What is Tithing?

Tithing is rooted in the Old Testament and reinforced by the New Testament teaching on generosity and exemplified in the lives of the early Christians. The concept of the tithe comes from a word that means “a tenth,” and first appears in the Bible in the book of Genesis when Abram gave “a tenth of everything” to the High Priest Melchizedek. (Genesis 14:18-20)

In the New Testament Jesus calls for even more lavish giving:

“When [Jesus] looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” (Luke 21:1-4)

“Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.” (Luke 6:38)

Can you imagine someone at Mass, during the offertory, grabbing the basket from the usher and stuffing it full of money, packing it together, shaking it down, until the basket could hold no more?  Probably not, but how do you determine what is a proper tithe?

How Does Tithing Work?

Five percent of one's income is given to God through the parish church. The other 5 percent can be used for the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, Catholic school tuition, care of one's parents, special archdiocesan collections, or private charities you wish to support. The spirit of tithing, the most important part of the program, means giving to God. Tithing means giving to the point of sacrifice; the word sacrifice means “to make holy.” The spirit of tithing means not caring what anyone else gives; tithing is spiritual giving in every sense.

What you give to God is between you and God. The ideal tithe of 5 percent to God's church and 5 percent to His other works can be explained by an example. If your income from all sources before taxes is $300 per week, the 5 percent Sunday Mass offering would be $15. You might give the other 5 percent to private charities of your choice, parish school tuition, and archdiocesan special collections. Tithing is really very logical. Everything we have comes from God; and when we give the first 10 percent of our earnings, we are saying to Him, “Thank you, God, for allowing me to use the other nine-tenths!”

Use chart below to calculate your weekly tithe.

Annual Household Income
Amount of Weekly Giving
  2%  3% 4%  5% 
Half Tithe
6%  8%  10%
 $10,000  $4  $6  $8  $10   $12   $15   $19 
 $30,000  $12  $17  $23  $29  $35   $46   $58 
 $50,000  $19  $29  $38  $48  $58   $77   $96 
 $70,000  $27  $40  $54  $67  $81   $108   $135 
 $100,000  $38  $58  $77  $96  $115   $154   $192 
 $150,000  $58  $87  $115  $144  $173   $231   $288 
 $200,000  $77  $115  $154  $192  $231   $308   $385