SIR,-I was glad to note from your report last week that Catholic parishes in this country have at last begun to turn to more serious and responsible methods of raising funds. Fund-raising organisations like Cathos Ltd. have long been operating in this country for non-Catholic churches, with often astounding results, and in the U.S.A. (where there are over 400 such organisations). Despite the ceaseless exactions of raffles, fetes, bazaars, pools, bingo, etc., Catholics in this country do not in general give as much as they could, because the act of giving is drained of any spiritual. significance by the giveaway gimmicks with which it is frequently assocated, and the gift is not seen as repayment of a debt due to God.
In an Anglican parish here. a Christian Commitment Campaign is under way, asking for the allegiance of the laity by an act of total commitment, in point of both prayer, money, and service. This is a more healthy attitude to fund-raising, where the donation is seen as the expression of our loyalty and obedience to God, than the piecemeal method of extortion which is so common in our parishes. and I can only wish Cathos Ltd every success.
G. C. Norman
Taigi, Madeira Road, West Byfleet, Surrey.
SIR'The "novel" fundraising scheme described by your reporter last week is hardly novel. One wonders why such an obvious method is not in general use. But why engage a firm ?
The initial organising and canvassing could be done by a group of spirited parishioners acting under their parish priest, and, in any case, the firm mentioned is using volunteers for this purpose.
Dom Christopher Delaney recently wrote of the need for priests to avoid autocracy and to
seek the help and advice of parishioners in parish affairs. Here surely is an occasion-to be followed up with the establishment of a parish finance committee, for few priests have the time or training to deal with money matters on an extensive scale.
Now I do not know the circumstances in the parish your reporter mentioned-perhaps the people themselves suggested engaging the financial consultants. However, one outstanding difference between organisation by the parish and by the firm appears to be the sum of 11,950.
SIR,-Why pay "experts" to urge people to contribute to the Church according to their means, since the clergy already do so? Some of them quite successfully.
(Fr.) Edward Quinn
SIR'-lt is staggering to the or dinary lay folk to find the clergy falling for a plan which would mean that their parishioners are not only to meet the costs of running parish, etc., but to hand over these big fees to big business. May If, an old Catholic lay woman, formally place on record my objection to any of my contributions to Church funds being used to finance outside Big Business firms, paying these just for collecting our contributions. May I add too that I not only hope, but most earnestly pray that our clergy will be strengthened to resist this specious temptation.