Religion: A Tenth Before Taxes

Are bingo, raffles and bazaars preferable to digging down for regular church contributions? Many Roman Catholics seem to think so. Last week Father John P. Weigand of St. Joseph's of the Palisades Church in West New York, N.J. was being given a hard time by his parishioners, for he had had the temerity to call off the "carnivals" and substitute the oldest form of fund raising Christianity knows: tithing.

A tithe—literally, "tenth"—is simply a tax of a tenth of one's income. The ancient Israelites paid it, and Christians carried on the custom; the Synod of Macon in 585 made it compulsory under...

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