Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lay Catholics Call on Bishops to Be Consistent, Defend Poor From Paul Ryan’s Budget Cuts

Chris Pumpelly,
Communications Director, Catholics United

The Silence of the Bishops is Deafening
WASHINGTON – It’s been 24 hours since Catholic Congressman Paul Ryan released a budget proposal based on the anti-Christian ideals of social Darwinist Ayn Rand. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, charged with pastoral care for the poor and vulnerable, has yet to issue a statement condemning Paul Ryan’s budget, its dramatic cuts to the poor and massive redistribution of wealth to the top 1 percent of wage-earners.

The bishops were once known as champions for the cause of the least among us. Today, they’ve shifted their focus to social issues such as women’s access to contraception. Catholics United, a nationwide network of 40,000 lay Catholics, is organizing a petition asking the bishops to strongly speak out against cuts to the poor and vulnerable.
“The Catholic bishops read letters in all 19,000 Catholic parishes across the country protesting expanded access to contraception, but remain silent when their Republican allies in Congress propose massive cuts to programs serving the poor,” said James Salt, executive director for Catholics United. “The bishops need to remember that Jesus Christ came to bring good news to the poor, not massive tax breaks for the wealthiest.”

The Catholic bishops are engaged in an election year campaign aimed at making contraceptive access the focus for the Catholic community during the 2012 election. Their plans include reading political statements from the pulpit and paid media campaigns.  At a time when millions of Americans live with underwater mortgages and 8.3 percent of our workforce is unemployed, the bishops have made no effort to include economic justice and care for the poor in their 2012 political plans.

“The bishops’ inaction on Paul Ryan’s budget exposes them for being the politicians they swore they were not,” said Salt. “They have the ability to move mountains, if they so chose. Where is their outrage? Perhaps if Paul Ryan’s budget mentioned birth control, the bishops might have said something.”

Founded in 2004, Catholics United is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition. For more information about Catholics United and our position on the HHS rule, follow us on our Facebook page ( or on our blog

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