6.2 I cannot help everyone; where is the limit? What is charity? How much should I give? Why is the Church so rich? Is my money used well? What if I am poor?
“Nothing will be impossible with God” (Lk 1:37). You are not alone: God is with you. He invites you to attempt even the impossible. If just a few people do so, they will inspire others. No individual can end all poverty, but the entire world population together can! Charity is every act of love that helps advance the wellbeing of your fellow human beings. Whether you are rich or poor, you will have time, energy, ideas, love, and possessions to share with others.
Instead of asking ‘what is enough?’ you could ask ‘how much can I give?’ Only you can discern how much is reasonable to give away. Most of the ‘wealth’ of the Church is in the infrastructure and land for schools, hospitals, churches, and other charitable institutions. While we should always be vigilant that donations will be used well, we should try not to ‘let our left hand know what our right hand is giving’ (Mt 6:3).
What is charity?
Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. Jesus makes charity the new commandment, the fullness of the law. “It is the bond of perfection” (Colossians 3:14) and the foundation of the other virtues to which it gives life, inspiration, and order. Without charity “I am nothing” and “I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) [CCCC 388].
What is the purpose of private property?
The purpose of private property is to guarantee the freedom and dignity of individual persons by helping them to meet the basic needs of those in their charge and also of others who are in need [CCCC 505].
“One cannot experience charity without having interpersonal relationships with the poor: living with the poor and for the poor. The poor are not numbers but persons. Because by living with the poor we learn to practise charity with the spirit of poverty; we learn that charity is sharing. In reality, not only is charity that fails to reach the pocket a false charity, but charity that does not involve the heart, soul and our entire being is a concept of charity not yet fulfilled” [Pope Francis, To Caritas Internationalis, 27 May 2019].