French Priests Give a Month's Salary to Needy


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LYON, France, NOV. 5, 2009 ( The priests of the Lyon Diocese are donating a month of their salary to aid the poor, joining in an initiative of their brothers in Spain.

The diocesan Council of the Presbyterium invited all the priests to donate one month's salary, which amounts to some $1,340, to a charitable organization that supports victims of the economic crisis.

Even though "individually and discreetly, numerous priests contribute to the financing of charitable organizations," a statement on the diocesan Web site acknowledged, "we wish to express our closeness by a particular financial commitment."

It expressed the desire that this initiative would be seen "not only as true pastoral concern for the most destitute," but also as "our will to donate a part of our goods to those who do not have what is necessary to live."

The priests of Lyon "who wish to and can" are therefore invited to make this donation, the Web site stated.

It added, "The sum suggested is 900 euros [$1,340] but each one should give what he wishes and what he can."

The priestly council, representing all of the ordained ministers of the diocese, stated that they are "aware that this gesture is not sufficient." However, they expressed the desire "to address a sign to our contemporaries for whom the image of the Church is often that of preaching, and more rarely that of a concrete solidarity."

The proposal was voted on by the council members while they gathered with the bishops in June. This idea, introduced by a young priest of the diocese, actually started in Spain, where other presbyters began a similar project of economic solidarity last April.

During Holy Week, bishops of several Spanish dioceses asked their priests to give 10% of their salaries to help the needy.