A study by the Philippine Statistics Authority notes that fewer Filipinos have been getting married in the past decade. (Photo by Angie de Silva)
A leading Catholic bishop in the Philippines blamed what he dubbed as an "invasion of un-Christian values" for the decline of the number of people getting married in church.
Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen- Dagupan said a lot of Filipino couples are opting to just "live in" instead of getting married.
"Some are thinking why get married in church if there is no divorce here?" said Archbishop Cruz, head of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Philippine bishops' conference.
The tribunal handles cases of annulment of Catholic marriages.
Aside from divorce, Archbishop Cruz said the "un-Catholic value system" of North America, including the idea of a "renewable marriage contract," is starting to influence Filipino couples.
The prelate also noted a lot of Filipinos are also contented with "civil marriage" because it is easy to nullify.
"There is definitely a decline in the number of those getting married in church," said Archbishop Cruz.
The prelate, however, noted that people who are not married in church are attending Sunday Masses.
"Of course they don't receive communion but they have their children baptized in church," said the archbishop, adding that there is "some kind of division in [the people's] feelings and belief."
He said the Catholic faith is "not easy to live in or to live by" and it is one reason why there is a growing number of people not getting married in church.
"You can't enforce church doctrine on people who would rather not believe in it," said Archbishop Cruz.
Fewer Filipinos getting married
A study released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) last week showed that fewer Filipinos have been getting married in the past decade.
Reported marriages declined by 20.1 percent from 2005 to 2015 while registered marriages declined by 2.9 percent in 2014 and 3.6 percent in 2015.
"It is also interesting to note that from that year up to 2015, the number of marriages declined continuously," noted the PSA study.
The study showed that the most notable change occurred in 2013, when the number of registered marriages decreased by 8.2 percent from 482,399 in 2012 to 442,603.
Data showed that 15 out of 18 regions of the country saw a decrease in the number of registered marriages in 2015.
Data showed that there were 1,135 marriages solemnized daily through different ceremonies in 2015. Of the total marriages, 42.7 percent were contracted through civil rites.
Other matrimonial ceremonies were officiated in Catholic churches, 36.2 percent; other religious sect rites, 19.1 percent; Muslim tradition, 1.2 percent; and tribal wedding rites, 0.8 percent.