MANILA, Philippines, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- A Catholic official in the Philippines says the Catholic Church is offering free weddings along with free use of wedding rings, veils and cords.
Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz, who heads the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal, a Church office that handles cases of annulment of Catholic marriages, said Filipinos worried about the potential high cost of a church wedding should check with their local church and see about getting married on a day when the service is offered for free, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported Wednesday.
"In the Church, you can have weddings for free. Once or twice a month we have that. That's the norm," Cruz said after the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines released a survey indicating about half of the country's residents were turning against the idea of church weddings.
"You don't have to wear white if you want the free wedding. Just don't come in swimming suits, and it's OK," Cruz said. "The veil, cord and ring can be provided by the Church. But of course, these must be returned afterward."
Cruz blamed the trend of shunning church weddings on "globalization."
"Globalization is not only a question of economic factors but of values systems as well. We are importing television programs, movies where people [are shown getting] married but then they separate," Cruz said. "So if there is that, why get married at all? It's pointless."