Cebu archbishop says the move was prompted by a scarcity of burial plots elsewhere for Covid victims
A funeral worker carries a body to a crematorium in Pasay City, Philippines, in this file photo. (Photo: AFP)
An archdiocese in the Philippines has begun allowing non-Catholics to be buried in Catholic cemeteries due to the scarcity of vacant burial lots brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cebu province in the central Philippines has recorded 38,088 Covid cases including 1,193 deaths, according to the latest government figures. The island is also recording a daily average of 10-15 deaths per day, which is affecting the availability of burial plots in cemeteries.
As such, charity demands that clergymen allow non-Catholics to be buried in Catholic-owned cemeteries during the pandemic, Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu said in a Sept. 2 pastoral letter.
“In cases of non-Catholics who have died from Covid, and for whom there are no more vacant burial slots in their own respective cemeteries, I take it as an act of charity to allow their burial in Roman Catholic cemeteries during this time of pandemic,” he wrote.
Catholic cemeteries are usually reserved only for members of the Church.
The bishop said the decision was an “act of goodwill” that would last as long as necessary.
Archbishop Palma urged authorities to open more cemeteries to accommodate those who have died of Covid-19.
Non-Catholics expressed appreciation for the gesture.
“Our faith teaches us that we are all brothers and sisters, especially during this time of crisis,” evangelical Christian Robert Santiago told UCA News. “Faith should not become a barrier in doing what is good to our neighbor.”
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