My favorite part of the movie “Zootopia” is the sloths working at the DMV. I think it’s so funny because it’s relatable. DMV’s are notorious for being inefficient and taking up a lot of your time. It’s government work at it’s finest!
We have to be careful about assuming we can let the government take care of everything, especially as Catholics. That principle of subsidiarity, that John Halpin from the Wikileaks Clinton Campaign hack thinks no one knows about, means in short that we each have an obligation to the common good, finding the way to enact change on the proper level. The fundamental principle is that all life has dignity and value. Policies that are too far-reaching create unwanted dependency and if policies are under-reaching, than they don’t meet the needs of those in their community. Very often these days, and likely more to come in the future, the government will be working against the values that we hold as Catholics so it’s important to make sure the poor, orphaned, unborn, disabled, abused, and elderly are being treated with the dignity they deserve in our local communities.
The Church has been working in local communities for hundreds of years to provide education, hospitals, refuge, and support to those in need. It historically has been the most charitable “organization” in our country, and flows from Christ’s command to share the Gospel. But that is being threatened. A couple we know wanted to adopt, so they went to Catholic Charities in Denver. Catholic Charities does so much good for the community, and with the support of the Mayor they are even opening a new women’s shelter in downtown Denver. But they are not allowed to place children in loving Catholic homes anymore all because it’s not politically correct to say that children should have a right to a mother and a father.
Enter tithing. It’s important on so many levels, but studies show that Catholics on average tithe less than 2% of their income, if that. This is one way to enact change in our local areas. For us, we tithe primarily to our parish and to the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal. Other charities or situations are donated to on a case-by-case basis, but these two are not an option. Not only does our parish need money to operate to give us the Sacraments and to give children and adults religious ed classes, but the parish is generous in giving food boxes, donating to foreign missions, donating to the local crisis pregnancy center, in addition to many other causes. And did you know that priests are often the most generous tithers of their parish, donating much of their already-modest income?
As for our Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal, the money raised is dispersed between almost 40 ministries. We know that we are supporting soup kitchens, homeless shelters, pro-life ministries, youth ministries, end of life ministries, Catholic schools, and so much more with the gift of our money. If everyone tithed, from their money and their time, these ministries could flourish and we could do much help the poor and the elderly and those in need in our communities.
Tithing helps us to remember that everything we have is a gift from God. God has been generous with us, and in turn we are to be generous as well. Start small if you need to, but start now to put money in its place and make a difference in your local community. Not only will your community change, but your heart will change as you learn to be more generous and to give to God first. He has always blessed us with what we need when we are helping others to get what they need.
“Thomas Zordani, author of Faith Finances, says that when he is counseling a family on how to get out of debt he tells them that they need to begin tithing before they set aside money for anything else. Although it may seem like a great burden, he says that once a budget has been established it becomes apparent that the family was tithing already – but to the wrong god. It is easy to come up with ten percent when you spend money on coffee from Starbucks and you eat out for lunch every day.” – James Rutherford at http://www.aquinasandmore.com/catholic-articles/catholic-tithing-and-almsgiving/article/321/sort/relevance/productsperpage/12/layout/grid/currentpage/1
Big government can’t solve our problems. Government exists to help the common good, but right now there are too many Catholic values that aren’t politically correct. You can be a part of the solution by sharing the Gospel through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy in your communities through tithing. Make the choice to start tithing now, and do something about it! See the link above for guidelines on how to get started.