Do Catholics donate enough on Sundays?

December 03, 2014
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By Jasbir T. Singh |

photo credit: El Fafa via photopin cc
October to December is the usual time when charitable campaigns kick into gear asking for money. According to research done by the Fraser Institute, Americans are far more generous than Canadians. We only donate half of what Americans donate.

A possible reason why Canadians are cheaper may be due to big government. Charities tend to look to government for donations rather than asking private institutions and citizens.

Decline of Catholic Church attendance in Quebec and Ontario

On a slightly different but related topic, Quebec's Catholic Church is declining at a very fast rate. Quebecers in general are also the cheapest Canadians in terms of giving to registered charities.
Dwindling congregations, an ageing population, and a lack of interest in religious adherence have all contributed to a freefall in church attendance. The result is that an increasing number of unused church properties and furnishings are being sold to the highest bidder. -- Robert Galbraith
The future looks bleak.
Currently, many parishes find themselves in a similar situation with the number of young recruits insufficient to replace dying parishioners. As attendance declines, church revenues follow and many parishes, unable to meet their operating costs, are forced to close. In some cases, parishes have put their churches, rectories, tracts of land, pews, stained glass windows, statues and crosses up for sale. Many smaller items, once cherished gifts from members of the community, now show up in fashionable antique stores or trendy lofts across the province. -- Robert Galbraith
Unfortunately, Quebec is not the only place where the Catholic Church is looking bleak. I learned recently from a Catholic priest, that in ten years time, Ontario will likely be in a similar situation. In Ontario, closures will be mainly due to a lack of priests.

The number of priests in Ontario is in steep decline. In the Diocese of London, for example, there were 178 priest in 1991. After accounting for retirements, sabbaticals, and new priests, there will only be 73 priests in 2025. That's a decrease of 59%. Less priests means less parishes, so Catholics should be prepared for closures within the next ten years (Trends impacting pastoral and personnel planning in the diocese of London, 2011).

Ante up

While attendance at Catholic churches is in steep decline, I also think that the few remaining Catholics who do go to Church regularly are relatively cheap when it comes to donations. Statistics Canada reveals that seniors today enjoy a good quality of life, so they too could probably afford to donate much more than they already do.

Regarding members of Jewish and Protestant communities, it is well known that they practice tithing (10% of their gross incomes). Catholics; however, are not required to tithe, but I think they could step up donation levels, and strive for that 10%. I have not yet been able to do so myself, but with gradual increases year over year, it should be attainable (especially when the mortgage is paid off).

In fact, I don't think it would be such a stretch for Catholics to donate at least $10 or $20 at weekly Mass, or $40 to $80 per month. Many Canadians already pay that much for their monthly Internet and/or cell phone data plans. If we can afford to pay so much for our data plans, then why can't we donate that same amount to our local parish communities? Contrary to popular belief, Catholic parishes don't receive money from the central archdiocese. There is no central "pot" from which to draw from, and each parish is on its own to pay the bills. They depend fully on donations from parishoners.

Rather than seeing toonies and loonies thrown into collection baskets on Sundays, I hope and pray that $10 and $20 bills will start landing in them in soon. If that happened, I'm sure St. Nicholas will be very pleased!


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We provide commentary on the cultural decline of the Western world, from a conservative perspective.