MANILA - Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, Bataan has ordered the removal of fees for funeral masses and blessings in his diocese starting April 21, Easter Sunday, according to a report by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) News.
“Financial obligations from the perspective of the Church are not of prime importance and must not be a burden to them,” Santos was quoted as saying by CBCP News in a circular issued Tuesday.
“We should not oblige them either for the arancel, but we can be open for their free will to give or donate for the Church," he added, referring to the practice of charging fees for church services.
Santos said his diocese will also remove fees on baptism, weddings, confirmation and Masses in the coming years.
The Catholic Church is targeting to end the arancel system by 2021, the 5th centenary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines, according to Fr. Roy Bellen, head of the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Communications.
"This hopefully can be a gauge of the faithful of their change of paradigm in support the Church rather than thinking of ‘buying the sacraments’ from the Church," he was quoted as saying by CBCP News.
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas in 2015 abolished fixed rates for sacraments, sacramentals, and issuance of canonical certificates in the archdiocese.
Some parishes in Manila, the country’s largest archdiocese, have also started “to calibrate their finances” towards the removal of arancel, said CBCP News.