Alappuzha: The Latin Diocese of Alappuzha has taken exemplary action in the face of great uncertainty regarding the cremation of the bodies of COVID patients. The body of Thressiamma, who died yesterday due to corona infection in Mararikulam, Alappuzha, was cremated in the parish cemetery following the COVID protocol and the canon law of the Catholic Church 1176, 2016, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. The decision to bury the body was made at the request of the district collector and health workers in the wake of the COVID outbreak, Bishop James Anaparampil said in a circular to the parishioners.
The diocese’s exemplary decision comes at a time when there is widespread speculation that smoke from burning the bodies of those who died of COVID can cause disease. A group of priests led the funeral procession. The decision was taken to take the ashes of the body cremated in the parish cemetery and bury it in the cemetery following the church rules. The diocese has decided to allow the cremation of the body as there is no facility to bury the body in various places in Alappuzha following the COVID protocol. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Alappuzha district administration lauded the church leadership for its exemplary decision. The decision was announced by Bishop James Anaparambil after discussions with the district administration and church officials.
The Catholic Church officially teaches that cremation is not against the Christian faith in emergencies. It was in 1963 that the Church first gave permission for cremation. In 2016, the Vatican issued special instructions on the cremation service and cremation of believers, under the title “Adresergentum Cristo” (Resurrected with Christ). The document urges that the ashes obtained after cremation be stored in a cemetery or in a special place prepared near the church. The Vatican has strongly warned that such ashes should not be distributed among family members or worn inside jewelry.