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Catholics really don't miss a dollar

For some newspaper work recently, I needed to find a bulletin from one of the local Catholic churches.

I did so, online.

And was jarred into something I hadn't seen in several years.

Advertising on a church bulletin.

I'm not sure why Catholics do this in general, let alone so much. (This bulletin, on 8 pages, had one that was all ads, and a second that was just about so. Most of them not huge, but rather, a church bulletin equivalent of newspaper "sig page" ads.)

Anyway, they do do it; I've seen it in Catholic bulletins elsewhere. It had just been a while for me to have seen it.

So, the "why" in general has several parts.

First, why do they do it and Protestants don't?

This, in turn, has two parts.

One is, IMO, because there are many Protestant churches but only one Catholic one. So, less competition to get ads.

In turn, advertisers of non-Catholic owned businesses may think the same way.

Another may be church finance related.

Catholic churches generally ask members as part of stewardship to pledge a specific amount each year. WHY a parishioner chooses a certain dollar amount is on their religious conscience; Catholics, like mainline Protestants, preach stewardship and not a literal tithe. That said, a Catholic business owner may prorate their company's ads in a church bulletin as part of that tithe.

Related to that, this may be, for Catholic business owners seeing a captive audience, a Catholic version of fundamentalist type Protestants putting the fish symbol on their outside-world ads, etc. But, Catholics, per the one church vs many churches, don't have to do that. So, those two whys tie together.

There's a second "why," though, that's also versus Protestants — and perhaps vs the Orthodox, where, in most places in America where there is an Orthodox presence, it's usually limited to just OCA or else one of the nationalist Orthodox churches, meaning they could pull it off, but I've not seen it, at least ransacking my memory.

That's a more theology-related why.

Narrowly speaking, this is an adiophoron, but ....

It treds close to the line, of this secularist former Lutheran, of trying to worship both God and Mammon. At a minimum, it feels religiously distasteful to pop open a church bulletin and see a bunch of ads.

Were I still religious, the distastefulness would be of a sort to challenge my spirituality.

But, it's clearly entrenched in American Catholicism.

Of European Catholicism, I have no idea. I've been to the Continent once, and to a few churches, including one cathedral, but I didn't go around looking to glom on to bulletins.

This post first appeared on The Philosophy Of The Socratic Gadfly, please read the originial post: here

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Catholics really don't miss a dollar


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