TACLOBAN City, Feb. 9, 2015 -– Palo Archbishop John Forrosuelo Du was emphatic in saying that the sacraments, which the local church administers to the faithful, are not for sale.

Retired priest Oscar Lorenzo blesses the throats of the faithful with crossed candles after a Mass held on the Feast of St. Blaise last week. (Photo: Justin Cabillan/SNP)

The prelate spoke out on the issue after reports surfaced of parishes, which allegedly impose strict fees for sacraments like baptisms, are pegging higher rates.

The local prelate, however, stressed that the fees assessed, which are at a fixed rate, are intended to help the church sustain its operations and are not for profit.

Daily operations

The said fees help finance the administrative requirements of the church such as the wage of the parish staff and subsistence of the clergy.

He warned, in an earlier press conference at the Palo Chancery, that no parish or clergy member should take advantage of the sacraments as means for personal gain.

Fr. Oliver Mazo, assistant vicar in Sto. Niño Church, commented likewise in a meeting with the parish lectors, that they should help make the people understand why there is a need to impose a specific tariff for each of the sacraments.

Standard living allowance

The arancel system, he said, is regulatory in nature and does not impose exorbitant fees so as not to discourage the faithful from availing of the sacraments.

Since January 2013, the Archdiocese of Palo, through the initiative of Du, has started giving out standard living allowances (SLA) to about 175 clergy in the archdiocese.

The SLA, which is fixed across the board, intends to level off the remuneration that parish clergy receive monthly regardless of the money that the parish generates. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCP News)