Church urged to stop 2nd & 3rd collections

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — HOW many times must collections be made by the Catholic Church during Masses?

Although voluntary, some parishioners find such collections burdensome, especially if they are done more than once.

Yesterday, a lawmaker — a Catholic — urged the Church to “do its share in providing relief” to hard-up parishioners by doing away with “burdensome” second and sometimes, third collections during masses.

Rep. Janette Garin (Lakas, Iloilo) said that instead of “perpetually criticizing” the government, the Church should try to regulate its collections to help its parishioners, many of them reeling from the continuing increases in prices of food and oil products.

Clarifying that she was not speaking ill of the Catholic Church, of which she is a devout member, Garin proposed that a one-time collection for each Mass will do.

“The first collection should be budgeted (by the Church) in which a certain percentage should go to the priest, a certain amount for church management and an allocation for charity,” she told reporters during the weekly “Balitaan sa Serye” news forum.

The lawmaker also noted that some churches demand “exorbitant” fees to the so-called “KBL (kasal, binyag, libing), a practice that she said affects many parishioners, especially those in the lower rung of society.

The lawmaker claimed that there have been instances when the poor cannot bury their dead because of the “excessive fees.”

“Marami din ang hindi naikakasal dahil sa choir and decoration sa simbahan,” Garin told reporters, noting that many churches require the use of a choir and the putting up of decorations during weddings.

She also urged the Church to stop “remitting to other countries” its collections, noting that the practice makes the Philippines “subsidize other countries.”

“This should not be the case,” she stressed.

The senior lawmaker noted that the Church, despite its separation from the State, continues to criticize the government for imposing additional taxes to the people when it itself does not pay taxes.

She zeroed in on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) which, she said, is very critical of government policies but “always run short in providing solutions to the country’s problems.”

“The CBCP keeps on criticizing the government but it does not offer any concrete alternative solutions to the nation’s problems,” she said.

Garin, a medical doctor by profession, said the Church is very vocal against population control when there are too many “suffering Filipinos who are becoming poorer and poorer” because of over-population.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol, a guest at the forum, admitted that the government cannot expect anything from the CBCP.

“The Catholic bishops have been always critical of this government, anyway,” Apostol told reporters.