May I be buried next to my wife in a non-Catholic cemetery?


Full Question

I am a Catholic and my wife is not. My wife’s family has reserved an extra cemetery plot for me. Is it OK for me to be buried in a cemetery that is not specifically Catholic? Is there a rite that can be performed to consecrate such land?

Answer

The Code of Canon Law directs the Church to have its own cemeteries where possible but also provides for the blessing of designated areas and even individual sites in civil cemeteries.

Where possible, the Church is to have its own cemeteries or at least areas in civil cemeteries that are designated for the deceased members of the faithful and properly blessed. If this cannot be achieved, however, then individual graves are to be properly blessed. (CIC 1240 §1-2)

Additionally, canon law allows choice in the matter of selecting a grave site.

If a parish has its own cemetery, the deceased members of the faithful must be buried in it unless the deceased or those competent to take care of the burial of the deceased have chosen another cemetery legitimately. Everyone, however, is permitted to choose the cemetery of burial unless prohibited by law. (CIC 1180 §1-2)


Jim Blackburn