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The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia


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The Burial Office set forth in the Prayer Book is intended for the Church's own people, and therefore it cannot be used over an unbaptized adult, because not being baptized he is not a member of the Church. It cannot be used over an excommunicated person because he has been cut off from the Church's privileges. It cannot be used over one who has committed suicide, even if a member of the Church, for by this act he has voluntarily removed himself "from the sphere of its sanctions," and to whom all branches of the Church as well as our own have ever denied the use of this Office. The reason for these prohibitions may be learned when we consider that the Burial Office is founded on the fact of our incorporation into Christ's Mystical Body, on which is founded our hope of the General Resurrection. The whole service is colored by this belief and is illustrated and confirmed by the Lesson read from St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians, setting forth the doctrine that our Lord's Incarnation is the source of all spiritual life and, therefore, the source of eternal life in the world to come.

The proper place for the use of the Burial Office is the Church and it ought not to be used in houses except for great cause.

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Bibliography Information
Miller, William James. Entry for 'Burial'. The American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. 1901.

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