Yesterday, the National Catholic Reporter published an open letter signed by academics at several U.S. Catholic colleges that chastises cuts to social services proposed by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner as out of line with Catholic social teaching.
The letter, which comes as Boehner is due to give the commencement address at the Catholic University of America on Saturday, carries the signature of Georgetown’s own Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J., senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Library.
“His budget proposals give tax cuts for the wealthy while cutting programs that help the most
venerable vulnerable,” Reese said. “While I recognize the necessity of reducing our deficits in the long-term, this should not be done on the backs of the poor. All Americans must sacrifice.”
Stephen Schneck, director for the Institute of Policy Research & Catholic Studies at Catholic University, led the effort to draft the message to Boehner and reached out to Reese to as a friend and colleague at Georgetown. However, Reese did not ask other University faculty to sign on so as not the give the impression that the effort was an attack on Catholic University’s academic freedom.
The letter calls for a “circle of protection” around programs such as Women Infants and Children, food stamps, and Medicaid, which face cumulatively face over $1 trillion in cuts. Meanwhile, the signatories slam Boehner for tax cuts that will cost over $3 trillion in lost revenue over ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
“Mr. Speaker, your voting record is at variance from one of the Church’s most ancient moral teachings,” the letter reads. “From the apostles to the present, the Magisterium of the Church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor.”