THE Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has renewed its call for the abolition of the "arancel" system in the country.
In its pastoral statement after the 121st Plenary Assembly, the CBCP urged all archdioceses and dioceses to gradually work on the removal of the system, under which the faithful is charged with a fixed amount in exchange for various church services.
"The ‘arancel‘ can be a hindrance for the poor to receive God’s grace and blessings. Let us do our best, then, to remove obstacles to genuine service, especially to the poor," said CBCP president Archbishop Romulo Valles.
"We, as Church in the Philippines, once more commit ourselves to the gradual abolition of the arancel system," he added.
The CBCP said it is committed to helping dioceses and parishes that are having difficulties in implementing the program.
"We commit ourselves to education, formation, and catechesis in the Spirituality of Stewardship for our clergy, religious and laity in our dioceses, parishes, communities and families, in view of adopting a concrete stewardship program in our dioceses to replace the arancel system as soon as possible," he said.
"We envision local churches, parishes and BECs (basic ecclesial communities) sustained by a generous sharing of resources, where those who have none are not left out of spiritual and material care, where stewardship is a way of life," Valles added.
The CBCP chief also called on the Filipino faithful to help ensure the success of the endeavor by contributing to the Church.
"Let us not be afraid to give freely and cheerfully, even in times of crisis and difficulty like the Covid-19 pandemic that we are presently experiencing. Let us sustain the spirit of generosity that has spontaneously overflowed during this pandemic and has kept our communities in operation," Valles said.
The arancel system refers to the practice of giving stipends to priests for specific church services and sacraments.
Several archdioceses and dioceses have already abolished their arancel system, led by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, who first issued the order in 2015. (HDT / SunStar Philippines)
January 30, 2021
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