Is making $Money$ OK from laypeople selling Catholic/Protestant Books/Music/CD's? (not fundraising) and Brand Name foods at my Cathedral's Cafeteria?


#1

Just wondering a question that has been bugging me for ahwile now.

Obviously the Catholic Church (and Protestant) needs donations to maintain operations, and there are bake sales, and bingo fundraising activities, but those are all mainly sponsored by the Church, and the proceeds go to Church… What I have been wondering is:

Why is it OK (the assumption the Catholic Church does not object) for laypeople to write books/sell music CD’s and pocket the profits for themselves?

If it is OK for the laypeople to make money, I have these questions:

  1. What proportion is OK to be kept for the person selling or authoring the books/music/CD’s VS. donating the proceeds back to Church or a Charity of some sort?

  2. What guarantees that the stuff sold by laypeople will be correct as compared to the official Catholic teaching and why should I pay money for it and why is it not sold only to cover the costs of production vs. turning a profit?

Lastly, I had a friend challenge me once on the “Mega-Churches” selling stuff like Starbucks at their Churches. Most of the smaller Churches I know of do not have these kind of services. He claimed it was allowing Big Business making a profit at the “Mega-Church”. Does he have a point?


#2

The Church has no prior reason to prevent people from doing business by writing and selling books or producing CDs. If I write a book about religion and sell it at the local Barnes & Noble, the Church isn’t going to stop me. I might sin in the process – for example, if I advance heretical teaching – and the Church might tell faithful Catholics not to read my book, but there’s no reason for them to interfere unless I do something wrong.

  1. What proportion is OK to be kept for the person selling or authoring the books/music/CD’s VS. donating the proceeds back to Church or a Charity of some sort?

One is expected to contribute to the Church and one’s local parish as one is able. If you are additionally able because of the proceeds from your work, then you’re expected to contribute in kind.

  1. What guarantees that the stuff sold by laypeople will be correct as compared to the official Catholic teaching and why should I pay money for it and why is it not sold only to cover the costs of production vs. turning a profit?

Diocesan offices have censors who look over materials related to the faith and confirm that they are free of moral or doctrinal error. They can then be officially endorsed by a bishop. The tracts here at Catholic Answers all have an imprimatur showing that they are free from these errors.

The Church, again, is not in the business of ensuring that everything written about it is not sold for profit.

He claimed it was allowing Big Business making a profit at the “Mega-Church”. Does he have a point?

The issue, for me, would be one of reverence. Land and resources owned by a parish are meant to be used for the greater glory of God, not rented out to the highest bidder. If my parish decides to operate a bookstore out of its parish center and sell Catholic materials to help defray parish costs, okay, fine. But if it rents out the lawn in front of the church for a Starbucks stand, not okay – I come to church to worship, to pray, and to adore God’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament, and bustling commercial activity at a Starbucks that neither knows nor cares about any of this is disruptive to that activity.


#3

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