burial, ecclesiastical

The interment of a deceased person with ecclesiastical rites in consecrated ground. Since it is an honor granted by the Church, it follows that the Church may determine who is worthy of it. All persons baptized in any of the three ways baptism may be conferred (desire, blood, water) and catechumens or converts, if they have died without baptism through no fault of their own, must be buried ecclesiastically. The law excludes from ecclesiastical burial: apostates from the Christian faith; heretics; schismatics; Freemasons or members of similar societies; persons excommunicated and interdicted after a condemnatory or declaratory sentence; deliberate suicides; those who died in a duel or from a wound received in a duel; those who have ordered their bodies to be cremated; and public sinners. The general practise of the Church is to interpret these prohibitions as mildly as possible; doubtful cases should be referred to the bishop (canon 1204, 1239, 1240).

New Catholic Dictionary

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