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Catholic Spirituality of Planned Giving

Proper Detachment from Assets and Property

St. Francis of Assisi teaches that we should think about and use our property and assets…

  • … to fulfill God's Will for our life.
  • … to give Him honor and glory.
  • … as not objects of our Joy.
  • … as possessing them, rather than they possessing ourselves.

Wealth Exists to Be Shared

Excerpt from the Compedium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Paragraph 328. Goods, even when legitimately owned, always have a universal destination; any type of improper accumulation is an immoral. Improper accumulation is immoral, because it openly contradicts the universal destination assigned to all goods by the Creator. Christian salvation is an integral liberation of man, which means being freed not only from need but also in respect to possessions. "For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith" (1 Tim 6:10). The Fathers of the Church insist more on the need for the conversion and transformation of the consciences of believers than on the need to change the social and political structures of their day. They call on those who work in the economic sphere and who possess goods to consider themselves administrators of the goods that God has entrusted to them.

Paragraph 329. Riches fulfil their function of service to man when they are destined to produce benefits for others and for society .[685] "How could we ever do good to our neighbor," asks St. Clement of Alexandria, "if none of us possessed anything?".[686] In the perspective of St. John Chrysostom, riches belong to some people so that they can gain merit by sharing them with others.[687] Wealth is a good that comes from God and is to be used by its owner and made to circulate so that even the needy may enjoy it. Evil is seen in the immoderate attachment to riches and the desire to hoard. St. Basil the Great invites the wealthy to open the doors of their storehouses and he exhorts them: "A great torrent rushes, in thousands of channels, through the fertile land: thus, by a thousand different paths, make your riches reach the homes of the poor".[688] Wealth, explains Saint Basil, is like water that issues forth from the fountain: the greater the frequency with which it is drawn, the purer it is, while it becomes foul if the fountain remains unused.[689]

The rich man - Saint Gregory the Great will later say - is only an administrator of what he possesses; giving what is required to the needy is a task that is to be performed with humility because the goods do not belong to the one who distributes them. He who retains riches only for himself is not innocent; giving to those in need means paying a debt.[690]