Ex-AFP chief Reyes ‘can get Church burial’- Bishop Cruz

RETIRED Archbishop Oscar Cruz said former armed forces chief  Angelo Reyes who committed suicide can get a Church burial.

Archbishop Cruz, a Canon lawyer, as reported by ucanews.com said Church teaching on suicide has not changed but its understanding of mental health has progressed.

The prelate was quoted as saying “there is a growing presumption, with the advancement in psychiatric sciences, that when people commit suicide ‘they are not themselves’.”

Archbishop Cruz said  suicides in the past  were not given Catholic burials and no Masses were celebrated for them.

Reyes, using a .45 caliber pistol, shot himself in front of his mother’s tomb at a memorial park in Marikina City on Tuesday, February 8. He was rushed to  Quirino Memorial Medical Center but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Reyes killed himself  hours before the members of the House committee on justice resume the ongoing congressional inquiry into alleged graft within the military of which he was one of the suspects.

Activist priest Jose Dizon, however, said only a bishop can decide whether or not Reyes will be given a Catholic burial.

Father Dizon cited the case of a politician who was denied Catholic rites by a bishop for being a Mason.

Bishop Emilio Marquez of Lucena refused to give late governor Rafael Nantes a Catholic burial for being a “born-again Christian” and a Mason who did not repent.

“Canon 1184 states, that Church funeral rites are to be denied to ‘notorious apostates, heretics and schismatics’ unless they showed some signs of repentance before death,” Bishop Marquez said.

Father Dizon said ” I for one will not have difficulty giving Catholic burial services to Sec. Reyes for two reasons:  the abundance of God’s grace and expert position that persons who commit suicide are not in the right state of mind.”

He however cautioned  that  public scandal must be avoided at all cost.

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