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Beware of government mammon: It always comes with strings attached…

 

A Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice report indicates that converting private Catholic schools into charter schools can significantly increase school enrollment, reversing enrollment declines even after several decades. The primary reasons cited for these declines?

  • The rising cost of Catholic education that’s attributable to the shift in from religious/clergy teachers to lay educators.
  • The increase in the number of charter schools.

Confronting these issues, 3 of the nation’s archdioceses—Indianapolis, Miami, and Washington, DC—have allowed some schools to reopen as independently managed, public charter schools rather than close them. (Philadelphia has done similarly.)

Overall, this transformation has increased enrollments and students seem to be achieving well. In addition, the archdioceses no longer are pouring money into moribund schools, enabling these archdioceses to support other operations, provide additional $$$s to support schools that remain in operation, and provide tuition assistance to qualifying students.

Sounds like “all’s well that ends well” story, no? Everyone’s a winner!

Well, perhaps not.

The decision to accept state funds to run schools carries with it some foreseeable consequences. In retrospect, these consequences may make today’s “solution” appear foolhardy.

Consider the example of the Archdiocese of Vancouver (Canada) where the state fully funds Catholic schools. For more than two centuries, many U.S. Catholics have understandably advocated for a similar policy.

According to an article published by Straight.com, an 11-year-old student attending Delta’s Sacred Heart Elementary School, Tracey Wilson, was diagnosed during the past year with gender dysphoria and wanted to be treated as a girl. The school’s administrators refused, citing the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese (CISVA) policy regarding gender expression and gender dysphoria.

In response, Tracey Wilson filed a human rights complaint, causing CIVSA to resolve rather than contest the complaint. The terms of the resolution included apologizing to Tracey and her family “for not being in a position to meet her needs” as well as paying the Wilson family an undisclosed amount of $$$s.

The CISVA policy is similar to the policy the Vancouver Public School Board approved  one month earlier. However, the resolution in this case makes CISVA the first school district in Canada to have a policy accommodating gender expression and gender dysphoria among students.

Of the policy, CISVA Superintendent Doug Lauson said:

We expect that this policy will be a practical basis for accommodating students with gender dysphoria, or who express their gender in ways that are different from prevailing stereotypes. This policy will ensure that Catholic schools are a safe and accepting place for all students.

“Free” government money always comes “with strings attached.” In this instance, the mammon that’s raining down from the state upon Catholic schools (charter or otherwise) may very well end up forcing district superintendents to compromise the Catholic identity of those schools in order to keep the rain pouring down.
 

 

To read the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice report, click on the following link:
http://www.edchoice.org/CMSModules/EdChoice/FileLibrary/1048/Sector-Switchers-Why-Catholic-Schools-Convert-to-Charters-and-What-Happens-Next.pdf

To read the CISVA policy, click on the following link:
http://www.cisva.bc.ca/policy_manual/CISVA_Gender_Dysphoria_Policy.pdf

To read about the CISVA case and resolution, click on the following link:
http://www.straight.com/news/687496/vancouver-catholic-schools-introduce-transgender-policy-after-human-rights-complaint

To read the Vancouver Public School Board policy, click on the following link:
http://www.straight.com/life/652381/vancouver-school-boards-lgbtq-policy-sparks-debate

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

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The Motley Monk

The Motley Monk is Fr. Richard Jacobs, O.S.A., a Professor of Public Administration at Villanova University. His academic specialities include: organizational theory; leadership ethics; Catholic educational leadership; and, U.S. Catholic educational history. Check out Fr. Jacobs' daily blog at http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html.

53 Comments

  1. Your problem is the regulatory scheme, and the occupational culture of people employed in the apparat implementing the regulations. ‘Diversity’ is the dogma of a certain bourgeois type and their regular practice has made plain what Gottfried Dietze argued in 1968 and Robert Bork argued in 1963: anti-discrimination laws are at war with conventional conceptions of free association. It did not look bad when it was Lester Maddox and the like whose ox was gored and the intended clientele were a modest and fairly patient minority being subject to a mess of unearned indignities every day of the week. As of now, what it means is that cultural minorities will be subject to the fashions of the haut bourgeois and that everyone’s discretionary decisions in trade and employment and schooling are now subject to second-guessing by lawyers.

    You need to dissolve those regulatory agencies and replace them with ones concerned with a more circumscribed set of questions (e.g. building and fire codes, payment of employees in cash and not scrip, workmen’s compensation coverage, employee leave time, regents’ examination results, respect for the state penal code in disciplinary matters, &c).

  2. He who has the gold, makes the rules.
    .
    Witness Georgetown and Notre Dame, post Land o Lakes and receipt of research dollars from secular private foundations (ie., Rockefeller Foundation).
    .
    Once Catholic universities were transformed from within and are Catholic no more.

  3. Witness Georgetown and Notre Dame, post Land o Lakes and receipt of research dollars from secular private foundations (ie., Rockefeller Foundation).

    I would not say that was not a force. Just two things: the Church imploded all over the place, from the local parish to Vatican dicasteries. The driver there is not public money, but its own loss of institutional elan. The people running higher education institutions did not wish to be authentically Catholic as the term was understood in 1958. (Also, people running state colleges and universities are happy to turn them into sandboxes and would be indignant if the state legislature ever called them out and imposed sanctions. They may be fools but they are not truckling fools).

  4. In France, those private schools that receive state funding enjoy greater freedom than those that do not; the former are supervised by the Ministry of Education, under nationally agreed codes of practice; the latter are illegal, under the law forbidding “contracts of association,” unless they receive a permit from the Préfet, who can make it subject to such « règlements de police » as he sees fit. There have been many clashes between the authorities and schools who wish to use any language other than French as the medium of instruction, especially in the Basque country. Arabic and Berber have also been restricted.

    In Scotland, the position is fiendishly complicated: some Catholic schools are independent, others receive direct grant-aid from central government and others are funded by the local authority, under a statutory scheme.

    Of course, any government that controls admission to the public service and the professions can effectively control the curriculum. As Bastiat said, unless you pass the public examinations, you will be able to become neither a physician nor a barrister nor a magistrate nor a consul nor a diplomat nor a teacher, nor a public functionary – The list goes on.

  5. Of course, any government that controls admission to the public service and the professions can effectively control the curriculum. –

    This is America. People are not preparing for their medical boards in elementary school.

  6. All of which may be true but fail to acknowledge that many Catholics are so only in so far as it is convenient to identify as such. Fr. Matthew Guckin (the chaplain of our high school) put it thus in a homily, about a year ago: “sending your child to Catholic school when the school district isn’t good is reasonable. Educating your child in Catholic schools, when you live in a good school district, is an act of faith.”

  7. The strings attached to the mammon offered to Catholic administrators to transform Catholic lower schools into Charter Schools will eventually erode the schools’ Catholic identity.
    .
    Who would ever imagine that a Catholic priest carrying a cross and peacefully protesting at the University of Notre Dame would be arrested and jailed by campus security for practicing the faith. It happened to the late Fr. Norman Weslin in 2009.
    .
    In 1969, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger commented:
    .
    “…The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.
    .
    She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity.
    As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members….
    .
    It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek . . . The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain . . . But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.
    .
    And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death…”
    .
    Source: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. “The church will become small.” from Faith and the Future (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009) and

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/Interiorlife/iloo13.htm

  8. So beautiful and frightening a sentiment. As much as I liked JPII and am intrigued and touched by Francis, Benedict speaks to me.

  9. An eleven year old infant is demanding of and ordering adults around because, maybe, he does not acknowledge or recognize who he is. Without informed consent, not knowing, an eleven year old, is being followed to his doom and our doom for indulging an eleven year old infant terrible.
    .
    As far as the money goes, taxes are owned by the taxpayers even as the taxes are administered by the administration. There is no problem with public money being employed to educate the public. The education must be only the truth. The truth is the complete and absolute absence of evil. Extenuating circumstances and diversity as well as toleration may be excised by the parents whose primary concern is their children’s education, as teachers and adminstrators act “in loco parentis”, the grown up, adult and emancipated citizens.

  10. It might be added, as every doctor already knows, that children, unemancipated infant children go in and out of phases, fantasies and pretense just to try out being somebody, anybody and everybody else.
    .
    It is indeed fun, but out of control.

  11. Based on what happened in Charlotte earlier this year, government mammon isn’t necessary to erode Catholic identity in Catholic schools. The mammon that comes from “c”atholics, “cultural catholics,” and non-Catholics using Catholic schools as a “private schools for the rest of us” (kind of like how Volkswagen is an affordable alternative to BMW & Daimler-Benz) seems, to this outsider, to be doing the job just fine.

  12. Slainté

    The Law of Separation (Loi du 9 décembre 1905 concernant la séparation des Eglises et de l’Etat) abolished the payment of clerical salaries by the state. The loss was not inconsiderable – 42,324,933 fr or $8,464,986. The current real value is $470,653,221.

    In the event, the Church in France saw an intellectual and artistic flowering, with Blondel, Maritian, Claudel, Péguy, Mauriac, Brémond, de Lubac, Yves Simon, Daniélou, Congar, Bouyer, and many, many others.

    Today, we have what has been called the “Catholic turn” in French philosophy, the way in which the most original and prominent thinkers of contemporary France seem to function within Catholic horizons: the philosophers René Girard, Pierre Manent, Jean-Luc Marion, Rémy Brague, Chantal Delsol, along with the writers Michel Tournier, Jean Raspail, Jean D’Ormesson, Max Gallo, Denis Tillinac and others – a small, but vibrant and self-conscious minority.

    There is a danger here, of course; one sometimes senses an uncharitable impatience with the weaker brethren who plod and stumble. Some of the Holy Father’s remarks are very apposite in a French context.

  13. The only way to be sure that the secular/pagan govt does not end up dictating ungodly curriculum to a private K-12 school is to make sure that none of the money funding the private school ever comes directly from the govt. Otherwise it is just a matter of time until some rule/reg/atheist/offended parent/rebellious kid/liberal judge/ex-employee/liberal politician/teachers’ union/public school superintendent/state or federal dept of ed employee/state or federal law/grant/memoramdum if understanding, etc. will make it happen.

    I think that a mechanism, by which parents (or who ever pays for a child’s private k-12 education) can submit a form with their annual taxes for a tax credit for the cost of the tuition paid, needs to be set up. The infrastructure for this to happen us already in place. It would simply require the 501-3C ID number of the school where the tuition was paid & copies of the receipts. Tables could easily be developed for each county/state in which people live for reimbursement of taxes paid.

    Of course the liberal establishment would raise 9 kinds of Hell over it–but they are doing that on a regular basis anyway–so who cares.

    My point is, the parents/individuals paying the tuition would be using their own money of their own free choice–no actual govt money would ever reach the coffers of the private schools. This would help limit the sticky, controlling tentacles of govt through any funding mechanism into the private schools.

  14. Schools reflect the families who send their kids there. A Catholic school is only as faithful to Church teaching as the families insist it be. Frankly, it is easier to use the services one pays taxes for than to double down on a Catholic school education. Our schools are darned expensive and, if we treated them like the gem they are, we’d invest more heavily in them. As it is pastors increasingly see our schools as some sort of a drain on parish funds rather than a vehicle for raising up the next generation of saints. That’s the crux of the matter: we wouldn’t need state funding of we valued our schools.

  15. “Educating your child in Catholic schools, when you live in a good school district, is an act of faith.”

    Unfortunately, a friend of mine (devout Catholic) had to remove her daughter from a local Catholic high school where they felt their daughter’s faith was being destroyed.

    At the Catholic school their daughter was being heavily influenced by lesbian and atheistic nuns.

  16. Which brings us back to the question of whether we value our schools as vehicles for raising the next generation of saints or not. The majority of our schools do a good job BUT it is not helpful for the Catholics, best educated in their faith, to quietly segregate their families from the rest of the faith. We need to reclaim our schools, not meekly consign them to the trash heap. Our bishops will only take them as seriously as we do. Our pastors will only support them if we value them. We fight for our faith, like Christ in the Temple, we don’t fall away like the Disciples after the Garden.

  17. “As far as the money goes, taxes are owned by the taxpayers even as the taxes are administered by the administration.”

    I provided private Braille services to a Catholic child who was attending a parochial private Protestant school–the Catholic schools had no way to serve him until he had advanced to a higher level of Braille reading–he could not read Braille at all when I first started working with him.

    4 state agencies had denied him services for years–& it took me a year and a half of threatening, cajoling, cornering, involving legislators, the governor’s office, generally beating the powers that be with a baseball bat–to eek put basic services for the child. It was one ugly, dog eat dog fight that did permanent damage to my career prospects as I was fighting people who could advance me. He was in my church’s school at the time. That is why I took such an interest in it. He was also a 5 year old blind, African American child. Now why would people who had funds to serve such a child DENY him those services when it was their professional, ethical & moral responsibility to provide them? (please note: a private attorney found that one of these agencies alone had 4 federal accounts with which to purchase things for this child but were refusing to do so)

    Two motivations: 1. Control–no one was going to tell them what to do with their money–they feared that providing services to one child in a private school would encourage other parents of students with disabilities to seek services (& therefore take more of their money away from them)

    2. Pure, unadulterated, visceral hatred for the private schools and home schooling families in our state.

  18. Two motivations: 1. Control–no one was going to tell them what to do with their money–they feared that providing services to one child in a private school would encourage other parents of students with disabilities to seek services (& therefore take more of their money away from them)

    2. Pure, unadulterated, visceral hatred for the private schools and home schooling families in our state.

    You don’t say what the ‘services’ are, but yours is a tale that suggests that the apparat in question is diseased and needs to be liquidated. We’d do better to rely on the state to engage in some income re-distribution and to issue vouchers, insurance, and allowances in a few problem markets, but otherwise not rely on public agencies to provide anything other than a police and regulatory inspectorate or genuine public goods.

  19. This is what I’m not getting: Catholicism in America was most vibrant when we were despised and left to our own devices. If our ancestors were able to build a system that was second to none without State aid, why can’t we re-build it without State aid?! It sure looks like the important factor is us, not the State. We need to stop making excuses for our schools and parishes and charitable activities. They are what we allow them to be.

  20. “You don’t say what the ‘services’ are, but yours is a tale that suggests that the apparat in question is diseased and needs to be liquidated.”
    .
    All block grants to different government agencies are kept by the agency if not used. Therefore, it is in their best interest to deny clients help. It is also in their best interest to inspire rabid anti-Catholic sentiment, read mob-rule, to justify their denial of help.
    .
    Ronald Reagan had to dissolve the Legal Aid Agency because it was using the withheld government funding to campaign against him, which, of course, is illegal. I do not know how Reagan survived the political assault “for not helping the poor”.
    .
    Again, tax money belongs to the tax payers even as it is administered by the administration. Therefore, even paying chaplains, Catholic schools and priests, as is done in other countries, is permissible and wise. as well as just. Only a rabid religious discrimination would forbid tax money to better the common good and general welfare as is stated in the Preamble of our Constitution.
    .
    Paying for Catholic Schools would support the First Amendment and encourage the Ten Commandments, principles that are in accord with all men being “created equal”. “Thou shalt not kill” would certainly go a long way to preventing schools shootings.
    .
    Obama might be well considered the Chief Executive in charge of religious discrimination for the enhancement of his grab for totalitarian power.

  21. “That’s the crux of the matter: we wouldn’t need state funding of we valued our schools.”
    .
    We would not need state funding if the state and government did not take 50% of what we earn.

  22. Barbara Gordon: Thank you for fighting for equity. There is always a cost. Welcome to the small church blossoming anew.
    .
    “In 1969, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger commented:
    .
    “…The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.
    .
    She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity.
    As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members….”

  23. MPS,
    .
    The 1905 Law of Separation of Church and State was a unilateral breach by the French State of the “Concordat of 1801” between Napoleon and Pope Pius VII whereby the French State agreed to compensate the Church for the wrongful and violent confiscation by French Revolutionaries of Church properties and the income generated from those properties. The income was the source of funding for the Church’s ecclesiastical activities in pre-revolutionary France.
    .
    When the French State in 1905 unilaterally elected to “abolished the payment of clerical salaries by the state”, it was, in fact, re-asserting its supremacy over the Church by willfully defaulting on its agreement to pay reimbursement to the Church for the Church’s confiscated properties and income.
    .
    In 1905 the French State reminded the Catholic Church that the State was supreme and that what the State gives (or consents to do), the State may unilaterally undo at its sole election whenever and however it pleases.
    .
    History reminds us that Catholic schools should not be dependent on government funding.

  24. With respect, the Church in America was built by the poorest of the poor. Though living in tenements, they built cathedrals, seminaries, schools, convents, and orphanages and then filled them to overflowing.

    We chagrin spending $100 on the parish sweepstakes.

    Our ancestors went to Reconciliation weekly.

    We bristle at going annually.

    Their Knights filled Broadway for 15 blocks on Columbus day.

    Ours won’t take a bus to the Basilica for Corpus Christi.

    The problem is us, not the State.

  25. Catholicism in America was most vibrant when we were despised and left to our own devices. If our ancestors were able to build a system that was second to none without State aid, why can’t we re-build it without State aid?! It sure looks like the important factor is us, not the State. We need to stop making excuses for our schools and parishes and charitable activities. They are what we allow them to be.

    The Protestant congregations have also seen their apostolates decay and dissolve. As for what’s left of Catholic institutions, look at the messes in Charlotte, N.C. and Providence, RI. The people who pay the tuition and are employed by those decayed enterprises do not adhere to what the Church teaches and are indignant when those teachings are brought up. What do those two bishops do about it? Squat.

    While we’re at it, ‘despised’ by whom? My Catholic great-great grandfathers were not ‘despised’ in their communities, quite the contrary. I am sure there were places they were not welcome, but that’s an unfortunate by-product of people taking communal distinctions seriously.

  26. “You don’t say what the ‘services’ are, but yours is a tale that suggests that the apparat in question is diseased and needs to be liquidated.”

    The services being denied were the following:

    1. Braille instruction provided by the vision teacher of the public school under whose purview the child fell. I called the director of the special Ed dept of that local public school district & told her that a portion of the federal funds she was administering were provided for some services for students in the private schools within her district–that, if my student was not provided with Braille instruction with those funds the next school year, we were going to find out what she was doing with her money in detail. That director definitely did not want people who were being denied services looking into the details of how she spent her money. I also told the director that we were done talking–that we were going to be taking action from that point on. She had a meeting with the school attorney and the mother of my student wherein the public school district attorney verified that the mother would win any suit that was brought relative to the denial of services to her child. These two things “persuaded” the director to provide free Braille instruction to my student for 2 hours a week–which was not enough by the way-but I left it to the mother to fight for more after gaining that much ground.

  27. Services denied continued:

    2 & 3. The local agency responsible to provide services to children with blindness/visual impairment across the state to children who did not attend the state school for the blind (and who did not have their own vision teachers) was denying the child requisite home visits & parental/student consultations/instruction as well as refusing to purchase needed equipment and supplies for the child from funds designated for that purpose. (Mary De Voe in this case the agency would lose any funds that they did not spend by the end of the year–they would save their money and go on spending sprees near the deadline for funds to be spent.)

    The second in command at the special Ed division of the state department of education in our state was ordering the director of the previously mentioned agency listed on this number to not provide my student services because he was in a private school–the mother was not shy about telling state bureaucrats that she wanted her children to gave a religious education–which was very much resented by the secular powers that be.

    Finally, after appealing every way I knew to these folks sense of deceny, responsibility, ethics, & professionalism and getting stonewalled-I told them that I would have my state senator deal with them regarding these matters and they knew that he would be very unhappy about it & that he was a very powerful senator on the state education committee with control over their salaries/budget.

    4. The 4th agency, the state school for the blind, at that time housed the large print and Braille book program that was responsible for the provision of Braille books to students who needed them all across the state. The superintendent of the school for the blind also refused to provide my student Braille books. I went through the same appeals of morals, ethics, etc & got no where. I knew that this superintendent had given a woman, whom it was reported he was having an affair with, several illegal raises in the past several years (she went from a $5 an hour secretarial pisition to almost $70,000 a year administrative position in a five year time span.). A friend did an FOIA request on the woman’s salary history–which I promptly wrote an evaluation on–copied–and placed in multiple state legislators boxes with whom I was familiar. Within about 48 hours, the director of the large print/Braille book program called the mother and offered to provide my student services.

    The only thing that brought about the provision of services by these agencies was the knowledge that they were going to have a spot light shown on their dirty activities–like the roaches they were–they ran from the light.

  28. “…. yours is a tale that suggests that the apparat in question is diseased and needs to be liquidated.”

    I am completely convinced that 90% of our public educational power structures in our state/federal govts are so incompetent/cimmitted to pushing a destructive socialist liberal agenda on the rest of us while enriching themselves and their friends–that it is pointless to expect any other outcome from that apparatus than what we are currently receiving.

    True reform must take place outside the system.

  29. BG writes, “…True reform must take place outside the system.”
    .
    John Dewey worked vigorously to plant the seeds of the present system.

  30. “Thank you for fighting for equity. There is always a cost. Welcome to the small church blossoming anew.”

    Please pray for me, Mary De Voe. These battles for true freedom are very stressful. In my younger years, I was usually in only one at a time. Now, i seem to be in at least 2-3 at any one given time. My biggest concern is that sometimes I am doing unnecessary damage in these fights. I am willing to make enemies in order to take a stand–however I do not wish to make unnecessary enemies. Please pray that God will help me to be as wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove.

  31. “We would not need state funding if the state and government did not take 50% of what we earn.”

    Exactly. And the educational bureaucracy at large is indoctrinating students to accept ever larger & larger of our incomes being given to the govt. Tax rates literally translate into freedoms or the lack thereof.

    Receipt of govt funds, directly, exerts govt control–always–sooner or later.

    The Bible clearly says that the godless powers of this world are ruled by Satanic powers (Ephesians 6.)

    By no means do I intend to indicate that people need to stop fighting for right within the given secular powers that currently exist–but to truly create authentic needed reform–one must go completely outside the existing secular systems where govt bureaucrats are constantly gaining more and more of a strangle hold on free thought and freedom in general. Christians are called to do battle in all realms. The only question is what contribution He wants us to make as individuals to the fight.

  32. @BG, thank you for fighting the good fight.

    @Slainte, John Dewey? sssssss

    @Mary, today I had reason to remember that Catholic Charities is not waiting for me to give them my two mites to care for migrants and refugees. CC instead lobbies the government directly to take it from me by force of increasing taxes:

    We bump into an inconvenient truth about the USCCB Migration and Refugee Services. The last latest annual report from the MRS shows a total budget of just under $71 million, of which nearly $66 million—or nearly 93%—came from federal grants and contracts.

  33. Tasmin wrote, “Catholic Charities is not waiting for me to give them my two mites to care for migrants and refugees. CC instead lobbies the government directly to take it from me by force of increasing taxes”
    Nothing new in that. It begins with an ordinance of Charlemagne, as King of the Franks, in a general assembly of his Estates, spiritual and temporal, in 778-779 – “Concerning tithes, it is ordained that every man give his tithe, and that they be dispensed according to the bishop’s commandment.” A Capitular for Saxony in 789 appointed tithes to be paid out of all public property, and that all men, “whether noble, or gentle, or of lower degree, should give according to God’s commandment, to the churches and priests, of their substance and labour : as God has given to each Christian, so ought he to repay a part to God.” A Capitular of 800 made the payment of tithes universal within the fiscal domain of the whole Frankish kingdom.
    From this time onwards, therefore, we may say the civil law superseded any merely spiritual admonitions as to the payment of tithes. Their payment was no longer a religious duty alone; it was a legal obligation, enforceable by the laws of the civil head of Christendom. No wonder the Pope Leo III greeted Charlemagne with the cry of “Life and Victory to the ever-august Charles, crowned by God, great and pacific emperor!”
    The dîme was abolished by the French Revolution in 1789.

  34. So what do we do? Let’s get beyond filling the echo chamber with just clamor about being beholden to government largesse, our schools and charities failing to display the faith, our bishops and pastors failing to insist on better, and our Church’s collective failure to know and follow her teachings: what shall we do to restore the Faith in America? Should we join Low Protestant brethren in their call to tax religious institutions and eliminate all government funding of religious programs?

  35. David, we as individual Catholics should voluntarily elect to tithe.
    .
    First fruits belong to God.

  36. Recall then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s words in “The Church Will Become Small”:
    .
    “…. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith…”
    .
    The Church that caused the European monarchies and governments to collect tithes for ease and efficiency is the “political cult” which Ratzinger recognized as being dead already.
    .
    We the faithful as members of the renewed Church of Faith must, mindful of God’s biblical mandate to tithe, should do so voluntarily, without coercion from any source other than our conscience. If we tithed the 10 percent first fruits to the Church, God would ensure that those funds would be sufficient for its survival and well being.
    .
    MPS, when the French Republic abolished delivering the tithe (the Dime) to the Church, it did so to financially cripple Her by depriving her of income. That coupled with the seizure of Church properties and the income derived from those properties collectively placed a stranglehold on the Church financially.
    .
    Once the biblically mandated tithe was “abolished” by the French state, in time comparable taxes were enacted, all of which were due and owing to the state to be distributed at the sole direction of the French Republic.
    .
    The French Revolution formed a Republic to destroy the Catholic Church; granting liberties to individuals was secondary but also part of the process to elevate man over God.
    .
    The renewed Church of Faith that Emeritus Pope Benedict foretold needs our tithes…even if it hurts us financially to part with much needed income.

  37. “With respect, the Church in America was built by the poorest of the poor. Though living in tenements, they built cathedrals, seminaries, schools, convents, and orphanages and then filled them to the overflowing”

    3 principles that were at work here that I do not see at work in a lot of instances today:

    1. Faith: the Bible says that faith is the substance of things hoped for–the evidence of things not seen.

    These poor folks mentioned above had to have faith to do what they did because they were not capable of doung all of this on their own strength. Faith is the currency in the spiritual realm that makes things happen in the natural world. God sees faith, is pleased by it, and responds with His blessings, empowerment, and provision.

    2. Doing things in the power of the Holy Spirit. Zechariah 4:6b-9 shows the empowerment of the Holy Spirit working in the rebuiling of the temple in Jerusalem after a few Israelites returned from captivity with that purpose and found themselves having to work with their tools in one hand and a sword in the other. This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, said the LORD of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace to it. Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
    The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.”

    3. Allowing God to take His proper position in our life and work. “You shall have no other gods before me.” I fear that in many instances where the govt is the major funding source for ministry that govt becomes god.

    Having Biblical faith, operating in the power of the Holy Spirit, allowing God to have His proper place in your life, and maintaining a repentant, pure heart before Him results in seeing God move in big and small things on a daily basis.

    We cannot say across the board that any ministry that receives govt funding is lacking the 3 things above because we do not know the hearts of individuals and God may choose to use government funding any time He wishes. We can say that given human nature it is easier to do the 3 things above when we are not regularly receiving huge amounts of money from the government and are not facing situations that we cannot handle in our own strength.

    When the next generation is brought up by adults who live out these 3 things before children in their daily lives–the children live and learn these 3 principles–those children then naturally carry the Faith into their own adult lives–and the process can repeat itself for generation after generation.

  38. That is as excellent a summation as I’ve ever read. I’m printing it for meditation upon.

  39. “Should we join Low Protestant brethren in their call to tax religious institutions and eliminate all government funding of religious programs?”

    The only reason that churches are currently allowing their speech to curbed as nonprofits is because of legislation passed by former president Lyndon Johnson (although I think it was passed before he became president.) Johnson was absolutely livid with church folks who were very vocal opponents against him in the political arena, and he worked to change things so that they would have to shut up or lose their tax exempt status. From colonial times, pastors freely said whatever they wanted, when they wanted, about whatever topic they wanted–including political topics. That is how our pastors helped to advance the cause of freedom into the bringing forth of the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War. Because of the First Amendment to the US Constitution and the right we have to practice our faith without govt intervention, the IRS nor any other govt agency has the true authority to tell a pastor what can be said or done in regard to any political topic from the pulpit of the church. The IRS has illegitimately usurped authority over the churches that the govt does not have. The restrictions on nonprofit churches that are currently written into our IRS code–illigitimate as they are–allow much more freedom than 99% of the American population realizes. If you should be interested in what the existing limits actually are please contact Dr. James Dobson’s Family Council and ask them to mail you one of their pamphlets on that topic. You may also be interested in doing some reading online about the modern day Black Robed Regiment (named for the organization of ministers and pastors who supported the American colonies during the American Revolution.) this group of modern day ministers have so cowed the IRS with their proactive “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” that an atheist group has recently sued and just settled with the IRS in an attempt to force the IRS into stopping the activities of the Black Robed Regiment.

    What I am going to say next will probably offend some folks, however it is the truth as I see it. Our churches in this country, IMHO, sold their soul to the Devil when they allowed the government to place any restrictions on religious speech. As a direct result, over time the church has said and took an active part in what really matters in our society less and less–until now the churches have completely lost their ability to change or impact culture. In the Protestant churches, in my direct experience, the leadership uses the muzzling of the IRS as an excuse to cower in silence while our society goes straight to Hell. I don’t have the space nor the energy right now to go through the examples of what has brought me to these conclusions. However let me plainly state the following points:

    1. If the govt can tell ministers/church/church members what they can and cannot do in their official capacities then the govt is the boss of them all–not Christ who is supposed to be the Head of the Church.

    2. Neither the IRS nor any other govt agency does not have legitimate authority to limit any speech by any church, church group, or church member–so the law allowing the restrictions on religious speech and the IRS codes based on the law should be done away with.

    3. Until the law is changed to provide the complete religious freedom allowed under our constitution, I would prefer that our churches and ministries pay taxes if necessary in order to not be muzzled and continue to be irrelevant to the culture at large as they currently are.

    4. What do you think God’s response will be to pastors, standing before Him in judgement, whose only excuse for not addressing the areas of societal decay in their lifetimes is that the IRS would have taken their tax exempt status from their church if those subjects had been addressed with their flock?

    5. Something that bothers me even worse than pastors allowing the IRS to muzzle them (and that REALLY REALLY bothers me) is the so called “ministries” that are formed as corporations yet function like they are a church on Sundays and Wednesdays.

    God did not call us to form a corporation nor a nonprofit! He called us to form a church! In the New Testament, if the saints would have allowed their respective governmental powers to tell them what they could and could not say, the Gospel may have never been spread throughout the known world of that time.

  40. I wrote: “If you should be interested in what the existing limits actually are please contact Dr. James Dobson’s Family Council and ask them to mail you a pamphlet on that topic”

    Please forgive my typos, triple negatives, etc. I am typing on my cell phone and cannot see but 3 lines at a time.

    I should have said “If you should be interested in what the existing limits actually are please contact Dr. James Dobson’s FOCUS ON THE FAMILY and ask them to mail you one of their pamphlets on that topic.”

    Focus on the Family is their national headquarters; Family Council is their state affiliate where I live. Both the national organization and their state affiliate is associated with a pro-Christian/pro-Family/pro-religious freedom legal group called liberty council that provides legal resources and representation on related topics (religious freedoms, etc.)

  41. 501(c)3 status pretty much only prohibits direct, explicit endorsements of partisan candidates. 501(c)3 nonprofit status is not at risk if, for example, an Archbishop and President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops showed the courage to snub the pro-abortion party’s presidential nominating convention after leading prayers at their rival party’s confab. Nor does 501(c)3 status prohibit your pastor from using his homily to teach, in detail, the Church’s opposition to same-sex sham marriage and to exhort good Christians to deny their vote to politicians who support such abominations.

  42. Barbara Gordon wrote, “God did not call us to form a corporation nor a nonprofit!.”

    And yet, historically, the law of corporations in the West begins with ecclesiastical persons. Jurists needed some way of explaining how land could belong to a bishop and his successors in office. It clearly did not belong to the individual bishop, for it was inalienable and imprescriptible and did not descend to his heirs. From this emerged the notion of the corporation sole, with the bishop and his successors forming one “moral person,” with “perpetual succession and a common seal,” as the feudal lawyers rather quaintly put it. With the erection of parishes, the rector, too, became a corporation, hence the common English name of “parson,” the persona ecclesiae, the embodiment of his church.

    Likewise, monks could not be treated as co-owners of their property, for an individual monk could own nothing and it is here that we find the germ of the corporation aggregate, with the monastery itself being seen as a moral person, distinct from the fluctuating body of members; it, too, had “perpetual succession and a common seal.”

    The fiscal implications of this can be seen by the voluminous writings of medieval jurists on“mortifications,” or land passing into the “dead hand” of the Church. Churches and religious houses were never infants and never died, so superiors lost the casualties of relief, non-entry and wardship

  43. Wow, These are really great comments.
    .
    The church is a non-profit in that 51% of its donations, collections, tithes and behests are used for the immediate plant. The church is held in trust for all generations, those ancestors, those living now and the constitutional posterity to be born.
    .
    Separation of church and state dictates that the state cannot regulate how a church mission is fulfilled or religion is practiced. It is simply because the state, government of the people, cannot dictate to God the condition of our immortal human souls, the metaphysical, the spiritual part of our humanity and eternal life. Nobody knows. The government cannot know. Therefore, the government cannot write laws that intrude upon the metaphysical being at the heart of humanity.
    .
    Government must sustain the truth, the absolute and complete absence of evil tp deliver Justice. Therefore evil must be defined. Evil is metaphysical. Therefore, evil must be defined by the Church. To prohibit the free exercise of defining evil or virtue is unconstitutional. To tax the defining of good and evil by the church would be taxation without representation.
    .
    Priests do not forfeit their citizenship, nor do parishioners. Priests, ministers and parishioners pay their taxes as citizens. The church is composed of individuals who have already paid their fair share of taxes for one vote. Two taxes, one on the church, would be two taxes for one vote. But again, the IRS has nothing to say about the metaphysical, the immortal human soul, whose eternity is cared for by the church. “or prohibit the free exercise thereof” of the church’s relationship with God is unconstitutional and evil, an evil which is prohibited by government.

  44. Let me add that atheism, denying the immortal human soul by denying God’s creation of the metaphysical human soul is unconstitutional. Government of the people functions through freedom, an attribute of the metaphysical human soul. Deny the metaphysical human soul and the atheist denies freedom.

  45. “And yet, historically, the law of corporations in the West begins with ecclesiastical persons.”

    The law in the West (generally) exudes from the 5 Books of the Law written by Moses.

    MPS, before contracts there were covenants. In the Old Testament, God made the first recorded covenants (often blood covenants) with man (e.g. Abraham.) Then man began to make covenants with other men. God never breaks a covenant–of course fallen man does. Contracts are a weak version of a covenant. In a covenant, one side is responsible to continue their faithfulness even if the other side is unfaithful–hence the concept of the Catholic marriage covenant where there is no divorce. Secular marriages/civil marriages are contracts which can be easily broken.

    Europe has had a history of the church being one with the state. The US does not have such a history. Someone earlier in this thread mentioned that the civil govt of France attempted to make restitution with the church of France for stealing church property during the Humanist French Revolution–and then later the French govt refused to follow through with the agreed upon restitution to the church (again as a mechanism of controlling the church.)

    Churches can be formed in this country in any manner that can be conceived. Here in Arkansas there is a Baptist church that is not a nonprofit–they pay taxes–and have chosen to do so in order for their pastor to be able to speak from the pulpit in an unlimited fashion.

    The concept of personal property is at its root a religious concept. That is why dictatorial leadership must destroy the concept of personal property in order to accomplish their goals of complete control. The ownership of personal property is actually a statement about the existence of

  46. Mary De Voe wrote: “Separation of church and state dictates that the state cannot regulate how a church mission is fulfilled or religion is practiced.”

    And yet that is exactly what the IRS code is doing–telling pastors what can and cannot be said from the pulpit–which by definition is regulating “how a church mission is fulfilled or a religion is practiced.” Let me say again that God call people to use whatever mechanism he chooses to minister–however here in the US pastors are regularly limiting themselves to no controversial subjects–subjects where the battles determining the survival or death of our society and ability to practice our faith–because of the illigitimate restrictions placed on them by an IRS nonprofit label. That is why the Freedom From Religion society (a very vocal, aggressive, radical group of atheists) is up in arms over the actions of the modern day Black Regiment pastors who will not allow their religious speech to be limited by an illigitimate law/rule/reg–and are directly challenging the IRS to do something about it.

    Mary, you also mentioned the supposed “separation of church and state” which is a completely separate can of worms that I do not have time nor space to get into here. 😉 Churches in America are not nonprofits in order to keep church and state separate–as the state explicitly has its nose up in the church’s business telling the church what can be said from the pulpit of a church. The federal law that was passed by Lyndon Johnson in the late 20th Century authorizing the limitations to be written into IRS code was not passed to enforce the separation of church and state–it was passed by Johnson as pay back to shut up his effective political opposition in the churches. The much vaunted phrase “separation of church and state”, before it was encoded into US Supreme Court rulings in the 20th Century, was just a phrase written in a personal letter by Thomas Jefferson in the 18th Century.

  47. “God did not call us to form a corporation nor a nonprofit!.”

    MPS, I apologize for not qualifying that statement. I’m sure it seems very extreme and unworkable without any qualifiers. Please remember that my background is in the Protestant faith/practice. When I made that comment, in my mind I was thinking about several local and national ministries where individuals or families have started “ministries” as legal corporations and called them “churches.” I do not have a problem with a ministry being run by a family being a corporation. I do have serious qualms about it being called a “church.”

  48. MPS,

    One more thought about the priests in the Catholic Church owning no property. There is an Old Testament precedent for such. The Levite tribe, the preists of that day and time in the Jewish Faith, was the only tribe (people) who did not own actual property. They strictly were reserved to minister before God for the other 11 tribes.

  49. MPS wrote: “It clearly did not belong to the individual bishop, for it was inalienable and imprescriptible and did not descend to his heirs. From this emerged the notion of the corporation sole, with the bishop and his successors forming one “moral person,” with “perpetual succession and a common seal,” as the feudal lawyers rather quaintly put it. With the erection of parishes, the rector, too, became a corporation, hence the common English name of “parson,” the persona ecclesiae, the embodiment of his church.”

    Interestingly enough in preparation for lobbying for given bills in the last 4 years here in our state, I have seen the legal definition in state statutes of a nonprofit being explicitly designated the same as a “person” in the same statue with it being carried down from other previously passed statutes. At the time I thought the definition of a nonprofit being declared a person was a political shell game that strictly was done to benefit the powers that be and their political allies who wrote the legislation. Now I know there are entire centuries of history behind that legal definition. 😀

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