Prelate orders shut down of religious stores

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MANILA, Jan. 12, 2016— In another bid to rid Church operations “of any semblance of business and commerce,” a Catholic archdiocese is closing parish-run religious stores.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan said the move aims to address a “mistaken impression” among the faithful that the Church is engaging in business beyond its spiritual mission.

“It is a hard climb but we must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves,” said Villegas in a circular to his priests issued on Tuesday.

The new policy was discussed and agreed upon during the archdiocesan clergy meeting last week.

During the meeting, it was also noted that there are even some print materials on sale which are unrelated to devotion and catechesis.

“…We will not open new religious stores and close the ones that are in existence, unless such stores have submitted their records to the Bureau of Internal Revenue and have gained business licenses from the government as required by law,” explained Villegas.

According to him, the BIR has sent some “alarming signals” about imposing taxes on such religious stores.

“The Church stands at risk as secularism gains ground. We choose the path of pastoral prudence,” said the prelate. (R. Lagarde/CBCPNews) 

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