The “Joe Duffy Show” on RTE Radio 1 is discussing charges requested by a Dublin parish for the use of the Church building for weddings. Up to last year the cost was €700 for non-parishioners and about half that for parishioners. This didn’t include donations to the priest or sacristan. (In view of the changed economic circumstances the Parish Finance committee has now reduced this to €400 and, I think, €250 for parishioners and non-parishioners respectively.)
The Parish Priest has been ‘talking to Joe’ and trying to explain and even defend those charges, and some callers have rightly said that, after all, the focus for a Catholic Marriage is what happens in the Church – the administration of the Sacrament.
I don’t think a charge of €700 just for the use of the Church can be justified. Of course a donation is to be expected and of course the focus should be on the Church part – but the amount of the fee should be set in accordance with justice and fairness, and not according to the economic environment. A huge fee is hardly a good way to encourage respect for the Sacrament!
Now that it’s dead and buried we can all see that the Celtic Tiger era was characterised by a certain madness when it came to costs, and no Parish Priest should be using that as a good reason for this excessive charge. Maybe Fr David should have apologised for the previous charge rather than trying to defend it – in a way that dosn’t cause civil war with his Finance Committee – we’re all human after all!