I was thinking of donating my body to the local University for medical training and research. Is that permitted by the Church?
Yes, it is permitted. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: (2292) “Scientific, medical, or psychological experiments on human individuals or groups can contribute to healing the sick and the advancement of public health.” It further states (2296) “Donation of organs after death is a noble and meritorious act and is to be encouraged as a manifestation of generous solidarity.” (2301) “Autopsies can be morally permitted for legal inquests or scientific research. the free gift of organs after death is legitimate and can be meritorious.” Having said this, it also states in 2300: “The bodies of the dead must be treated with respect and charity, in faith and hope of the Resurrection.” At most universities, when finished with a donor’s body it will be cremated. Ashes, if not returned to the family, are usually interred in a mausoleum.
Personally, I would prefer a surgeon who has worked with a real body, al-be-it a dead one, to a surgeon who has only read about the body in a book. Thus, I can see a benefit to future doctors and others in society by the donation of one’s body.
If you would like more information you may check with the closest medical school.