We are now several weeks into the shutdown of all non-essential services of the U.S. Government. Several branches of the government have employees working at this moment without pay. The issues that the President and the Congress face are serious and they are not easily served by some of the sound-bites you hear. His Eminence, Sean Cardinal O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, Mass., released a powerful statement on the governmental shutdown:
“The present moment in our country is clearly decisive: the government is, at best, only partially functioning.
“This has caused multiple consequences: the safety of the citizenry is compromised and essential services are endangered or not being provided. While not proposing a plan for a viable effective compromise I am taken by the humanitarian impacts of the shutdown. Hundreds of thousands of government employees have had their lives upended.
“The vast majority of Americans depend on a regular paycheck, failure to receive that as due and expected translates into painful choices: balancing food and fuel; paying for mortgages and rent; restricting necessary transportation; rationing family health care. Imposing these burdens on individuals and families who serve the nation daily violates the social contract in a well-ordered society. It is an injustice and should be named as such.
“Determination of the specific elements of a viable compromise rightfully rest with the executive and legislative officials of our government. But two moral imperatives should be preserved in any agreement: first, to end the suffering of our citizenry and second, to not use vulnerable and threatened immigrant families as a pawn in the necessary negotiations citizens rightfully expect of their government.”
The cardinal is correct – these issues are more than just concepts – they involve souls. They involve good people of all political persuasions and of no political persuasions. They involve migrants on the border and they involve those entrusted with the security of our nation. They also involve those hard-working men and women who have families to feed.
In the midst of this volatile time, let’s never forget that this is more than just a battle of wills on the parts of President Trump or Speaker Pelosi- this involves real people, including government workers. Let truth, fraternal charity, and justice be the basis of all of these important deliberations.