eagle Scout process.

  33. - Demoralized - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 1:41 pm:

    ==That’s not an argument against allowing me==

    I wasn’t making that argument. Try to not get the vapors. Sheesh.

  34. - Dem Observer - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 1:45 pm:

    Another excuse for to pile on and attack Catholics, as always. Seems to be liberals’ favorite pastime. Disappointed in this reporting. Some broken headstones in one cemetery does not negate the entire argument against turning people into compost.

  35. - TheInvisibleMan - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 1:57 pm:

    “argument against turning people into compost.”

    People will turn into compost no matter what your argument is. The only variable is the amount of time it will take.

    Oh, and according to the church, I *am* a Catholic. You see, they inducted me into their ranks as a member when I was a minor and couldn’t make legal decisions for myself. I also was an altar boy and performed Catholic Mass for years. Their rules specifically say I can not remove myself from their membership now as an adult. A rule they changed within the past 10 years or so to paper over the number of people fleeing their organization.

    But thank you for trying to use the victimhood shield to deflect from responsibility. It reminds me of my 7th grade catholic school teacher.

  36. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:12 pm:

  37. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:19 pm:

    “Lord, my body has been a good friend…but I won’t need it in the end” - Cat Stevens

  38. - Amalia - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:21 pm:

    @DemObserver, I’m not a Roman Catholic but that religion does not get to govern my life. that’s the point.

  39. - ArchPundit - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:41 pm:

    ===Another excuse for to pile on and attack Catholics, as always.

    Again, do what you want for your faith, but how should that control me who is not Catholic? Do you have some interest in how my body is handled I’m unfamiliar with?

  40. - Henry Francis - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:26 pm:

    “Some broken headstones in one cemetery does not negate the entire argument against turning people into compost”

    When an organization that has systematically protected and condoned serial child molesters, when that organization bases its argument on the “dignity of life” and avoiding “degrading the human person” - That is what negates their argument.

    For crying out loud, 6 of the 9 Supreme Court Justices are Catholic. Poor Catholics just don’t have a voice in this country.

  41. - OneMan - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:34 pm:

    == Welter added that he and the church “oppose any tendency to minimize the dignity of a human being, even after death.” ==

    It would seem the greater “dignity minimization” would be what I asked for what happens to me after my death not be followed. Cremation, if I said I didn’t want it to happen, would be a greater minimization than following my request, no matter what it might be.

    I am genuinely curious about where that line is from their perspective. Is burial in the ground in a pine box, without a vault, ok? Is it any action that hastens decomposition? Is the Capuchin Crypt a problem?

  42. - Stix Hix - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 4:54 pm:

    . . .burial plots range from $1,375 to $5,600–

    Our single township cemetary plot was $450.00. Two “cremains” can be placed. No opening charge if you dig your own hole.

    Just sayin’

  43. - Give Us Barabbas - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 4:59 pm:

    The Catholic cemetery where my mom is headed to her pre-paid plot wants $1500 to open the grave, a fee for a concrete vault, over three hundred for the double cremains container, another couple of hundred for the stone platform on which the headstone will be placed. I get the headstone for free from DVA, since dad was a vet. But sheesh, you can’t even afford to die anymore… I mean, we’re not Pharaohs…

  44. - Flexible One - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 12:13 am:

    Seems to me it’s a great option. If my body can be used to grow plants or whatever. Life would spring from my remains and life would continue. I’d still be productive for eternity.

TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Afternoon roundup
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser list
* Uber And ASU Are Expanding Access To Higher Education In Illinois
* Progressives, prosecutors and ISRA come together on bipartisan gun-related bill
* It’s almost a law
* Question of the day
* Welch explains how his caucus avoided the city council's divisive fight over immigrants
* * Live Coverage * Jimmy Weiss trial
* Man put on city's "Do No Rehire" list after failing to stop harassment and abuse hired on contract by four alderpersons
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* Live coverage
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...





Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

June 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller