Friday, July 11, 2008

Church urged to stop extra collections

In a fresh twist on the perpetual issue on the separation of Church and State, this lawmaker from Iloilo turns the table around. In a Philippine Star news feature on front page, Rep. Janette Garin of Iloilo was reported as saying that the Catholic should do its share in providing relief for hard-up parishioners by doing away with burdensome second and even third collections.

“The church should try to regulate the second and third collections,” she told reporters who attended the weekly Serye forum in Quezon City. She goes on: “The first collection should already have been budgeted, whether a percentage should go to the priest, a certain amount for (church) management and an allocation for charity.”
Garin also proposed a significant reduction in the exorbitant fees charged by the church for weddings, christening, and funerals. “Many are not buried or baptized (because of the excessive fees). Many also do not get married because of the choir and decoration in church” which, she lamented, are pre-requisites. Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol fuels the
fire, adding that "they do not expect any good word from the Catholic bishops, because they have always been critical of the administration. ".

Lawmakers meddling with church affairs. I must say this is a fresh though startling change in the uneasy relations between Church and State. The lawmaker from Iloilo is supposedly a Catholic, as reported by the news item, and she does have an inkling of what goes on in the Church, based on her snide remarks. One puzzling thing from her remarks though, is that one immediately wonders if the meaning of the word "voluntary" has ever seeped into her consciousness in a meaningful way. Also, one wonders if she is at all aware that most if not all Church dioceses offer cost-free sacramental rites for those who cannot afford it. Free mass weddings, baptisms, confirmations...these are standard projects of Church ministries for indigent parishioners. Most likely, the lawmaker wasn't aware of the facts in these church matters, though one might feel
that it should be second-nature for lawmakers to investigate first. It is shuddering to think of the implications of combining ill-considered opinions and lawmaking.

But maybe the Catholic(?) lawmaker from Iloilo is good at picking things to her liking, somewhat like choosing from a fastfood display, yes - a cafeteria comes to mind. Her final conclusion is a dead give-away, see how she high jumps to it:

“It all boils down to population, many are already poor”.

I knew it was coming.

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