In early March, the Chair of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and the Chair of its Committee on International Justice and Peace sent a letter to Congress on the moral implications of the federal budget. Nearly a month later, this letter deserves more attention than it has received.
We offer the following moral criteria to guide difficult budgetary choices:
1. Every budget decision should be assessed by whether it protects or threatens human life and dignity.
2. A central moral measure of any budget proposal is how it affects “the least of these” (Matthew 25). The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.
3. Government and other institutions have a shared responsibility to promote the common good of all, especially ordinary workers and families who struggle to live in dignity in difficult economic times.
The moral measure of this budget debate is not which party wins or which powerful interests prevail, but rather how those who are jobless, hungry, homeless or poor are treated. Their voices are too often missing in these debates, but they have the most compelling moral claim on our consciences and our common resources.
It’s a two-pager that’s well worth the ten minutes it’ll take for a close read. The letter is here, in .pdf form.