Unleashing Catholic Generosity

Report Examines Why Catholics Give Less than Others




Using data from a nationally representative survey of 1,997 US adults in 2010, we find American Catholics are less likely than the rest of the population to report giving ten percent or more of their income to good causes. Catholics are also less likely to report giving money to the Church in the past year.

To encourage generosity (both within the Church and for other charitable causes), our report suggests that parish discussions of money should not center on paying the bills but, rather, should be brought up within the larger context of a parish’s mission and vision. Such discussions will be especially beneficial if parishioners gain a clear understanding that an active and growing spiritual life requires Catholics to recognize money and possessions as gifts of grace, which they are called to manage and share as good stewards.

Unfortunately, Catholic parishioners, compared with members of other American faiths, currently report a lack of communication regarding the mission and vision of their parish. In comparison to other faith communities, Catholics also report lower levels of involvement in and “ownership” of their parishes.  Our research sees altering parish cultures as crucial for unleashing Catholic generosity.  

The report is available as a virtual magazine through ISSUU (Alternatively, please click on the picture above for a pdf of the full report.)

For readers intersted in a detailed discussion of  sampling and survey methods for the Science of Generosity study, please access the methods report.