Catholic World News

Former ambassador to Vatican laments child poverty in US

January 08, 2013

Writing for the blog of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Thomas Patrick Melady, who served as US ambassador to the Holy See from 1989 to 1993, notes that 21.4% of children under 18, and 24.5% of children under six, are growing up in poverty.

Melady observes:

The type of household in which a child is raised is a factor. Around 47% who lived only with a female householder were in poverty, compared to only 10% of related children in married couple families. Furthermore, more than half of related children under six in families with a female householder were in poverty. This statistic is four and a half times the percentage of children under the age of six in poverty within married coupled families. The story worsens when you consider race.

Melady proposes that “after sounding the alarm and working through political parties, believers could advocate programs that contribute to the ending of poverty among people under 18 … One specific program could be to assure that all children start school each morning with a nourishing breakfast. Other programs could be designed for periods when children are not in school.”


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  • Posted by: impossible - Jan. 11, 2013 11:18 AM ET USA

    A loose paraphrase of an important point here is that we should have more fear of those who kill the soul than those who "kill" the body.

  • Posted by: unum - Jan. 08, 2013 10:07 PM ET USA

    While I agree that there is a correlation between single partnt households and "poverty", we have to remember that the American government's definition of economic "poverty" is a standard of living better than 95% of the world's people. That said, the social poverty children raised in single parent households is vivid evidence of the moral bankruptcy of American society. This stain on America the beautiful cannot be erased by government economic assistance.