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In traditional Christianity, the body itself is not to be worshipped, but is to be respected being made in the "image and likeness of God" and as the container, so to speak, of the soul. Furthermore, at Christ's second coming, there is to be a physical resurrection of the dead. For these reasons, the body, even after death, is to be cared for with respect and the reason for burial rather than cremation.

In 2009, a scandal broke out as it was discovered that in the Burr Oak cemetery, plots were being resold, headstones were being relocated, and bodies were being dumped to random parts of the cemetery. As part of the effort to rectify this mess (to the extent possible), the director of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese's Executive Director of Cemeteries was put in charge of this task, and ultimately, the Catholic cemeteries buried bodies in their own cemeteries, in plots that they donated.

Three years later, we are now embroiled in another scandal involving the dead in Chicago. Apparently, the Cook County morgue was overcrowded to the point of being completely unsanitary, with many more bodies than could be accommodated . Sometimes, there have been reasons for delays, but a lot of it boils down to plain incompetence.

Again, in the city's hour of need, the Catholic Church has offered to them free burial plots. This isn't some slick marketing ploy, or a political move on the part of the Roman Catholic Church. This is plainly in keeping with the Church's mission, that every life is of value and deserves some dignity even in death. However, this time the city is not so quick to accept.

I can only think of one reason that the city is not working with the Catholic Church, and that is that it boils down to politics. In the last few weeks, the Catholic Church has made a stand against the Obama administration's diktat of mandatory contraception coverage by all employers. Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, not only is President Obama's former chief of staff, but has a brother, Ezekiel, who is the Head of the Department of Bioethics at The Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health. The Obama Administration has made it clear that it is hostile to the Church, and as such, it would be very hard for someone this close to President Obama to publicly accept help from such a source.

Some of the people whose bodies at the morgue remain unidentified. Some seem to hav no family. Others can't afford the costs of burying their dead. However, reverting to the "logic" of the contraception fight, it would be terrible for these poor souls to be buried in a Catholic cemetery because undoubtedly not all of these people were Catholic, and as such, a tragedy if they weren't offered free birth control!

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