Church boycotts new NSO marriage rule
|Posted by Manila Mail under Philippine News|
MANILA Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said that today only 40 priests have been certified by the National Statistics Office to officiate at marriage ceremonies.
The church is protesting the NSOs a new rule that priests must undergo training before conducting marital ceremonies. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is now moving to stop the memorandum issued by the NSO, according to Cruz.
Why teach us something we have been doing for 2,000 years?
This was the reaction of Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop of Manila, when asked about his reaction to the new government policy that will bar priests from solemnizing weddings if they fail to undergo government training on marriage laws.
The truth of the matter is we have been solemnizing weddings for 2,000 years already, and now they are going to teach us how? Now, we are going to see who is really more capable,” Rosales said.
Lawyer Romulo Macalintal supported the Catholic Church in opposing the new government policy barring priests from solemnizing weddings if they failed to undergo training on marriage laws under the National Statistics Office (NSO).
Macalintal has described the new rule as illegal, discriminatory and simply impractical.
He said that banning priests or ministers of faith from administering weddings should they fail to undergo the seminar on marriage laws is legally questionable.
Under Article 7 of the Family Code, the only requirement for a priest to be able to administer weddings is that he must be duly authorized by the Church and registered with the NSO or local registry. There is no provision in this law that says something about training or seminar. So this new rule is obviously tantamount to adding a new requirement or amendment, which is not allowed under the law,” Macalintal explained.
He said amendments of laws are done by Congress and could not be done by mere order of an administrative agency. The Supreme Court has been clear on this in its earlier rulings on similar cases. An administrative order cannot act or retract a law,” he said.
Macalintal said the new NSO rule is discriminatory as it exclusively covers only priests and ministers of churches. He believes that any new requirement or amendment on marriage laws should also cover their civil aspect, which means mayors, consul generals, ship captains and other authorized administrators of weddings should also undergo training.
On the issue of practicality, Macalintal agreed with the concern raised by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales that the new rule is an apparent insult to the Catholic Church in training its clergy in administering weddings.
Their (priests) objection is valid. Why would you require these priests something that they had already mastered in the seminary? I think that if the concern of NSO is on errors committed by some priests in filling out the marriage certificates, they can just simply ask leaders of the Church to regulate its priests and not impose on them,” he said.
We understand the National Statistics Office because we also know of abuses done by the so-called ministers of the Gospel (not priests), but they should not be like that to us, as if we know nothing,” he said.
The Church is not contentious. If the government wants to add something, then it might want our cooperation, but dont make it appear as if we know nothing about solemnizing weddings. Thats the only sentiment of the Church to the NSO,” he said.
Earlier, CBCP president and Jaro (Iloilo) Archbishop Angel Lagdameo appealed to the government to cancel the required orientation seminar, stressing that the topics to be taken up in the required seminar have long been part of the priests seminary curriculum.
Lagdameo also assured the government that the priests are always updated on the marital laws of the land through their diocesan chancellors, with the help of canon law experts.
The bishops received copies of the governments new ruling through a memorandum issued by the NSO last Nov. 6.
The NSO policy is in line with Administrative Order No. 1 Series of 2007, which embodies the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) governing the registration of authority to solemnize marriage with the civil registrar- general.
One of the provisions in the IRR before granting a certificate of registration and authority to solemnize marriage to a solemnizing officer is the requirement for proof of training conducted by the NSO.
The NSO said unless priests undergo such seminars, they will not be allowed to solemnize the sacrament of matrimony.
Courses offered in the seminar include: Marriage Laws and other related laws, Marriage Registration Procedures, and Registration Procedures of the Authority to Solemnize Marriage.
The memorandum directs all priests to attend the two-day course for them to know the marriage laws of the land.
It mandates that priests must attend not only orientation seminars but also regular refresher seminars.
To attend the seminars, every priest must also pay a registration fee ranging from P1,500 to P 3,500.