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Hereld Fernando wrote:

Hi, guys —

  1. Should a Catholic practice charity with his monthly income?
  2. Regarding this, is this an obligation for the rich and poor?
  3. If this is a must, should we restrict our spending?
  4. What percentage we must give?
  5. Is living a luxury life, good for ones spirituality?

Hereld

  { Should a Catholic practice charity with his monthly income, and if so, at what percentage? plus . . }

Mary Ann replied:

Hereld,

Almsgiving is a Christian duty, above and beyond support for the Church. If we have no money, we give what we have (time, words, grace) as Peter and John did. Our giving should be sacrificial, not just extra from our abundance.

The Church does not have a law about a percentage. The tithe (10%) is an Old Testament idea. It is not bad, but Christians are called to give voluntarily. It is recommended to give a tithe, (5% to the Church and 5% to charity), and Catholics used to be told that their school tuition counted as part of their tithe.

As for living a life of luxury, that would depend on the definition of luxury. It is not evil to live within one's means, and if one is rich, it is not evil to enjoy the fruits of riches, as long as one stewards one's wealth wisely for:

  • oneself
  • one's family
  • others, and
  • the common good
  • . . . while maintaining personal virtue and generosity to the poor.

Riches are, however, dangerous. Saints who have been rich have practiced personal mortification as a guard against the vices that accompany wealth.

Mary Ann

Mike replied:

Hi Hereld,

I just wanted to add to Mary Ann's fine answer.

I was talking with my colleague John recently and somehow this issue came up. The pharisees put the Lord to test on numerous occasions, see the following passages: (Matthew 16:1, Matthew 22:18, Matthew 22:35, Mark 8:11, Mark 10:2, Mark 12:15, Luke 10:25, Luke 11:16, John 6:6, and John 8:6) as well as Satan:

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, `He will give his angels charge of you,' and `On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, `You shall not [tempt|test] the Lord your God.'

(Matthew 4:5-7 (RSV))

Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. 16 Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah.

Deuteronomy 6:13-16 

He reminded me that there is one area in the Scriptures, where Our Lord says, Test me!
It's in the area financially supporting our local parish and diocese.

Malachi 3:8-15 reads as follows (note verse 10):

8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, `How are we robbing thee?' In your tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me; the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithes 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 an overflowing blessing. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil; and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts. 13 "Your words have been stout against me, says the LORD. Yet you say, `How have we spoken against thee?' 14 You have said, `It is vain to serve God. What is the good of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts?15 Henceforth we deem the arrogant blessed; evildoers not only prosper but when they put God to the test they escape.

Malachi 3:8-15

This year for our Cardinal's Appeal, I gave a little more then I have ever given in the past. Interesting enough, at the same time, there was a small amount of local scandal. {Interesting how Satan works :> }

In my mind, no big deal. Why? In the United States we live in a pop culture that is against Catholic values. If there is any way the local and national mass media can knock the Church, it will.

Sad to say, this will be a perpetual attitude with, both the local and national mass media. Nevertheless, I ask readers of this posting to test the Lord on what you give to the Church financially.

  • Are you scared that you will give too much out of your surplus, that He won't provide for you financially in return?
  • Who do you think molded the mind and heart of your hiring manager to:
    • hire you?
    • determine what was a fair salary?
    • access whether you should be kept on as an employee?

Test Him! On what you put in the collection each Sunday and supply financially to both your local parish and your diocese for its annual appeal, Test Him!

Let me see if I can address some of the objections to this.

 — But our bishop and all our priests are liberal and not in union with the Magisterium.

  • Malachi 3:11 says, I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil; and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts.

    For short: Let the Lord handle that part of the situation and trust that: your vine in the field shall not fail to bear.

    We know as faithful Catholics that the Church will be with us until the end of time.

    • The question remains, Will it be near you?
    • If you don't support it in prayer for priests and bishops and along with the money it needs to run smoothly, can you say your hands are innocent?
    • If you don't support it and your diocese files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, can you say with a clear conscience, that you did not help in the fall?

Hope this helps,

Mike

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