Church slammed for 'tap and go' collection plate
AN AUSTRALIAN church has introduced 'tap and go' collection plates, an announcement met with backlash when publicised on social media.
St Mary's Catholic Cathedral in Sydney is the first in New South Wales to trial the new form of collection plate after introducing general 'tap and go' terminals into the church about a month ago.
The new plate allows people to tap their credit card and make a donation for a set amount of $10.
Cards can be tapped multiple times if parishioners wish to do so.
The announcement about the new collection plate, in addition to the terminals, was made last week in a Facebook post which was soon removed, after heavy criticism from some members of the public.
But that hasn't discouraged the church with general manager Helen Morassut telling News Regional Media the new technology was introduced following parishioner feedback.
"All we have done is brought the cathedral up to twentieth century," Ms Morassut said.
"It was a decision made in response to visitors and parishioners asking for alternative ways make a donation because people simply don't' carry cash anymore.
"It was an issue outlined by parishioners that we have offered a solution to.
"Over the weekend we spoke with parishioners prior to mass and mentioned we would be trialling new system. It was well received among masses."
St Mary's is a large gothic style cathedral that caters to between 1200 and 2000 people each Sunday over four masses.
Built between 1866 and 1928, the cathedral is the oldest place in Australia still used as a place of worship and is the site of the first Catholic church in Australia.
Money raised through donation collection goes towards the costly maintenance of the heritage listed precinct, Ms Morassut said, which includes a Chapter House.
Ms Morassut acknowledged the backlash on social media but said she was confident it hadn't come from the parish's followers.
"Given industry and religious sector, we are always going to be a target for negative comments," she said.
"We expect some negative reaction, regardless of what we post. We did see a couple of negative posts, but they were not people associated with the parish or cathedral.
"There will always be the regular naysayers who want to make a mountain out of a molehill."
The first 'tap and go' terminals were introduced to church about a month ago, positioned around the candle stands allowing people to donate $2 via card.
Donations can still be made using cash.