Appeals for help from strangers over the internet

This is another, it seems to me, a bit difficult moral obligation question.

On a popular social internet plaform (am I allowed to call it by name?) :wink: I got a private message from somebody asking for help. Stating a very sad situation with kids. Just asked for any help without saying how I would be able to help her.

As far as I see on her page, she lives in a different twon from me; and to send something alone would cost much.
I have often given food or sometimes even money to people I meet who are hungry. That is different. But to a stranger asking me over th einternet?

Even though she seems sincere… I ended up giving her some info about hwere she could ask for help… she just thanked me very very much.

What do you do in such situations?

I must say I have sent money to somebody like that before, but that was over a group… and then I had talked to him on th ephone and ended up sending a small amount (that cost me double for sending it); and then it came back because the address was wrong… I ended up giving it to an old lady in the town I live.

Not even mentioning that my own financial situation is not very secure and I should be careful. :wink:

So other Catholics/Christians… how obligated do you feel if you receive such messages, has it happened to you?



you are very kind hearted. But your scruples can also make you an easy target for scammers.

You have NO obligation to such people, and it is actually dangerous for you to respond, send money, give out your personal information, etc.

Giving to organized charities and/or the Church is sufficient. Pointing them to charities was a nice thing to do, and you have no further obligation.

DO NOT be scrupulous about this.

You did well in directing the poor woman to places where she could find help. If she were a woman you happened to meet face to face, asking you for help, then giving her money on the spot would not be unsafe. Be careful on the internet. Be sure you really know to whom and to where your money is going before you risk giving out any personal info. God bless you.

sometimes kindheartedness and scruples can be very close together. :slight_smile:

Need to be kindhearted but not scrupulous. :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Actually when i give out of kindheartedness then it feels good.
It can just be a small thing that I may give somebody and it can make somebody really happy, like for example I bought some bread for somebody who didn’t even have the money for a loaf of bread and the person was really thankful!

When I give out of scrupulosity then it doesn’t feel good.

When I feel somebody is playing with me, even when in person, then it also doesn’t feel good. For example when somebody says what I nought them isn’t enough and I need to get them also this and that… then I feel used. Yes, it has happened to me.

Collections are good because everybody can give as much as they feel they can afford, and even if one can only give a small amount, it adds up.

(Similar as with my job. Yes, I still do street music and it has taken on new dimensions somehow :))). In a positive way. More professional now.)

So my gut feeling was right in this case I think.
I am still glad I gave the suggestions that came to my mind. At least something.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit