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Why Quezon gov was denied Catholic burial


Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:24:00 05/24/2010

Filed Under: death notices, Churches (organisations), Laws, Inquirer Politics, Air and Space Accidents

LUCENA CITY?The denial of Catholic burial rites for the late Quezon Gov. Rafael Nantes?a known Freemason and ?born-again Christian??was in accordance with canon law and not politically motivated, a Church leader said here on Sunday.

In a homily delivered a day after Nantes? burial, Bishop Emilio Marquez said the Diocese of Lucena would uphold its decision ?unless some signs of repentance before death had been shown? by the deceased.

Marquez, a known critic of Nantes, noted that the governor?s death in a helicopter crash on Monday was sudden and unexpected, and that there was no way for the Church to determine whether he had repented.

The head of the diocese explained that the Church?s Code of Canon Law (Canon No. 1184 and No. 1185) denies Catholic burial rites for the likes of Nantes.

Marquez said the diocese issued the clarification to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding on the prohibition issued by the Church last week concerning the holding of Mass at Nantes? wake at the Quezon Convention Center.

Nantes died along with four others on Monday afternoon when the governor?s private helicopter crashed into a subdivision on the outskirts of Lucena City a few minutes after taking off from the grounds of Quezon National High School.

Burial at Banahaw

Nantes was buried early evening on Saturday at a private cemetery in Lucban town at the foot of Mount Banahaw.

?There is no politics in the decision of the Church. I just implemented the Church laws,? Marquez said during the Mass yesterday at Saint Ferdinand Cathedral.

?The local Catholic Church in the Diocese of Lucena mourns with the people of Quezon. The fact is we sent our condolences to the family of Governor Nantes immediately after we received the sad news of his tragic death,? the bishop added.

?We did not in any way forbid prayers for the eternal repose of his soul or to bless the mortal remains of the governor,? he said.

The bishop explained that the Church did not prohibit the celebration of Mass for the late provincial executive ?as long as his (Nantes) body was not there.?

Marquez also disclosed that a relative of the late governor, Fr. Ed Nantes, a Dominican priest assigned in Indonesia, had sought his guidance on the matter.

?I told him that he can bless the mortal remains of the governor even with his habit on but he cannot say Mass in the presence of his (Nantes?) body,? Marquez said.

Noynoy among mourners

On Saturday, presumptive president-elect Benigno ?Noynoy? Aquino III, a Liberal Party ally and close friend of Nantes, led thousands of mourners who paid their last respects to the late governor.

Also present were Aquino?s running mate Sen. Manuel ?Mar? Roxas II, Sen. Francisco Pangilinan, and recently retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno.

Nantes? remains were brought from Lucena to Lucban aboard an open, flower-decked truck. Residents along the route patiently waited for the funeral cortege to pass.

During the 24-kilometer travel, an honor guard from the military and police stood at attention on the truck that bore Nantes? casket.

On Wednesday, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also visited Nantes? wake and condoled with his family.

Independent probe sought

The family of the late governor has asked for the creation of an independent body to investigate the May 17 crash, believing there was ?foul play.?

Supt. Pascual Muoz Jr., Lucena police chief, appealed to the community to remain calm and avoid fanning speculations on the cause of the crash.

Muoz cautioned the public, particularly against spreading rumors that the crash was an act of ?sabotage? or ?politically motivated.?

?These kinds of baseless political innuendo will not help investigators. Let us all pay our last respects to the late governor and sympathize with his family,? Muoz said.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has already ruled out sabotage as the cause of the tragedy. Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon



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