The spokesperson of the Romanian Patriarchate, Vasile Bănescu, says that many deviate when they talk about the fact that “priests who ask for money for funerals or marriages can be kicked out of the church“.
Vasile Bănescu, spokesperson of the Romanian Patriarchate PHOTO Adevărul archive
In a post on his Facebook page, Bănescu shows that “scandalous cases of conditioning of the funeral service by one non-vocational priestwhich required even poor people to pay a mandatory sum for the religious service occasioned by the sad event. “
He says that the information must “delivered honestly, clearly, not confused, not as absurd breaking-news.“
Banescu states that “In 2017, the Holy Synod made the necessary clarifications regarding the distinction between taxes and voluntary contributions offered by believers for the operation of worship units.”
He posts an excerpt from the decision of the Holy Synod, which clarifies the issue of church taxes:
“The fees established by the parish council refer only to the amounts paid by the faithful for the concession and maintenance of burial places in the cemeteries.
Voluntary contributions represent the sums offered by believers on the occasion of the performance of certain Holy Mysteries and liturgies. Their amount is established by the Parish Council and takes into account the operating expenses of the parishes.
The Holy Synod reiterated the ban on the condition of the priest officiating the funeral service on the payment of any tax, especially in the case of poor families, but the parishes consider voluntary contributions as a donation from the family necessary for the maintenance of the parish church. In these cases, the priest must issue receipts to the families who donated the money.”
Also, the Holy Synod also decided in 2012 that priests should help grieving families with money “so that the lack of money is not a reason to cremate the deceased, considering that burial would be too expensive.“
Bănescu also has a problem with formulations like: “X against religion textbooks” or “X criticizes religion textbooks”, which he also considers aberrant.
“Talking in the 90s of the last century about the absolutely perfectable Religion textbooks for grades I-IV was about the naturalness of things, not about an attack on the Church or religion returned to the public, cultural and school space. The effervescence of the 90s also contained enormous awkwardness, as all institutions were relearning to walk. Some, not the Church, limp even now“, says the spokesperson of the Patriarchate.
About those who state such things, Bănescu says that he characterizes them “dishonesty, convenience or mental lethargy, lust for trouble, thirst for hatred and division, not justice“.