American Bishops Call for Programs to Serve Poor, Vulnerable in Federal Budget

Says That Human Consequences of Budget Choices Are Seen Every Day

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In a Feb. 27 letter sent to members of Congress, two U.S. bishops stated that decisions around the 2016 budget resolution should be measured against whether they protect human life and dignity, the poor and vulnerable and the common good, especially that of workers and their families.

“The moral measure of the federal budget is not which party wins or which powerful interests prevail,” wrote Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami and Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, “but rather how those who are jobless, hungry, homeless, or poor are treated.”

“Their voices are too often missing in these debates,” they stated, “but they have the most compelling moral claim on our consciences and our common resources.”

Archbishop Wenski and Bishop Cantú chair the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Committee on International Justice and Peace, respectively.

In the letter, the bishops express their support for reducing future unsustainable deficits and their impact on the economy. However, a just framework for a federal budget, they said, cannot rely on “disproportionate cuts in essential service to poor persons.”

Budget Control Act caps and sequestration, the bishops also suggested, have limited many domestic and international poverty-focused programs and cautioned lawmakers against using the reconciliation process to achieve savings through cutting health care, nutrition and other programs.

“As pastors, we see every day the human consequences of budget choices. Our Catholic community defends the unborn, feeds the hungry, shelters the homeless, educates the young, and cares for the sick, both at home and abroad,” the bishops wrote.

“We help poor families rise above crushing poverty, resettle refugees fleeing conflict and persecution, and reach out to communities devastated by wars, natural disasters and famines. In much of this work,” they stated, “we are partners with government, and our combined resources allow us to reach further and help more.”


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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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