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Cardinal Rosales to NSO: Priests know best in sanctifying marriage

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales on Sunday said he was dismayed by recent move of the National Statistics Office (NSO) to require all solemnizing officers to undergo training before conducting any wedding ceremonies. “We understand the concern of the National Statistics Office (NSO) 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," Rosales said. According to Rosales, the Catholic Church had been performing marriage for more than 2,000 years now and it is really disheartening on their part. “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 in an interview. Rosales, who is also the head of the Commission on Clergy of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) noted that while he understands the decision of the government, it should however not be made to appear as if they know nothing as priests. “The Church is not contentious. If they want to add something then they might want our cooperation, but don’t make it appear as if we know nothing about (solemnizing) weddings. That’s the only sentiment of the Church to NSO," he added. Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) earlier asked the government to cancel the required orientation seminar since the topics to be taken up in the required seminar have long been part of the priests’ seminary curriculum. Likewise, Lagdameo said their priests need not undergo any training because the Catholic priests are updated with the marital laws of the land through their diocesan chancellors and with the help of canon law experts. Early this month, members of the clergy received copies of the government’s new ruling through a memorandum issued by the NSO dated November 6, 2007. The NSO policy is in line with the 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. A provision in the IRR states that before granting a certificate of registration and authority to sanctifying marriage (CRASM) to a solemnizing officer (SO) is the requirement for proof of training conducted by the NSO, which means, 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 of SOs. To attend the seminar, every priest must also pay a registration ranging from P1,500 to P3,500. - GMANews.TV