Can Catholics be cremated? If not what is the reasoning behind the decision?
According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law, "The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burial be retained; but it does not forbid cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to christian teaching." (C. 1176 §3)
Prior to this revision of the Code, the Catholic Church forbade cremation and would not give a Catholic funeral to one who was cremated at his own request.
For more information, please read the following documents:
Cremation's Place in the Liturgy of Burial
Cremation and Burial at Sea