Money Talks

You have to watch this.

When I hear of stories like this, in the Vortex video above, I am reminded that so long as faithful Catholics continue to give money to liberal dioceses and parishes, they enable them. I know it's tough. As Catholics, we are commanded by the fifth precept of the Church to support the Church in every way we can, which includes our material finances. So when that collection plate comes around, it's more than just peer pressure to give. If you're a faithful Catholic -- it's your religious obligation! But if you happen to live in a liberal diocese, or are attending a liberal parish, you know (and I know you know) that part of your collection money is going to liberal causes and enabling liberal bishops, priests and other Church leaders, to just keep on doing what they're doing.

Let me tell you a little story about me back when I was an Anglican. My wife and I were in the process of joining The Episcopal Church when it dawned on me that every time that collection plate went around, and I put some money in there, a portion of that money would go to the national province -- The Episcopal Church USA. Now, I didn't really have a problem with my local parish. They seemed fine to me. The diocese I was a little worried about, but my priest assured me we would be okay. So I accepted giving money to my parish, and a little going to the diocese. Where I had the problem was in the micro-portion that would go to the national province. I realised this was just pennies on the dollar, but still, it bothered me. Every Sunday I was giving my hard earned money to the work of God, but a portion of that money (a small portion) was being diverted to enable extreme Left-wing lunatics in the national province who were clearly steering the denomination toward the consecration of homosexual bishops, the blessing of homosexuality, the blessing of same-sex unions, the acceptance of feminism, and the acceptance of abortion. Now, this was in the 1990s mind you. I was a bit forward-thinking, but to me, it seemed the writing was on the wall. I was especially enlightened about this when a high-ranking homosexualist in The Episcopal Church told me that it was all a war of attrition and that my kind (those who believe homosexual sex is a sin) will soon die out.

So what did I do? Well, I wasn't sure what to do at first. But until I figured it out, I sat down with my wife (a former Methodist), and we talked about it. We decided that until we could figure out what to do, all of our meagre donations would be directed toward a local breakaway Anglican parish called St. Luke's in Springfield (MO), which was part of the Anglican Church in America -- a very traditional and very conservative arm of the Anglican tradition. Now poor St. Luke's didn't make it. They were already having financial troubles, and our pittance of a donation wasn't enough to save it. But still, at least we knew that none of our money was going to support things we didn't believe in, or enable those who pushed this agenda. About the same time poor St. Luke's folded, my wife and I decided to join the Catholic Church and we've been Catholic ever since. We are now part of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. This is a jurisdiction in the Catholic Church that observes the Anglican Patrimony. It's a perfect fit for Anglican/Methodist converts like us.

So what does this story have to do with the video above? Well, it all has to do with money. You see, while the Catholic Church is a divine institution, the human element of it still runs on money, just like everything else. Since it's the human element of the Church that can be corrupt, then it's the human element of the Church that is most affected by money, and I don't think the average Catholic realizes just how much power he/she really have in this area.

Catholics are commanded to give to the Catholic Church, not to schismatic sects, breakaway groups or heretical organisations. Let me make this crystal clear. It would be forbidden, by the fifth precept of the Church, to give your regular tithes and donations to any other organisation than the Catholic Church. If you want to give extra money to a non-Catholic charity, that's fine, but you're regular tithes and donations must be given to the Catholic Church. That is your religious duty. However, what is not specified is which part of the Catholic Church you must give to.

That means you can give to any part of the Catholic Church you so choose. So long as that organisation or jurisdiction is part of the actual Catholic Church, in full communion with the See of Peter in Rome. You don't necessarily have to give to your own parish. Granted, that is the norm and what is usually expected, but you don't have to. You don't even have to give to your own diocese. Granted, that is the norm and what is usually expected, but again, you don't have to.

Now I've had Catholics write me and tell me they've stopped giving their tithes and donations to their regular parishes and dioceses. They tell me they're giving to the local SSPX (Society of St. Pius X) chapter instead. To which I must tell them to STOP! The SSPX is not in a regular canonical status right now, therefore, you can't fulfil the fifth precept of the Church by giving to them. They're not technically part of the Church right now, so by giving all your tithes and money to them, you're breaking the fifth precept.

To such people, I would advise that there is a way to give to the actual Church, while not enabling liberal parishes and dioceses. The following are some viable options.

The first option is the Eastern Catholic eparchies, which overlap regular Roman dioceses. By giving to one of these eparchies, you are giving to the Catholic Church, and by doing so you're helping to support good Catholic liturgy and presumably sound Catholic orthodoxy as well. The following are actual Eastern Catholic eparchies you can donate to, that are in full communion with Rome and part of the United States Conference of Catholic bishops. Each of these Eastern eparchies overlaps local Roman dioceses, and they are fully 100% Catholic! So you can find the one closest to you, contact them, and ask how to send your donations there...
In addition to the Eastern Catholic eparchies, there are also the Personal Ordinariates of Anglican Patrimony. These are special jurisdictions within the Roman Catholic Church that offer fairly traditional liturgy (in English) and staunchly orthodox teaching and catechesis. Again, these jurisdictions overlap regular Roman Catholic dioceses...
There are also the Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) fraternities and societies that are in full communion with Rome. We hope that someday the SSPX will be on this list, but until then this is what's available...
All of these eparchies, ordinariates, fraternities and monasteries are part of the Catholic Church, and in supporting them, you will be giving your donations toward solidly orthodox and traditional Catholicism that is in full unity with Rome. You will no longer be enabling liberal parishes and dioceses with your funds, and simultaneously, you won't be putting your money outside the Catholic Church. 

Money talks. In the end, that's the only thing liberal priests and bishops really understand. When the money dries up, they know they've failed to serve the flock. That doesn't mean they always learn though. Sometimes they double-down on their liberal modernism, only to end up closing their parishes in the long run. The important thing for faithful Catholics to understand is this. So long as your money stays within the Catholic Church, not only are you fulfilling the fifth precept of the Catholic Church, but you're also planting a seed toward recovery of the Church in the long run. For example; suppose your local liberal Catholic parish has to shut down someday for lack of funds, in part because you refused to support it. Then a year later, a local FSSP chapter requests to buy the same chapel, at a reduced price, in exchange for offering both English and Latin masses there in the most traditional way. If you have spent the last 10 years giving your tithes and offerings to the FSSP, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that your funds contributed to buying that closed-down liberal parish, and re-open it as a new traditional-conservative parish! See how it works? The money moves around a bit, but it all stays within the Catholic Church, and it's redirected toward things that you approve of.

Practically speaking, I personally advise that you attach yourselves to traditional Catholic chapels and communities whenever possible. Recognising, however, that this is not always possible due to simple geographic reasons, you can still do your part to help the cause, and maybe someday help restore tradition to your area.

There is also the negative effect to consider as well. Suppose your local liberal diocese continues to suffer for money, namely because lots of faithful Catholics like you refuse to give locally. Eventually, that bishop retires. In his place, a younger, and much more traditional bishop is installed. He immediately begins reforms to restore tradition to the diocese in the hope of drawing more funds back in. Once those reforms are implemented, you can reward him by redirecting your tithes and offerings back to your local parish and diocese. Once again, the money moved around a bit, but it all stayed in the Catholic Church and was redirected toward things you can approve. None of your donations ever went toward things that violate your conscience. You simply redirected them away from the parish/diocese (toward a traditional alternative) while the parish/diocese were liberal, then redirected them back to the parish/diocese once the reforms made them traditional again.

I really think faithful Catholics fail to understand just how much power they really have with their pocketbooks. It's a whole lot more power than you think.

Anyway, if you found this essay helpful, please share it.

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Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books and a columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of 'CatholicInTheOzarks.com.' Your support is what makes essays like this possible. This essay and all of Shane's Internet resources come to you (ad-free) thanks to the generosity of benefactors. Please consider becoming a benefactor.

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Comments

William said…
Been doing this for some time now; but out of necessity, I still need the valid Sacraments that my local parish provides. Always give something in the collection basket to cover expenses such as heat, up-keep, etc. But the tithing goes to Traditional groups.
Seppe said…
The late Fr. Benedict Joseph Groeschel (often featured on EWTN) advised faithful traditional Catholics to do just as you have done... support only faithful, orthodox, traditional Catholic organizations and do not support those which are unfaithful, heterodox, or modernist....