February 08, 2006

Budgets as Moral Documents

"Faithful citizenship calls Catholics to see civic and political responsibilities through the eyes of faith and to bring our moral convictions to public life." - Faithful Citizenship, A Call to Political Responsibility, US Bishops 2004 Statement

There was much fanfare and hullabaloo during the 2004 election in the media coverage and general public discussion of the Catholic political controversies … namely a few bishops deciding who does and doesn't get to participate in the Eucharist based on their political beliefs and actions. But our responsibility as faithful citizens does not end on election day. We have a responsibility to speak up and bring the perspective of our faith to the civic table.

Right now there are MAJOR decisions being made in Washington as the Federal Budget is crafted and discussed. Our president has proposed massive cuts, looking to cut 141 domestic programs to save $15 billion dollars out of $2.77 trillion dollar federal spending plan for next fiscal year. Congress recently voted to cut $49.9 billion in “savings” that will slash programs such as Medicaid, food stamps and student loans.

As Catholics and as Americans, the questions we need to be asking are how do these budget proposals affect the least among us? Do our spending priorities reflect our values? How do they affect our neighbors, our brothers and sisters across the globe? The US Bishops conference is asking these questions. But of course no one seems to be paying any attention.

“The federal budget is more than a matter of accounting: it reflects our values and priorities as a nation. The budget choices you make in the coming days will directly affect the lives of real people, especially "the least of these" in our midst. This is a time for a genuinely bipartisan commitment to focus on the common good of all, and on the special needs of the poor and vulnerable in particular. On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I urge you to make that commitment by working for a budget that does not neglect the needs of the most vulnerable among us.” - December 13, 2005 letter from the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop William S. Skylstad, to both Houses of Congress.

What can you do?

  • Pray for our elected leaders to make good moral choices as they craft the budget.
  • Pray that the least among us will not be made more vulnerable by our spending choices.
  • Learn more about the federal budget and its life and death effects on the poor.
  • Contact your elected officials and tell them you care and you are watching them during this off-election year. The Network Lobby Legislative Action Center makes it super easy to drop them a line.