Is it wrong to donate to other charities ahead of your parish?

I was having a discussion about charities, taxes and whatnot the other day and the topic of how much one should give to their church/parish came up. While various percentages were being bandied about, someone mentioned that it would be wrong to give money to this or that charity if you’re not giving xx% at church. I didn’t agree with this although a couple others did, with one going as far to say that it could possibly be a mortal sin if you, for instance, gave a regular donation to Save the Bandicoots while only giving 1-2% of your income to your church. Any opinions on the matter?

(For the record, no, it’s not appropriate to be asking your friends how much they give to their church or to criticize the amount. That’s not what was going on in this case and it was almost entirely a theoretical discussion since, as far as I’m aware, of the group of us I’m the only one who gives anything to his church.)

We do have an obligation to support the Church (it is a precept of faith) but there is not set % and no requirement that it be more than we spend on other charities. I support my local parish and diocese, but give much more to a variety of charities, Catholic and secular.

I have vague memories from when I was young of our pastor recommending 1% to the diocese, 4% to the parish and 5% to charities of your choice.

You do not have to give a certain percentage of your income to Church. Nor are you obliged to give first to your parish before giving to other charities. If you wish to give more to othet charities than to your parish then you are free to do so. What yiu give and who you give it to is up to you.

And we do not have to give 10%. We can give less, we can give more, it is entirely up to each individual to decide. We ought not to feel guilty about this.

I personally attempt to support my parish, other parishes I may attend, the Church in general, and particular charities - I try to rationally balance my donations, and wish I could reasonably do more.

But one thing to remember when we do give is Luke 21

The widow gave of her necessity, of what she had to live on, while the rich gave of their excess.

Which was more valuable to God?

In our church the pastor asks that we donate 10% of our tithing as follows: 5% to the parish and 5% to charities would be the norm.:cool:


We should not get hung up on a notional 10%. A wealthy person can afford to give 10% without experiencing much financial hardship, whereas for a person on low income 10% of their income can often mean the difference between eating or going hungry.

Where did this 10% notion come from anyway? In the UK this is simply not mentioned. The only people in the UK that I know who talk about the need to give 10% are the Mormons.

I totally agree. I remember well those days when I was struggling and was only able to drop a few coins in the collection basket. To be honest I felt a bit embarressed for the shortcoming and I have to suppose others today might feel the same way. But you are exactly right. Give what you can afford and do not be intimindated by what others create as a standard for that standard may be theirs but not necessarily the same as it applies to others.:thumbsup:

There is no percentage that is required. We are only required to contribute to the support of the church as we are able. If a pastor has suggested 10%, or any kind of split then it is his own opinion and not church teaching.

The Bible. That was what Abraham gave in thanksgiving to Melchizedek (the Righteous King of gave offerings of bread and wine :wink: ) Gen 14

And Leviticus 27:30-32

The tithes of the herd and the flock, every tenth animal that passes under the herdsman’s rod, shall be sacred to the LORD.

It shall not matter whether good ones or bad ones are thus chosen, and no exchange may be made. If any exchange is made, both the original animal and its substitute become sacred and cannot be redeemed.

These are the commandments which the LORD gave Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.

Tithing does not simply mean the giving of money. It can be work given without payment in a charitable spirit; food from your table to one in need; clothing to those in want of warmth; shelter to those suffering displacement not of their own doing; and especially offering comfort to a child, alive or in the womb. :thumbsup:

—The notion of tithing, (giving 10 % of your harvest, or your income) comes from the Old Testament. God gave all the tribes of Israel land to support themselves, but not the Priests of his Temple – Having no land, He provided for the Levites by the tithe of temple sacrifices which came from the other tribes which owned land. And he made this a law, --not a “suggestion”. :wink:

In the gospels, Jesus himself had Peter pay the “temple tax” for both of them by means of a coin Peter found in a fish which Jesus told him to go and catch. He also said "“render unto God what is God’s” while holding money in His hand.

Oh, by the way – lots of things we ought to be hearing from the pulpit in the UK aren’t said. Things like “sin” “hell” “purgatory” “civil disobedience to immoral laws” and unfashionable stuff like that-- Just because the majority of bishops lack a spine, and fear being labeled “old fashioned” doesn’t mean Catholic teaching has suddenly become politically correct. God’s truth is eternal, not changibly trendy.

In the New Testament, St Paul encourages the early Christian communities to send money to other christians in need, and later it became a law of the church to “contribute to the support of the church”. The tithe apportioned between church support and private charity is a good balance. Even if you don’t approve of your pastor’s sorry sermons, :hmmm:, if you go to Mass remember that the roof needs mending, the utilities need paying, and that bread and wine cost money and that you are responsible for your part. :thumbsup: I have noticed that those who by faith tithe the traditional 10% are blessed by God so that they do not suffer want. How’s your faith ? Try it. . . :stuck_out_tongue:

Now that I would agree with, most definitely.

If only all our bishops were like Bishop Egan of Portsmouth, he is a shining light amongst the English bishops.

My own diocese has just appointed a new bishop (having been without one since October) and I’m hoping for a fresh change.

I see you are Ordinariate. The rest of the Catholic Church in England could learn from the Ordinariate.

I attend mass as a matter of faith. But I do find it rather boring when the priest simply repeats the gospel message in his homily when I think it would be more educational and pertinent if he were to give homilies that reflect biblical passages with modern life. There are so many relative comparisons that he might use.:slight_smile:

The Pope recently said priests needed more work on their homilies. I realize many priests are worked off their feet – often pastoring 2 or three parishes – but I wish that some of them would realize that even the most plodding sermon will improve greatly if they resolve not to use the pronoun “I” so often. . … :smiley:

There are some other words and phrases that are over-used, such as “community”, “moving on”, “Church fit for the 21st century”, “change”, “letting go of ‘old things’” etc. etc.

Trying to talk about God more often would also help, and perhaps giving sin a mention too, or even purgatory (now there’s a word that doesn’t often get mentioned in homilies these days), and talking about the dangers of the enemy, the devil, would be useful sometimes.

I guess my thoughts go back to my schooldays when our priest would come into the classroom and explain to us in a clear manner biblical passages. And later we would be able to ask our nuns any concerns we might have had. Now, that was inspiring and to this day I remember them well.:thumbsup:

I have the same memories. I went to school with the Dominicans, strong, happy women devoted to prayer and the education of children; I never remember asking them a question that they didn’t have a good answer for. Sometimes several answers, all good, from different points of view. The school had a marvelous library which included many lives of the saints, which is the best way for children to absorb “lived theology.” I devoured that library for the 8 years I was there, and acquired a lifelong taste for studying theology. How lucky we were !

Yes we were! I also remember those Sundays when we all had to attend the 9am mass and gathered in front of the church for what I have to look back upon as a ‘head count’. And the nuns, Sisters of Mercy, would pass out kerchiefs to those who forget head covering. haha!
My brother was taught by Holy Cross brothers and from his remarks I have to assume we had it a bit easier. If the boys wore sneakers to mass they were sent home to change into what was called ‘your Sunday best’.
The memories are good and bad but I for one would, if able, like to change a few but keep most. We didn’t have much but what we did have was a blessing.:thumbsup:

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