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Tobit ; ; Sirach ; 2 Maccabees ), it is easy to understand how the interment of the mortal remains of the Christian dead has always been regarded as an act of religious import and has been surrounded at all times with some measure of religious ceremonial.The motives of Christian burial will be more fully treated in the article CREMATION.Any reasonable legal proof is sufficient as evidence of his wishes in the matter, and it has been decided that the testimony of one witness, for example his confessor, may be accepted, if there be no suspicion of interested motives. Certain exceptions, however, are recognized in the case of cardinals, bishops, canons, etc.Formerly monastic and other churches claimed and enjoyed under certain conditions the privilege of interring notable benefactors within their precincts.In all such cases, however, the general practice of the Church at the present day has been to interpret these prohibitions as mildly as possible.
That the early Christians from the beginning used only burial seems certain. L., III, 266), and from the stress laid upon the analogy between the resurrection of the body and the Resurrection of Christ ( 1 Corinthians ; cf.
According to the canon law every man is free to choose for himself the burial ground in which he wishes to be interred.
It is not necessary that this choice should be formally registered in his will. Concilii, 24 march, 1871, Lex, 189.) Where no wish has been expressed it will be assumed that the interment is to take place in any vault or burial place which may have belonged to the deceased or his family, and failing this the remains should be buried in the cemetery of the parish in which the deceased had his domicile or quasi-domicile.
It may be said that no such privilege is now recognized as a matter of right to the detriment of the claim of the parish.
If a man die in a parish which is not his own, the canon law prescribes that the body should be conveyed to his own parish for interment if this is reasonably possible, but the parish priest of the place where he died may claim the right of attending the corpse to the place of burial. But the custom of making gifts to the Church, partly as an acknowledgment of the trouble taken by the clergy, partly for the benefit of the soul of the departed, gradually became general, and such offerings were recognized in time as jura stoloe which went to the personal support of the parish priest or his curates. Conc., 16 February, 1889), and which may be exacted by the parish priest for every burial which takes place in his district.