Archbishop blames stars, movies for fewer marriages in PH

By Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Oct 17 2012 03:12 PM | Updated as of Oct 17 2012 11:36 PM

Church weddings can be free – CBCP

MANILA, Philippines - Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz is blaming the movie industry and its stars, among others, for the fewer Church marriages in the Philippines lately.

In an interview with Radio Veritas, Cruz said the values system from foreign countries which are promoted via globalization have also contributed to couples just living together instead of entering the sacrament of marriage.

“Ang globalization, di lang naman economics yan at social development kundi values especially from this countries. Yung napapanood natin sa mga telebisyon, mga sine, ganon na rin sa ating movie industry sa Pilipinas, yung mga artista natin, talagang ang values system ay nag-iiba,” he said.

The Truth Survey issued last week by the same Manila archdiocese-run radio station showed that 57.7% of the 2,500 Catholic respondents were not married in church, he said.

He said the movie story lines may be right. “Sabi nila bakit ka pa magpapakasal tutal mag-aaway lang din naman kayo, maghihiwalay din kayo. So tama po yan ako po’y tinatanggap ko po yan at yan ay isa pong hamon sa simbahan,” he said.

He said this is a truth that should challenge the Roman Catholic Church. He said the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines should lead in strengthening the “family and life apostolate” counseling in parishes. The Church calls it pre-cana, which is a course that couples undergo before they can be married.

He said the CBCP should have a new evangelization of sorts to explain to couples the real meaning of the sacrament. Nonetheless, he said the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the CBCP, where he is judicial vicar, received only two to three annulment cases this year. The couples cited psychological incapacity for the annulment of their marriages.

Weddings not worth P100,000 – CBCP

Amid all these, the CBCP denied a party-list group’s claim that couples have shunned weddings because of exorbitant fees, sometimes higher than P100,000.

CBCP secretary general Msgr. Joselito Asis said blaming the Catholic church is uncalled for. In fact, he said some churches offer wedding rites for free.

Called stole fees, donations are given to the church for the celebration of the sacrament of marriage.

Cruz added couples can approach their parish priests and ask for days when free weddings are held. “The (wedding) veil, cord, and ring can be provided by the church. But of course, these must be returned afterwards,” he added.

He noted the attire is not even important. “You don’t have to wear white if you want the free wedding. Just don’t come in swimming suits, and it’s okay,” he said.

Nonetheless, stole fees can be relatively cheap, Asis explained. In Metro Manila, for a simple wedding that has no decorations or choir, the church just ask donations between P1,500 to P3,000.

Those with packages, such as decorations and choir, range from P6,000 to P7,000, he said.

A simple wedding at the Quiapo Church charges P1,500. A wedding ceremony with decorations, singers and other services at San Agustin Church in Intramuros, on the other hand, costs P25,000.