USCCB Committee Chair Comments on House of Representatives Poverty Task Force Document

June 10, 2016

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, commented on the release of the U.S. House of Representatives Task Force on Poverty, Opportunity, and Upward Mobility document entitled, “A Better Way: Our Vision for a Confident America.”

“The Catholic Bishops of the United States have long highlighted the struggles of those on the margins of our society,” Archbishop Wenski said. “This plan concerning poverty ought to be a catalyst for strong bi-partisan dialogue about our brothers and sisters in need and our obligations to give them priority in our policymaking. My hope is that members of all parties will seize this moment to begin to work more collaboratively on these issues.”

Archbishop Wenski noted several areas where additional information will be critical as concepts in the plan are discussed in Congress.

“Commendably, the plan does not seek to be a blunt instrument with regard to the social safety net,’ Archbishop Wenski remarked. “More input and dialogue will be essential moving forward. The Catholic Church’s perspective on these issues is informed by many years of service through her varied and vital ministries that have historically worked in concert with government in the United States to assist the poor.”

Archbishop Wenski drew upon the rich tradition of the Catholic Church on the questions of labor, human dignity and the preferential option for the poor in urging a full conversation on these important matters. “While work is crucial for the flourishing of those who are able-bodied—and here St. John Paul II reminded us that work constitutes a foundation for the formation of family life—we need to account for the current state of our job training and the availability of actual, good paying jobs. Lawmakers must also address, in a thoughtful way, complicated issues like access to nutritious food for people of all ages, and root causes of poverty that make upward mobility very challenging for many in our communities.”

Archbishop Wenski described the Task Force’s plan as the beginning of a new conversation that he hopes will be engaged by all key leaders. “It is incumbent upon all leaders in Congress to come together and work through real differences toward policies that honor our moral obligations and that build toward the common good.”

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Catholic, Catholic Church, Archbishop Wenski, Pope Francis, poverty, Pope John Paul II, Saint John Paul II, poor, ministries.
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