Bishops to prepare message on work and the economy
Titled “Catholic Reflections on Work, Poverty and a Broken Economy,” the message would advance the bishops’ priority of human life and dignity to demonstrate the new evangelization in action, explained Stockton Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.
The bishops voted 171-26 during their spring meeting to move ahead with a draft of the document. It is expected to be ready in time for a final vote at the bishops’ fall meeting in November.
The message would be a follow-up to a Sept. 15, 2011, letter by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, in which he urged bishops and priests across the country to preach about “the terrible toll the current economic turmoil is taking on families and communities.”
Now, Bishop Blaire explained, the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development felt that because poverty continues to grow and the economy continues to lag, it is time to address the human and moral costs of the continuing economic crisis in a more public way.
“We can say to our people that we can identify with what you are going through,” he said.
The message would build upon the bishops’ 1986 pastoral letter on the economy “Economic Justice for All,” Bishop Blaire explained, and would focus on specific challenges that have emerged since the economic downturn began in late 2007.
The committee proposed a 12- to 15-page pastoral message to communicate the bishops’ pastoral concerns as well as solidarity with those “left behind in our economy,” especially workers without jobs and families living in poverty.
A message on the economy would “seek to get beyond some of the ideological and partisan polarization” surrounding economic issues, the document said. It would recognize that personal responsibility and public action, family structure and economic structures and solidarity and subsidiarity are essential, it said.