After setting a policy against soliciting or accepting payments for sacraments, a Catholic archbishop in the Philippines this time wants his parishes to stop charging fixed rates for issuing certificates. Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan said the move is still part of the ongoing archdiocesan reform, as he reminded the clergy not to “commercialize” church services. “This is in consonance with our collective vision to cleanse the church of any semblance of commercialism in the rendering of Church services,” Archbishop Villegas told his priests in a circular issued on Jan. 11. The new “obligatory policy” was also agreed upon by the majority of priests and religious men of the archdiocese during their regular meeting on Friday. According to the policy baptismal certificates, confirmation certificates, marriage certificates, wedding banns, and similar documents will be issued to requesting parishioners “without requiring any fixed amount”.
Archbishop Villegas, who is also the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), last April put an end to the system of charging fixed rates for sacraments and sacramentals. The parishes will just accept whatever parishioners can offer, he indicated, adding that blessings and sacraments must not appear as church services “rendered in exchange for fees”. However, the prelate appealed to the faithful for support on a regular basis by donating generously to their parishes regardless of services they may need. This, he said “is a proof of our maturity in the faith and devotion to our Mother Church. We must be a community that gives because we love the Church.” “We dream of a Church renewed, truly close to the people and responsive to the needs of the flock. Let us make this vision come true. Thank you for sharing the vision,”Archbishop Villegas added. (Source: CBCP)
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