Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

A Circle of Protection

Bishop Howard J. Hubbard was one of a diverse coalition of Christian leaders, including the National Association of Evangelicals, Bread for the World, Salvation Army, Christian Churches Together in the USA, National Council of Churches and other Evangelical and mainline Protestants, that has called for a priority for the poor in the current budget process through a common statement, “A Circle of Protection.”

The news release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops states:

“As Christian leaders, we are committed to fiscal responsibility and shared sacrifice,” said the statement. “We are also committed to resist budget cuts that undermine the lives, dignity, and rights of poor and vulnerable people. Therefore, we join with others to form a Circle of Protection around programs that meet the essential needs of hungry and poor people at home and abroad.”

Bishop Hubbard and Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, signed the statement, as did Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), and Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA. Bishop Hubbard and Bishop Blaire chair the U.S. bishops’ committees on International Justice and Peace and Domestic Justice and Human Development, respectively.

In the statement, the religious leaders recognize the need to reduce future deficits, “but not at the expense of hungry and poor people.” They said, “These choices are economic, political—and moral. As Christians, we believe the moral measure of the debate is how the most poor and vulnerable people fare. We look at every budget proposal from the bottom up—how it treats those Jesus called ‘the least of these’ (Matthew 25:45). They do not have powerful lobbies, but they have the most compelling claim on our consciences and common resources. The Christian community has an obligation to help them be heard, to join with others to insist that programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world are protected.”