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Explanations For Low Catholic Giving Debunked

9 Jul. 2013 Posted by Denis Greene in Stewardship

Church Development shares a couple of false assumptions as to why Catholics give less than Protestants. 

In a recent blog, I noted how, even when based on what the average American gives, low Catholic giving costs the Church nearly $2 billion a year. This is not meant to be a guilt-laden number, rather a clear reason as to why missions are hurting and, even 20 years ago, 10-20% of Catholic parishes operated with a budgetary deficit.

Fr. Andrew Greeley (passed this last May, pictured above) and Bishop Robert McManus debated why Catholics lag behind Protestants in their giving. First up was debunking a couple of common beliefs:

  • Bishop McManus believed it was their lower socio-economic status, as Catholics, typically immigrants, come in below Protestants in this area, and thus lower giving is merely a reflection of lower income in this demographic. Fr. Greeley pointed out that while the may have been true at one time, in today’s world, the average household income of Catholics and Protestants is about the same.
  • Bishop McManus’ second explanation was that giving to the Church was reduced because of the cost of Catholic schools, leaving less for the collection plate. Fr. Greeley shared figures that noted “parents who sent their children to parochial schools actually contributed at higher levels than the average Catholic family.” (pp 19)

So if two of the common beliefs are out? What is it?

More on that next time. 

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Source: Charles Zech’s Why Catholics Don’t Give… And What Can Be Done About It 

Denis Greene is the Founder and President of Church Development.  He is the author of The Stewardship SystemStewardship-Based Capital Campaigns, and How To Ask For Donations as well as numerous articles on stewardship. Denis has helped over 200 churches across the USA raise more than $200,000,000. 

A complete list of Church Development’s services (including capital campaign management and consultation, feasibility studies, and year-round stewardship ministry programming) is available here.