Catholic World News

US bishops call for continued unemployment benefits

December 13, 2011

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is urging members of the House of Representatives to “find effective ways to assure continuing Unemployment Insurance and Emergency Unemployment Compensation to protect jobless workers and their families.” The House is considering a measure that would the reduce the duration of unemployment benefits from a maximum of 99 weeks to 59 weeks.

“When the economy fails to generate sufficient jobs, there is a moral obligation to help protect the life and dignity of unemployed workers and their families,” said Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

In his letter to House members, Bishop Blaire quoted Blessed John Paul II, who wrote in his 1981 encyclical Laborem Exercens that “the obligation to provide unemployment benefits, that is to say, the duty to make suitable grants indispensable for the subsistence of unemployed workers and their families, is a duty springing from the fundamental principle of . . . the right to life and subsistence.”

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  • Posted by: - Dec. 14, 2011 12:10 PM ET USA

    Do we know that Bishop Stockton is not speaking for himself? Has a poll been taken among the other [200+] bishops of the U.S? Or is this yet another statement of the [Democratic?] bureaucracy of the USCCB? The bishops [or at least those who use such statements to escape their episcopal responsibilities] would do better to work in each in his own diocese to come up with solutions. That is what is meant by taking care of the sheep rather than relying on an unreliable government.

  • Posted by: Thomas429 - Dec. 14, 2011 4:59 AM ET USA

    To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln; "You cannot truly help an individual by long doing for him what he can and should do for himself". Charity is not governmental compulsion of "haves" to provide for the "have-nots". The results of the policies ought to be apparent to all who are honest about them. This is true without considering the growing economic crisis that is plaguing the developed world. I do not recall Jesus telling his diciples to sell all that they have and give it to the government.

  • Posted by: unum - Dec. 13, 2011 5:56 PM ET USA

    As usual the bishops have not indicated a source of funds to continue extended unemployment benefits. Perhaps they have forgotten that the government has no funds unless it taxes its citizens. Rather than imitate politicians who spend other people's money like it was their own, the bishops should suggest which members of the population it is moral to tax in order to extend the benefits. Jesus lived in the real world and the bishops should too.