8 December 2010 - Dagupan City. ARCHBISHOP Socrates B. Villegas, DD in a circular letter dated 8 December 2010, informed the clergy of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan that the “fixed fees for the administration of the sacrament of Confirmation for both children and adults are abolished”. This landmark and significant pastoral action of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan through the Archbishop is but a fruit of the collective prayerful discernment of the presbyterium during a meeting held last 8 November 2010 at the Msgr. Cesar Guerrero Hall of the Archbishop’s House.
IN that meeting the presbyterium agreed on the eventual phasing out of the arancel system in the administration of the sacraments and sacramentals after a comprehensive and in-depth formation and catechesis on the spirituality of stewardship to be given to all the chaplaincies, parishes and schools of the Archdiocese. The total phase out of the arancel system is expected to come to its finality after two years.
The catechesis and the formation program should be able to clarify to the Catholic faithful that stewardship is a way of life. This should remove from the mindset of the parishioners and the faithful that the sacraments have a monetary equivalent; however neither must it be replaced by another mindset that the sacraments are cheap and require nothing on our part.
The Sacraments paid for by Our Lord Jesus Christ
IN the same letter, Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas emphasized that the sacraments are not free. “They have been paid by the precious passion, death and resurrection of the Lord”, he said.
HE admonished the priests of the Archdiocese to administer the spiritual treasures of the Church with personal gratitude and pastoral charity. The priests have to do this, he said, as “a gesture of gratitude to the good Lord for His abiding goodness.”
The responsibility of the faithful and the parishioners
THE Catholic faithful on their part must be animated to share the love they have experienced from the goodness of God with others by sharing their time, talents or treasures cheerfully, responsibly and generously like faithful and wise stewards. Instead of “giving until it hurts”, the faithful are to share and give because it is a joy to do so!
The System of Church Support
The Church by her very societal nature has the inherent right, independently of secular authority, to acquire and retain, to administer and ameliorate, to apply and dispose of temporal goods. All these activities of the Church however are done always in the pursuit of the objectives proper to her divine constitution.
Canon Law provides the objective rationale behind this right of the Church which gives four reasons: for the requirements of Divine Worship; for the need of the Apostolate; for the works of charity and for the support of the Church Ministers (Canon 1254, par. 2). Without this objective rationale appended to temporal realities, the Church would not really have any ownership right.
The Arancel System
The main System of Church Support in the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan in the Parishes, Chaplaincies and Pastoral Stations has been the Arancel System or the Table of Offerings. The system provides a fixed offering on the occasion of every Church service rendered.