There is a common vicious calumny spread about the Church concerning money. The Church is falsely portrayed as selling indulgences, or of selling salvation. This concept is entirely false. Of course sometimes the doctrine of the Church concerning indulgences isn't always explained as well as it should be especially in these times. Nevertheless, this doctrine is entirely a part of the doctrines of the Church, and it is necessary for all Catholics to believe.
In the chapel of the Franciscan Friars in Quito, Ecuador there is a huge painting of Our Lord expelling the money changers in the temple. This painting is larger than life size and is painted on the exterior side of the main doors leading into the chapel.
This painting is an example of the Church warning the faithful and the clergy about the misuse of the House of God. Nevertheless, collections are taken up, Masses are offered for the faithful and there are votive candles for the faithful to light after offering a donation.
These devotions provide opportunities to obtain the benefits of the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and of other prayers and indulgences. It is most reasonable that the priest who like anyone else has to eat and the church that has to be maintained, receive some donations for assistance. St. Paul wrote that the laborer is worth his wage. It is entirely reasonable that the humble friars who give their entire lives for the Church receive some sort of sustenance in life so that they can dedicate more of their consecrated lives to prayer and other good works that a layman can never do due to his obligations.
The donations of the faithful help with the temporal needs of the Church. In gratitude the Church, as the custodian of the treasures of heaven offers something much greater in return, the partial or total remission of sin depending on the indulgence.
Imagine also, that at one time this monastery in Quito once housed 1,000 friars. Imagine that as a result of a small donation, that donor is prayed for daily by all 1,000 friars.
As with everything, the Church maintains a perfect balance. On the one hand she vividly reminds the clergy and the faithful that God's House is a house of adoration and prayer and not commerce. Yet for the needs and desires of the faithful she also makes it possible for the faithful to offer small donations in the Church in order to receive graces and blessings for their spiritual and temporal welfare. While Our Lord was on earth He concerned Himself with the spiritual and temporal welfare of the faithful. Our Lord continues to do the same today through the Church, His mystical spouse.