A Lenten Question on Tithing

Lent is often called the “tithe of the year,” being approximately one tenth of the year which Catholics give to God. During these forty days, believers are challenged to renew their spiritual devotions and duties—and one of those devotional duties is supporting the Church. The question of tithing in this respect is especially challenging, and not simply because tithing is challenging. As far as many Catholics are concerned, the jury is still somewhat out on tithing—which, for some, is something of an unspoken convenience given the state of the American economy and the state of the average Catholic-family budget. So, why address the elephant in the church?

Some Catholics profess—and some dioceses, too—that tithing is a strict duty. Others hold that tithing was a juridical precept of Old Testament Law and no longer applies to the New Law of charity. The middle ground is comprised of a confused, conscientious multitude, which abides by their conscience despite their confusion in supporting the Church, but without a solid understanding of how solid their position is.

Shall these tear a page from Pilate’s playbook asking, “What is truth?” before washing their hands of tithing?

What Says the Church?

Catholics are obliged, according to ability, to offer material support for the Church (cf. Code of Canon Law, 222); but a fixed percentage is not dictated. The Catechism of the Catholic Church mentions the “obligation to tithe” only once (cf. CCC, 2449) as a paradigm of the Old Law. Therefore, tithing is no longer binding. Like so many Old Law dictums, however, Catholics should honor sacred tradition as a point of reference in pursuing the incarnation of charity in their lives.

In this respect, though tithing can be dismissed as something Christ fundamentally altered in His “You have heard it said of old… but I say” teachings, this does not eliminate the attitude of tithing from the fulfilled context of the Law. Tithing becomes a standard to aim for; a guideline that Catholics should examine regarding the duty to make just return unto God. Mammonism often undermines this goal with mental placebos and excuses. Just as NFP cannot serve as Catholic birth control, neither can financial anxiety (largely inspired by modern standards of materialism) serve as a reason for Catholics not to give to the Church according to their means.

Letter vs. Spirit

Christ changed the face of religion; but the way He laid out for His followers is actually greater than any Old Law tithing decree. Christians are called to go further—to give of their time, talent, and treasure. This directive should be undertaken with the precedent of the time-honored tithe in mind—though the idea of the tithe can be hazardous. The principle of giving to the Church should proceed from the heart and not from a legalistic sense of obligation. The bylaw of 10% becomes a benchmark. Good standing with God and His Church does not depend upon equations. Marketplace-mentality is destructive when it comes to the spiritual life because Christ demands far more than just a well-balanced checkbook.

Whose is this image and inscription? They say to him, Caesar’s. And Jesus answering, said to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. (Mark 12:16-17)

The Pharisees marveled at Our Lord’s response because His words displayed an unexpected knowledge of Scripture, alluding to man being made in God’s Image. He thereby provided an unexpected response to their snare. As the coin bears the image of Caesar, so to Caesar should it go; as man bears the Image of God, so to God should he go. The act of rendering oneself to God, however, does not exclude the rendering of material possessions. The tradition of tithing should enlighten this new attitude of love through prudence, but not jurisprudence. “Let every one of you put apart with himself, laying up what it shall well please him” (1 Corinthians 16:2) (cf. CCC, 1351).

This attitude of giving, though informed by the attitude of tithing, is according to the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law. Any mindset that quantifies divine grace is misleading because salvation is not a transaction. It is a gift. The story of Christ driving out the merchants and moneychangers from the temple (cf. John 2:13-16) is not so much about wrath as it is about love. Forgiveness is not contingent upon how many doves are sacrificed. A man is no closer to paradise if he pays to have an ox offered instead of a ram. Divine favor does not hinge upon passing the plate. If the businessmen in the Gospel were advertising redemption for a price, as if spiritual communion was a matter of legalism, no wonder they were set upon with whip and warning.

Tithing can easily fall into this chimeric category of perfunctory pseudo-spirituality. 10% is not a failsafe figure or guaranteed investment. Being Catholic is simply not that simple. Fulfilling the duty to give to the Church requires self-examination, self-knowledge, ingenuity, generosity, and, above all, sacrifice—but not to the point of destitution. The best gifts are those given with some tears and with sound judgment (cf. CCC, 2046).

Liberty and Justice for All

For many, a strict tithing of gross income (or net income) could compromise, or even prevent, the basic essentials for living. Given that casual decisions against tithing are injudicious, the challenge is determining whether anything like 10% of one’s income may be labeled surplus. This is an important distinction because of what the Church has ever taught concerning almsgiving: all excess resources are to be given to the poor (cf. CCC, 2446; 2447). Almsgiving is not only an act of charity and mercy, but also of justice—and that, tithing aside, is a high standard indeed. Therefore, the practice of tithing would seem to be over and above those surpluses that belong to the poor. Such solidarity with the poor is an important aspect of Christian duty (cf. Bl. John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 40), and may be the Christian duty concerning the obligation to support the Church—support given through her members. Whether by strict tithing or by strict dedication to Christian communion, Catholics have options.

The ambition of tithing is further complicated by the fact that what Americans perceive as income is not entirely theirs to spend—whereas the tithe was historically a tenth of undisputed income. Nowadays, before any income is in-pocket, Federal and State tax, Social Security, Medicare, and mandatory insurance withholdings take their toll—which deductions can easily render gross tithing fiscally unfeasible or even unethical for many families. For Catholics who feel compelled to observe the ancient 10%, it may be necessary to tithe from some determined sum that is both financially practical and compatible with a concept of “income” that predates the modern post-industrial tax-state. Christ, however, has provided a yoke that is easy and a burden that is sweet, giving His friends the liberty to find their role in His economy.

Bottom Line

For those without particularly deep pockets, these are certainly deep waters. But Lent is for tough questions and tough decisions. The basic and blunt principle regarding the considerations surrounding the question of tithing—or simply giving to the Church—is that it should hurt. The sense of sacrifice must be present and real. For, to be true members of that Mystical Body that suffered and gave for us, we too must truly suffer and truly give. By some mystery and mercy of grace, however, it is the general consensus that when people begin to give to the Church beyond their comfort zone, they begin to prosper. Perhaps it is not so mysterious, after all. When the faithful follow Our Lord into the desert and reject temptation, angels minister to them as well.

 

Sean Fitzpatrick

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Sean Fitzpatrick is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College and the Headmaster of Gregory the Great Academy. He lives in Scranton, PA with his wife and family of four.

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  • Jerry Felty

    Thank you for the enlightening article. I have always been perplexed regarding tithing. Is it 10% or 20% for example. I’ve heard both. But as much as I hesitate to bring it up, my principle concern is that I have an insecurity as to where my hard earned money is really going when I give to The Church. Although now that Pope Francis has been elected there is apparently more transparency being fostered in the business dealings of The Vatican and hopefully the vast array of Parrishes, historically there has been a lack of accountability when questions arise about the ultimate destination of well-intentioned offerings from the faithful. Having said that, I cannot say in all honesty that I give enough, although I do give. But I mostly give to a couple of Foodbanks that have been verified to give 95% or more of my donations to actual food that feeds the poor. I did my research. I know that The Church is involved in doing this same kind of work but find myself hesitant to fully trust that all my money goes to that cause. I believe in The Church….I just wish I trusted it more.

  • http://JamesTPereira.com/ James T Pereira

    I’m not sure if this goes against the teaching to support the Church, Jerry, but this is what I do.

    I allocate the amount I’m giving to the Church as well as other ministries like Catholic websites, Catholic universities or schools.

    I tend to look at tithing and offerings as giving to God more than just to the Church only.

  • cordy fan

    Do not put roadblocks to conversion. CCC #2043 says “each according to his abilities”. God protected all good Jews from starvation in the OT as part of His dealing with a very carnal people…Psalm 37:25 ” I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” But non Jews did suffer extreme want like the non Jew Sidonian widow and her son to whom Elijah was sent who had one meal left before she and her son intended to die.
    Now in our time, we had 3.1 million children die of malnutrition in 2012 worldwide according to the English medical journal, Lancet, and I don’t think it was for sin. We are not protected from want absolutely as the Jews were unless you think the hundreds of thousands of large family folk who died in the Somalia famine died because they weren’t baptised or were sinful poor farmers.
    The author of this article missed the crystal clear ccc # 2043 which reads: ” The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities.”
    Tithing in the Old Testament was farm products (unless travel prohibited…then moneybsubstituted) and according to Aquinas was based on the 12 tribes with one being the priestly Levites who needed the support of the other eleven tribes which meant everyone should give an eleventh but in order to make up for the poor and the negligent according to Thomas, it was one tenth instead. Oddly Aquinas supported tithing because the Church had it then but his explanation of its roots argued against it. The tithe of Abraham to Melchisedek prior to the Levitical law was not from income but from the spoils of battle. CCC #2043 is clear…tithing was the opposite of according to one’s abilities but the Jews had special physical protection through God and community ( the Amish have such
    community but at the cost of contributing nothing to modern medicine, modern transportation,
    modern ad infinitum). There’s is a picturesque life but it has its moral deficits.

  • STF

    I cited CCC#2043 in the first line of the second section via hyperlink. What do you mean by “roadblocks to conversation?”

  • cordy fan

    Lol…did you think anyone would see it there? No, it detracted immensely from your point. You sought to lean tithewise and #2043 stops you cold. When I had few bills, I tithed and a half….feeling elite like a Catholic Latin Mass elite looking down on the English Mass or like a Catholic providentialist looking down on NFP people. Let’s stop the elite crap because it always involves minding other peoples’ business.
    Roadblocks to “conversion” not conversation. We have young people in this country who will owe college tuition for a long time. We have adults with severely autistic children who will owe therapy bills til they die. They will not convert toward the local Catholic parish who demand a tithe to do the affluent with it in the case I saw….a gazebo and perfect basketball court new floors. The Jews had neither of those tuition or autistic therapy bills nor did they have our taxes which help the poor and widows which the apostolic times’ Church donations covered and saw as critical but which now are covered by our tithe to Social Security and Medicaid. If you are killed in a car accident, social security pays for your children til they’re adults…at Peter’s time other Catholic paid for it. In apostolic times the donation to the church covered widows. Not now.
    If you have a rough old age, a US old age home will let your wife keep the home, take your part of the pension then Medicaid, from our Federal tithes, will pay over $40,000 a year ( plus medical bills) even for decades for your being there which could be $2 million depending on your medical bills.

  • cordy fan

    ps
    Here in a recent NY Times article is the Magnificent Mansion of Newark’s Archbishop…remember Pope Francis mentioned Bishops who lived like princes. Such articles in that geographical area ended all tithes I’m sure. But misuse isn’t even my point.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/20/nyregion/a-church-so-poor-it-has-to-close-schools-yet-so-rich-it-can-build-a-palace.html?_r=1

  • Jerry Felty

    Thank you for your advise James. I am comfortable with how I donate now as I’m as certain as I can be that virtually all the money is going to the purpose for which it is intended….the service of The Poor. I do not feel that because my money isn’t being given through an official Church channel, that it is not being given to God. In my heart I know that my alternative sources for giving is not a vindictive verdict toward The Church. I feel that I am using the wisdom that God gifted me in trying to insure that the hungry are being fed. Not that God couldn’t “deal with it”, but he was gracious enough to grant me tools to do some of the work myself. My motives are pure and I’m sure God knows that.

  • Cindy

    I don’t suppose everyone — or anyone at all — tithes strictly according to the biblical principle…or at least the Torah? Tithing was based on a 7-year cycle. During years 1 & 2 the tithe (a word that means 10%) was for the upkeep of the temple…specifically to the priests who were not allowed to own land. The tithe of year 3 was to be placed in the corner of the fields for aliens and widows — “within your gates” –. Years 4 & 5 the tithe went again to the temple priests while again…year 6 the tithe was left for the aliens and widows. In year 7 there was always a strict prohibition about even planting so that the land could rest — just like us on the 7th day…the land rests during the 7th year. In fact, most of the tithe brought to Jeruslame was not for the poor but to be eaten by the landowners themselves and their families… See http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14408-tithe

  • MarcAlcan

    Jesus gave the example of the widow and her mite.
    That’s much more than 10%.
    Giving it to ought to hurt. It should be sacrifice.
    But we must remember that God is never outdone in generosity. We need to trust.
    The same students who owe large sums in debt still manage to go clubbing, drinking and spending money on fashion.

  • MarcAlcan

    And most people have the ability to donate the 10% and more if they so they desire.
    Sure it will mean forgoing something in turn. But unless you are poverty stricken, the 10% will not mean no food, clothing or shelter.
    Tithe or go to the movies.
    Tithe or buy processed food instead of cooking
    Tithe or go on holiday
    Tithe or buying new clothes that not necessary
    Tithe buy beer, wine, etc.
    And the list can go on and on.

  • MarcAlcan

    Amen. That is exactly how I look at tithing.
    The money never belonged to me in the first place. I am only returning to God a portion of what He Himself gave me.
    I support not just the Church (as in parish Church) but also Catholic missions and websites that does apologetics and evangelization. Also some secular organizations that help the needy.
    The practice of tithing forces one to recognize that nothing is truly ours but gifts from the Lord that are more like a loan for the use of His Kingdom.

  • MarcAlcan

    I have an insecurity as to where my hard earned money is really going when I give to The Church

    While perhaps it is best to split the amount between Church and other agencies, it is important to give to the Church without questioning. Give and trust God. It is important to support the propagation of the faith.

  • cordy fan

    So you know for a fact that every indebted student is clubbing drinking and spending on fashions. Is it 20% …99%… or only 5% of such students. You have 100% in your text by the words ” the same students who owe”.
    I’d say your tithing is not cleansing you of the sin of rash judgement which means you’d better check why you’re doing it because your ego is inflating vis a vis our debtor students. After your death, God will show you the correct percent of students who clubbed drank and bought fashions while owing. The particular judgement probably takes a year in earth time.

  • cordy fan

    I’m already uninterested in your virtue in light of your insulting all debtor students down below in a blanket detraction. Tithing should be cleansing you….it’s not.

  • MarcAlcan

    Okay, another clouded irrational post.
    Firstly, I never claimed to virtue.
    Secondly, in any discussion, what matters is the logic and truth and not one’s state of soul.
    Thirdly, I never insulted all debtor students with a blanket detraction.
    If you are student there is a presumption that you are able to read.
    Maybe you should do that with my post before you go off in a huff.
    Now if you are able to refute the points that I raised, I would be very much interested to hear that. Emotional outbursts do not a rebuttal make.

  • MarcAlcan

    Clouded and irrational post no 3 on your part.
    Firstly, I never said that every indebted student is clubbing drinking and spending on fashions. Maybe you have to sharpen your reading abilities.

    And yes, the same students who owe large sums do manage this and that non-essential.

    It is not rash judgment to point out the truth that everyone can spare something unless you are in some poverty stricken country.

    I know a man who subsists on the dole and yet is able to sponsor a child in Africa. And even people in poverty stricken country do manage to sacrifice something for the Lord because they want to do so.

    It all comes down to generosity of spirit and trust in the Lord.
    This is the whole point of the story of the widow’s mite.

    If you have an issue with this, you do not have an issue with me. You have an issue with Jesus. It was He who gave that example.

    Ranting and raving will not make your point for you.

  • MarcAlcan

    Further to my earlier reply.
    Let me put it this way to you.
    The Lord has given you $20 by providing you either with cupons or a job or some money from someone.
    The Lord is asking you to surrender and offer Him back a part of what He gave you in the first place (we of ourselves have nothing – everything came from Him).
    So you think surrendering back to Him the $2 that came from Him in the first place is too much?
    Those who cannot be trusted with little cannot be trusted with much.

  • cordy fan

    I don’t think you read the other person. I stated I tithed and a half for years til the truth slowly dawned on me that the historical situation is different. Especially low income Catholics are already giving to the poor through their taxes which Jews did not have until through disobedience they were conquered.
    That’s why the catechism states…not tithing but giving according to your ability. You and the author are reforming the catechism. Especially Catholic converts should learn to ignore those on the net who are adding to what the catechism really says. In the Catholic Herald you were trying to add to peoples’ burdens another way by raising them from NFP to Providentialism…here: ” Mind you, I have been arguing for the Catholic church’s side for a while now but today it really sank in that it is still contraception.” catholic herald c. mar.6
    Basically your bragging about you through always adding to what the Church says.

  • cordy fan

    ROFLOL…your words are right above you: ” The same students who owe large sums in debt still manage to go clubbing, drinking and spending money on fashion.”
    In the English language, that’s all of the students who owe. The catechism has zero interest in your tithing or your elevation above NFP in sexual matters as I cite you above from the Catholic Herald last year. Same raising the requirements on others.

  • cordy fan

    Lol….here’s your words: ” The same students who owe large sums in debt still manage to go clubbing, drinking and spending money on fashion.”

  • MarcAlcan

    You missed the point of tithing. It’s got nothing to do with historical situations. The duty owed to God does not change regardless of changes in history or cultural norms. Kiling remains bad and idolatry remains the number 1 offense.

    The form of tithing may change (giving some to charity, some to church) but we are none the less asked to surrender back to God a portion of what we have received.

    Taxes is not tithing. Don’t confuse the two.

    And giving according to your ability is exactly what I was talking about as well. Everyone (unless you are poverty stricken) can tithe.

    Sure it will mean forgoing some things, but you can tithe.
    And not I am not adding to Catholic’s burdens by raising people from NFP to Providentialism. The Church never ever taught that NFP is meant to be used as a contraception. It was only be used in exceptional cases.

    And yes, NFP is still contraception. That is precisely what it is doing. What is else is contraception but preventing life. It is not artificial but it is still contraception. The aim of both techniques whether natural or artificial is to prevent life from forming.

    Anyway, what has that got to do with your rather emotional outburst.

  • MarcAlcan

    And they do. But I never said that all students.
    As I said every student has spent money on something that is not absolutely necessary. You know you have. The little bit here and there spent on something not necessary can be surrendered to God as an offering.

  • MarcAlcan

    And the words were never meant to blanket all students considering that I was responding to the same use you have of these same students.

    So you are therefore saying that all students who owe these debts are unable to tithe? Because if you are saying that I mean all, and my use of the term was only in response to your own use of the term, then you must have meant all as well.

    As for Deut 4:2. I am not adding to what God command. I was in fact just insisting on it while you are trying to wiggle out of it.

    The “each to his abilities” I have already addressed. Most people have the ability. Even you. Because you are not being ask to surrender all. Only a small fraction of it. But whether you do so all depends on your own generosity and your willingness to give back to God a portion of what He has given you. Something you would not have in the first place had He not given it to you.

    No I don’t I was in fact very much in line with Church teaching on both as I have explained.

    As for Latin Mass- do you not know that that is supposed to be celebrated if the people request it? You are a bit behind the times.

  • cordy fan

    Goodbye. Pointless to play this elusive word and idea game with you.
    I’ve protected readers with ccc 2043.
    done.

  • MarcAlcan

    It’s not pointless unless you consider your first post pointless in which case I don’t see why you posted in the first place.

    As for CCC2043, it doesn’t contradict my point in the least. Ability is ability. You have the ability. Whether you exercise the ability is another thing.

    As for protecting readers, you think readers need protecting from the Word of God? From Jesus’ own words?

  • cordy fan

    Nice try.

  • cordy fan

    You mean the widow’s mite? How come you have a computer and internet access? Why didn’t you give ” all that she had”? Games over.

  • MarcAlcan

    Ha,ha. You know it’s true.
    You used a blanket phrase and when it was used back against you all you can say is “nice try”.
    Because truth of the matter is, you know you made a blunder there.
    The “nice try” was a nice try. Or more correctly feeble attempt at rebuttal.

  • MarcAlcan

    This is exactly the kind of faulty thinking that I thought maybe your claim to education would have eradicated but obviously not.

    Firstly, do you know the fallacy of Tu Quoque? Now I leave that to you to google that and hopefully understand why your argument falls in that category.

    Secondly, the story of the widows mite shows that on the day of the offering, she put in all that she had on that day. That she gave from her poverty. Only a stupid person would think that she does that everyday or else she would be dead from hunger and she would have no place to live in no time. So yes, a bit more acquaintance with Catholic exegesis on this text will help you.

    Thirdly, how do you know how much I give away? How do you know how much I pay for my computer and internet compared to what I earn? How do you know whether I even pay for my internet or whether that is courtesy of someone else? How do you know that my computer is not a freebee from the company I work for so that I can work at home? See that is the kind of fallacious and ridiculous arguments that people who post from emotion rather than reason fall into.

    Games over? You said it was before. But you still replied :-)

  • jack g.

    Exactly Marc
    I do the same. In my opinion if one is truly converted and seeking God’s Will, one’s tithing is a given and it’s joyful. I give much more than 10% and don’t look back, also I try to be as anonymous as possible.

  • MarcAlcan

    Very true.
    I think when we start thinking in terms of stewardship, our perspective on money and property changes.
    We are only stewards of the God’s bounty. Sure it is there to provide for us but not just for us but for others as well – most especially His Church.

  • Shawn McElhinney

    [And no I am not adding to Catholic's burdens by raising people from NFP to Providentialism.]

    Actually, if one looks at your rationale, this is precisely what you are doing. Just because you do not subjectively recognize it does not change the objective import of where your purported arguments inexorably go.

    [The Church never ever taught that NFP is meant to be used as a contraception.]

    This is true. However, as NFP cannot be used as a contraceptive, your statement is pretty pointless. (This is not to say that NFP cannot be used with a contraceptive mentality mind you but even if that happens, it is not the same as engaging in contraception because the mechanics of the completed act via NFP are not impeded.)

    [It was only be used in exceptional cases.]

    This is not the Church’s teaching but instead is your own. At no point does the Church say NFP is only for “exceptional cases.” The verbiage is actually “just causes” and the latter are hardly exceptional or extraordinary.

    [And yes, NFP is still contraception. That is precisely what it is doing. ]

    How is abstaining from sex during fertile periods contracepting? Simple, it is not. If you are contracepting by abstaining from sex during fertile times, then you have to accuse Mary and Joseph of contracepting because guess what: they abstained from sex during Mary’s fertile times! (They also abstained in non-fertile periods too but my issue here is your flawed argument.) So Mary and Joseph engaged in contraception and thus sin by your absurd “logic” and as we know via the faith that Mary remained sinless, your argument not only does not hold water but you have engaged in blasphemy and arguably espoused heresy. (Either way, if St. Jerome were in the room he would smack your face for such inferences!) I suggest with all due respect that you take pause and rethink your position here and cease accusing Bill or anyone else of a “clouded irrational post” considering the objective import of your own statements!

    As for the second part of your position, how is having sex during infertile times contracepting. Simple, it is not. God is the author of the fertility cycle and there is no commandment that couples are required to abstain during it. Furthermore, if following God’s own laws, there is no wrong committed whereas contraception obstructs or frustrates God’s laws. The end may be the same but the means are both objectively and morally different in the eyes of the Church.

    [What else is contraception but preventing life.]

    This is ridiculous. By your foolish “logic” if you are married and abstaining from sex with your wife right now, you are “contracepting” because you are “preventing life.” Better get yourself to confession on the double because by this “mortal sin” you are consigning yourself to hell if you are not having sex with your wife right now! :::rolls eyes:::

    [It is not artificial but it is still contraception.]

    No it is not. You obviously do not understand what contraception is and is not.

    [The aim of both techniques whether natural or artificial is to prevent life from forming (contra-caption, against life). Whether the reason is grave or not, that is it's immediate intent.]

    Two points: (i) the reason to use NFP does not have to be grave according to Catholic teaching -just reasons is the criteria the Church sets down, and (ii) there is no impediment to conception with NFP during an infertile part of the cycle. By your “logic” an infertile couple is “contracepting” every time they have sex and thus sinning: again your “logic” betrays you as does your ignorance of Catholic teaching.

    [That is why it is only be used on grave situations -e.g. because of the health of the mother and only temporarily.]

    Nice try but you are wrong again. The Church does not teach that NFP can only be used in “grave” situations: that is a mistranslation from the Latin text probably originally committed by an overly scrupulous scribe. (I will presume for the sake of charity that their error was not intentional.) The actual meaning of the Latin is “just causes” and again, these are not exceptional or extraordinary.

    The principle to be followed is that the reasons should not be trivial or light for the usage of NFP but regulated by real reasons of a serious nature. And the determinants of this criteria are the couple themselves with the assistance of their confessors/spiritual directors not you, me, or anyone else. The Sacred Penitentiary from the earliest of days when they begin addressing these issues (c. 1853) down to the present day has said the same thing: “After mature examination, we have decided that such spouses should not be disturbed [or disquieted], provided they do nothing that impedes generation.” I suggest that you do as the Church advises on these matters including making the same distinctions they do. Otherwise, you are not thinking with the mind of the Church on these matters.

  • MarcAlcan

    Actually, if one looks at your rationale, this is precisely what you are doing. Just because you do not subjectively recognize it does not change the objective import of where your purported arguments inexorably go.

    Just because you say so does not make it so either. You need to look at the facts. The fact is NFP is contraception. Not artificial but contraception none the less because that is it’s aim, to avoid the formation of life.

    However, as NFP cannot be used as a contraceptive, your statement is pretty pointless..

    Who says? NFP can most definitely be used as a contraceptive. Many have done so. Quite successfully in fact. Contra-caption means against conception, against life.

    The verbiage is actually “just causes”

    Humanae vitae says “serious motives”. What falls under “serious motives” and “just causes”?
    Serious reasons mean important, or non-trivial, reasons, deriving “from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions” (HV 16). Just reasons are, likewise, reasons which correspond to the truth of marriage and the situation of the couple. It is the nature of justice to correspond to the truth. Both terms, serious and just, presumes there can be selfish, trivial or unjust reasons for using NFP, reasons not in keeping with the nature of marriage as a community of life and love.

    The witness of couples who for years have lived in harmony with the plan of the Creator, and who, for proportionately serious reasons , licitly use the methods rightly called “natural,” confirms that it is possible for spouses to live the demands of chastity and of married life with common accord and full self-giving. [Pontifical Council for the Family, Vademecum for Confessors Concerning Some Aspects of the Morality of Conjugal Life, 2.6]

    When couples who have 1 or two children arrive at this via NFP, then this is hardly “spacing of births”.

  • MarcAlcan

    How is abstaining from sex during fertile periods contracepting? Simple, it is not. If you are contracepting by abstaining from sex during fertile times, then you have to accuse Mary and Joseph of contracepting because guess what: they abstained from sex during Mary’s fertile times!

    That is the most stupid argument I have ever read. Mary and Joseph abstained all through out. The point of their abstention was not to contracept.

    Those who use NFP abstain precisely because of that – to stop life from forming. Otherwise, if they are really open to life, then they would engage in the fertile periods as well.

    It all has to do with intent.

    So sorry, but the bad logic is yours.

    This is ridiculous. By your foolish “logic” if you are married and abstaining from sex with your wife right now, you are “contracepting” because you are “preventing life.”

    Not unless my intention was to avoid children. If my intention was to avoid children then yes, it is contraception. It is in the teaching of the Church itself. She calls it “natural”. Natural what? Natural contraception.

    God is the author of the fertility cycle and there is no commandment that couples are required to abstain during it.
    Ha, ha. Was that a Freudian slip. Do read that statement again.

    I suggest with all due respect that you take pause and rethink your position here and cease accusing Bill or anyone else of a “clouded irrational post” considering the objective import of your own statements!

    And if you had take the time to read what I was referring to when I said “clouded and irrational post” then you won’t look so foolish.

    My discussion with Bill (who called himself something else before) was about tithing. The cloudy and irrational post was about tithing.

    You really should think more before you reply. Read better as well. Otherwise, like her you will just be posting from emotion.

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