Cebu archdiocese opens cemeteries to non-Catholics who died of COVID-19

September 3, 2021 - 11:59 AM
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In this August 2021 file photo, Archbishop Jose Palma presides a Mass. (Sammy Navaja via 500 Years of Christianity - Archdiocese of Cebu)

The Archdiocese of Cebu has opened Catholic cemeteries to non-Catholics who succumbed to COVID-19.

Archbishop Jose Palma made the decision amidst the increasing number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the province and the difficulty to find vacant spaces for burial.

“…I take it as an act of charity to allow their burial in our Roman Catholic cemeteries during these times of pandemic,” Palma said in a circular dated August 27.

The archbishop said “only time will tell” as to when the special permission will be abrogated due to the “extreme” situation.

“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,” Palma said.

“In order to be pastorally guided by this mandate, 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,” he added.

The country’s number of COVID-19 cases breached the 2-million mark on Sept. 1 after 14,2016 more people were infected with the virus.

Of the 2,003, 995 cases so far, seven percent or 140,949 cases are active or currently ill patients.

The death toll also rose to 33,533 after the Health department recorded 86 more fatalities.