Budget cuts must protect poor and vulnerable, say US bishops
By Benjamin Mann
Bishop Howard Hubbard and CRS president Ken Hackett
Bishop Howard Hubbard and CRS president Ken Hackett

.- A group of more than 300 Catholic leaders met with members of Congress on Feb. 15, to share a message from the U.S. bishops –  urging legislators to remember the needs of the poor and vulnerable, as they make cuts to the federal budget.

Participants in the 2011 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering (Feb. 13-16) took the bishops' message to Capitol Hill, delivering letters from two committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops during a day of visits with U.S. representatives and senators. The letters express concern over what Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, chairman for International Justice and Peace, described as “disproportionate cuts in programs that serve the most vulnerable” to the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Appropriations Resolution.

Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman for Domestic Justice and Human Development, warned lawmakers against the temptation to “secure the nation while at the same time furthering the insecurity of the poor and vulnerable in our midst.”

“Decisions should be made that not only reflect a commitment to national and long term fiscal security but demonstrate justice, compassion and fairness,” wrote Bishop Blaire.

“Our plea, then, is simple: Put the poor and vulnerable first as you consider how to spend limited federal resources.”

Bishop Blaire's call reflected the Church's authoritative social teaching, which states that both individuals and societies must prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable in their public and private decisions. Accordingly, he criticized proposals to cut funding for community health centers, affordable housing programs, job training and refugee relief.

But the Bishop of Stockton praised the proposed budget for regarding the rights of other vulnerable human persons, by retaining language against abortion funding, and seeking to restore a ban on funding of abortion in the District of Columbia.

The letter from Bishop Hubbard, co-written with Catholic Relief Services' president Ken Hackett, called attention to the importance of foreign aid, a small portion of the U.S. budget which could nevertheless come in for significant reduction. An analysis by Catholic Relief Services and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops showed foreign aid being cut at 10 times the rate of the budget as a whole under the proposed resolution.

Hackett and Bishop Hubbard said they strongly approved of the bill's proposal to restore the Mexico City Policy – which denies funding to international groups that perform or promote abortion – and to cut funding to the U.N. Population Fund, which supports forced abortion and sterilization in China.

“Unfortunately,” they noted, “the Continuing Resolution also makes dramatic cuts that are life-threatening.”

“Cuts at the level being considered will result in the loss of innocent lives: persons with HIV no longer able to access life-saving anti-retroviral medications; refugees and victims of natural disaster succumbing to starvation and hunger-related illnesses; and poor families unable to grow what they need to survive.”

They urged Congress to “find resources elsewhere, in programs that do not serve the poorest persons and communities.”

“In times of fiscal restraint,” they pointed out, “shared sacrifice demands that the entire budget be examined, including defense.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon

Liturgical Calendar

July 28, 2014

Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:31-35


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 13: 1-11
Gospel:: Mt 13: 31-35

Saint of the Day

St. Victor I, Pope »


Homily of the Day

Mt 13:31-35


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: