Usually, in Protestant churches, the church's income is mostly from tithes and then offerings, and secondarily from any outside sponsors the church may have. I am less informed how the Catholic church raises their funds.

I learned from this post that Catholics don't tithe. As a protestant, I wonder how Catholic churches support themselves.

How does a Catholic church support itself without the money from Tithe?

How generous are Catholics in giving offerings to the church?

  • 5
    The question you link to says almost exactly the opposite of what you try to cite is as supporting. Both answers clearly state that Catholics do individually give money offerings to support the church. They just don't call it "tithing" or mandate that it is 10%. I'm tempted to close this as a duplicate of that because that question does show where money comes from. Maybe you'd like to edit this to be a more specific question about how the money is processed and distributed instead?
    – Caleb
    Feb 22, 2013 at 10:24
  • Answers from this are also useful.
    – Mawia
    Feb 23, 2013 at 5:20
  • 2
    I don't know how much of a percentage of the total income it is, but I do know that the Church owns a large number of buildings which are rented by various institutions, usually schools, museums, etc.
    – vsz
    Feb 16, 2014 at 21:23
  • I wonder if this is trying to point to the large government and corporate donations that are made to Catholic Charities?
    – Tavrock
    Dec 25, 2016 at 9:10

3 Answers 3


Your question seems to imply there must be some secret source, some behind the scenes force. I'm not sure what you expect to find, but money doesn't grow on trees for Catholics any more than for Protestants.

In fact, if anything, Protestants have a harder time with this than Catholics do. The question you linked to has answers that explain very clearly that Catholics are obligated to give. This sort of obligation tends to be taken much more seriously in Catholicism than in Protestant circles. Even in countries where belief is nominal, fulfillment of such obligations often outpaces other aspects of devotion. In addition, since the Catholic church is centralized, the local ups and downs of giving are averaged out and the expenses are spread out over a larger giving base.

Just because some Protestants define a tithe as a regular 10% offering doesn't mean that actually happens. In practice it is usually much much smaller than this. Since the funds aren't centralized, this often means local churches may have noticeable shortfalls at various times.

I still feel that only offerings may not be sufficient.

It doesn't matter too much what you feel, the account ledgers say otherwise. Of course they have hard times too and giving shortfalls mean less ability to carry out projects etc, but the fact of the matter is that Catholics do give and these offerings do support the church.

The Catholic church benefits from a large member base and their obligation to give out of their ability to the needs of the church. This is the major source of income for the church. End of story. There isn't some vast hidden business network or other money making scheme.

  • 1
    @Mawia: I didn't say you meant that, but your question seems to be fishing for something other than the stated source of funds and your only justification for it is that you "feel like that's not enough". What else would there be? I was just giving some pertinent negatives. As a contrast, some sects DO have close associations with business networks (Mormons for example) that account for large portions of income rather than just individual giving.
    – Caleb
    Feb 22, 2013 at 11:14
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    I love this answer. Not only is it factual, it also uses a dash of humor. LOL. Money growing on trees!
    – Double U
    Feb 15, 2014 at 4:16
  • +1 for making me laugh and being a good answer in general. "There isn't some vast hidden business network" LOL! Feb 9, 2017 at 3:56

It's a precept of the Catholic Church that her members should "provide for the needs of the Church", it's right next to going to Mass on Sundays and holy days and confessing your sins.

The fifth precept ("You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church") means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability. The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his own abilities. CCC 2043

So, in order to call be a Catholic in good standing, you need to do what you can to support the Church. Lots of Catholics call it tithing regardless of what the word means in a Protestant or Old Testament sense.


Depends also on the country. For example in Germany the Catholic church has a deal with government to collect taxes on their behalf. It's called "Kirchensteuer". (see for example http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirchensteuer_(Deutschland)). If you are an official member of the Catholic church, 8%-9% (depending on state) of your income will directly be deducted from your paycheck and collected together with the federal tax.

The church is very protective of this income stream: in order to get out of this, you actually have to show up in court in front of a judge.

  • 3
    This is not specific to the Catholic church but applies to all religious and some other charitable institutions and their members. Germany isn't alone either, many other European countries have similar systems, but this is part of a social system that substitutes for things like tax-exempt non-profit status in other countries. The same withholding system works for Protestants in these countries. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_tax
    – Caleb
    Feb 22, 2013 at 14:57
  • @Caleb, true it seems to apply to at least some religious organizations. I wouldn't say "all" because according to the Wikipedia article you linked to, only Catholic church seems to get funding this way in countries like Austria and Croatia. Also in some countries (like Finland) this form of funding seems to be only available to "state" churches and this would exclude organizations like the LDS or JWs. Anyway, I think this partially answers the OPs question about where the Catholic church gets funding from.
    – user19845
    Dec 8, 2017 at 7:50
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    In Germany the Church tax is not 8 - 9% of income, it is 8 - 9% of income tax.
    – davidlol
    Dec 9, 2017 at 14:19
  • The rule with the court and the judge is depending from state (Bundesland) to state; in some states you simply go to some authority (e.g. the city council) and declare that you are not a member of the Church any more. This shows that it's not the Church that forces you to go to the court but it is the governments of certain states. Apr 7, 2019 at 11:03

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