Greetings in Christ!
I don't mean to stir the pot here, but I heard something that sincerely disturbed me a few days ago, and I meant to ask about it here, but had forgotten about it:
A friend here told me that it is a common custom here in Russia to pay a priest for major sacraments, i.e., baptisms, weddings, etc. This, I understand, makes plenty of sense, as it helps upkeep the church and pay the priests who can be quite poor here, and it is not unlike customs in any church I know of; it's not that there is a fee, but more like a "suggested donation".
That said, this person went on to say that in some instances, people even pay/tip for confession, and that there are scattered parishes where actual prices for sacraments are listed on the wall. This would be a major departure from "suggested donations", and seems borderline blasphemous to me.
Obviously, this is not something that would be universally supported by the church at-large, and I don't mean to suggest that, but I wonder if anyone has encountered this, or maybe could explain it better than the one source I had, who certainly isn't the end all. I understand that all churches have people in them, of course, and that folks can be corrupt. I am coming from the RC church, which obviously has its own struggles, and I live in Russia now, which is not exactly corruption-free, so it's not shocking to me, but I wondered how widespread this is, and if there might be a better explanation for it that I haven't thought of.