As the menace of coronavirus sweeps across the country, the Archdiocese of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias has appealed to his followers to cremate the bodies of those who have died of Coronavirus. Calling upon the clergy of all the churches in Mumbai, the cardinal has asked them to follow their instructions issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC) and the burn the dead bodies of Christians who died of Coronavirus.
In a video message put out on his YouTube channel, Christian priest Cardinal Oswald Gracias requested Christians and church priests to resort to cremation instead of burials for the coronavirus victims. He also advised people to strictly comply with the government restrictions, exercise social distancing and continuously wash their hands with soaps to limit the spread of the deadly contagion. Citing the current situation in the country and the world, Gracias contended that the government might be compelled to extend the restrictions beyond April 14 and therefore strongly advised the Christian padres from organising baptisms, first communions and marriages immediately after April 14.
“Looking at the situation in other countries, the government in India might be compelled to extend the lockdown beyond April 14. Therefore, I urge all the Christian padres to not organise any baptisms, first communions and marriages immediately after April 14. It would not be prudent to do so.,” Cardinal Gracias said.
The Archdiocese of Bombay further exhorted the pastors to abide by the BMC circular, proscribing the burial of coronavirus victims and instead mandating cremations for the same with not more than 5 mourners to be present in the funerals.
“In Mumbai, the BMC has ordered the body of the coronavirus victims be cremated. Burial is not allowed. Also, the mourners are to be restricted to 5. The police station should also be informed about the funeral,” Gracias said.
It is pertinent to note here that while the Archdiocese has given sagely advice, the circular that was issued by BMC was reportedly withdrawn after outrage by NCP Minister of Maharashtra Nawab Malik.
As per a WHO report, the burial of coronavirus patients poses the risk of a further outbreak of the disease but the cremation doesn’t hold any such risks. The report said that when the body is burnt in an electric machine, its temperature is around 700– 1000 ° C. This causes the virus to die and there is no risk of it spreading. However, the WHO says that if a dead body of a coronavirus victim is buried, the risk of its spread aggravates. The WHO report states that if such a body is buried in the ground, then care should be taken that there is no water source within 30 meters of the burial site.