Monthly contributions

In the Archdiocese of Colombo (Sri Lanka) there is what we call a “Familybook” to this familybook people must pay a fixed MONTHLY amount set forth in a empty box which the value is defined at the consent value of the said family, this familybook is the official document for the identification of a Catholic family.

The money collected monthly via the book directly goes to the maintenance of priests of the Parish or church. In the past Priests have requested that people re-consider the value of these “monthly” contributions and people have done so accordingly. On top of this, tills are sent on weekly masses for collection of money as well. In addition, priests also send collection lists asking for more money for the renovation of churches.

Recently, sighting the bad economic situation in our country, people have been reducing what they spend on charity (less people paying). As a result, in some incidents priests where found setting minimum values of Rs. 100/- etc per month for the familybooks revising old values, and if they can’t pay the minimum the priest would refuse it! Sometimes the Priest would collect all the familybooks to find out who has not payed etc bring on a mentality to pay. In some instances priests have gone so far as to ask people their income and set out a value based on that total, pointing at the tithing policy in the old testament.

I have read up on the stance of the church, people should not be forced or harassed about a gift (donation) they give, is the situation same across the world? :frowning:

I think it’s wrong. In the majority of Western countries, a collection basket is passed around at the offertory, you can choose to pass it on and put nothing in if you wish.

Having said that, I know that at least Germany has a mandatory tax system for religious people, where contributions towards your parish at deducted from your wages. You can opt out if you are an atheist for example. But if you opt out and then decide to get married later in the church later, the priest might refuse to marry you. At least, that is my understanding of the situation. I think that is wrong too; charity should never be forced.

In the USA, it is my understanding that we give 10% of our gross income (income before taxes), 5% to our local parish and 5% to charities such as Catholic Relief Services. I believe this is based of the tithing formula stated in the Old Testament.

Many people are reluctant to give to their parish, having looked around and seen the gold chalices, expensive artwork etc. I can only assume that these same people believe that the electric bill, natural gas bill and water bills are paid by pixies. :rolleyes:

At my parish the church building is falling apart and has a carpet from the 1970’s. I live in a fairly affluent area so all we have been subjected to is fund raising campaigns to refurbish the hall and I assume next the church building itself. But there is not set fee to be a parish member.

There was a time in my spiritual journey when the tithe was not on my radar. Fortunately our Lord has brought me to this point where I realize how important it is that I give God 10% of my gross salary from the top and not from what is left over. I can’t help but think that if the method that is currently being used in Sri Lanka was used in the U.S. it would have had the potential to turn me off of religion.

:frowning:
In some instances priests have gone so far as to ask people their income and set out a value based on that total, pointing at the tithing policy in the old testament.

I have read up on the stance of the church, people should not be forced or harassed about a gift (donation) they give, is the situation same across the world? :frowning:

This is very disturbing. To tithe has to be voluntary and can not be made mandatory. The Catholic Church has grown strong in Sri Lanka and I hope and pray that this practice of collecting tithe with the Familybook wont hurt the Church or the faith of the Sri Lankan people.

Here in Ireland I know they have an envelope system and often have second and even third collections for eg building repairs,

As I have moved several times I have never really involved at parish level but as here, attach loosely to eg the cathedral.

As a pensioner little to spare and all that is goes straight to family overseas working with the neediest on the earth

At one rental I had a letter saying that the new church roof needed repairs and stating the sum each family was to give, and that someone would call with envelopes and collect each week. Could not fulfil that and wrote to say so…

I know we need to support our churches. But my remit for doing do is a wide one.

Catholics in the U.S. are familiar with having envelopes, and the parishes use them for tracking membership and figuring the taxes that need to be paid to the Diocese by the parish. The amount given determines many things for the parish.
Like it or not.
No one calls and hounds people.
We are required to send out “Stewardship” letters and polls asking what in what ways does a family intend to volunteer or participate in the life of the parish and to approximate how much $$ they think they can give monthly so that the Pastor and the Finance Council can put together some sort of budget. Fortunately we can pay all of our bills at the parish. But there are only 2 full time employees. No one else makes a living wage. The priest makes very little.
We owe 2 million in the church itself. We are in desperate need of classrooms for the children. We can’t build unless we pay off the Church itself.
So…looks like no classroom in my lifetime. We spend much on classroom rental from the school on the property which is not affiliated with us.
We find that our parishioners are generous. However, it is true that only 20% of the people put anything in the baskets or envelopes.
I remember when a former pastor told his congregation that if everyone gave 4 dollars more a week, ($104, $24, or $4 if you gave nothing) that it would make a huge difference. He could update everything that was broken, new carpet, more staff, and new ductwork in the rectory. Worked great for about 2 months.
Then, back to the same people who carry the load and the no givers went back to no giving.
Because of our standards for Liturgy and the Real Presence in our Churches, people believe that the Catholic church is really wealthy, even on the local level.
But we’re not about to sell our Tabernacle in a yard sale.
It is what it is.
If you can’t afford the tuition for Religious Ed, no problem. Waived.
Need help with the utilities? No problem. We have St. Vincent de Paul for that, which the parishioners give to as well.
The bottom line is, the elders tithe well, and it doesn’t go really far.
But we never, ever, hound people about it, and our Pastor NEVER preaches about it. Only the weekend when the Archbishop does his annual appeal. That’s it.

Tithing is very commendable and, in fact, Scripture’s Big Three are prayer, fasting and almsgiving (one done in harmony, not preclusion, to the other two). It is a Christian duty to support the temporal needs of the Church.

That being said, if the amount they have set is oppressive (hopefully by a simple misunderstanding) then one would think you can approach your priest and explain why you cannot give the expected amount and they should waive it. However, despite the indignation and “outrage” of some, the job of a priest is to direct the community and prescribing a tithe is a centuries old custom (passing around the plate during mass can get rather irreverent) - however, priests are not perfect and sometimes they need to be told they’ve miscalculated if you genuinely cannot give what you are asked. I pray your priest is sensible enough to understand.

I have never been to a parish yet where the pastor loves to talk about tithing. It is something that has to be done at least once a year and it is usually done in a way to get parishioners to re-evaluate their tithe to the church. But speaking about money is not something that most priests enjoy talking about. In the United States, it is the parishioners themselves who determine their tithe. We have aids to help us come to a decision such as a guideline showing what our tithe would be based on our income. But ultimately it is the individual who determines whether they give 10% or 5% or 3% or 1% or less of their income. Fortunately we have a very giving parish, or maybe I should say that the small percentage of giving parishioners have been very generous. Actually, we are no different or maybe not much different than the average parishes. As I understand it, only about a third of the parishioners contribute to the support of the parish. It is too bad because I have learned that we have never suffered from giving to the church no matter how difficult it got at times. God always provided for our needs and more!

Our parish in Ireland is celebrating its 800th Anniversary. The many tourists give plenty of money for its upkeep. My husband worked there for a while during his college years.
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Many people are reluctant to give to their parish, having looked around and seen the gold chalices, expensive artwork etc. I can only assume that these same people believe that the electric bill, natural gas bill and water bills are paid by pixies. :rolleyes:

hmm…I have no issues with helping poor people or donating to church but I certainly have issues with gold chalices and expensive art work. 9500 children die of starvation everyday and church should not spend money on expensive art work

Preferring 2 Corinthians 8.3 to the OT tithing…
For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own,

and remembering the words of Jesus on the widow’s mite…

There is a huge difference between needful service bills and artwork etc

The Church in the village here needed a new roof.Period. It was a lovely building, steepedin prayer. They gutted it and added many unneeded features fo rthe image of the village, The bill is E1, million less that half of which has been raised, even after a couple of good tourist seasons.

Parishioners are exhorted and expected to find that money .

We should surely in a world of such great need, have only what we need.Yes I know how much Catholic charities give etc but see how much more we could give

Aching that refugees die at sea here and that any child in this world dies of starvation or treatable illness

My “widow’s mite” goes to that work.

**In some instances priests have gone so far as to ask people their income and set out a value based on that total, pointing at the tithing policy in the old testament.

I have read up on the stance of the church, people should not be forced or harassed about a gift (donation) they give, is the situation same across the world? :(**

This is very disturbing. To tithe has to be voluntary and can not be made mandatory. The Catholic Church has grown strong in Sri Lanka and I hope and pray that this practice of collecting tithe with the Familybook wont hurt the Church or the faith of the Sri Lankan people.[/QUO**TE]

In one irish parish I lived in the priest announced in his homily that the church bulletin paper was witheld unless and until the people “paid their dues.”

Amen to this

And Mary Magdalene didn’t have to use that expensive perfume to pour on Jesus feet either. Like Judas Iscariot said, “it could have been sold and the money given to the poor.” It is often the case that expensive items like art work or the priest’s chalice are donated as a gift by a person or even the priest himself. What is it to you if someone donates fine things for the glory of God? How do you know that they are not also giving a percentage of their money to help the poor?

small quiet question… How is art or gold to the glory of God? I have never “got” it in all my long life… the perfume was on the body of the Lord Jesus while He was here on earth with us and that is very very different. Do we not need to be taught where money needs to go? eg I trained my friends decades ago not to give me things as I would only sell them on. Food was fine as that released money to give,.

I believe the church MUST discourage people from donating unnecessary and expensive things.They can donate necessary and inexpensive things is my opinion
Anyone know what Pope said when people of Argentina wanted to travel to Rome for his inauguration mass as POPE?

ndtv.com/world-news/pope-tells-argentinians-they-do-not-have-to-come-to-rome-516340

Ridiculous. If it is ok for people to spend their own money for expensive things for themselves- cars, homes, clothes, etc. then why would it be wrong for people to sacrifice their own money to beautify God’s house on earth? It is not wrong to be wealthy and to have nice things. Yes, all of us should be responsible with the money that we have. the more you have the more that you are responsible for. As far as having gold chalices…well they are not solid gold. They are usually gold plated. There are certain requirements on what the vessels that hold the Body and Precious Blood of our Lord be made of. Regarding your link , The pope said that he did not forbid the people from going to his inauguration. He only said that it was not necessary.

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