Archbishop Jose Palma of the Archdiocese of Cebu has announced that they will be opening their Catholic cemeteries to non-Catholics that succumbed to COVID-19. “I take it as an act of charity to allow their burial in our Roman Catholic cemeteries during these times of pandemic,” the archbishop said.
The opening of Catholic cemeteries to non-Catholics is under a special permission, and the date of revocation is yet to be determined as the pandemic is an “extreme” situation.
The archbishop’s announcement comes after funeral homes, morgues, crematoriums, cemeteries, and similar establishments have become overwhelmed with the numbers that they have been working non-stop in the past year. Space is also running out in these establishments as COVID-19 deaths continue to rise day by day. (Read: Zamboanga Bishop Declares 40-Day Fasting And Penitence Amid COVID-19 Surge)
Availability of slots
According to Archbishop Palma, space in burial sites and public cemeteries are running out due to the large number of deaths being caused by the novel coronavirus.
“Sadly, some of these severe cases have led to the untimely deaths of our loved ones and consequently, affecting the availability of burial slots in our cemeteries,” he said adding that this is the reason why they came up with the decision. (Read: Cebu Archbishop Encourages Public To Get Their COVID-19 Vaccines)
However, the archdiocese will consult with authorities so that they can be “pastorally guided” on how to go about this. “I suggest that proper consultations be made first with our competent ecclesiastical authorities when there are other issues and unforeseen circumstances that may arise on this matter,” Archbishop Palma added.
As of writing, there are now 34,234 deaths in the country due to COVID-19, and a total of 2.08 million have been infected since March last year.