Why you shouldn't withdraw financial support from the Church because of the crisis


The following post was posted by a Catholic blogger on social media. I am copying it below because I have heard a number of people say that they will refuse to donate to their diocese and/or parish as a form of protest. If you are contemplating that course of action, here is why you should reconsider:

Important reminder from a friend:
“I have been seeing an idea floating around that people are clearly not thinking through, and it makes me fear for my family’s security. People are saying, stop donating to your parish to send a message to the bishops, hit them where it hurts. However, this will only further wound the sheep for the sins of the shepherds. My husband works for our archdiocese. Who gets fired first in a financial crisis? Laypeople. This in no way affects the bishops. Parishes might close, retired priests and seminarians etc will suffer. If there’s any way you can make this clear to others (I have no “following,” who am I?) I would be grateful. It’s absolutely the wrong course, and even if my family weren’t living on an already meager church salary, I would feel the same. It’s frustrating that I don’t have an alternate solution, but that’s another matter.”


I am withholding financial support from the local parish, but I am considering other charities to replace those donations. There are other charities in the Church to donate to, so that you are not withholding support from the Church at large. Aid to the Church in Need, for example.

I’ve sent emails to my pastor about this stating that perhaps the seminarians should be given a year or two off to consider what they are getting into. They have a right to know, I think.


I couldn’t imagine doing this if my parish or diocese had nothing to do with the scandals. It would make no sense and seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face. It would jeopardize the resources that help foster the spiritual growth of everyone in the area. However I can see why someone would be tempted to stop contributing to a scandal ridden parish or diocese in order to send a clear message.


I absolutely will not stop my contributions to my parish.

I am as sickened as anyone by what has happened but I find it extremely irresponsible and possibly sinful (?) to cut off the means of support to numerous people NOT involved in wrong-doing in order to spite people who will be unaffected or far less affected by it, anyway.


Have you thought about what that means for your parish, though? If they can’t pay their bills, they have to cut staff, who are usually good hardworking laypeople. There goes your DRE, your maintenance person or janitor, your music director. There goes your parish’s fund for building repairs. For the parish that has its own school, forget trying to keep it going. Worst case scenario, your parish closes its doors. Smaller parishes are especially at risk for this because with fewer people affected, they are usually the first on the chopping block.

You aren’t hurting your bishop by withholding your donations; you are hurting your own local parish community.


It’s not like the bishops will really notice what you are protesting about and most of them are the new ones that haven’t done anything wrong. Sending a letter or something is probably going to be more effective.


Are churches capable of withholding tithes to the diocese? Are dioceses capable of withholding tithes from the Vatican?

If so, then as long as I make it clear that I will tithe to the subsidiary organization ONLY – not the diocese or Vatican – then it is up to the subsidiary organization whether to receive my tithe. If I tell them I refuse to support Rome, and they continue tithing to Rome, then THEY are the ones who are making the decision to forgo the money they need to pay their employees.

And if local churches don’t have such autonomy, sorry, but it’s a system unjust by the very principles of the Catholic faith – which would be one more reason to cut off support to Rome.


Because, you know, it worked in 2002. :thinking:


Things were getting better so it kind of worked.


Sexual abuse of children declined. However, Church leaders did not grow in the virtue of chastity, which is painfully obvious right now. And many high level Church leaders did not grow in living in the light. Far from it.


No idea on this one. But. . .

To my knowledge, no. People who have issues with the diocese or bishop always think they are sending a message to the bishop by refusing to support the Diocesan Annual Appeal (for example). But you aren’t hurting the bishop by doing that, if that’s your goal. In most places, if the parish’s appeal goal isn’t met by its people, the parish has to pay the difference.

I respectfully disagree. We are all one Church. And when people cut off support to their own parish or diocese, everyone suffers, most especially the laypeople, but also the retired priests, seminarians, and others. Again, you’re not hurting your bishop when you cut off your giving (not that I support targeting bishops who did nothing wrong), but you are hurting everyone else.


my local parish has nothing to do with the pennsylavnia scandals

we have a K-8 school; where i sent my 3 children; all of whom are grown now and seem to’ve turned out fine as frog hair

not one hint of scandal or abuse

i feel a continuing obligation to support my parish; where the lawn needs to be cut, the snow needs to be plowed & the leaking roof needs to be repaired

stop being such cheapskates

your “local parish” most likely had nothing to do with the pennsylvania scandals


That’s a different matter and I don’t really see this obvious lack of chastity in Church leaders. Except for McCarrick and some seminaries, it has been an improvement.


No, when the Pope stonewalls and dodges and “waits until the storm blows over”, everyone suffers. (Mind you, I am NOT saying that this has happened yet! I’m saying that IF it happens, my money won’t be going his way, period.) Why would we support an organization that is promoting predators, and refuses to apologize for it? (And again, this is all hypothetical. I hope and pray there is a good explanation, or an apology.)

I really do get what you’re saying, and I really do think that it is a terrible injustice for the people you mention to be deprived of their sustenance. I would personally seek them out and personally support them, if necessary. But the people who are choosing to deprive them of sustenance – if it came to that – would not be the people who boycott. This is a long established principle of just war (and we would be in a war, essentially, if substantiated allegations were denied or stonewalled). Sanctions are not immoral, despite the fact that people starve when countries are sanctioned. The starvation is rightly blamed on the unjust aggressor, not on the sanctioning country.


I don’t see it in priests. I do see it in bishops. This is probably because the 2002 plan made essentially no provision for the oversight of bishops.


Exactly. Most seminaries have been reformed in the past 15-ish years, and the screening of seminarians is much more rigorous than it was in, say, the 70s and 80s. The younger generation of priests are overall better formed than the previous generation and are far more likely to have entered the priesthood for the right reasons.


I agree. These good men could put pressure on the Vatican. I believe we should do this TOGETHER with them. But I don’t see these men insisting that we not withhold tithes. Do you?


I hear you. I am not happy with the pope and some bishops right now either.

Who are you thinking of that is refusing to apologize, though, other than (for now anyway) the pope? I for one have heard nothing but apologies from priests and bishops over the last week or two, most all of them eloquent, heartfelt, and thoughtful, and all of them so far from priests and bishops that had nothing to do with the scandals (though maybe that is your point?).

And who is the organization that is supporting predators? Do you mean the Catholic Church? The Catholic Church has never supported predators. A few bad people who were wolves in sheep’s clothing did. I just think there are better and more effective ways of pushing for change than starving out parishes and priests that had no more to do with abuse than you or I did. Write to your bishop; support and encourage parishes who are doing good things.


no; 99% of the local parishes in US had nothing to do with this

you are a member of a local parish that needs to be supported financially

no scandal in my parish; why would i “cut off” financial support?


According to the accusation, Pope Francis promoted a sexual predator, knowingly. That is what I meant.

And I agree that I have heard apologies, plenty. But no explanation or apology yet, from Francis. And thus, we need to prepare for civil disobedience, essentially. Starting from the cardinals, and the bishops, then the clergy, then us. All together, putting pressure on.

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