Prelate: Sacraments should be made accessible to people

Published July 27, 2020, 12:39 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

A Catholic prelate said the sacraments should be made accessible to the people.

Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos welcomed the guidelines issued by the Vatican reminding priests not to commercialize masses and the Sacraments by charging fees. 

Bishop Ruperto Santos

“It is a very good move of the Vatican, making sacraments accessible to our people,” he said in an interview Monday.

“They can feel that in the Church, all are equal. No first class or ordinary celebrations of sacraments. The Church can focus more on spiritual matters, not preoccupied with material, secular matters,” Santos added.

“The Diocese of Balanga is already doing this. Our funeral blessings and holy mass are free,” Santos said.

For weddings, he said, couples pay for documentation as municipal license fees, for choirs, and flowers. 

It was in April, 2019, when Santos ordered the removal of fees for funeral masses and blessings in his diocese to console the grieving persons of the faithful departed.

“We should not oblige them either for the arancel, but we can be open for their free will to give or donate to the Church,” he said.

The arancel system in the Church refers to the practice of giving stipends to priests for specific church services.

He also revealed that they will also start removing arancel on baptism, weddings, confirmation, and Masses in the coming years.

In 2015, Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas also scrapped the system of charging fixed rates for sacraments and sacramentals in the archdiocese.

Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, meantime, explained that what people contribute is “offering or donation” in order to help sustain the operational expenses of the church.

“We do not pay for the sacraments or for the grace of God so love offerings are welcome,” he said.