Five months is nothing in the life of an institution that "thinks in centuries" like the Catholic Church. So it's almost miraculous that Pope Francis has, in the short time since his election, amassed so much teaching on a single subject: economic inequality. This subject is also the focus of the 2013 Labor Day Statement by Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.
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.
Late Thursday afternoon, a budget deal was announced that repeals the Maximum Family Grant (MFG) rule, provides additional funding for naturalization and other immigration services and funds teacher empowerment and recruitment items as well as additional early childhood education.
Authorization to purchase lethal drugs for Medi-Cal patients, while receiving no support from Assembly budget negotiators, is still apparently included albeit at a reduced rate as the program is “phased in.” Fortunately, funding for an assisted-suicide “hotline” was not included in the final budget.