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Boston Catholic Journal - Critical Catholic Commentary in the Twilight of Reason


Parsimony and Passing the Buck

Make not the house of My Father a marketplace! (St. John 2.16)

What’s the going price?

  • Lottery ticket: $5.00 - $20.00

  • Glass of beer: $7.00

  • Cigarettes: $12.50

  • Least Expensive Gallon of Gasoline: $3..25

  • Cup of Coffee at Dunkin' Donuts: $2.80 (Donut, add .99¢)

... and you drop how much into the basket at Church every week?

I’ll bet that you said $1.00 (One Dollar!!!)

Speak of passing the buck! ... which of the below is your excuse for giving as little as possible:

The Lame Litany:

  • I’m on a fixed income — even when I go to my winter condo in Florida every winter. But don't tell my hairdresser who would probably slap me if I gave her a one dollar tip for my $55.00 sitting.

  • I have children — and they need $59.00 X-box games

  • I have grandchildren — and they need $59.00 X-box games

  • I’m married — and carrying a $500,000.00 mortgage, while saving for the Caribbean cruise we take each year.

  • I'm not married — single income, and I need my nails done this week which will set me back $30.00 ... not including the $3.00 tip!

  • I’m not working — and have just enough for my beer, salsa, and chips every night as I watch the game on my 70" flat-screen television

  • I give annually — five dollars.

  • I already gave once — two years ago!

If your Church Grounds Routinely Become a Flea Market or a Yard Sale to Make Ends Meet

  • to keep you warm in the winter

  • to keep you cool in the summer

  • to hire a custodian to clean up after you

  • to pay electric bills so you can see the Missal you don't look at anyway

  • to Baptize your children — if you don’t use contraception

  • to bury your parents (who didn't use contraception)

  • to hire a Director of Religious Education (DRE) who has no real interest in directing the religious education of your children according to genuine Catholic doctrine — but who is obsessed with gender, social justice, and contempt for a patriarchal Church

  • to pay for a music Minister (Choir Director) who can really emulate Peter, Paul and Mary (not of the gospels, but of the folk music scene of the 60s and 70s — although that music genre expired decades ago except in the Catholic Church ... the last redoubt of the Age of Aquarius)

  • and to contribute to all the Professional Catholics that make a living off the Church and the Gospel and who drain the basket with a good deal of redundant make-work.

Sluggards aside (and there are many), the reality remains that there are expenses to be met — which your one dollar bill will not cover. In fact, it's even too small to cover the shame on your face that you should feel  ... and the shameful example you are setting for your children.

Didn’t someone once say, As you give, it will be given back to you, in full measure, shaken down and pouring over?

Who was that ...? Confucius? Seneca? Lau Tzu? Trotsky? ... no ... wait ... Jesus Himself!

Following the Clue to the Conclusion

The money-changers and dove-sellers in Jesus’ Father’s House were working at the wrong Place at the wrong time. Presumably, however, they gave you your money’s worth. But you are cheating the Church, and in cheating the Church you are cheating God. The money-changers whom Jesus drove out were clueless. You have every clue. But you are worse, for you cannot follow the clue to the conclusion that you are cheap. Other euphemisms and excuses that you hide behind will not do.

Cheap, cheap! ... if you had wings you could fly. In fact, you do — to the other side of the street whenever you spot a beggar.

And now you are outraged. Right? Don’t take it up with us. Take it up with God.

He’s the One Who put it much more succinctly: As you give, it will be given back to you.

Think on it.

Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal

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Totally Faithful to the Sacred Deposit of Faith entrusted to the Holy See in Rome

Scio opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum 
I know your works ... that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name.
(Apocalypse 3.8)

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