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Ex-army chief set for Church burial

Apparent suicide of former Philippines general 'no barrier to funeral'

Former Defense and Armed Forces chief Angelo Reyes Former Defense and Armed Forces chief Angelo Reyes
  • ucanews.com reporters, Manila
  • Philippines
  • February 8, 2011
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A former armed forces chief who apparently committed suicide today can get a Church burial, a Canon Law expert said.

Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz, a Canon lawyer, said Church teaching on suicide has not changed but its understanding of mental health has progressed.

The prelate said there is a growing presumption, with the advancement in psychiatric sciences, that when people commit suicide “they are not themselves.”

Former military chief Angelo Reyes killed himself in front of his mother’s tomb at a memorial park in Marikina City in Manila yesterday by reportedly shooting himself with a .45 caliber pistol.

The former general was one of the key suspects in an ongoing congressional inquiry into alleged graft within the military.

Archbishop Cruz said that in the past suicides were not given Catholic burials and no Masses were celebrated for them.

Activist priest Jose Dizon, however, said only a bishop can decide whether or not Reyes will be given a Catholic burial.

Father Dizon cited the case of a politician who was denied Catholic rites by a bishop for being a Mason.

Bishop Emilio Marquez of Lucena refused to give late governor Rafael Nantes a Catholic burial for being a “born-again Christian” and a Mason who did not repent.

“Canon 1184 states, that Church funeral rites are to be denied to ‘notorious apostates, heretics and schismatics’ unless they showed some signs of repentance before death,” Bishop Marquez said.

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