Denying help to poor/needy/destitute

While shopping at Wal-mart one night, I was asked if I wanted to donate to the Children’s Miracle Network. Something popped into my mind that I had heard before from an examination of conscience that I have (Denying help to the poor, needy, or destitute when easily able to help them is a mortal sin.) Well, I didn’t have a lot of cash, and we were getting ready to go on a short trip the next day, so I said, “no”, payed for my items and started to leave. It also occurred to me, “I don’t have to give to EVERYTHING,” but I can’t remember whether this was during the transaction or as I was leaving the register. But I felt so very guilty afterwards, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought, “Well, I didn’t have to pay with cash–I had money in the checking account and could have paid by debit card.” I also thought, “Wow, it was probably only a dollar and you could have spared a dollar for sure.” I continued to feel terrible, and I made a donation to the Chidren’s Miracle Network online–10 times the amount that the Wal-mart donation would have been. Does it sound like I committed mortal sin at Wal-mart that night?

Veronica, you really must stop. You cannot come here asking if everything you do is a sin. You need professional help. Please get in contact with your pastor as soon as possible. These thoughts are not rational.

If it was a mortal sin not to give money to every charity group that asks, we’d all either be going to hell or flat out broke.

No, there is no sin here…at all. Support the charities you choose to, as you can, and politely decline the rest.

Even Jesus rebuked those who tried to criticise him by saying all luxury items (such as perfumed oils) must be sold to help the poor. There has to be a balance, and like most people, you struggle to find that balance. So do I.

I totally agree with your comments We need to find “that balance”!

Hi Veronica,

really, you don’t have to feel guilty for not helping others if you think you don’t have the money for it. God is happy with all the times you DID help other, financially or otherwise.
I must say I can have this feeling as well, that I might be failing on someone if I don’t help. But everyone knows that you cannot expect from someone else that they will always be able to help. Others can not see your financials. NO one will blame you for not giving that one dollar for once.
Really, it’s about the times that you DID help. You have helped people this way. No one is expecting to give every last penny you have.

The acts of charity include many things, not just giving money. In my opinion that’s the easiest way to consider your self a good person. I give to the poor. I gave him one dollar and I have helped him, I did my job as christian and that’s that.
The Church recognizes two kinds of acts of charity: Corporal acts of mercy and spiritual acts of mercy.

Corporal acts of mercy:

To feed the hungry;
To give drink to the thirsty;
To clothe the naked;
To harbour the harbourless;
To visit the sick;
To ransom the captive;
To bury the dead.

Spiritual acts of mercy:

To instruct the ignorant;
To counsel the doubtful;
To admonish sinners;
To bear wrongs patiently;
To forgive offences willingly;
To comfort the afflicted;
To pray for the living and the dead.

So, giving money to the poor is the least effective way. You can also give food, drink, counsel, pray for them. Be strong in faith and try to fulfill as many from the list above according to your possibility, and you’ll be just fine. God bless! :thumbsup:

Well stated.

It seems like lately every time I go to check out at a store I’m asked if I want to donate to some group or other. I’ve gotten to the point where I just say “no” every single time.

Why? Because I don’t know these groups I’m being asked to donate to. I don’t know where my donation will actually go – does the receiving organization support stem cell research? does it support abortive actions? does it support euthanasia? – just to name a few questions that come to mind!

I have found an organization I LOVE that works with the poor in Haiti. They receive my monetary donations. Oh, and Ronald McDonald Houses – my son spent his first week of life in the NICU at a children’s hospital, so these houses hold a special place in my heart.

God bless you!


Yes, I’m very careful with this usually. Wal-green’s asks if you want to donate candy or gum to U.S. soliders overseas, and I usually say “yes” to this. But if I’m asked by someplace to donate to cancer research or M.S., etc., I say or click “no” because I have a pretty good idea that they support stem cell research (and not the “good” kind). I had a pretty good idea that the Children’s Miracle Network donation would go to support a nearby children’s hospital, so I probably should have said “yes”. We do donate monthly to Food for the Poor and donate to other places, so it’s not that we don’t donate to charity. I just was worried about what the examination of conscience said about “denying help to the poor/needy/destitute when easily able to do so” being a mortal sin. I mean, I could have easily given a dollar after I thought about it.

I am another one who says no every single time a grocery store asks me to donate, even if it is my change.

If I donate to a charity, shouldn’t I have some idea what they are doing with my money? Once I asked a grocery checker if he had any idea what they are doing with the money I was being asked to donate. Of course, he didn’t have a clue. Wouldn’t you think they would at least have a piece of paper on the grocery counter that explains to which organization this money is going and who is getting a percentage? Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is the grocery store that is getting the tax deduction for the charitable contribution. I don’t know this for sure, I’m just guessing.

Perhaps there is someone reading these posts who know more about these donations that are made at grocery stores. If I’m asked it I want to donate a dollar to “Muscular Distrophy,” that is not enough for me. I want to know who this charitable organization is and what they are actually doing with the money.

I prefer to write my own checks to charities. Making your own decisions about how to spend your charity dollars is certainly not a sin.

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