Tithing and Catholicism

Hello to all,
In some protestant denominations like mine, tithing is highly encouraged. Some pastors even dedicate one or two Sundays a year to preach about it, usually citing verses such as ***Malachi 3:10, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need”. ***.

Mine even offers a “money back guarantee” to anyone who is straddling the fence on the issue. .

Question: Is tithing stressed in Catholicism or is that more of an evangerlical thing? Is 100% of one’s giving supposed to go to the local parish or can it also go to other ministries or charities?

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Catholic precepts require all Catholics to “contribute to the support of the Church”. This is not legislated as a particular percentage. In most Catholic parishes, more than a few Sundays, you will hear sermons on giving generously. It is not at all expected that a Catholic give only to his own parish. Giving takes many forms - parish, diocesan and worldwide Catholic charities; education, healthcare, care for the homeless; and giving of time, talent and treasure - just to name a few…

It certainly is mentioned in Catholic parishes, though most Catholic pastors hate bringing it up in homilies/sermons (even though they often feel forced to about once a year) because they feel it detracts too much from the Gospel. As such, the usual way we’re reminded is by the parish bulletins - which mention how much was received in donations the previous week (sometimes 2 wks prior), and how much was spent on specific bills, so that the parishioners know how the parish is using their money. My parish even sends semi-annual letters to parishioners showing the budget.

In general, though, it’s give what you can. Tithing is encouraged as an ideal to strive for, but it’s always known that it’s not possible for every household. For some households, giving even $1-$5 a week is a hardship, while other households could easily give half of their income and still be very comfortable. My parish encourages 5% to the parish and 5% to other charities that are Catholic in mission (such as the archdiocese, St. Vincent de Paul, Project Defending Life, Catholic Charities, etc.).

In addition to donations of money, though, most parishes also ask people to donate their time and talents to helping the parish.

Thanks for the clarifications, Corki and powerofk. Sounds like there is no set amount and you can spread it around, if I am understanding correctly.

Yes - we are just asked to make sure that the places that we spread our money around to are not promoting anything that is contrary to Church teaching. In other words, don’t donate to Planned Parenthood or to the organization formerly known as the Hemlock Society (I believe they call themselves “Final Exit” now, but I’m not sure of that).

As stated, there is no set amount.
Tithing 10% is an OT command, and we are not under the old law.

Mine even offers a “money back guarantee” to anyone who is straddling the fence on the issue. .

What exactly is meant by this? It “disturbs” me.

Not only “can” you spread it around, we are encouraged to. We are reminded of the needs of those in other countries, for example, who are in need of so much in the way of basic necessities but also reminded not to forget the needy “in our own backyard”.

I can only speak for my own Parish. Tithing was encouraged and preached. I believe in the practice myself and am often confused by those who don’t practice it or even think that it is not necessary. If they read the Bible at all I would think they would see it as a natural expectation.

The more you give (to local chruch/tv group) the more you get back (‘faith’/‘word’/name it claim it/“blabb it grab it”). :shrug:

That’s what I feared. Is this correct, Tommy999?

According to the Council of Trent, we should tithe.

Sure, FKB. Let me further explain. My pastor calls it the “Tithing Challenge” and says that Malachai 3:10 indicates that God wants us to put His Word to the test regarding tithing. His challenge is for any parishoner who currently doesn’t tithe to try it – and after a few months of doing so – if the new tither says they are worse off financially for having done so – the church staff will return the total amount back to that parishoner that he has tithed up to that point with no questions asked.

So far, he has announced from the pulpit there have been several parishoners who have taken the challenge and nobody has requested their money back yet after a few years of doing the challenge. In fact, there have been testimonies of people getting unexpected promotions at work with pay raises, people having been sent money unexpectedly by a deadbeat relative who owed them money that they thought they’d never get back, and other stories of God’s provision after they started tithing. He sometimes reads their stories or has one of them voluntarily share with the congregation what happened to them.

A tithe in the OT was 1/10th of your increase, not your gross household income before expenses, as many religions would conveniently like us to believe.

[quote=The Dictionary]in·crease
definition snipped.

noun: increase; plural noun: increases

  1. an instance of growing or making greater.
    “an increase from sixteen to eighteen clubs”

synonyms: growth, rise, enlargement, expansion, extension, multiplication, elevation, inflation; increment, addition, augmentation; magnification, intensification, amplification, climb, escalation, surge, upsurge, upswing, spiral, spurt; informalhike
“the increase in size”
antonyms: decrease, reduction

IOW, a tithe is 10% of how much better you did this year than last year - your increase.

As I say often, I am always suspicious of religions that base their beliefs and practices on passages from the OT when the issue has been clearly defined in the NT.

Here is the NT teaching on giving to the church:

7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

-2 Corinthians 9:7
New Living Translation (NLT)


Doesn’t Matthew 23:23 seem to indicate that Jesus thought that the tithe was still applicable?

***New International Version:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former”. ***

The bottom line for me is that I am a tither and will remain one, although based on some of the posts here I might shift some of it go to other ministries outside my own local church. I never took the “Tithing Challenge” because I was already a tither and I did it because I felt it was the right to do and didn’t do it for financial gain, although I have been blessed financially at times. I was mainly just curious what the official stance of the Catholic Church was on the subject and what the Catholic faithful at CAF did regarding this subject. I appreciate your answers and I do not judge anyone who sees things differently than me.

That was before His atonement and before Pentecost. At that time the Jews were still under the Law. We are not.


I’m just curious about how people view their tithing, is it considered charitable giving, I wonder the same about time spent in volunteering at church.

I consider that charitable giving as well. Unfortunately, the IRS disagrees. :smiley:


I’m unsure what you mean, are you considering time as charitable giving, that’s my assumption since I’m pretty sure the IRS doesn’t include that. I less curious about what can be claimed on taxes and more about how people themselves label giving time and tithe.

It was a joke, as indicated by the big smiley.

Point of clarification:

You are correct that the command for tithing comes from the OT, but that doesn’t mean the command is automatically voided by the NT. The ten commandments are OT law. If we apply the same logic you both used, then because of Christ things like murder and idolatry are now okay. Obviously we know this is not the case.

We are not under the ceremonial laws of the OT that prescribed how to worship, dress, groom, etc. Those and many other laws were there to show Israel had been set apart from the other people around them.

We are still under the natural law which includes the ten commandments.

St. Paul did not change a teaching or do away with one when he wrote that, but rather set people’s hearts at ease. Many could not, and still cannot, give 10 percent and be able to pay their necessary bills. Others gave 10 percent because that was all that was required. So the commandment from Paul is to give according to our means. (As poster Paul said)

However, Jesus also addressed this issue directly in the Gospels of St. Mark and St. Luke.

“Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:43-44, NRSV)

So while there is no set amount, we are still called to give as much as we can and ten some. After all, everything we have is God’s anyways. He has chosen to bless us with it for a limited time.

Also, the command to tithe was not simply 10 percent of your increase. The tithe was meant to be the “First fruits” of the labor. Of ALL the labor. In today’s terms, that would mean you give 10 percent of your income before you take anything out for yourself or for taxes. (see Numbers 18:8-24)

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