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

With the increasing number of deaths in Cebu due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the difficulty to find vacant spaces for burial, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma has allowed the burial in Catholic cemeteries of non-Catholics who succumbed to the disease.

Photo from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu FB page

"We are all aware of the rising Covid cases in Metro Cebu as well as in the Province recently. 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 in a circular dated August 27.

"In cases of non-Catholics who have died due to COVID, and 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 our Roman Catholic cemeteries during these times of pandemic," added Palma.

"However, since this privileged expression of goodwill is given in consideration of the extreme difficulty in giving a decent and dignified burial place for our dear departed during these pandemic times, only time will tell, after prudent pastoral discernment, when this permission may be abrogated," he said.

In order to be pastorally guided by the said mandate, Palma said, proper consultations be made first with their competent ecclesiastical authorities when there are other issues and unforeseen circumstances that may arise on the matter.

The country’s number of COVID-19 cases breached the two million mark on Sept. 1.