This week's Catholic Standard (Archdiocese of Washington DC) carries a story from the Catholic News Service on electronic giving (or eGiving): Even in a recession, parishes said to benefit from electronic giving (July 30th, Page 13).
One of the basic thrusts of the story is that people use e-Giving as a method to be better stewards of their treasure. In return, parishes see an increase in the amount of giving.
Personally, I don't believe that -- that is the part of being better stewards of their treasure.
Each family should make a determination of how much they should give for the year. That can be spread out over 52 weeks or 12 months. Once that is determined, then stick with it.
Good stewardship means that even if you are not at Sunday Mass at your parish, you should still give your weekly amount -- even if you double up the following week. Even when I am out of town, my parish still gets a weekly offering for the week that I am not there. I usually drop it in the next time I am at Mass. If at the end of the year, I find out that I have not contributed the full amount, then that amount will get dropped in the collection basket. The parish I am visiting, also gets a donation.
However, eGiving does mean that parishes do make more. Why? Because whether you attend or do not attend, the parish will still continue to collect the amount for the week or month.
Parishioners who use this method, sign up for a year, with a certain amount being taken out of their checking or savings account on a monthly or weekly basis. You can change at any time, but let's be honest, how many of us are going to change it. In fact, we don't even notice the money is gone from our accounts...just like any a payroll deduction. The only time we remember is when the yearly anniversary comes up and then we can either increase, decrease or keep the same.
For parishes, it is a bit less bookkeeping too, since there are fewer envelopes to open, and checks/cash to count and deposit. So, there is a savings on their part too.
So, yes, parishes do benefit but I am not convinced that it shows better stewardship of our treasure.
On a side note, I will be taking time off this month, so you will probably see fewer stories. However, if there is something that catches my attention, I will certainly write about it. If you have any items of interested, regarding school closings, charter schools, etc., please feel free to drop me a line. I may not get back to you immediately but I will.
Have a good August.