Where do we draw the line?

My pastor has gotten in front the congregation multiple times within the past year instructing us that tithing to the parish is necessary. He (indirectly) classifies those that don’t donate 10% as angry and not trusting in God.

However, so much of what I see the church spend money on seems unnecessary. The church has a very elaborate sound system, multiple projectors and screens, as well as a number of video feeds that capture different angles of the church. (I really don’t know why we need video feeds.) The church also has a full restaurant attached which is, as far as I know, only open on Sunday and only serves parishioners, (not being open to the general public). There are other things I can talk about, but you get the point. I’m sure some of you have seen similar situations.

Yet, my pastor has still tells us we should make financial sacrifices for the parish, such as forgoing a long planned vacation and giving the money to the parish.

I understand that it is important to financially support one’s parish, but where do we draw the line? Why is it expected of parishioners to give so much of their money for junk that they don’t want or need? My guess is if you interviewed everybody one-on-one, almost everybody would say that they would prefer a simple a church, simple sound system, simple gathering area, etc, to millions of dollars going into things that aren’t necessary.

Mos charities have to work hard to show that donated money is going to the needed cause and that only a minimal amount is spent on administrative/fund raising. But once we talk about parishes, there seems to be no need to be accountable for where the money is actually going to. Moreover, it is expected that everybody will donate a large portion of their personal income.

Does your Bishop know about this? If I were in your shoes, I’d contact him and let him know what’s happening and how you feel about it. It sounds to me like you have a pastor who is being rather short sighted and self centered. Maybe he’s hoping that one day someone will want to video his masses for whatever reason.

I will be very careful to make the judgment you have mentioned.
Serving as a pastoral council member and being involved in different volunteer areas of my parish, I know the decisions are not made by the pastor alone. Have you talked to any of the Council members about your concern? If not, that is the place you need to start. You should also talk to the financial council. The financial council decides the budget every year.

Our church has a very good sound system. To our parishioners, that is very necessary so everyone can hear the sermons clearly. Plus, it is the house of God, and we like to have the best equipment for the Lord.

As for tithe, I don’t see what is wrong with that? It is the clear Bible teaching, though most Catholic churches do not emphasize it nowadays. We can never out give God. Our parish is our church family, it is our obligation to fully support it. If the pastor preaches tithe, I don’t see anything wrong except he is bold.

They wouldn’t care what I had to say. I am one person who would only be able to make a very limited financial contribution to begin with.

Our church has a very good sound system. To our parishioners, that is very necessary so everyone can hear the sermons clearly. Plus, it is the house of God, and we like to have the best equipment for the Lord.

…Well, the sound equipment is not for God, but for the people.

As for tithe, I don’t see what is wrong with that? It is the clear Bible teaching, though most Catholic churches do not emphasize it nowadays. We can never out give God. Our parish is our church family, it is our obligation to fully support it. If the pastor preaches tithe, I don’t see anything wrong except he is bold.

But my question is where do we draw the line? If you found out that your church was using your hard earned money to buy Corvettes for the priests and throw expensive and luxurious parties, would you continue to donate 10%?

I don’t think that any church should automatically expect people to donate so much of their money if they don’t show prudence. The best church I went to was a run-down, old building that was converted into a chapel. It looked hideous both inside and outside. People didn’t have money, so expenses were kept to a bare minimum. Yet, the faith community was incredible. People were more concerned about what was going on in the mass than having those perfect acoustics for the music.

Sometimes it can be better to give your money away to a truly worthy cause than giving it to your church which will spend on junk that you don’t really need.

Where are the video feeds going to? I have been to parishes that used video feeds and hooked them up into cry-rooms for parents, I have seen them used to connect people in an annex since the worship space was far to small to accommodate all in attendance.

It would be interesting to see what that Parish uses it for.

I honestly don’t know. In the back of the church, some guy sits next to a huge mixing board that also has maybe 6 monitors that are capturing different angles of the church. He is the only one that can see the monitors, except if somebody were to walk past. I haven’t been inside the cry room, but I don’t think there are any feeds going in. (It’s also close enough to the rest of the church that you should still be able to see fine.) I’ll have to ask sometime, because I am curious. I wonder if they are recording the mass.

I’ve thought about this question, as well as one pertaining to homeless people as well, when it comes to giving.

Once i gave 5 dollars to a local homeless man, i felt moved by the spirit. I almost knew he would spend it on alcohol or drugs, and were my friends there i would have been admonished by them for “wasting” my money. But, the Lord will not hold me responsible for what my money goes towards.

10% is more than i thougth it was. I am coming in around 3%, but i’m still new at this whole thing so i could be wrong :P. Anyways, on the last day you wont be held accountable as to what your donated money went towards. You should talk to the financial council and find out how all the decisions are made.

Also perhaps bring it up with your bishop so that if there is an abuse there he can step in…

Most parishes I read/hear ask the parishioners to give 5% to charity and 5% to the parish. I am not able (when I have an income) to have the faith needed to give that much. Probably half of that. But we also need to remember that we can also give of our gifts (singing, catechesis, etc.) and not necessarily money. The CCC doesn’t give any particular amount that we should give - we include the allowance for Grace, especially in the Sacraments, rather than depend on mostly OT ecclesiology as some protestant churches do.

Am I the only one blown away by this single fact in spite of all others?

Maybe that’s what happens when you spend all your time in a Franciscan operated parish.

No, you’re not the only one.


wow is this a Catholic parish cause it sounds very evangelical Protestant!! at my parish it doesn’t really matter how much you tithe, people give what they can… and there’s no video or restaurants or anything. Catholic church should be about worship of God and the Mass. I don’t see why a church needs projectors and screens at all (what is being projected?), missals work just fine:rolleyes:

I suggest that you either find a new parish… or something… I definitley agree something’s wrong here in how the money is spent.

A restaurant??? Seriously, a restaurant? This doesn’t sound like any parish I know. I would just give my money to a worthy charity, or donate my time to the needy. There is no minimum that you must give, just what you are able to cover costs, etc. I’ve heard priests say that the tuition parents pay for their children to receive a catholic education can count toward their contribution, no problem.

I would maybe write a letter to this priest? A big reason my parents fell away and are still bitter toward the Church is because they felt that all out parish wanted was their money, and money was not something we ever had in abundance.

Hi Sinner1…I hope you aren’t too disillusioned. Many parishes aren’t like yours as described…e.g. my parishes priests don’t mention money, and there’s only one collection at weekend Masses, for all parish and priests needs, just one before the Offertory. This certainly means there is less money received than if there were two collections…and I guess the priests in my parish will always live very simply.
We have volunteer ‘working bees’ to prune and weed around the church grounds, and volunteers rosters to clean the church each week, i.e. no one is paid to do work.

I think it’s very sad if people are told what they should give. Only the individuals themselves know their situation. Those who honestly can give little should be respected. I would feel oppressed by the atmosphere and attitudes that you are facing, and wouldn’t wish to stay in a parish like that. It doesn’t fit with Jesus’ life and attitudes.
I guess customs vary, and some parishes please more emphasis on income and spending than others…

Don’t you get a statement from the parish council with statements of all incomes received and all expenses, debt etc detailed? We receive such a statement as an insert to our parish bulletin each year. You say that your parish isn’t accountable in this way. It seems usual for there to be transparency around these parts.

It’s often amazing that what we take for granted as part of the way things are, aren’t universally so.

I do hope and pray that people are protected from being scandalized by the apparent materialism and that things become more Christly in your parish and any like it soon. God grant this prayer

The pastoral council is the communication channel between parishioners and the church. It does not matter how much you contribute, if you have your concern, you should let your voice be heard. They can also explain to you something you don’t know so you may have a better understanding of the situation.

…Well, the sound equipment is not for God, but for the people.

Anything in the house of God is for the glory of God. If we decorate a church magnificently, we do it to glorify God, though it serves people at the same time. The sound system is the equipment for people clearly hearing the Word of God and the homily. You don’t want a lousy cheap sound system with echos or weak signal and no one can hear the word of God or sermons clearly.

Can you explain the “restaurant” attached to the church?
Is it the church’s kitchen that is used to serve Sunday branch by the Knight of Columbus and other special activities? Or is it a real “restaurant” has its own chef, waitress, etc?? There is a major difference. Our church has a large kitchen in the family center for special acitivities. It is fully utilized for special events. Our church kitchen is usually not “open”. But it is very useful - Sunday branch, Thanksgiving dinner, multi-culture night, parish fellowship, CCD students baking project, etc…

Please specify the “restaurant” you are taliing about, exactly what is it?

Simply put, give as much as you are able to give. My understanding, is that the 10% tithe is the normal standard. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you give so much… that you aren’t able to put food on your own table, clothes on your own back or pay your rent. There truly are people who can’t give 10%.

The Church doesn’t expect us to “give” until we are out living on the street. God expects us to pay our bills and take care of our families. Just give as much as you CAN give. If that means eliminating a few dinners out… each month. Ok. If it means giving up a couple of movies out, per month. Great.

Those are certainly “little” sacrifices which we can all offer. I hope this helps, in some way. God bless.

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