MANILA, Oct. 16, 2012— An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has refuted the claim of party-list group Gabriela that “high wedding fees” push couples to shun marriage.
Msgr. Joselito Asis, CBCP secretary general, said the statement is incorrect and blaming the church is uncalled for.
He emphasized that “donation” for a simple Catholic wedding is only minimal but many couples still prefer a “special one so it’s expensive.”
“In fact many parish churches offer free weddings for those who want to receive the sacrament of marriage,” Asis said.
The pro-divorce party list group claimed that one of the reasons for declining church weddings is because they cost more than P100,000.
It also called on the church to lower its fees for couples eyeing their dream nuptials if only to encourage couples to undergo church wedding.
Asis, however, clarified that cost for a simple wedding is minimal “although donations to the church vary depending on the request of the couples.”
“And according to canon law, donations given to this celebration of sacrament or the so-called stole fees have standard per region,” he said.
In Metro Manila, he said, stole fees for weddings in many parishes normally ranges from P6,000 to P7,000 packaged with decoration and choir.
But for a simple wedding, which means no decorations or choir, he said, the church just asks donations between P2,000 to P3,000.
Quiapo Church charges only around P1,500 for a simple wedding. At the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, a wedding ceremony packaged with decorations, singers and other services cost around P25,000.
“Other churches charge more for air condition, decorations and other services requested by couples,” said Asis.
In the provinces, he added, stole fees ranges only from P1,500 to P2,000 for a simple wedding.
He said there are also certain occasions in all parish churches where they offer free marriages and mass weddings.
Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz said couples could approach their parish priests to have their marriage scheduled on the days when it holds free weddings.
The head of the country’s National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal added that outfit is no big deal as long as it is decent.
“You don’t have to wear white if you want the free wedding. Just don’t come in swimming suits, and it’s okay,” Cruz said.
“The (wedding) veil, cord, and ring can be provided by the church. But of course, these must be returned afterwards,” he added. (CBCPNews)