Legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown reached a budget agreement this week. The governor is determined avoid an enormous debt as his legacy so he based his budget on very conservative revenue projections. The budget as it now stands includes many items that the California Catholic Conference (CCC) was advocating for, but also some glaring omissions.
Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. Bishops issued a landmark 99-page pastoral letter entitled Economic Justice for All: Catholic Social Teaching and the US Economy. Today, with a record number of people suffering in a flailing economy, the letter’s call to promote human dignity in economic, policy and individual actions is as relevant as ever.
We believe that each person has a right to access the basic necessities of life. We advocate for food and income security for all—especially children and the elderly. We believe in policies for decent housing and shelter, especially for farm workers. We support access to basic health care for all. We advocate for employment and promote the idea of fair wages and fair taxes. We oppose unjust discrimination, racism, torture and human trafficking.
Among today's positive signs we must also mention a greater realization of the limits of available resources, and of the need to respect the integrity and the cycles of nature and to take them into account when planning for development rather than sacrificing them to certain demagogic ideas about the latter. Today this is called ecological concern... Nor can the moral character of development exclude respect for the beings which constitute the natural world, which the ancient Greeks alluding precisely to the order which distinguishes it–called the “cosmos”.
“The order of creation demands that a priority be given to those human activities that do not cause irreversible damage to nature, but which instead are woven into the social, cultural, and religious fabric of the different communities. In this way, a sober balance is achieved between consumption and the sustainability of resources.” - Message to the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization for the Celebration of World Food Day, October 16, 2006.
Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!
The beauty of the universe: the order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars. the beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man's intellect and will.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 341
Saint Francis's Canticle of All Creatures
Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor and all blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.
Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor,
Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.
Our country attracts people seeking a better life. It is a country of immigrants. Yet, throughout history immigrants from all over the world faced hostility and distrust after their arrival to America. The hostility switches course and is usually aimed at the newcomer. Ironically, most people at some point in history were targets of this hostile prejudice. This is a heated topic throughout the United States but especially in California. More than 25 percent of California is composed of immigrants.
Masked in political rhetoric, the image of the “welfare mom” pulses with stereotype. These stereotypes persist even after the start of federal caps for assistance that were written into law when “welfare as we know it” was reformed in the 1990’s.
There are currently 15 states in the U.S. including California, that have maintained “family caps” - denying additional benefits to families who have more children and who have received aid in the 10 months prior to the child’s birth.
A phrase increasingly used to describe the financial difficulties of lower- and middle-income Americans is “income inequality.”