MANILA – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has allowed cremation of the dead amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Rev. Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP Permanent Committee on Public Affairs (PCPA), said the Church has set guidelines before and after the cremation of the remains.
“Before cremation, mass or blessing should be done for the deceased,” Secillano said an in an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas on Saturday.
He added that once the body of the deceased has been cremated, the ashes should be placed in an urn and be buried.
Secillano also said the Church is ready to offer Mass to the victims of Covid-19 before they are buried or cremated but in cases where health issues are concerned, the family of the deceased may offer prayer and include in the Mass in the church.
“In light of Covid-19, families’ of the deceased may either request for such blessing or mass but if it is physically impossible to do, they themselves may pray over the deceased and ask their pastor to include the eternal repose of the deceased in their mass intentions,” he said.
In an order issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith of the Vatican in 2016, Cardinal Gerhard Muller, the Prefect of the Congregation said though they are for the traditional burying of the body after death, the Church is not against cremation but opposes the spreading of ashes anywhere.
He, however, encouraged the faithful to follow the traditional burying of the body which is considered as corporal works of mercy and observance of the burying of Jesus Christ.
The majority of the 27,000 people who have died of the disease worldwide were cremated for the safety of the bereaved families in compliance with guidelines imposed by various countries, including the Philippines.
The disease has so far claimed 54 lives in the country as of Friday. (PNA)