Balanga Bishop Ruperto C. Santos has ordered the removal of fees for funeral masses and blessings in his diocese.
In a circular, the bishop said the move was necessary to fully condole with the grieving loved ones of the faithful departed. The move will also serve as an initial step to end the practice of charging fees for church services.
The order must be fully implemented by April 21.
“Financial obligations from the perspective of the Church are not of prime importance and must not be a burden to them. No fees for masses must be required by priests even for those in funeral parlors and memorial chapels. 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,” Santos said in a Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines News post.
The arancel is the fixed donation or fees imposed for sacraments and sacramentals.
Santos said their next plan is to start removing the arancel on baptism, weddings, confirmations, and masses. “We will audit the parishes to check which ones are ready. And as we will celebrate our 50th year in 2025, it is our dream for our people that there will no longer be an arancel system for sacraments in our diocese,” Santos said. (Christina I. Hermoso)