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Edgar LeJeune wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Is tithing charitable giving or is it owed?


  { Is tithing charitable giving or is it owed? }

Bob replied:


There are different opinions on tithing amongst different Christian sects but there is no Catholic rule stipulating a specific amount to tithe. Tithing is often seen as giving 10% to God. Whether that is pre— or post— income tax is debated.

The fundamental Catholic concept is all we have is a gift from God and we have a responsibility to take care of our neighbor as God asks us. This is a matter of conscience. How you give, how much, to which charitable organizations, etc. is strictly up to you. Jesus put it plainly in Luke 3:11; 11:41, where he describes the need to take care of those who are poor or deprived.

To know that you are not falling down on the job, the best way to go is to have a system, such as deciding how much or what percentage of your income you want to regularly give to the parish. That way busy-ness doesn't prevent you from contributing.

I am terrible about remembering to bring some dollars to church each Sunday so I have talked to my bank about having automatic bill pay set up. Once it is set up, my chosen dollar amount, (times four, for the number of weeks in a month) goes right to the parish on a monthly basis so I never miss a week. I do that with a lot of giving so that the baseline is always covered and then other appeals and options become more discretionary and even fun to do. Then there are occasions that fall in your lap where you can:

  • help someone
  • do a mission trip, or
  • devote your time and talent for God.

Comparisons made between today and the Old Testament, from which tithing is derived, don't really work. We pay income tax, from which government does a good deal of wealth redistribution in the name of helping others. It is not efficient by any means but it is our money and a good percentage of what we live from.

That did not exist in the Old Testament tithing days. In that time, taxes had little social welfare results so it is more complicated today and not fair of Bible Christians to lay this at the feet of people today as if it is a standard all are bound to.

10% is hardly enough. Everything belongs to God so don't count the numbers but just make God first in everything you do with your wealth or whatever He has provided for you.


Bob Kirby

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