Tithing - What is considered a "family"?


MODERATORS: Move this wherever you like, I’d just like to get some quality feedback.

When I see the various statistics of who does and doesn’t $25 or more per week, it’s always stated in terms of “families”.

Just exactly what IS a “family”? I ask this as a single person. Should I be giving as much as a “family” when I’m only one person?

At a recent capital campaign drive at my parish, the pastor asked for $4,000 per family over a four year period. As a single person, I pledged $2,000. Should I have pledged more?

These thoughts were brought about by statistics published in a recent Sunday bulletin of the most prosperous parish in a city of six parishes. Only 15% of the “families” gave $25 or more per week. That just does seem fair to me. We’re talking about an area where the fair market value of 90% of the homes exceeds $125k. BTW, this is in north Texas.


A household. You are a family of one.

You should be giving what you can give, not any specific amount nor compared to any other person or family. The Church does NOT teach “tithing” is a requirement. The Church teaches that we are to support our church and practice good stewardship of our time, talent, and treasure. The Church leaves the amount up to the individual through prayer.

That is a shame. He should not have asked for a specific amount per family and certainly not the same amount for all. He should have asked for what each family could contribute-- some families might have been able to afford way more, and others are likely not in a position to give that much at all.

Could you have afforded to give more? That’s the real question.

Likely, you were being counted as a “family” and were being asked for the full $4,000. But, if $2,000 is what you can do then that is what you should do.

Certainly, there are people who are not giving what they could, or should, or anything at all.


For administrative purposes the definition of a family or household may vary in different parishes or dioceses. In our parish, a single family or household includes all persons residing in the same domicile. There is some flexibility in the definition, however: college students and young people in military service may still be considered part of their parents’ family or household even though they are living elsewhere, and adults living in the same home but who otherwise lead separate lives and generally are not dependent on the same income may be counted as separate families or households. Generally each family or household will receive one set of contribution envelopes and will receive one copy of any parish or diocesan mailings.

The number of individual parishioners per administrative family or household may be anywhere from zero to a dozen or more.


I think it’s fair to give ten percent of your income to the church, but that can be done in other ways in addition to the weekly collection. There are various campaigns that require monetary donations that the Church holds on an annual basis.

There are also sponsorship programs for funding seminarians and other Catholic charities, and if you factor in all the strictly Catholic charities you contribute to, it will probably add up to ten percent.


Currently, I’m not working at all because I am caring for my mother who has Alshymers. I have an income of about $600 per years from stock dividends. I give well in excess of that.


I’m speaking strictly of what is given to the parish. Because Catholic parishes don’t have a building fetish similar to Baptists, they don’t need 10% of their income. I understand the concept of giving the remainder to other Catholic charities until I saw a starving dog that someone had dumped in the country. In the future, I will give to my parish what I think it needs and the remainder of the 10% will go to the Humane Society. Also, I will most likely leave an estate in the seven figures. The Church may get 100K and the Humane Society will get the remainder. People can help themselves, but animals are defenseless.


We shouldn’t concern ourselves with hwat others do or do not give to the Church. There may be other mitigating factors that lessen the ability to tithe. It is not a precept of the Church to tithe, only to support to the extent that you are able. Let’s leave that judgement to the individual’s conscience.


From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2418 It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.

I thought you might want to know what the Church has to say about that.


I think 10% is too much. Back in the days of the OT, that 10% was given to the Levites to do basically everything, there were no secular taxes.

I can’t imagine paying 30% to the government, then paying another 10% to the Church, effectively paying 40% income tax!

I think you should just give what you can afford, after expenses.


Since he is contributing to the Parish first there is no problem here.


Well, if you are truly giving your 10% to the church your 30% to the government would be reduced as mine is.


This is not true for all people, probably for *most *people.

And, remember that *tithing *is NOTa requirement of the Church therefore framing it as “if you are truly giving your 10%” is not appropriate. That phrasing implies those who do not give 10% of gross income are doing something wrong.


In my experience: God has always provided when we place Him first …but we feel the gifts. When we have held back and not placed God first, then we struggle. Trust God and give generously:

Tithing 10% by the Jewish people was not solely becauss they had no other taxes to pay…in fact governments collected taxes then as they do now…

The Jewish people were prescibed a 10% tithe that included forgiveness of debt and freeing slaves in jubilee years, giving of first fruits, leaving fields fallow every 7th year etc. This was required as a response to being called by God as His Chosen People, having been given Moses, the Law and the Prophets…

So I hear Christians state [correctly] that we are not given a hard 10% Tithe; but are to prayerfully consider our contributions…

So what is “IT” we consider when we “prayerfully” decide how much to give…Are we given less than the Jewish people???

No and emphatically “NO”

As Christians we have Jewish roots, Moses, the Law and the Prophets. We are a Chosen People, a Royal Priesthood…we have Jesus, the Savior of the World. The One who bore our sins [though sinless] and died on the cross in atonement of those sins…our sins! We have the fullness of faith, the Church [founded by Christ], the New Testament [the Good News of Salvation]!

So where do we begin our consideration…our heart felt gratitude for the gifts we receive? From our excesses, our left overs…from zero percent? Should we give less than 10% back to God for the gift of Life we receive?

Because the Federal and State [Counties and Cities] take more than 10% does that give us a free pass because they provide social programs [especially when those same dollars are used to fund abortions and many other programs that are immoral and unjust]?

IHO; We [as Christians] need to rethink how we consider living out our Mission. We are called to give [generously and freely] of our Time, Talents and Treasure. We care called to give from our need and not from our abundance [left overs]. And this includes Time as well as Treasure [money]…

TREASURE: A good rule of thumb is to give 4% to 5% to support your local parish. After all this is where you gather to partake of the Eucharist adn the other sacraments [the needs of you parish do not diminish when you are on vacation or attending mass else where…nor do the costs come only once a year. Your diocese should get from 1% to 2 %, the remaining 4% to 5% should go to support other charitable works [the numerous second collections for various causes or some other cause]. HINT: Charitable organizations should operate on 4% to 6% of funds collected so that a minimum of $0.94 of every dollar collected goes to the work and not administrative costs…

TIME: It seems that a Christian should work and volunteer in their parish and in their community. If a person only gives of their time when it is convenient, or they get something for the time or when they have nothing better to do, it may not be a giving of self [from need but only from abundance]…

This is what my family does as a beginning point…



God Loves a Cheerful Giver, that’s how much you should be giving. 10% is a good place to begin thinking about starting…adjusting up or down as your circumstances dictate. To the individual who is paying 30% of their income in taxes…if you’re making that much you can most probably afford 10% for God. A 30% income bracket is a LARGE income.


The problem with trying to gauge people’s income by their housing values… not fair. It doesn’t allow for the hideous appreciation in home values that has left people unable to buy back their own homes if they had to move in again, much less the property taxes and insurance that goes with such “appreciation.” And in many areas, school and other county taxes are hinged on home values, giving an even greater burden to people. All on top of their regularly-scheduled Fed. Income Tax.

Just because someone is living in a home that is valued over $125K does not mean they can even really afford that home. And they may not be able to afford to move. Been there, done that.

One never knows a family’s particular financial circumstance, or what hidden financial obligations they have toward parents or other siblings or children’s medical needs. I always find it somewhat shocking, presumptuous and distasteful when a pastor gets up and announces an amount they expect from each family.

It reinforces a stereotype that “all the Church cares about is money.” And that when asking for time, talent and treasure, they mostly want treasure.

Can’t they just stand up there and say “evaluate your financial resources and give according to your conscience, knowing that God, the author of all wealth, will call you to account for your stewardship of His gifts when you die.”

That would work for me.

Trying to estimate what people should have based on their tax brackets is unfair and unseemly. And probably based on ignorance of pertinent facts.


Yes, it is a requirement. The fifth precept of the Church is “You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.”

A. Quoting from Canon Law # 49, a "precept is a decree by which an obligation is directly and lawfully imposed on a specific person or persons to do or to omit something, especially in order to urge the observance of a law.

CCC 2043
The fifth precept (“You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church”) means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability


No, it is not.

Please show me where the Church requires TITHING. It does not.

I am quite familiar with the precepts of the Church, none of which require tithing.

Tithing is not the same as assisting “with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.”


I agree that it is hard to “look” at a family [individual] and set an amount to contribute…however, we should be called to account for our contributions [of Time and Money].

Consider the scriptural passages in the New Testament: JEsus discussing and comparing the Widows Mite to the Rich man’s presupposes that the audience knew the value of the widow’s mite and the rich man’s contributions.

The same for Peter and Ananias and his wife…Paul also mentions giveing [and seems to be accused of sticking his hand in the plate - to which he took great offense]…

The earlier posts mention contributions of $25 per week and $4000 per year…

What do these represent in the world?

In my state the minimum wage is $7.80 per hour or $16,224.00


$25 per week equates to $1,300 per year and this is 8%

Are you making the minimum wage or more than the minimum?

Consider Pizza at Roundable for a family of four $25.00 with sodas vs beer] How much more important is the family meal [Eucharist] we receive each Sunday at Mass?

Starbucks $2.80 a visit X 3 days per week = $8.40 [which equates annually to $436.80]. Burger King, movies or video rentals…Basic cable…

It is likely that most posters on this forum have access to computers and high speed internet [or phone lines with dialup that they do not mind tying up] in their homes.

Where do you want God to be in your life? Write down what you want your relationship with God to be.

Now, consider the last three months…get out the calendar and the checkbook…make a list of the activities where you spent your TIME [commuting, house chores, work, prayer outside of mass, mass, volunteering at church, volunteering at some other actvity [coaching, teaching RE, at the animal shelter, hospital, etc] and where you spent your MONEY [rent/mortgage, groceries, cable, phone, cell phones, gas electricity, church support and charity].

If you do not want a significant pressence of God in your life then you probably won’t see Him reflected in the things you do and where you spend your resources…If you do want God to be a bigger part of your every day life but don’t see Him reflected in the lists, you know where to start…

Lucky the person who sees their relationship with God reflected perfectly with the lists …


I’ve always thought that C.S. Lewis had a sensible rule about alms - there should always be some luxury you want and would be able to afford normally, but are giving the money to charity instead.

It’s as a conversation between Lewis and Tolkien back in their friend days had it: Jack Lewis gave a street bum a decent amount of money while the two of them were out on a walk to a pub, and John Tolkien objected by saying “You know he’ll only spend that money on drink.” “Well, that’s what I was going to spend it on.” Sure, it might be poorly spent, but you weren’t going to spend it well either.


“You know he’ll only spend that money on drink.” “Well, that’s what I was going to spend it on.”

:smiley: :thumbsup: :smiley:

Thanks, I love the quote…

“Tithing” is a word that generally means to give 10% but the Jewish people were required to do much more…and this requirement was a response to the blessings from God that were unigue to them…Christians have been given so much more…

Yes, it is true that the Church does not specify an amount [10%]…but we are required to support the church and the mission of the church…we are calleed to give; from our hearts, with gratitude and in measure with our gifts…it amazes me that place such little regard for the gift of the Eucharist received at Sunday mass, bought with such great sacrifice.

It seems that many posters would rather support their parishes minimally [and from newspaer accounts: then complain to high heaven when they are closed for lack of financial support] rather than give generously and watch what God would do with that financial support…

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