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Questions and Answers

I am starting to feel resentment toward the catholic church. . . . Let me explain, I am a good person (or so I like to think) but I do not have alot of money. I try very hard to make sure my children are brought up the right way. We use to go to church every sun or sat night as a family. But then I was told I don’t put enough money in my envalopes so they stopped sending them to me. . . . Then when it was time for my children to start a CCD program I was told it would be $75 for both of them. I told them I could not give $75 all in one lump sum but could I please make payments. I was told this was ok. I did pay in full before the year was up. Well this year when I went to sign my children up for CCD again I was told that I needed to make sure I had the whole $75 this time. There would be no “payment plan”. Well I couldn’t do that so they are not signed up as of yet. I feel like because I can’t hand out money at every turn I am being told that I am not good enough to be a part of this church. I gave $1 every sun, even if I had to give change I did it. I did pay the $75 fee for CCD last year, it just took me a while to get it all there. Why is it that my $1 was not good enough every sun?? Why is it that a “payment plan” is not good enough?? . . . I have talked to people at the rectory and I am not being giving any answers. Do you have any for me?? Am I wrong?? I was raised roman catholic, I want my children to be rasied roman catholic but I guess I just can’t afford to be roman catholic!

 
You tell an astonishing story, considering what Christ said about The Poor Widow’s Contribution:

  

When He looked up, He saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury, and He noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” 

  

—Luke 21:1-4

To begin to answer your questions, then, it is important to understand what Christianity is all about. One of the best authorities to whom we can turn, especially in regard to matters of poverty, is Saint Francis of Assisi. In his words, Christianity is about accepting injustice, cruelty, and contempt with patience, without being ruffled and without murmuring, and enduring it all with charity and total faith.[1]

Moreover, realize that there is a Church and there is a Church, and not everyone who claims to be in the Church really has a clue to what it’s all about. Therefore, if you want your children to be good Catholics, it all depends on you, right now. You can’t leave the responsibility of their education to anyone else. You have to be clear about what a Christian life entails.

Saint Francis, for example, praised the virtues of Lady Poverty. But she was not a woman who sat around all day smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, eating potato chips, watching TV, yelling at the children, and wallowing in sexual perversion. She was—and is—a Lady of virtue and chastity whose life and entire being is centered in Christ.

Be clear, then, about how you spend the money you do have. If you can afford to spend money on cable TV and cell phones and movies and sports and junk foods and cigarettes and anything else, then you had better rethink what it means to not have money for the Church. But if you really do set aside worldly pleasures for the sake of more meaningful, spiritual things, then you are teaching your children something good by example.

Still, it’s not just a matter of money. You have to teach your children to pray constantly, for example, by praying constantly yourself. Do you watch TV in the evening, or do you pray the Rosary with your children? Do you read the Bible daily, and read the Catechism, and read the writings of the saints? If not, how can you teach your children solid theology? And, if you don’t go to Mass at least every Sunday and every holy day of obligation, despite how others treat you, then how will your children learn what faith is all about?

So, in the end, even if you don’t have much money—if you really, really don’t have much money—you can still teach your children to be Catholic without paying anyone else to do the job. It all depends on you.

  

For, though you live out your life amid great need, you can always set aside your wrath, be humble, pray diligently and condemn your own sins; poverty is no hindrance. Poverty is not an obstacle to our carrying out the Lord’s bidding, even when it comes to that path of repentance which involves giving money (almsgiving I mean). The widow proved that when she put her two mites into the box!

  

—From a homily by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop
Office of Readings, Tuesday,
Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time

 

Who wrote this web page?
 

Notes

1. See The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi, Chapter VII.

 


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