Prosperity churches, United Way, and how to stop the blood money of easy almsgiving

People like to make almsgiving easy, you know, outsourcing their charity. I’ll give you cash, but you do the dirty work. Sometimes giving money is good, just make sure you know what going on. Giving in church can be a little too easy. Let’s see…

  • After seeing that great video above, you know, about non-Catholics, those prosperity gospel guys, I think of $1,200,000.00 of Peter’s Pence going to an Elton John homosexualist propaganda film.
  • And then I think of $200,000,000.00 going to an allegedly illegit Vatican real estate venture in London, and then something like another $200,000,000.00 going missing from the Vatican.
  • And then you think of – what – the bishops skimming “service fees” off veritable oceans of government (read: U.S. taxpayers) money to distribute to things like abortion clinics or sex and human trafficking right around the world through – what – Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities.

Whatever with the “prosperity churches”. Their gluttony has nothing on the greed that comes at the price of the murder of the least of the brethren. There is no argument that can make any of that good.

I recall a scene in, I think, Malcolm Muggeridge’s film on Mother Teresa of Calcutta, when a guy walked up to her to give her something like a million dollars, and she refused it. She said that it’s too much work for her sisters to spend this money even if all for the poor, and that he should do it himself, that is, he himself should actually do something for someone instead of outsourcing his charity. Ha! And when I was in Byculla district of Mumbai at the Missionaries of Charity living in the tuberculous ward,

People like to say, “I gave at the office,” whether they did or not. That usually refers to United Way. Sometimes, it’s all about braggadocio:

  • “My company is in competition with the business across the street for how much we raised average per employee for United Way, and we put that on signs out front, changing the signs every day. By the way, did you give, yet?”

When I was a young seminarian, when my dad was still alive, I wrote a letter to the editor of our home town paper, signing my name, of course. I share my name with my dad, who had been the mayor and leading attorney of the town, known by everyone, and so asked his blessing before I hand-delivered it to the editorial page editor’s desk. He did give me his blessing, saying how proud he was of me. He knew that this could get me thrown out of the seminary, but you gotta do the right thing. As he said: “Goodness and kindness, George, goodness and kindness.” Dad’s goodness and kindness dealt with charity, not being nice.

The problem was that 90+% of United Way donations came from Catholics because those were the demographics of the region. So the Catholic Bishop was on the board of United Way. Well, United Way was giving monies to Lutheran Social Services which offered abortion referrals and, I think, rides to abortion clinics. And there was a second recipient involved in some way with nefarious anti-life matters. The bishop and others were saying that anything like that doesn’t matter because monies also went to adoptions, etc. In my letter to the editor I condemned the High Priest Caiaphas’ moral principle that it is better for these aborted babies to die with United Way monies so that some facilitated adoptions might take place. I say, “Do the adoptions, but don’t fund abortion.” The message couldn’t have clearer.

The United Way collection that year plummeted to almost nothing.

I was public enemy number one for the bishop. He couldn’t do anything with me then, since, obviously, everyone agreed with me. But after years he attempted to get his revenge at a bishops conference. He sat next to my own bishop for lunch. He took the opportunity to attack yours truly. Imagine, he was carrying that for years. In any other case I would have been tossed out of the seminary. This story was told to me by my own bishop. God bless him. He didn’t hold it against me.

It is possible to do the right thing. You’re not ever forced to do the wrong thing, even if you’re killed for it. No one can force you to do the wrong thing. You can be at joyful peace in doing the right thing, for Jesus.

6 Comments

Filed under Priesthood, Vocations

6 responses to “Prosperity churches, United Way, and how to stop the blood money of easy almsgiving

  1. pelerin

    I do wonder why these Megachurches flourish in the US and why people cannot see through them with all their amassed wealth. As far as I know I don’t think they exist here in GB although I do remember when the Evangelist Billy Graham came here. I do not know whether he had any success here but you do not hear his name any more.

  2. Monica Harris

    Balanced and charitable video, imho. Well done.

    Interestingly, when Cardinal Pell was in prison, he was both unable to celebrate or attend Mass at all. Sister Mary (as allowed) would bring him Communion on Tuesdays. To keep Sundays holy, Cardinal Pell could sometimes watch an early 6 AM Catholic Mass on TV, but otherwise he prayed, and watched the televised Protestant preaching of Joel Osteen and Joseph Prince. Although a bit tongue-in-cheek about it, especially describing their wardrobe and jewelry, he always tried to note something pertinent and worthwhile in their messages about Scripture and the Gospel.

  3. sanfelipe007

    Amen, Father.

  4. nancyv

    ewww, I remember the United Way competitive fund raising among employers/employees.. Of course, at the time, I was oblivious to the funded recipients. It must have been your letter and others aware of the nefarious anti-life funnels that alerted me to the United Way (unicef, etc) for which I am very grateful.
    But that bishop who supported the United Way uses the sway that can sometimes be hard to think through (for me anyways!) like giving so much money for the good stuff, even if a little goes to the bad stuff…

  5. meshugunah

    I was frequently persona non grata during the United Way campaigns at work. Told that I could make a “directed donation”, I’d reply that I’d just give my support and money right to the causes I favored and skip UW entirely. It’s fun to watch peoples’ heads spin…

  6. LJ

    Bravo to you for speaking up, Father. I have been known to write more than a few letters to the editor myself. “All that is necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.”

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