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Must I give money to panhandlers?




Full Question

I frequently bump into beggars on the street who ask me for small change. Is it okay to refuse to give them money?

Answer

There is no obligation to give money to panhandlers, especially those who do not appear to need it or who appear as though they would waste it. If your personal safety is not at risk, you could politely offer them information on the nearest homeless shelter. Since you regularly meet panhandlers, you might ask a nearby shelter for business cards with contact information that you could distribute instead of money.

In any event, if you meet your obligation to support the Church and you give to reputable charities, you need have no qualms about gently refusing to give spare change to panhandlers.





3 comments

  1. Arianna Gonzalez Reply

    Is hypnotherapy against Catholic teaching?

  2. MNTCATH Reply

    I don’t like this way of handling those in need. It scream judgments of a person’s condition and the causes but it also does not recognize that their needs are *immediate*. A person who is in need could do a lot more with a cash/food in hand rather than being told they need to update their resume or need a mortgage. But more importantly, we as a culture have to understand that poverty is not a punishment for those who don’t save up or get fired for having long hair. As our controversial liberation theology brothers point out: (1) Poverty is a form of oppression
    (2) No one is born oppressed, and (3) People are made poor by others. Don’t like being “hassled” on the street by someone with their hand out? Well then, end the causes of poverty in society and reform those institutions that thrive on bandaid solutions.

  3. Michelle Reply

    I think we don’t have a shelter for panhandlers. That’s why i gave small amount.

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