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Bishop allows Philippine priests to confirm parishioners

Caceres prelate says clergy can administer the sacrament for marriage purposes only to limit the spread of Covid-19

Bishop allows Philippine priests to confirm parishioners

Archbishop Rolando Tirona of Caceres is eager to help curb the spread of Covid-19. (Photo: Caceres Archdiocese)

An archdiocese in the Philippines has given its clergymen the authority to administer the sacrament of Confirmation in their parishes.

Caceres Archdiocese, which covers Naga City in southern Luzon, has granted a “special faculty” to parish priests to do so in relation to marriages until December 2021.

The power to administer Confirmation is normally reserved for bishops under canon law unless permission is given through a special grant, Archbishop Rolando Tirona of Caceres said in a circular dated Jan. 29.

A bishop usually administers Confirmation to several people in what can be a mass ceremony.

Last year, the bishops’ conference allowed dioceses to cancel such ceremonies due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Archbishop Tirona, 74, said his decision to grant clergymen the special faculty for marriage purposes was to prevent further spread of coronavirus as it could be done at smaller gatherings where social distancing could be better regulated.

“Our current situation still requires prudent action to contribute to efforts to combat Covid-19,” he said.

“I hereby delegate all parish priests to administer the sacrament of Confirmation for wedding purposes only until December 2021. Confirmation may be administered in a place of marriage or in a parish domicile or quasi-domicile of the confirmed.” 

Archbishop Tirona also urged clergymen to make the sacraments available to the poor as part of spiritual preparations for this year’s 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.

Churchgoers said the archdiocese had adopted a practical approach to administering Confirmation given the circumstances.

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“I think it is a sensible way of administering Confirmation, especially for those who are going to get married. We also need to protect our bishops who are already in their advanced years,” Loridel Castro from Naga City told UCA News.

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