WASHINGTON — The Franciscan Action Network has taken a stand on several issues in the news, expressing the ministry of St. Francis to care for those in need.
In a written statement, titled “Budget Cuts and Morality,” FAN executive director Patrick Carolan discusses the budget process on Capital Hill. He writes: “Catholic teachings suggest that a fundamental measure of our nation’s moral compass is whether it enhances or undermines the lives and dignity of those most in need. When we make decisions to fund programs that build weapons over programs that care for the poor, we are making a moral and ethical decision. When we choose to spend our dollars on a war in Afghanistan instead of providing maternal and child health care for pregnant women, we are making a moral decision.”
Budget a Moral Issue
“When we decide to cut funds for homeless shelters instead of increasing revenue, we are making a moral decision. Make no mistake, these are very difficult times and difficult decisions; the choices that our elected officials make will have significant consequences for the poor and most vulnerable. If we are truly a nation of God then we must regain the moral high ground. We must do as St. Francis did more than 800 years ago when he taught us to feed the hungry, to catch those in danger of falling through the cracks of a society that looked down on them, to care for those who cannot escape the poverty that traps them in lives of constant hardship.”
In the Feb. 23 statement, he urges all Franciscans to contact elected officials and remind them that the budget is a moral issue, not just one about the bottom line. “Remind them that as Americans, we pride ourselves on being a moral people. If this is truly our stance, then our national budget must adequately reflect our priority for the poor and hungry of our great nation.”
Workers Rights a Priority
FAN also stands firm with union workers across the country, especially those in Wisconsin who are protesting budget issues.
In a recent statement, FAN said, “We stand in support of the rights of our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin to form unions and collectively bargain — and for the rights of all across this great nation who care for the neediest, teach our children, comfort the sick and protect us through their work for states and municipalities.”
“Many of us have forgotten the better working conditions won for our grandparents through the efforts of organized labor. It’s important for us to remember the tradition of our Church in supporting all workers in their efforts to achieve a better life. As members of the Christian family, we at the Franciscan Action Network believe in, and support, the rights of all workers in both the public and private sectors to organize into unions and collectively bargain. We believe this is a fundamental principal taught in Christian social teachings. To deny these rights is a moral decision, with moral consequences.”
Those interested in acting on these issues, can visit the FAN website and click the “take action” button. The FAN website also offers many resources for churches and ministries, including sample letters to legislators and printable prayer cards.
— Compiled by Wendy Healy