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How to Help a Catholic Living With Financial Abuse

Updated on October 24, 2017
Ice cold princess profile image

After converting to the Catholic faith in 2016, I made it my mission to educate newcomers to my faith.


A quick look at an example of financial abuse

Resist the urge to give them cash

When you are struggling to come up with the perfect Christmas gift idea for a Catholic, it can be easy to just slip a few dollars into a card so that they might buy themselves something nice throughout the following year.

Unfortunately, this might not necessarily be the right thing to do. If the Catholic is living in an abusive relationship, they may have to account for every cent that they have and they might not have a safe place to hide your money until they want to spend it. In some ways, you might as well hand the cash straight to their spouse.

If you suspect or know that someone is living in an abusive situation, don't give them cash or gift cards unless they specifically ask for them and have a way to use them right away or a safe place to keep them in.

If someone is living with financial abuse, there is a chance that other abuse might be happening at the same time that hasn't been disclosed to you.

I've been asked to get something that I wouldn't typically buy!

While it can be difficult for someone who is of a different faith to put aside their own feelings when this happens, please try to ask yourself "Is it really such a bad thing that I've been asked for a Bible?".

Imagine a world in which you see things that you would really like to have on a daily basis... yet, you know in reality, that these things will never be yours unless someone takes pity on you and either gives you what you want or buys it for you.

This is a reality for people who are living with financial abuse. Is it really so terrible that you have to reduce yourself to buying a Bible for Christmas this year?


A Bonus Video Of Bible Verses

My Person Never Knows What They Want!

If you have this one person who never seems to know what they want for Christmas, try not to get too annoyed with them. It's possible that they are looking around and seeing all this stuff, but they might be thinking "That $20 could feed me for a week!".

Even if they are not in the abusive environment at the time, it can be difficult for them to break out of the mindset of self denial, either because they are so used to being denied what they want or because they can think of a hundred "more appropriate" used for their gift money. This is how they have been conditioned to think.

If you are reaching your wits end or just strapped for time, you could gently suggest that you give them a gift of an experience. Maybe they would like to go out with you for dinner one day in the new year? Can you treat them to a spa day, or dinner and a movie? There's a chance that they might be isolated from the rest of the world because of the abuse that they live with and a few hours out can feel like the equivalent of winning an all expenses paid trip to Disney for them - especially if their abuser isn't present at the time.

Consider a Charitable Donation In Their Honor

We are taught to always think of those who are less fortunate than we are - and this doesn't change if we have to live with financial abuse. It can create a situation where we might feel frustrated because we may not be able to help those who are less fortunate than we are.

It's hard to put in words how it feels to see the collection plate coming round in Mass each week, knowing that you are going to have to either wave it away or pass it along without contributing because you aren't able to contribute a few coins, much less the 10% donation to the church.

Knowing that a charitable donation has been made on your behalf might not seem like a big thing to you, but for someone who is living with financial abuse, it can be an incredibly touching moment to know that someone took the time to think about a cause that really matters to you and acknowledge that by making a donation on your behalf because, not only are you thinking of a cause that's close to their heart... but you are thinking of them, too.

For the sake of the safety of the recipient, avoid choosing a cause that directly relates to abuse, specifically the type(s) of abuse that they live with.

If it's a local cause, you could make the moment extra special by either arranging a day for them to see how their donation will be spent, or by going yourself and taking pictures that you can then put in a photo album and wrap up for Christmas for them. Then they can look through the album and your notes on it throughout the year.


Do You Know What They Do For Penance?

If they choose to pay a penance that they require supplies for, you could take the time to assemble together some supplies to enable them to continue to do that without having to dip into the funds that they are able to obtain from their abuser.

Their penance could be a large part of their life if they are unable to get out of the house a lot because they also live in isolation as part of their abuse. There's no need to worry about duplicating items either because there's a chance that they might lose or break whatever they already have - so it's handy to have some spares on hand when this happens.

Assemble A Care Pack For Them

If you know them well enough, you could assemble a basic care pack for them. Given that they don't get access to money that often, they might not be able to buy basic things like basic sanitary items.

If they are unfortunate enough to look young for their age, also consider tossing in a pack or two of their favorite razors or razor blades (ask for their preferences if you need to), too - these can make a huge difference when it comes to choosing to attend Mass looking presentable or feeling embarrassed because you need to shave but don't have a razor and have no funds to buy one with.

© 2017 Ice cold princess

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