Nation: Prayer Fare

Faced with $550,000 in debts from the construction of a new complex of church buildings, the Rev. John Dollard established a compulsory church membership fee of $8 per month. Dollard reasoned that his Roman Catholic parishioners at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Livermore, Calif., should be willing to pay the fare of their faith. Mormons and Seventh-day Adventists, after all, are required to tithe.

"This is an American approach to an American problem," said Dollard. "Traditionally, a person with a baptism record has the right of membership in a parish. I'm not impressed by...