Ashes deserve better than garden: church - Cebu Circle | Cebu City, Philippines

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ashes deserve better than garden: church

10/09/10 -CEBU Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal reminded all priests the practice of cremation should follow church doctrine.

In a circular dated Oct. 6, Cardinal Vidal reminded parish priests and chaplains of the general rule that “canonical discipline still favors the preservation of the tradition of burying the body, but it admits cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons that are contrary to church teaching.”

Based on a church document, titled Piam et Constantem, “all necessary measures must be taken to preserve the practice of reverently burying the faithful departed.”

Msgr. Esteban Binghay, a canon lawyer, said the instruction had been issued in the past. The new circular is to refresh Catholics on the teachings of the church on cremation, he said.

“Christian burial should be according to the code of Canon Law, and should be done in the cemetery,” he said in a phone interview.

Cremation does not go against the tenets of the Christian faith.

“But the ashes should be buried in the cemetery and not put in the house,” said Binghay.

Cardinal Vidal, in his letter to priests, said cremation should be an option if a grave reason warrants it, and not simply for convenience.

There are several conditions that should be observed if cremation is to be conducted.

Among others, the sacraments or public prayers are not to be refused to those who choose cremation, unless the basis is anti-Christian, the animosity of a secret society or hatred of the Catholic religion or church.

Also, the funeral mass should be celebrated in the presence of the body before it is cremated.

“The respect that is traditionally given to the body should be the same respect given to the ashes. Therefore the ashes in its entirety should be placed in a proper, dignified and sacred burial place (in a cemetery or a blessed columbary, not in a private house or a private garden),” Vidal said in the letter. (Sun Star)

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