Many Catholics have put the brakes on giving to their local parishes in order to ensure their money does not support the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). There are still many more who are looking for alternative ways to give to their parish and to the Church without their money going to causes or organizations they do not support. Before we get into some ways you can still give without the regular tithe, let’s look at a brief synopsis of why many are going this route.
Although resentment and dissatisfaction was mounting with the USCCB long before the recent presidential election, the failure of the USCCB and its president to clearly defend the truths of the Catholic Church and its teachings on abortion has caused many to leave their portion of the offering plate empty. Following the controversial presidential election results, Archbishop Jose’ H Gomez, president of the USCCB, issued a statement congratulating President-elect Joe Biden on his win as the next president and recognizing him as Catholic. He even compared him to the late President John F. Kennedy, who was also Catholic, and we know Biden is no Kennedy. Despite Biden actively pursuing a pro-abortion agenda, even placing on his cabinet some of the prosecutors of those who exposed Planned Parenthood, Catholics have been urging the USCCB to clearly reemphasize the teachings of the Church rather than play politics, which is what it appeared to be doing with the statement.
However, let’s not forget that Catholics were already reeling from the waves of more sexual abuse scandals, including the McCarrick Report, and a sense of secrecy and cover up from priests and bishops. Many families had already began leaving their wallet in their pocket at Mass and the USCCB, as well as individuals dioceses and archdioceses, have felt the pinch. The USCCB voted for a 3 percent increase in the amount dioceses must contribute to the USCCB annually. The new rate hike takes effect in 2021.
Now, let’s remember that the majority of the money you put in the collection plate actually does remain with your local parish. However, many families are choosing to not even allow a penny of their money to support the USCCB until the conference begins defending the Catholic teachings, not just selective ones. For those looking for ways to support the Church, or even your local parish, without supporting the USCCB here are five ways to do that:
- Earmark your tithe for a specific fund: If you support your parish, just not the USCCB, then the best way to ensure your money stays at the parish is to specify the tithe must go to a specific fund such as youth ministry, music ministry, building fund, etc. By earmarking your tithe for a specific fund then that ensures every cent of that tithe goes into that fund.
- Make use of the votive prayer candles: One of the easiest ways is to place your tithe in the collection area at the votive prayer candles that is to be used specifically for the replacement of the candles. It stays within your parish and what parish couldn’t use more donations for votive candles?
- Support the religious: If you are unsure about your local parish, a great way to support the Church is to support religious orders and communities. Research religious orders and pray about which ones you feel led to support and then send the money your normally tithe to the religious rather than your parish. You can also support them with more than just money, but you can donate food and other supplies to them as well.
- Support nonprofits that defend and promote the faith: Nonprofits such as Ave Maria Radio are great places to begin when looking outside the parish. This can also include particular pilgrimage sites you may also want to contribute to and support.
- Don’t forget it does not always have to be money: You can support your parish in so many more ways than just money. You can volunteer with various ministries within your parish such as working with youth group, teaching catechesis, or even just helping keep the grounds neat and clean if you do not have staff to do so. Ask your priest how you can help your parish and where you can volunteer. Many parishes covet your time and talent as much as your money.
I want to encourage you, however, to ensure you also speak up and speak out about your disagreement with decisions made within the diocese or the USCCB. Also, never forget to pray about any decision you make or feeling you have when it comes to the Church. Satan has been attaching mankind from the very beginning and will continue to try and destroy mankind as well as Christ’s Church. We know he will not be victorious but that does not mean we will be spared from having to deal with some wolves in sheep’s clothing. Most of all, never lose your faith and remain faithful to the Lord. God never changes. In the end, He will have the final word.